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Foreign Ownership

The property market in Dubai is still very young and foreign ownership of freehold property was only allowed as of 2006. This means that buyers are able to take advantage of excellent deals.

While it's expected that the residential market will benefit most from the change in the freehold and lease-hold laws, properties such as condo hotels may also see a surge in sales, now that one of the last objections to investing in Dubai property by non-nationals has been eliminated.

The Dubai government announced its intention to change property laws in 2002, which stimulated foreign investment into designated freehold projects developed by three state-owned real estate groups -- Emaar, Nakheel and Dubai properties.

But until this law was passed, non-nationals with ownership stakes in Jumeirah, Jbel Ali, and Dubailand areas had no legal autonomy over their investment. Most sale contracts, however, already stated that freehold titles would be granted as soon as the law was put into practice. Now, foreigners will be given the deeds to their land and can register ownership with the Dubai Lands and Properties Department. They are also able to transfer property ownership directly without having to go through the developer.

Residential real-estate prices which have remained below those in comparable cities are expected to surge once international investors become aware of the freehold ownership law and can feel more secure because they'll be receiving a formal legal deed when making their investments.

Analysts agree that since foreigners with a stake in freehold properties felt secure in their ownership rights even before the new law was put in place, its affects on the commercial real-estate market will be minimal. The new law will likely bolster secondary real-estate markets also such as the mortgage sector. The insecurity of foreign ownership rights was deterring international banks from entering Dubai's mortgage market, which has remained uncompetitive as a result.
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Foreign Ownership is Allowed