Why do foreigners rush off to invest in real estate in Dubai?

Dubai is one of the most sought-after destinations for foreign real estate investors. But why is that? In this article, we'll take a deep dive into the reasons why foreigners are flocking to invest in the Dubai real estate market, as well as the various investment opportunities, benefits, and considerations that come with it. By the end of this article, you'll better understand why Dubai is a great place to invest in real estate and how you can get started.

Investments in Dubai

Foreign direct investments (FDI) in Dubai

Dubai has always been a hub for international trade and commerce, which is reflected in the large amount of foreign direct investment that flows into the emirate. According to data from the Dubai Ministry of Economy  (MOEC), foreign investment in Dubai reached USD 13,787 billion (AED 50,6 billion) in 2019, a year-on-year increase of 32% from USD 10,385 billion (AED 38.1 billion) in 2018. This strong inflow of FDI is a testament to investors’ confidence in Dubai’s economy and business environment.

Investment opportunities in Dubai

Dubai offers a diverse range of investment opportunities for foreign investors. From residential and commercial real estate to stocks, bonds, and even start-ups, there’s something for everyone. The Dubai government has also made it easier for foreign investors to do business in the emirate by simplifying the process of setting up a company and by offering various incentives such as tax exemptions and free zones.

Resident visa for real estate purchase in Dubai

The purchase of finished property worth more than AED 1 million (≈ USD 272,000)  gives the right to obtain a resident visa – a great way to get a residence permit – for a period of six months to three years. An increase in the amount invested may increase the resident visa timespan to 10 years. It is easier and faster to get a two-year residence permit.

The holder of a residence visa gets the following opportunities:

  • to stay in the UAE for a long time;
  • freely enter and leave the country;
  • not to reside in the country permanently;
  • open a bank account and take a loan;
  • obtain the status of a tax resident of the UAE;
  • conduct their own business in the Emirates;
  • work in local companies;
  • send their children to local schools;
  • study at the university;
  • obtain health insurance and health care services;
  • obtain a driver’s license;
  • apply for a Schengen visa and a U.S. visa.

Dubai real estate market

The Dubai real estate market has been steadily upward for the past few years. According to the Dubai Land Department, cited by DXB Interact, the total value of real estate transactions in Dubai exceeded USD 72 billion (AED 265 billion) in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 76.1%. The Dubai real estate market is expected to continue growing, driven by factors such as population growth, tourism, and an expanding economy.

During the previous years, Dubai’s real estate market demonstrated outstanding stability. The metropolis remains highly profitable in terms of getting ROI. When in the largest cities of the world, like New York, London, Singapore, and Hong Kong, rental rates fluctuate in the range of 3-4%, and Dubai offers not less than 6%.

One of the most popular locations for real estate investors in Dubai is along its shoreline. Whether you’re looking for a luxury apartment with ocean views or a private beachfront villa, there are plenty of options available for investors looking to buy property in Dubai by the sea. The city’s coastline is home to some of the most iconic and exclusive developments in the world, such as the Palm Jumeirah and the World Islands, which offer a wide range of properties for sale or rent. These developments feature world-class amenities such as private beaches, swimming pools, and fitness centers, making them a popular choice for both residents and tourists. Despite the high price tags of these properties, the demand for real estate by the sea in Dubai is high as the city continues to grow and attract more visitors each year.

Here is a full breakdown by quarterly transactions and sales values in 2022:

2022Property sale transactionsSales values (billion AED)
Q120,52155,3
Q222,44859,1
Q325,50369,5
Q428,78081,1
Year-round97,252265

Economic benefits of investing in Dubai

Investing in Dubai offers potential financial returns and comes with a host of economic benefits for foreign investors. Dubai’s strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa makes it an ideal base for businesses looking to tap into the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market. The emirate also has a highly developed infrastructure, a skilled workforce, and a stable political environment.

Benefits of buying real estate in Dubai for investors

Purchasing real estate property for permanent living is a wise decision featuring a whole pack of benefits. However, making an apartment or a villa in the UAE your business project may appear even more advantageous. Luxury real estate in the fast-developing metropolis brings the following perks:

  • Unlike many other countries, in the UAE, you will not face sanctions and asset freezing;
  • In Dubai, there is no income tax, and if you rent an apartment, you can get up to 12% per annum;
  • If you buy an apartment for over AED 1 million (≈ USD 272,000), you can get an investor visa for yourself and your family;
  • Investing in apartments for renting out high returns of about 7-10% is guaranteed.

