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Is it worth to buy property in Dubai?

Dubai has emerged as one of the hottest property markets in the recent years. With lavish projects, stunning architecture, and a growing economy, Dubai seems like an attractive location for real estate investment. However, the question remains – is it really worth buying property there? This article examines the pros and cons to help you decide if investing in Dubai property is right for you.

Is it worth to buy property in Dubai?

Pros of Buying Property in Dubai

There are several advantages associated with owning real estate in Dubai:

High Rental Yields

  • Dubai has a large population of expats who are unable to purchase properties. This creates a huge rental demand, allowing property owners to command high rents.
  • Rental yields range from 7-10% per annum, making Dubai one of the most lucrative rental markets globally.

Capital Appreciation

  • Property prices in Dubai have been rising rapidly over the past decade. Investors have gained significant returns, with some areas seeing over 100% price growth.
  • Major developments and infrastructure projects continue to drive demand and price growth in the future.

Strong Economy

  • Dubai has established itself as a global hub for tourism, trade, and investment. Its diversified economy provides stability and opportunities for real estate growth.
  • The government’s pro-business policies and free zones attract businesses and skilled professionals from around the world.

Low Taxes

  • Dubai does not impose income or property taxes, making it a tax-friendly location for investors and residents.
  • The only taxes are municipality fees for utilities like water and electricity. This allows for larger profit margins on rental income.

Increased Tourism

  • Dubai welcomed over 16 million visitors in 2019. The upcoming World Expo in 2020 and visionary mega-projects have enhanced its global reputation as a tourist hotspot.
  • Robust tourism drives higher occupancy rates and rental yields as demand for short-term rentals increases.

Fast-Track Residency

  • Property investment over AED 1 million allows freehold buyers to attain a 3-year renewable residence visa.
  • The visa policy offers flexibility, security, and a foot in the door to expatriate life in the emirate.

Cons of Buying Property in Dubai

While the prospect of owning property in Dubai seems rewarding, there are a few downsides to consider:

Over Supply Concerns

  • Alarming vacancy rates of 25% suggest an excess supply of residential units, especially in the luxury apartment segment
  • While lack of affordable housing keeps rental yields high, sales prices and occupancy rates for high-end properties face downward pressure

Restrictions on Leasehold Properties

  • The majority of homes in master-planned communities come under leasehold titles requiring renewals
  • Leasehold restrictions on renewal, rental periods and ownership transferability reduce income growth opportunities

Less Legal Protection

  • Dubai does not yet allow freehold ownership in all areas causing uncertainty around regulations
  • Delays in handover and lack of escrow account requirements risk buyer payments in case of disputes

Currency Fluctuation Risks

  • Properties are sold in UAE Dirham pegged to the dollar while key source markets involve monetary fluctuations
  • Changes in the currency a buyer converts from can impact affordability and investment returns

Relative Affordability Decline

  • Affordable housing was a key driver for property demand in Dubai
  • With low entry-price properties getting scarce, the perception of Dubai as a reasonably priced investment destination may change

Oversupply and High Vacancies

Area Net Household Growth New Supply Vacancy Rates
Beachfront Areas Minimal High 25%
Downtown Dubai Low High 20%
Dubai Marina Low High 25%

Key Takeaway

While risks like oversupply and regulations exist, properties in the right location and price segment continue seeing strong demand driving impressive returns for buyers. Dubai’s exceptional infrastructure, thriving economy, and business-friendly policies will see it remain an attractive real estate investment destination for years to come.


In the balance, investing in Dubai property has significant income growth opportunities from stable rental yields and rising capital values over the coming decade. Concentrating on lower-priced residential units near transportation and commercial hubs mitigates oversupply risks in a market dominated by ultra-luxury apartments. The meta trends propelling Dubai’s economy point to a favorable outlook, cementing its image as an investor-friendly global city in the making.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is buying an off-plan property in Dubai a good idea?
A: Off-plan properties come at attractive prices but often involve delayed possessions, restrictions on resale and rental uncertainties. They remain lucrative for end-users willing to wait a few years.

