What Foreigners Should Know About Dubai Real Estate Ownership

  • January 11, 2019

Does it stump you to understand the terms of real estate in UAE while trying to acquire a property in Dubai?

Foreign investors looking to earn more money by investing in offshore, growing cities look at Dubai as a lucrative property hub as the city buzzes with commercial transactions from across the world. Since real estate is such a speculative market, investors get cautious when laws are not explicitly written for their understanding. Dubai Land Department has simplified it by explaining the process clearly in its electronic documents available on their website.

Residents in Dubai generally have a fair idea on how to go about buying or renting property in Dubai. As for foreign nationals, they are permitted to own freehold title to real estate in specific areas designated for foreign ownership (“Designated Areas”). Freehold ownership is absolute and unrestricted by time and extends to the land and all buildings thereon. Foreign nationals are also permitted to acquire all types of real estate interests within the Designated Areas, including musataha, usufruct, and long-term leases up to 99 years.

What are Musataha and Usufruct rights?

The Musataha right and the Usufruct right are both property rights conferred by the Civil Code.

A Musataha right owner can build, own and use that building during the term of the Musataha. The maximum term for a Musataha agreement is fifty years in Dubai

The term of a Usufruct right is up to 99 years in Dubai. Usufruct right is a property right in favor of the usufructuary to use property of another and to utilize it as one’s own. However the property needs to be returned in its original condition after termination of the Usufruct right. The Usufruct right gives the usufructuary the right to use the property without the right to build.

Designated Areas for Foreign Ownership

The Designated Areas for foreign ownership of real estate are determined by the Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai by way decrees and regulations issued from time to time (“Designated Areas”). Below is a list of the most important Designated Areas:

• The Palm JumeirahThe World IslandsDowntown Dubai • Old Town • Burj Khalifa • Business BayDubai MarinaEmirates Hills • Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) • Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) • Discovery Gardens • Arabian RanchesMirdif (specified plots) • Dubai Investment Park (DIP) • Falcon CityDubai Sports CityDubai Motor CityInternational CityJumeirah Islands & Jumeirah Village

So, if you are looking for information on neighborhoods, property prices, insights and trends about Dubai real estate market, look no further. This is a one-stop shop for all your property needs.