Of all the emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai was the first to involve itself with freehold properties. Dubai made this bold move when only UAE and GCC nationals were the only people who were allowed to own property anywhere in the UAE. Thanks for recent legislative changes and the new economic thinking of the government, purchasing and owning Dubai freehold properties is becoming easier by the day.
In the year 2001, the Dubai government decided that it would allow expiates to get a 99 year lease of Dubai freehold properties. In 2002, the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoom, the crown prince of Dubai, decreed that foreign nationals be permitted to buy property on freehold ownership. This decree has resulted in a real estate boom in the UAE and Dubai freehold properties are one of the most sought after by investors in property.
When you purchase Dubai freehold properties, what happens is that the original owner of that property puts it in your name for life. You then have the legal right to sell, lease, or rent this property as your own discretion. This was not possible for non-UAE citizens before 2002 when property was always leased and never sold. All properties owners and their immediate families will be provided with renewable Dubai resident visas for life. These visas typically cost Dhs 5,000 per person.
Dubai freehold properties are currently limited to certain area of the city known as Bur Dubai. It is the end of Dubai where it connects with Abu Dhabi. These areas include Sheikh Zayed Road, Jumeirah, Jebel Ali, and Dubai land.
One of the biggest real estate companies in Dubai is Emaar Properties. It was one of the first companies to be started as a public company, back in 1997. Emaar Properties was the first real estate developer to get in Dubai freehold properties.