Freehold Zones in Dubai

With the opening of Dubai’s real estate market to foreign investments, the emirate’s attractiveness sharply increased among investors from other countries. Previously, there were strict rules for foreigners owning property, but now they have the opportunity to freely buy, sell, and rent out housing in freehold zones. There are dozens of such zones in Dubai, making it quite possible to find a profitable object for investment with high returns.

What is a freehold zone in Dubai?

A freehold zone or freehold area is an area in Dubai where foreign citizens can legally purchase residential or commercial property with the right to full private ownership. If a property is bought in such an area, the owner can dispose of it at their discretion: sell, rent out short-term or long-term, renovate, bequeath, etc.

Purchasing property with full private ownership rights in a freehold zone is available to citizens of any country: there are no citizenship restrictions. This format is highly popular among expats and foreign investors.

Advantages of purchasing property in a freehold zone:

  • The property remains in the owner’s possession without time restrictions until they decide to sell, gift, or bequeath it.
  • Owners of property purchased in a freehold zone can conduct any transactions with it (sell, rent out).
  • Acquiring a property in a freehold zone worth more than 750,000 AED grants the right to a 3-year resident visa, more than 2,000,000 AED grants a 10-year term.
  • Freehold zones are Dubai’s best areas with developed infrastructure, a wide selection of objects, and luxurious living conditions.

It’s important to distinguish between a freehold area and a freezone area. If a freehold zone is an area of free property ownership, then a freezone is a free economic zone offering tax benefits and easy business establishment.

Today, Dubai has more than 70 real estate freehold zones, and their number continues to grow. In some areas, you can purchase only apartments, in others only villas, but there are also parts of the emirate where different types of property are available for acquisition by foreign investors.

Best freehold zones in Dubai for purchasing property

Let’s consider the most popular freehold zones with high profitability for real estate in Dubai. Since the choice is really large, we will focus on the most famous areas.

Arabian Ranches

This area will interest those who would like to purchase a villa. In the green family suburb, a wide selection of townhouses and spacious villas, designed in Arab or Mediterranean style, are offered.

The area includes parks, a golf club, an equestrian club, tennis courts, prestigious schools, and clinics. This part of Dubai has well-established transportation: you can reach the center in just 20 minutes. It will appeal to those who choose a calm and measured lifestyle.

In Arabian Ranches, you can buy a villa starting from 1,500,000 AED. The average price for a 3-bedroom house is about 4 million dirhams. The ROI is quite high, at 6.5% annually.

Bluewaters Island

If you are more interested in fashionable apartments on the waterfront or luxurious townhouses, consider the freehold zone of Bluewaters Island. This area is known, among other things, for housing the world’s largest observation wheel – Ain Dubai. It is also chosen for its vibrant lifestyle, first-class amenities, and services.

In the Bluewaters Island area, you can find luxurious apartments with 1–4 bedrooms. The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment is 3.6 million dirhams.

Business Bay

The Business Bay area is a multifunctional community located next to the central part of Dubai. This freehold zone is especially popular among investors as it offers luxurious apartments in the emirate’s famous towers. The area hosts offices of international companies, fashionable hotels, banks, and other infrastructure.

In the high-rise buildings, you can buy studios, 1–3 bedroom apartments, luxurious 4–5 bedroom apartments, and penthouses. Business Bay also has podium villas. The average cost of a studio is about 1 million dirhams, the average price for 2-bedroom apartments is 2.6 million dirhams. The return on investment for studios in this freehold zone is 6.7%.

Damac Hills

Damac Hills is a rapidly developing prestigious mixed-use area where you can find apartments, townhouses, and villas. The community features an 18-hole golf course, spas, sports and wellness centers, shops, entertainment venues.

In Damac Hills, you can relatively cheaply buy a studio – starting from 330,000 AED. The average cost of 2-bedroom apartments is 1.6 million dirhams. A 4-bedroom villa is sold on average for about 4,000,000 AED. The ROI for studios, one-bedroom apartments, and two-bedroom villas is 6.1% annually.

