Your Best Value in Dubai
Dubai – Buyers guide and purchase costs
Prior to 2002, it was impossible for foreigners to own property in Dubai. Then, a Royal Decree in 2002, made foreign nationals eligible to own property. Since then, Dubai has enjoyed a construction boom. New developments, many of them extremely luxurious and featuring the latest in technology, are being constructed, particularly in areas popular with expatriates..
Stages involved in buying a home in Dubai
Until 2002, ownership of property in Dubai was restricted by law to citizens of the UAE and other nationals of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council. Even when this law was reversed, there was, until recently, no federal law that recognised freehold tenure, which meant that the value of Dubai freeholds rested in essence on the country’s international trading credentials and good name rather than on enforceable law.
Foreigners who bought property in Dubai received a deed from the major development companies, which are, effectively, owned and controlled by Dubai’s government and, ultimately, its ruler. Although this state of affairs had little or no significant effect on the burgeoning property market, it was not entirely satisfactory.
New freehold laws
In March 2006, the Dubai government passed a long-awaited law allowing foreign freehold ownership of property in the emirate, but only in areas designated by the ruler. Owners are permitted to derive benefit from and to let their properties. It is generally understood that the freehold as set out under this law is a freehold in the international sense, whereby owners are deemed to have absolute rights in their property.
Some developers are still selling leasehold rather than freehold titles, in which case the title is valid for the period stipulated in the lease agreement.
The purchase process
Due to the fact that the international property market in Dubai is still in its infancy, there is as yet no formally established purchase process. The only piece of paperwork required is a straightforward property sales agreement between the buying and selling parties. Before signing any document, it is advisable to consult a local lawyer or one familiar with Dubai, since, once signed, the document becomes legally binding.
In the majority of cases, those buying freehold property in Dubai do not incur survey fees. Stamp Duty does not exist when purchasing property in Dubai. The only significant property cost, therefore, is a 1.5 per cent land registry fee, payable on completion.
Because of the absence of a structured purchase process, it is essential to tread warily and deal only with reputable developers and agents. Of course, using a local lawyer that is experienced in the property market and contracts will be important and recommended.
Financing your purchase
When working out how to finance your purchase, there are a number of options.
It may be possible to remortgage your home in the UK or elsewhere. Europa Mortgages can help you with a UK remortgage or equity release. However, this may only be feasible for those who own their first home outright or who have a significant amount of available equity.
Another option is to arrange a mortgage with a local bank in Dubai. To send a mortgage enquiry to Europa Mortgages, click here.
Dubai's oil revenues make it unnecessary for the government to raise income through direct taxation. As a result, taxes are almost non-existent, and Dubai is categorised a ‘no tax’ emirate. There are no withholding or capital taxes.
Accordingly, Dubai does not levy tax on income, including that derived from letting property owned there, nor does it charge Capital Gains Tax. Goods are purchased free of tax, which is part of the city’s attraction for shoppers from all over the world. There are no property taxes in Dubai at present.
In recent years, there has been talk of introducing sales, property and other taxes, but this appears unlikely to happen for the foreseeable future.
Anyone wishing to work, open a bank account or rent accommodation must hold a residence visa. There are two types, one available to those employed in Dubai by a company, the other granted to family members of those so employed.
Dubai is less dependent on oil than the other UAE states. Because its reserves are predicted to run out within the next few years, it has consciously sought to diversify, a policy that has been outstandingly successful.
Oil revenues have been reinvested to create a modern infrastructure and amenities. Dubai has built its current wealth mainly on its role as an international focus for commercial and industrial development, investment and tourism, and has become a regional centre for international corporate headquarters and computer and media companies. Fifteen free trade zones are being developed, including the world’s first e-business free zone. A free trade zone is an area within a country where import duties and taxes are abolished, quotas reduced or eliminated and red tape significantly decreased, to encourage foreign organisations to do business there.
Dubai also has a tradition of undertaking vast development projects, which have included the construction of the world’s tallest hotel.
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