Real Estate Ownership in the UAE
With having one of the most regulated and transparent markets in the region, the UAE has always been a popular market around the globe. You can benefit from its tax-free rental yields, healthy capital gains. The UAE's real estate market presents many opportunities for those willing to invest in the market.
If you are willing to buy a property in the UAE as an ex-pat, you should note that rules differ for ex-pats. For a long time, the ex-pats were not allowed to buy a property in the UAE. The first emirate to change this situation was Dubai. Soon after that, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Sharjah, and Ras Al Khaimah followed Dubai's change. However, property ownership in the UAE for ex-pats gets divided into two categories; freehold and leasehold.
Leasehold Property Ownership
Buying a leasehold property allows you to keep the property for 99 years or less, depending on the period written on the leasehold contract. This type of ownership permits you the right to buy the property but not the land that it's built on.
Freehold Property Ownership
This type of ownership allows you to purchase both the property and the land it's built on. Ex-pats are also allowed this kind of ownership. However, ex-pats are only allowed to buy a freehold property in designated areas.
The UAE is well known for its tax system, which is expat-friendly. Even though the United Arab Emirates does not charge taxes on the property you buy, you may need to consider the tax obligations in your home country. Keep in mind that you may need to consult the tax agents in your country before purchasing a property in the UAE and get a better idea of the tax obligations on foreign property purchases.
There are visas available for purchasing properties. The minimum investment for a 5-year resident visa is AED 5M. However, the property must have a gross worth of at least AED 5 million, and it must have been retained for the last three years, and the invested amount must not be in the form of a loan.
Ex-pats can get a mortgage from lenders in the UAE, but conditions may differ. Expat investors should anticipate paying a minimum down payment of 20% to 25% of the mortgage value, in addition to associated charges.