Damac Lagoons

Damac Lagoons is another popular freehold zone that attracts investors with its abundance of greenery, clean beaches, and picturesque artificial lagoons. In the area, you can find both luxurious apartments and spacious comfortable villas with 3–6 bedrooms.

The Damac Lagoons community is divided into eight quarters, styled after different cities: Venice, Nice, Santorini, Malta, etc. The territory includes a large shopping center, clinics, restaurants, a museum, and entertainment.

You can buy a 3-bedroom villa in Damac Lagoons for 1.5 million dirhams. A four-bedroom will cost about 2.1 million AED. As the community is still under development, the return on investment is not yet accurate but may be around 6% annually.

Downtown Dubai

Another best area in Dubai for investors is, of course, Downtown Dubai. It is the central district of the emirate, home to numerous attractions: the legendary Burj Khalifa skyscraper, the dancing fountains, Dubai Opera, the largest shopping complex Dubai Mall, and more.

Downtown Dubai offers a wide selection of luxurious apartments in high-rise buildings. You can buy a studio in one of the towers in the area for an average of 1.3 million dirhams. The average cost of 2-bedroom apartments is 3.6 million AED. This freehold zone is hugely popular with investors, as there is a year-round queue of renters. Renting out studios for long-term leases yields approximately 6% annually. Short-term rental of apartments brings even greater returns – up to 11–13% per year.

Dubai Marina

This is one of Dubai’s most in-demand communities for living in apartments. It has everything needed for a comfortable and luxurious life: impressive high-rise buildings on the waterfront, shopping centers, spas, restaurants, entertainment. Among the advantages of the area are also white sandy beaches and a marina for yachts.

Investment opportunities include studios, apartments, penthouses, and podium villas. The average cost of a studio in Dubai Marina is 1.1 million dirhams. Prices for 1–2 bedroom apartments start from 1.6 million and 2.6 million dirhams respectively, and villas start from 3 million AED. The return on investment for studios is calculated at 6.4% annually, for larger villas at 9.6% per year.

Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)

The JBR district is located on the first line of Jumeirah Beach. Those living here can enjoy direct access to the sandy beach and a beautiful view of the Persian Gulf. The community is also famous for its rich infrastructure: within walking distance, there are shops, restaurants, cafes, entertainment, and sports facilities. Festivals, exhibitions, and other cultural events are often held here.

In this area, you can buy stylish and spacious residential property in skyscrapers. Investors have a choice of studios, 1–4 bedroom apartments, penthouses, duplexes, apartments with terraces, and gardens. The cost of studios and one-bedroom apartments is about 2.9 million dirhams. You can buy 3-bedroom apartments for approximately 4.8 million AED.

Mohammed Bin Rashid City (MBR City)

A huge park, the world’s largest artificial lagoon, a wide selection of residential property at favorable prices – the main advantages of the MBR City area. The community is suitable for family living with children, as it has several prestigious schools. It also hosts a center for equestrian sports.

In Mohammed Bin Rashid City, elite residences are presented: apartments, townhouses, villas, mansions with large plots. The average cost of 3-bedroom apartments is 4.9 million dirhams, 4-bedroom villas – 9.7 million dirhams. The most affordable studios, for which the return on investment is 5.5% annually.

Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah is one of Dubai’s most prestigious districts with a luxurious lifestyle. This premier community offers several exclusive waterfront projects with breathtaking views of the Persian Gulf and premium amenities. Here are panoramic pools, modern fitness centers, spas, high-cuisine restaurants, world brand boutiques, bars, and nightclubs.

In Palm Jumeirah, you can buy apartments and luxurious villas. A small studio on the artificial island will cost a minimum of 800,000 AED. For a 3-bedroom villa, you will have to pay significantly more – on average 8.5 million dirhams. The return on investment is about 5.6% annually.

The list of districts in Dubai where foreigners can buy property is constantly expanding. Developers regularly offer new interesting objects in freehold zones, which cannot but please potential investors. Finding a “personal” villa or apartment option in the emirate that will bring good returns is possible at any moment.