Buying Property in Dubai
Overseas investors have been permitted to purchase property in Dubai from nominated residential developments since 2002. A number of real estate projects are already available and others are on track.
Linked to the USD, living costs are reasonably high for the region but compared to Western Europe. The infrastructure is superb with excellent amenities.
Dubai has experienced remarkable economic growth in the past two decades. Investment by foreign companies has been encouraged by a free trade zone philosophy and the creation of flexible industry specific operational centers such as the Internet and Media Cities. Dubai’s GDP on average increases by 7-8% a year.
There is no income or property related taxes although there are fees for residence visa renewal of US $1,360 every 3 years which does not permit the holder work. The property ownership legislation is still underway.
POPULAR AREAS TO BUY INTO
The projects in vogue are The Springs, The Greens, Dubai marina project, Emirates Hills , Meadows and Arabian ranches. Two main made islands, the palm will become the ultimate luxury address.
Apartment sales exceeded 1,500 in 2002. Dubai property cost s approximately US$ 1.000 per square meter as compared with London, UK at US $ 5,000 per square meter. Price ranges vary on a project to project basis.
Overseas investors may purchase property freehold on specific developments as well as on a 99 year leasehold basis.
There are no taxes. The contract is signed followed by a down payment of 10%, and usually two further payments of 10% to an agreed timetable.
Mortgages are becoming more freely available on a 10 to 15 years basis and interest rates are linked to those in the US. Currents quotes are 6.5 %. Current local mortgage providers are Amlak, Dubai Islamic Bank, Rak Bank, Mashreq Bank, HCBS and Tamweel.
TIPS FOR BUYING PROPERTY IN DUBAI
KNOW YOUR MARKET
The property market like any other market is driven and underpinned by the realities of supply and demand. The residential property market in Dubai is not exempt from these realities and “indeed” , why Dubai is so successful in all sorts of different areas, is that fully understands and exploits the supply /demand dynamic.
Applying this equation in the context of Dubai’s real estate scenario is a must . As long the number of residential developments, which sell property to expatriates, is kept reasonably low (so as not to outstrip demand), the market will tend to put upward pressure on property prices, thereby promoting capital growth.
RISK VS REWARD
In essence, it is the case that the greater the risk in a venture, usually the greater the reward. The UK property market is well established and the expatriate purchases are familiar with the property laws and procedures. Dubai’s property market is still young and for an expatriate, buying property in Dubai may reasonably be described by some as a medium risk. According to many, the rewards that ownership in Dubai promises to bring far outweigh the real risks involved. The requires a personal balancing and evaluation process, and a prospective purchaser’s own risk profile plays a large part in that process.
Before deciding to buy property in Dubai, deliberate on the following imperative points:
- Can you afford it more importantly are you prepared for the property to go down in value as well as up? Property is just like any other investment and can fluctuate according to overall market. How long you are going to hold the property will determine whether you can be sure it will make money or not.
- Can you afford it if the interest payments change? Lenders can alter the interest rate or the term potentially and this could have an impact on your monthly payments. Although interest rates are at a 40-year low internationally, be aware that they can arise. Check if you can pay off the loan early and if there are any penalties in doing so. Can you change lenders at a later stage? What currency do you require?
- Can you afford the transaction costs? Typically local lenders are charging 1% of the loan amount as a processing fee, not to mention the insurance element and booking costs too. Have you budgeted for legal, protection any other conveyance type cost? Shop around and you may find more competitive fees.
- What is the ongoing maintenance cost of your property and the communal areas-are they due to rise? If so by what amount? Who controls the rise in the maintenance fees- the developer or the residents? How much is your car parking/marina berth.
- Do you need to purchase through an offshore company or Trust? In the absence of a property law in Dubai, the Sharia Principles apply. In the event of the demise of the husband, the property may bypass the wife as the new legal owner. Also can you sell the property without restrictions? Similarly you may wish to mitigate your death tax exposure by using some form of offshore structure. Buying property in Dubai may not avoid death taxes from your home country unless correctly structured.
- Have you sought professional help with protecting the property should a serious event occur? Life Cover, Income Protection, Critical Illness Cover, Permanent and Total Disability in their various forms should be reviewed and budgeted for. Shop around too since some companies will pay your processing costs.
- Does the developer allow you to sell the property when you like to whomever you like? Perhaps you cannot sell until the project is complete which will preclude any profit taking if you are looking to flip your property back into the selling market rapidly.
- What guarantees does the developer offer with regards to the quality of finish, settlement cracks and utility integrity?
One must seek the professional services of a reputed realtor, take guidance from a lawyer if required and finally secure sound financial advice from an independent source so the various pitfalls to buying property and financings are discussed in full.