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Why are properties so cheap in Dubai?

Dubai has seen a rapid boom in real estate development over the past two decades, resulting in an oversupply of properties and downward pressure on prices. There are several factors that explain the affordable property prices.

Why are properties so cheap in Dubai?

Oversupply from extensive development

  • Dubai has undergone extensive real estate development, with hundreds of new projects completed every year
  • This huge supply has outpaced demand, leaving many units vacant
  • By some estimates, there is a 10-15% residential vacancy rate
  • With excess supply, sellers have to drop prices to attract buyers

Economic downturn and declining demand

  • Economic growth has slowed in Dubai due to oversupply across sectors and low oil prices
  • Job losses, pay cuts, and stalled business activity reduced demand
  • Many expatriates left Dubai due to unfavorable conditions, further impacting the market
  • These macroeconomic trends make it a buyers’ market for properties

Speculative activity during the boom years

  • Developers launched many off-plan projects during the pre-2008 boom years
  • Speculative buying was common – investors putting down 10-20% deposits and hoping to flip the properties when completed
  • But demand dried up before projects were delivered, and speculators had to sell at a loss
  • This distress selling has put further downward pressure on prices

Attracting foreign investment and residents

  • Dubai real estate has been a magnet for foreign investment given UAE’s stability and business-friendly policies
  • To sustain this inflow, developers and authorities try to keep property affordable
  • Significant price appreciation may shift demand to other global cities
  • So cheap prices help market Dubai as an attractive place for expats and investors

In summary, excessive development, changing economic realities, speculative activity, and a strategy to enhance Dubai’s appeal have created a buyer’s market where properties are relatively cheap.

Key Takeaways:

  • Oversupply from extensive real estate development has outpaced demand in Dubai
  • Economic downturns and reduced job opportunities have lowered demand and prices further
  • Speculative buying during boom years led to distress selling when demand dried up
  • Cheap prices are part of a strategy to attract foreign investment and residents to Dubai


Dubai has consciously worked to increase supply and develop real estate to attract foreign residents and investors. But excessive development, economic factors, and speculative activity led to an imbalance where supply outpaced demand. As a result, Dubai offers competitive prices for home buyers and investors – making it an attractive global city with affordable real estate. However, the market remains challenging for developers until inventory clears up and macro conditions improve.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the most affordable areas in Dubai for buying property?
    Some relatively affordable areas in Dubai to buy properties include International City, Dubailand, Discovery Gardens, Jumeirah Village Circle, and Dubai Silicon Oasis.

  2. Are there any hidden costs involved in buying property in Dubai?
    Yes, hidden costs may include developer fees, service charges, cooling charges, agents’ commission, loan processing fees, and ownership transfer charges. Consider all costs before deciding.

  3. Will property prices continue to fall in Dubai?
    With continued oversupply and weak economic conditions, prices may stay soft for a while. However, Dubai is considered an attractive place to live and invest long-term. Significant price appreciation is unlikely in the short run.

  4. Is buying off-plan property in Dubai risky?
    Yes, it carries risks like project delays or cancellations, mismatch with marketed specifications, fluctuating installments, and payment plans not honored – especially by smaller developers. Do thorough research before purchasing off-plan.

  5. Which are the best areas in Dubai for buying luxury properties?
    Emirates Hills, Palm Jumeirah, Downtown Dubai, Dubai Marina, and The Lakes are among the top luxury property locations for high-end home buyers in Dubai attracting affluent residents.

  6. Should foreigners buy freehold or leasehold property in Dubai?
    Freehold allows outright ownership for foreigners, while leasehold grants a time-limited lease subject to renewal. Freehold offers more benefits like no yearly fees, full ownership rights, and higher ROI potential. Leasehold has lower upfront costs.

  7. Are mortgages available to foreigners for buying property in Dubai?
    Yes, many leading UAE banks offer mortgages for expats and foreign investors for up to 75-80% of property value. Interest rates are competitive, but requirements around minimum income, proofs, down payment are stringent.

  8. What taxes do foreign property owners have to pay in Dubai?
    No taxes apply on income or gains from owned property sale currently. Only a 5% VAT on purchase costs and municipal taxes for using services. Owners only pay utility charges and community fees on property usage.

  9. Is the property market more affordable for buyers or renters now?
    Declining prices have made it cheaper for buyers to purchase rather than rent. But for short or uncertain duration stays, renting may still be more practical than owning before selling again.

  10. What essential factors should one check before buying resale property?
    Check developer payment plan compliance, previous owner disputes or loans, occupancy certificate issuance, accurate area measurements, maintenance record, community facilities access, etc. thoroughly.

  11. Can expats easily get home loans from Dubai banks?
    Yes. Many banks actively offer home loans for expats. But stringent requirements exist around minimum income levels, employment durations, repayment capacity proofs. Co-applicant addition also often needed.

  12. Is it safe for foreigners to buy properties in Dubai?
    Yes, Dubai market offers secure clear title deeds, protected ownership rights, strong legal frameworks for property handling, and escrow account mechanisms for advance payments during off-plan purchases. Low crime rates also help.

  13. Does it make sense to buy property in Dubai right now?
    With an oversupplied market and low prices, it may be an excellent opportunity for buyers. But conduct in-depth research, assess future projections, and hedge risks before purchasing. The affordable pricing may persist for some more time.

  14. What annual costs do Dubai property owners need to account for?
    Key costs beyond mortgage installments are yearly service charges to the property management (for common area maintenance), district cooling charges, repairs and maintenance fees, property insurance premiums, any associated taxes.

  15. Which areas of Dubai have seen the steepest decline in housing prices?
    Some areas seeing larger price declines are Dubailand, International City, Discovery Gardens, and the fringes of new Dubai areas. More central locations like Downtown Dubai, Emirates Hills have held values better.

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