Business expansion in Dubai

Dubai’s economic growth and development make it an ideal destination for companies looking to expand their business. The emirate has a diversified economy, with sectors such as tourism, finance, real estate, and technology contributing to its growth. Additionally, Dubai’s free zones offer a range of benefits for businesses, such as 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and easy access to markets.

Tax advantages in UAE

Investing in Dubai comes with a number of tax advantages. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a territorial tax system, which means that companies are only taxed on their UAE-sourced income. Additionally, there are a number of free zones in Dubai that offer 100% tax exemptions on corporate and personal income.

Here is the list of Dubai’s available free zones in 2023:

  1. Maritime City
  2. Commercity
  3. South
  4. World Trade Centre
  5. Design District
  6. Science Park
  7. International Humanitarian City
  8. Multi Commodities Centre
  9. Outsource City
  10. Silicon Oasis
  11. International Financial Centre
  12. Internet City
  13. Meydan Free Zone
  14. Healthcare City
  15. International Academic City
  16. Production City
  17. Studio City
  18. Media City

Monetary policy and regulations of UAE

The UAE Central Bank sets monetary policy and regulates the banking sector in the country. The central bank aims to maintain price stability and support economic growth, and it does this by controlling interest rates, money supply, and foreign exchange reserves. The UAE also has a well-regulated banking sector, which offers a range of services for foreign investors.

Gaining financial returns from investments in Dubai

Reasons for investing abroad

Investing abroad can offer a number of benefits for investors, including diversification, opportunities for higher returns, and access to new markets. For many foreign investors, Dubai offers a unique combination of these benefits, making it an attractive destination for real estate investment.

Exploring investment opportunities in the Middle East

The Middle East is a region that is often overlooked by foreign investors, but it offers a wealth of investment opportunities. Dubai, in particular, is a gateway to the Middle East, and it offers a stable and business-friendly environment that makes it an ideal destination for foreign investment.

Advantages of investing in emerging markets

Emerging markets like Dubai offer a range of advantages for investors, such as high growth potential, a young population, and untapped markets. These factors make Dubai an attractive destination for foreign real estate investment, as it offers the potential for high returns and long-term growth.

Discovering diversification options for investors

Dubai offers foreign investors a diverse range of investment opportunities, including stocks, bonds, and real estate. This diversity allows investors to diversify their portfolios and spread risk across different asset classes. Additionally, investing in Dubai offers the potential for diversification by currency, as the UAE dirham is pegged to the US dollar.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in Dubai

REITs are a popular investment vehicle for real estate investors, and they are also available in Dubai. REITs offer investors the opportunity to invest in a diversified portfolio of properties and gain exposure to the Dubai real estate market.

Created as the first REIT licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority, this trust’s goal is to provide shareholders with consistent dividends through long-term rental growth and capital appreciation. The trust is supported by seed investors Dubai Islamic Bank, Tecom, and Dubai Properties, and as of January 15, 2023, it holds assets worth approximately USD 734 million in its portfolio.

Dubai’s property market cycles

Like any real estate market, Dubai’s property market goes through cycles of growth and contraction. Understanding these cycles is important for investors, as it allows them to make informed investment decisions and take advantage of market opportunities.

Assessing risks and returns for Dubai real estate investments

Investing in real estate always comes with risks, and it’s important for investors to carefully assess these risks before making a decision. However, with the right research and due diligence, the potential returns from investing in Dubai real estate can outweigh the risks.

Residential real estate investment in Dubai

Types of residential properties in Dubai

Dubai offers a wide range of residential properties for investment, including apartments, villas, and townhouses. These properties are available in a variety of sizes and styles, making it easy for investors to find the right property to suit their needs and budget.

Popular residential communities in Dubai

Dubai is home to many popular residential communities that are popular among investors. These include areas such as Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, and Dubai Hills Estate. These communities offer a wide range of amenities and are strategically located, making them an attractive option for investors.

Renting vs. buying property in Dubai

When it comes to residential property investment in Dubai, investors have the option to either buy or rent a property. Both options have their own advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important for investors to carefully consider these before making a decision.

Residential property market trends in Dubai

The Dubai residential property market has been on an upward trend in recent years, driven by factors such as population growth and an expanding economy. However, it’s important for investors to stay informed of the latest market trends and developments in order to make informed investment decisions.

Getting a mortgage for a property in Dubai

Getting a mortgage can be tricky for foreign investors looking to purchase property in Dubai. However, many financial institutions and banks in Dubai offer mortgages to foreign investors with varying terms and conditions. It’s important for investors to research and compare the different options available and to work with a reputable mortgage broker to navigate the process.

