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Purchasing Property in Dubai

Dubai has secured itself an excellent reputation among tourists in recent years, but what is it like to move there? As a fishing village turned metropolis, Dubai provides technology, innovation, and modernity but still manages to hold onto its rich heritage. It also provides the ideal balance of nature and urbanity, with the sprawling desert and glistening ocean surrounding the city. All of this makes it the perfect choice for a wide range of people, with something for everyone on offer.

Are you considering purchasing property in Dubai? OfferPal are here to help you find the perfect place. To find out more about the areas you could buy in and the logistics of owning property in Dubai, keep reading this helpful guide.

Why buy property in Dubai?

Right now is a great time to buy property in Dubai, as prices are currently fairly low and there is plenty of real estate to choose from. Here are some of the key factors to consider when deciding whether Dubai is the right place for you.

High earning potential

High salaries and the subsequent excellent quality of life are among the top reasons ex-pats choose to buy property in Dubai. It is estimated that almost three-quarters of the United Arab Emirates’ ex-pats earn considerably more than in their home country. Working ex-pats also receive better benefits than they might elsewhere, such as an annual allowance for flights to their home country.


If you're planning on moving to Dubai with your family, securing a good school is vital. All the public schools in Dubai are only open to natives and teach entirely in Arabic, so you’ll need to consider the cost of private education and start looking for one that suits your requirements. Fees for the top schools can reach as high as AED 100,000 a year, which is equivalent to around €25,000, but many schools have much lower tuition fees. A third of students are at schools charging less than AED 10,000 (€2,500) a year.

More than 90% of education in Dubai is provided by the private sector and there are almost 200 schools, each providing different curricula. Nearly two-thirds teach according to either the British or Indian curricula, but you'll also find US, French, and International Baccalaureate curricula in some institutions. All children will learn Arabic, though this may just be at the most basic level, and have to take courses in Islamic studies or UAE social studies.


Ex-pats make up the vast majority of the population in Dubai - in fact, less than 20% of residents are native to the area. Emiratis and ex-pats don't often meet socially, even though they might work together. The ex-pat population is quite diverse; Brits and Indians are very well represented, but there are many other nationalities in the mix too. As a result, Dubai is one of the most cosmopolitan cities you could find.

Despite being innovative and modern in some areas, Dubai holds onto its Arab culture. Traditional arts and crafts are commonly practised and can be found around every corner of the city. Ramadan is one of the main events of the Islamic calendar. This involves fasting from dawn to dusk in the hope of achieving spiritual awareness and concludes with a celebration. Chinese New Year is also a big event in Dubai, as is the Indian holiday of Holi.

Where to buy property in Dubai

Dubai has a number of areas in which ex-pats can buy property, so you’re sure to find somewhere that fits your unique requirements. Here are some of the most popular areas for you to consider buying property in.

Downtown Dubai

Downtown Dubai is a lively part of the city, home to some of the most iconic landmarks Dubai has to offer - for instance, the Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Mall and the Dubai Fountain. Brand new housing is constantly becoming available in this new development, as the area becomes home to more and more skyscrapers. Many of these structures are mixed purpose, made up of both residential and commercial spaces.

This bustling part of Dubai offers a range of high-end apartments. 1-bed apartments typically begin at €250,000, while a property for the whole family could set you back €1,000,000 or more. These luxury apartments often come with lots of amenities and amazing views of the whole city. It’s worth bearing in mind that properties in view of the Burj Khalifa tend to cost more.

Old Town

The Old Town is very different from Downtown Dubai, despite not being that far away geographically. This is mostly because this part of the city very much reflects its rich history and traditions, rather than the modernity favoured in other parts of Dubai. The architecture in the Old Town is based on traditional Arabic architecture, with low-rise buildings, courtyards, alleyways and market squares being common sights. This creates a quaint, village feel, despite being located right in the heart of Dubai.

The Old Town is quite a new development, which offers its residents a variety of amenities. These include a gym, restaurants, shops, swimming pools and a sauna. There are around 1500 apartments of varying sizes and costs on offer, split across 35 buildings and 6 districts. Properties vary in price depending on their size and the direction in which they face - views of the Dubai Fountain can increase the value of a property. The price of a 1-bed apartment will typically start at around €300,000, while a 3-bed can cost €1,000,000.

Jumeirah Village Circle

Jumeirah Village Circle is a family-friendly community in the heart of Dubai which is committed to creating a calm and tranquil environment. It is home to a number of gardens and canals, evoking a quaint village feel in the heart of the urban capital. It has plenty of parks, gyms and schools, which makes it an incredibly popular choice among ex-pat families.

New developments are constantly popping up in and around Jumeirah Village Circle - as a result, it is a great place to invest. Overall, this area is home to more than 2000 residential units, made up of a mixture of apartments, villas and townhouses. Jumeirah Village Circle also has a range of amenities to offer its residents, such as swimming pools and a gym.

A studio apartment will usually cost around €100,000, while a 4-bed one could cost close to a million. Villas are also available, ranging from 1-beds to 5-beds, with prices typically landing somewhere between €240,000 and €500,000 depending on the property’s size. Villas are therefore one of the most affordable options for those looking to buy property in Dubai.

Dubai Marina

The Dubai Marina is one of the most sought-after neighbourhoods in Dubai. Its dining entertainment options, impressive skyscrapers and stunning waterfront make it an ideal location for luxury apartments. Dubai Marina is filled with shops, schools, restaurants and everything else you could need to maintain a fantastic lifestyle.

The Marina is always in development, with new buildings and properties being constructed constantly. There are already around 200 residential towers, which are typically filled to the brim with a range of shared facilities such as parking, fitness centres, pools and concierge services.

Dubai Marina offers apartments of varying sizes, contained within skyscrapers with state-of-the-art facilities and waterfront views. The biggest residences tend to be penthouses with 5+ bedrooms, which with likely set you back at least €1,600,000, while a studio apartment will cost around €161,000.

The logistics of buying property in Dubai

Since Dubai’s residential market opened up to foreigners in 2002, non-natives have been allowed to purchase residential properties within designated leasehold or freehold areas. Leasehold areas tend to be located near the city centre, while freehold areas are more spread out across the UAE.

Though the country introduced a Value Added Tax in 2018, Dubai’s residential properties remain tax-free. These properties are either zero-rated or exempted from tax entirely. The UAE property market’s tax-free status has played a big part in attracting foreign investment.

Another perk of purchasing property in Dubai is the provision of a residential visa to any non-natives (and their dependents) who invest at least AED 1,000,000 (€249,463) in a completed freehold property with a valid title deed (i.e. not off-plan properties).

The following residential visas are available:

  • 3-year renewable visa if the property investment is AED 1,000,000 or more
  • 5-year renewable visa if the property investment is AED 5,000,000 or more
  • 5-year renewable visa for ‘retirees’ over 55 years if the property investment is AED 2,000,000 or more

The process of buying a property in this popular city is relatively straightforward, particularly compared to other Middle Eastern locations. The foreign buyer must simply hold a valid passport - a resident visa is not required. Non-native buyers could use OfferPal’s international search engine to find their dream property. They could also work with local real estate agents or communicate directly with a developer to find the right property and complete any necessary formalities.

Find your dream Dubai property with OfferPal

Say goodbye to spending hours trawling through countless real estate sites to find the property that works for you. OfferPal is an international search engine that works with leading real estate agencies and property developers around the world to help you secure your dream property abroad. We have hundreds of Dubai properties for you to look through, as well as a number of properties in locations such as Spain, Cyprus, Indonesia, the Philippines, Costa Rica and more. Find your dream property by visiting OfferPal now.

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