Non resident’s guide to buying a property in the UAE

If you’re a non resident looking to buy property in the UAE, this guide will tell you all you need to know before you start your search.

Thousands of non residents from all over the world buy apartments and villas in the UAE every year. Some looking for world leading tax free rental yields which can reach 10% on small apartments, some seeking lifestyle investments and others seeking tax free capital gains.

While the UAE market has seen some ups and downs it is by far the most regulated and transparent real estate market in the region. Recent changes in UAE regulation have further opened up UAE properties to overseas buyers and made the UAE real estate market an even more attractive prospect.

Where can non residents buy property in the UAE?


If you are a foreign national not currently living in the UAE, Dubai Law states that you can buy:

  • A leasehold property
  • A freehold property in one of the 23 freehold areas, including Al Barsha South, Emirates Hills, Jebel Ali, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali.

Abu Dhabi

Non-GCC nationals (people not from the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) are able to buy leasehold and freehold property in designated investment zones in Abu Dhabi, which include Yas Island, Reem Island, Saadiyat Island, Raha Beach, Al Reef Village, and more.

The Northern Emirates

Non residents can now make freehold and leasehold purchases in Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, Ajman and Umm al Quwain. Most of the available property tends to be on a leasehold basis.

Can non-UAE residents get a mortgage to purchase property in the UAE?

Non-UAE residents can get a mortgage from lenders operating in the UAE; however, there are some restrictions. The UAE Mortgage Cap law requires non-UAE nationals to have a cash down payment of at least 25%* of the property value (20% for UAE nationals) plus associated purchase costs. This goes up to 35% (30% UAE nationals) plus costs for properties above AED 5 million. And if you’re buying a second or third property, as an investment for example, you’ll need at least 40% of the property value to cover your down payment.

Down payment requirements for non-UAE nationals (expats and non residents)

Purchase type Purchase price Maximum loan-to-value ratio (LTV) Minimum down payment
First property Under AED 5 million 75%* 25%
First property Over AED 5 million 65% 35%
Second, third+ property Any price 60%  40%
Off plan / under construction Any price 50% 50%

*subject to bank approval

Looking for a mortgage? We can help.

Our brokers will give you an independent and personalised mortgage recommendation to ensure you get the best product.

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