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The real estate market in Dubai is rich with opportunities and buzzing with activity. Our guide explains the details of buying property in Dubai as a Canadian to help you take advantage.
Over the years, Dubai has risen from a desert backwater to dazzling heights of development with its seven-star hotels, stunning skyscrapers, luxury shopping malls, and glitz and glamour lifestyle.
The modern city of gold is home to record-breaking attractions and man-made wonders, such as the world’s tallest building (Burj Khalifa) and the world’s largest shopping mall (the Dubai Mall). This explains why Dubai has become one of the world’s most attractive destinations, where ex-pats outnumber the local population.
If you’re a Canadian with an eye on Dubai’s property market, there are many overseas buyers like you from all over the world who are riding the wave behind Dubai’s property boom¹. Fortunately, the city is a real estate paradise that offers a wide choice of properties, so there are many available options to go around. Here’s what you need to know to maximize your investment.
Yes, Canadians can buy property in the Emirate of Dubai. The government of Dubai opened the real estate market to expatriates in 2022, and many ex-pats and overseas buyers have been investing in the city ever since.
As a Canadian, you can buy freehold property in authorized areas without special regulations or permissions. You’ll own the property outright, including the land, it’s built on and can use it for any purpose within local regulations. Another alternative is leasehold property ownership, where your property rights expire after a set period, as governed by Law No 7² of 2006 on real estate registration.
Is it worth buying property in Dubai as a Canadian? Let’s look at the perks of investing in Dubai properties to help you make an informed decision.
Easy buying process. Buying property in Dubai as a Canadian is simple, and property transactions can be completed relatively quickly. You don’t need a resident visa to own property.
Tax benefits. Dubai is a low-tax hub where individuals are not subject to tax on their real estate income. In addition, the Emirate does not impose capital gains or estate tax.
Visa Provision. The Government of Dubai offers investor visas³ and allows you to sponsor your spouse and children. The residency visa is renewable after a set period, depending on the investment amount. For example, at the time of writing, a property valued at AED 750,000 minimum gets you a 2-year visa, while an investment of AED 2,000,000 or more gets you a 10-year Golden Visa.
High investment potential. The future of Dubai real estate looks very bright. Dubai is politically stable and has a robust economy. It’s widely regarded as one of the best places to visit and live, with its melting pot of cultures and warm weather throughout the year. The city offers affordable properties, high rental yields, and great value for your money.
Dubai’s property listings include apartments, villas, townhouses, condominiums, luxury housing, and a broad range of communities and developers to spoil people for choice.
With so many options, you can choose a property that suits your budget and requirements, whether you want to move to Dubai or invest in a high-return, high-income property. Your property options as a foreigner in Dubai typically fall into three “types.”
Freehold properties. Freehold properties are the most desirable option. They offer full ownership, and the property can be sold, rented, or inherited without the state’s consent.
Commonhold properties. Commonhold properties are units within a large building with communal areas and services. They offer the same rights as freehold properties but are usually managed by a property developer who charges service fees.
Usufruct properties. Usufruct properties involve a long-term lease arrangement for as long as 99 years. You can use and benefit from the property, but ownership belongs to another person.
When it comes to location, you can buy property in any of the special freehold areas designated by the government. Popular locations include:
Dubai Marina. This man-made marina neighborhood is a community favorite that runs along a 3.5 km strip of shoreline. It’s a popular place to buy luxury apartments with magnificent views, residential skyscrapers, and the Dubai Marina Mall.
Palm Jumeirah. This artificial island stretches out in the Arabian Gulf in the form of a palm tree when viewed from above, hence the name. It features a beautiful beachfront, luxury properties, and cosmopolitan five-star hotels and resorts, including the famous Atlantis Hotel.
Arabian Ranches. This suburban neighborhood and gated community are filled with upscale villas and townhouses. It’s a serene sanctuary with world-class amenities and features, including retail outlets, parks, and healthcare facilities.
