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Chapter Eleven: Rent vs Buy in Dubai


When expats are weighing up their options regarding whether to rent or buy when they arrive in Dubai, there are always a lot of factors to take into consideration. Should I rent or should I buy?

In an attractive, modern city like Dubai in the UAE, the question needs to be carefully considered because the outcome of any decision will have personal economic impact.

Perhaps in the short term, if you are not going to be in Dubai for more than a couple of years, you would no doubt decide that renting will prove more sensible. For expatriates living in Dubai, rent will equate to your greatest living expense. However, renting has the advantages of less financial risk and the freedom to be more mobile, and this flexibility can be an important factor. There are no ongoing overheads to worry about, like the cost of repairs and maintenance, and in Dubai the service charges are met by the landlord not the tenant.

However, if you are renting for a few years, that could have easily added up to funds you could have invested to secure your own home or apartment. This option could prove a good financial move in the long term when you reap the benefits of capital growth. Furthermore, you do not have to live in the property yourself, or even remain living in Dubai at all, because with a good real estate property manager you could let the property to tenants when you leave the country.

Dubai represents excellent real estate investment opportunities, delivering some of the best rental yields in the world. When you eventually do sell the property, you should have the added benefit of strong capital growth delivering an impressive profit.

Buying real estate in Dubai offers many attractive advantages for the savvy homeowner or investor:


  • It is tax-free income
  • Low mortgage registration fees
  • High rental returns
  • High capital growth


And yet, is it as simple as that?

Typically, new arrivals will rent while they settle into the city and get a feel for the neighborhoods and what is on offer. Not only that, they would not be eligible to even apply for a housing loan from a UAE bank until they have resided in the country for a minimum of six months. Once settled into life in Dubai, with stable employment and the option to apply for a residency visa through the purchase of real estate, buying real estate in Dubai is a safe and attractive proposition.

The long-term economic benefits, however, do need to be weighed against the considerable upfront commitment of buying property in Dubai. There is the initial down payment required, and all the additional associated purchase costs like fees for NOC, brokerage fees and agent commissions, and government charges and registration fees.

With such high entry costs into the property market, careful consideration is essential to ensure that the risks are worth the benefit of having somewhere to live, or having property to earn rental income. Perhaps the most compelling argument is the long-term reward of capital appreciation in a modern, progressive city that is set to enjoy further economic growth well into the future.

In essence, in the short term, renting a home in Dubai offers flexibility and freedom from a long-term commitment like a mortgage. But buying your own home in the UAE is a sound investment so long as you have a stable job and intentions of remaining in the country in the long term or renting the property to tenants.

At Turnkey Family Office, we can provide everything you need to move and live in the UAE as an investor (real estate or business owner), or as an employee or Golden Visa holder. Contact us at https://www.turnkeyfo.com/

You can reach out to us through WhatsApp to freely discuss your needs.


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