Q: What are the best areas to buy property in Dubai?
A: Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai, Jumeirah Village Circle and Dubai Silicon Oasis offer resilient demand-supply dynamics and infrastructure advantages.

Q: Is it better to opt for apartment or villa property?
A: Villas offer larger living spaces and private amenities though often at higher prices. Apartments allow ownership at affordable entry prices with access to community facilities.

Q: How much annual returns can one expect from Dubai investment?
A: Gross rental yields average 7-9% yearly with well-located properties below AED 1.5 million. Capital appreciation around 5-10% annually can result in total returns exceeding 15%.

Q: Can expats easily secure a home loan for Dubai buying?
A: Mortgages for non-residents require 50% or higher down payments with interest rates of 4-5%. Factors like income stability proof and property condition impact loan eligibility.

Q: What taxes apply to rental income and profits in Dubai?
A: No capital gains or rental income taxes apply for private investors. Only a 5% VAT on residential leases and municipality fees for utilities.

Q: What is the process and cost for property transactions in Dubai?
A: Around 2% for valuations, agent fees and documentation applies. Title deed transfer costs 4% of sale value. Financing costs extra 1-2% in loan arrangement charges yearly.

Q: How enforceable are property rights in Dubai?
A: Property rights come under clear land title deeds issued by government entities, strictly enforcing sale terms & conditions. Dispute resolution channels provide strong legal protection.

Q: Can foreigners freely buy and register property in their names?
A: Yes, citizens of GCC nations and countries securing investor residence visas can buy freehold titles directly in Dubai. Other foreigners generally opt for free zone or nominee structure ownership.

Q: What are risks of delayed property handovers by Dubai developers?
A: Developers facing funding issues may delay projects. While rare, delayed penalties plus replacement offers or refunds with interest apply, investor rights remain well-protected.

Q: What fees apply for real estate ownership transfers in Dubai?
A: Title deed registration and transfer fee of 4% of property value applies. For mortgaged homes, bank release letter charges plus other admin fees contribute 1-2% of property price.

Q: How does property market outlook look in a post pandemic Dubai?
A: Dubai saw resilience with marginal 2% price dip thanks to effective COVID-handling and adequate policy support. Signs point to a quick 2021 rebound led by continued investor interest.

Q: Can expats residing in Dubai invest easily in the property market?
A: Yes, convenient mortgage schemes for residents with stable incomes coupled with attractive valuation make Dubai investment accessible and rewarding for expat residents.

Q: What type of property sees the highest rental yields in Dubai?
A: Affordable apartments near downtown areas and community villas fetch yields between 8-12% yearly. Luxury properties often suffer higher vacancy risks causing underperformance.

Q: Is it wise to opt for properties sold by smaller developers in Dubai?
A: Established large developers assure quality assurance and timely handovers. Small developers come with higher risks but do provide value entry options for end-users on tighter budgets.

Q: Which property types provide the easiest ownership transfer mechanisms?
A: Freehold properties with community association approvals see easier re-sales. Developer-owned strata-title homes involve strict pre-approvals, requiring factoring in post-handover saleability risks.

Q: How can one estimate profitable Dubai property valuations?
A: Monitoring nearby new project launch prices gives fair market values. Online property listing sites also track property estimates in each location based on property attributes.

Q: What are the top locations for buying affordable housing in Dubai?
A: Prime areas for budget home options include International City, Jumeirah Village Circle, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Al Furjan, JVC, and Discovery Gardens, known for higher rental yields.

Q: How much do agents typically charge for a property sale in Dubai?
A: Agents usually charge 2% of the sale price as commission, paid for equally by both the buyer and seller. This covers services like listing, buyer matchmaking and handling paperwork.

Q: What are risks of Airbnb type short-term renting in Dubai?
A: Regulations restrict Airbnb rentals limiting investor options. Fines for violations risk profitability. Licensing eligibility also factors like community rules, property type etc causing issues.

Q: Can Dubai property buyers recover payments if projects face cancellation?
A: RERA protects investor rights mandating escrow accounts for payments until completion. In cancelled projects 100% refunds guaranteed including interest earning for unused cash.


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