Where can foreigners own property in Dubai?


A common question is asked on whether expats can buy or rent property in Dubai. The answer is yes. Previously, there were no laws stipulating foreign ownership of local property but in 2001, things changed, allowing Dubai expats to sell, buy and lease or rent property in designated freehold zones.

The Freehold Decree - formal legislation - has now put Dubai on the map as a global hotspot, giving expats two options when it comes to real estate ownership - freehold and leasehold property ownership.

From ready to off plan properties in Dubai, here are the top freehold areas expats or foreigners can buy across the city:

  1. Arabian Ranches

The premium gated development is arguably one of the most popular areas in Dubai. Arabian Ranches by Emaar features luxury homes and a championship golf course set in a serene landscape.

There are three projects - Arabian Ranches 1, Arabian Ranches 2 and Arabian Ranches 3 - within the coveted community.

Flanked by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, the residential community is also a short distance to Burj Khalifa and Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, making it the perfect base to explore the entire city.

  1. Bluewaters Island

It is the ultimate, world-class lifestyle in a ground-breaking landmark. Home to the world’s largest ferris wheel, Bluewaters Island is the city’s new family-oriented island destination that mixes urban city life with luxury waterfront living.

With exclusive selection of premium freehold apartments, penthouses, and townhouses at Bluewaters residences, residences can wake up to unobstructed views of Dubai’s breathtaking skyline and Palm Jumeirah, and can explore 64 retail, dining and entertainment outlets and more.

  1. Business Bay

Business Bay is also another popular area in Dubai to buy apartments and is also a major business and trading hub for local and international corporations.

It’s an ideal location for business and offers an urban lifestyle due to its close proximity to Downtown Dubai, Burj Khalifa and various nearby lifestyle amenities.

  1. City Walk

Popular among locals and visitors, City Walk, the urban shopping, entertainment and dining destination by Meraas.

To experience the tranquility of true park living, it’s new off plan project Central Park is one to keep an eye on. It’s offers 1 to 4 bedroom apartments that are sleek, contemporary and spacious. With the much-needed amenities comes connectivity by a well-established road network, proving it’s the place to settle.

  1. Dubai Creek Harbour

Another freehold area where expats can settle in is in the premium, all-inclusive waterfront community. Emaar’s Dubai Creek Harbour. You can now live in a destination that is set to define the future of living and further enrich Dubai. It will be home to the iconic Dubai Creek Tower.

Also, everything is within reach in Dubai and will have easy access to the city’s greater districts and attractions. It’s only a 10 minutes drive away from Downtown Dubai and Dubai International Airport, residents and visitors alike.


  1. Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina is no doubt a go-to residential destination for expats and locals and is perfect for those wanting to live near the water but still prefer the city life.

It features breathtaking waterfront development and residents can choose from a wide range of entertainment and leisure activities in the area.

The vibrant district is one of the largest freehold areas and is in close proximity to Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai Marina Mall and more.


Other areas such as Downtown Dubai, Dubai Hills Estate, Emaar South and Dubailand are where places can be owned by Dubai expats or foreigners.

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