Property management services in Dubai

For foreign investors who purchase property in Dubai, managing that property can be a daunting task. However, there are many property management companies in Dubai that offer a wide range of services, such as rent collection, maintenance, and legal assistance. These services can help investors to ensure their property is well-maintained and that their rental income is maximized.

Commercial real estate investment in Dubai

Types of commercial properties in Dubai

Dubai offers a wide range of commercial properties for investment, including office buildings, retail spaces, and warehouses. These properties are available in a variety of sizes and styles, making it easy for investors to find the right property to suit their needs and budget.

Popular commercial communities in Dubai

Dubai is home to many popular commercial communities that are popular among investors. These include areas such as Dubai Business Bay, Dubai Internet City, and Dubai Media City. These communities offer a wide range of amenities and are strategically located, making them an attractive option for investors.

Dubai Business Bay panorama with skyscrapers and shoreline
Dubai Business Bay – Sergei Gussev @ Flickr

Commercial property market trends in Dubai

The Dubai commercial property market has been on an upward trend in recent years, driven by factors such as population growth and an expanding economy. However, it’s important for investors to stay informed of the latest market trends and developments in order to make informed investment decisions.

Investing in off-plan commercial properties in Dubai

Off-plan commercial properties are a popular option for investors in Dubai, as they offer the potential for high returns and capital appreciation. However, it’s important for investors to be aware of the risks and considerations associated with off-plan properties and to do their due diligence before making a decision.

Building and facility management services in Dubai

Managing that property can be daunting for foreign investors who purchase commercial property in Dubai. However, many building and facility management companies in Dubai offer a wide range of services, such as maintenance, security, and tenant management. These services can help investors ensure their property is well-maintained and their rental income maximized.

Dubai’s economic and political landscape

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum talking about Dubai’s economic agenda “D33”

Dubai’s economic growth and development

Dubai’s economy has been snowballing in recent years, driven by factors such as population growth, tourism, and an expanding economy. The emirate’s strategic location, business-friendly environment, and diversified economy make it an ideal destination for foreign investment.

Dubai’s political stability and security

Dubai is a politically stable and safe emirate, a key factor attracting foreign investors. The emirate has a robust legal system and a safe place to live, work and invest.

Dubai’s legal system and property laws

Dubai’s legal system is based on civil and Islamic law, designed to protect the rights of all parties involved in a legal dispute. Property laws in Dubai are transparent, and they are designed to protect the rights of both buyers and sellers. The Dubai Land Department is responsible for registering and managing all property transactions in the emirate, and they have implemented several measures to ensure that the process is transparent and efficient.

Dubai’s infrastructure and transportation

Makes it easy for residents and visitors to move around the emirate. The emirate has an extensive network of roads, a metro system, and a number of airports and seaports, which makes it easy for businesses to transport goods and for residents to access amenities and services.

Dubai’s tourism industry

It is a major contributor to the emirate’s economy, and it’s expected to continue growing in the coming years. The emirate is home to a number of world-class tourist attractions, including the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall, and the Palm Jumeirah. The government is also investing heavily in the sector, with some new tourist attractions under construction, such as the Dubai Creek Harbour and the Dubai Expo 2020, the latter hosted by the emirate from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.

Dubai Expo 2020 banner
Expo 2022 in Dubai, UAE – Skv282 @ Wikimedia

Dubai’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

The ecosystem is thriving, thanks to the government’s efforts to encourage and support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The emirate has many free zones and incubators that offer a range of services and support to entrepreneurs and start-ups, making it an ideal destination for those looking to launch a new business.

Conclusion:

Dubai is a destination that offers a lot of potential for foreign real estate investors. From the diversity of investment opportunities to the economic benefits to the political stability and security, Dubai is an ideal destination for foreign investors. With the right research, due diligence, and a long-term view, investing in Dubai real estate can be a great way to achieve financial returns and diversify your investment portfolio.

The real estate market in the UAE attracts foreigners with a wide opportunity of choice, affordable prices, convenient location, and high liquidity. The benefits brought by real estate in Dubai are vivid to anyone who has been interested in the sphere of real estate abroad.

Do not delay the investigation of affordable housing units on the market. Developers of the projects under construction are absolutely sure that if not this one, then another buyer will come tomorrow. That’s why the skyscrapers of a thousand units are sold out 80-90% when sales are announced, and in the next few months, the remaining units will be sold out.

As a final note, it’s always important to consult with professionals, such as real estate agents, attorneys, and financial advisors, to ensure you have a clear understanding of the process and the market, and to help you make the best decision for you.

Additionally, it’s also important to take into account the current market conditions and any potential risks or challenges that may arise. With the right approach, foreign investors can take advantage of the many benefits that the Dubai real estate market has to offer and make a smart and profitable investment.