Downtown Dubai. Downtown Dubai is notable as the home of the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, the tallest building and largest mall in the world, respectively. It’s a tourism hub and is considered the heart of Dubai. You can find a range of properties in this area, such as apartments, duplexes, and luxury penthouses.
Business Bay. Business Bay is a cosmopolitan financial district with commercial, residential, and retail properties for sale. One of the main attractions is Dubai Water Canal, which extends from the historic Dubai Creek.
According to Statista⁴, average residential prices in Dubai ranged from United Arab Emirates Dirhams 894 (AED) to 1,223 AED per square foot between 2020 and 2022. Looking at listings from popular approved developers such as DAMAC, Nakheel, and Emar, properties in the more expensive areas can cost millions of AED, requiring a sizeable deposit or down payment.
The good news is the cost is often spread out since most property developers offer payment plans with flexible installments. In addition, you can get a mortgage in Dubai as a foreigner. The important thing is to budget properly, especially for the less obvious or smaller expenses, which can quickly add up. Incidental costs include Dubai Land Department fees, mortgage registration fees, administrative fees, ongoing service charges, and maintenance fees.
The exact cost of buying a property from Dubai depends on your circumstances, but there’s no doubt large amounts of money will be involved. After all, they say buying property is one of the biggest investments anyone can make.
These are some essential “to-do’s” before you can secure your ideal property in Dubai.
With so many lucrative options, you need to research the property market thoroughly to make a final decision. Even if you’re still in Canada, you can search online to learn more about major approved property developers and their latest projects. You can also research the steps to go through and the required paperwork or look at financial investment trends in the property market.
Once you’ve found a fully licensed and reputable real estate agent, they can help you find a property best suited for your needs. Whether you’re buying for investment purposes or personal use, it’s essential to consider factors such as size, market conditions, and availability of facilities and amenities.
You’ll need to complete several legal steps, so getting a local lawyer on board is advisable. The seller and the buyer (you) must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or Sale Agreement, and you’ll need to pay a deposit as proof of commitment.
Once you settle all outstanding fees, you’ll receive a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the developer. Then both parties can visit the Dubai Land Department to transfer ownership. This buying process concludes with a new title deed issued in your name, officially declaring you the proud owner of a property in Dubai.
If you’re buying property in Dubai from Canada, you’ll need a specialist foreign exchange service like MTFX that offers competitive exchange rates and low, transparent fees. Property purchases are big-ticket investments. So, it's essential to make that investment count by eliminating expensive and unnecessary bank charges and fees.
With MTFX, you can convert currency and transfer large amounts of money abroad to pay your deposit, mortgage payments, or associated expenses. It’s quick, easy, and convenient with your 24/7 secure online account. Plus, you get expert guidance and access to FX tools that help you get the best exchange rates in an unpredictable market.
Whether you’re buying a beachfront villa by the sea or an exquisite apartment in the heart of Dubai, you can open an account in less than five minutes, book a great CAD-AED exchange rate, and we’ll do the rest.
Yes. You can buy property in Dubai as a foreigner in several freehold areas, such as Dubai Marina, Dubailand, Jumeirah Lake Towers, and DAMAC Hills.
You can get a residency visa if you’re a non-GCC national, but the process is not automatic. First, you must invest the minimum required amount in a freehold property, then follow the prescribed visa application route.
Dubai offers a high standard of living, great infrastructure, tax benefits, high rental yields, breathtaking attractions, and more. These benefits make buying property in Dubai a good investment.
With MTFX, you can make large-sum international money transfers to Dubai quickly and easily. It takes less than five minutes to sign up for a 24/7 secure online that gives you access to competitive exchange rates, low transfer fees, and personalized support.
Buying property in Dubai comes with a variety of risks that buyers should be aware of. These risks include investing in the wrong property, purchasing in an area with low investment value, the potential for fraudulent activity, market instability, currency exchange risks, and navigating complex legal issues. It is essential to do thorough research and seek expert advice to avoid these risks and make an informed property investment decision in Dubai.
Open an account today with MTFX to enjoy quick and easy transfers from Canada to Dubai for your property purchase.
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