Dubai Property Investment Guide
Table Of Content:
- About Us
- Why Invest In Dubai? (Opportunity)
- Fundamentals Of Dubai
- Popular Iconic Destinations
- Facts and Figures
- Property Supply & Demand
- Is It Safe To Invest In Dubai Property?
- Local Demand Dynamics
- Population (Historic Growth, Forecast)
- Local Nationalities Mix
- Residents Age Profile
- Regeneration Plan
- Largest Employers In The City
- Transport Facilities
- Facts and Figures
- Steps To Buy A Property In Dubai?
Star Sterling is a top-tier real estate and citizenship-by investment advisory firm that was established in 2019 and has offices in both the United Kingdom and Pakistan.
We specialise in uncovering wealth-building possibilities in global real estate for investors all across the world. Our mission is to provide our clients with access to high-quality, income-generating properties in some of the world’s most dynamic real estate markets. With years of experience and a commitment to excellence, we have established a reputation as one of the most trusted and reliable advisers in the industry.
At Star Sterling, we believe that investing in property should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their investment experience or portfolio size. Our team of experts is dedicated to helping our clients navigate the complexities of the property investment market and find the right opportunities to meet their individual needs and goals. Whether you are a first-time investor or a seasoned property professional, we have the knowledge, experience, and resources to help you succeed.
Our investment portfolio features a range of properties in some of the most sought-after locations, including the UK, USA, Dubai, Turkey and Europe. Our developers and properties are carefully selected based on rigorous due diligence, ensuring that they meet our high standards for quality, location, and potential for long-term returns. We are committed to providing our clients with the best possible property investment opportunities and to delivering consistent and reliable returns over the long term.
Dubai Property Investment Guide
Why Invest In Dubai? (Opportunity)
Dubai, one of the world’s most popular tourist and business destinations, offers world-class attractions and an enviable cosmopolitan lifestyle that cannot be found anywhere else. Dubai has been regarded as the city with the best infrastructure and quality of life in the Middle East due to its world-famous skyline and premium Dubai property locations such as Business Bay and Dubai land.
Despite the massive inflow of tourists, it remains one of the world’s safest cities. The city is renowned for attracting the best talent from around the globe and is home to several multinational Fortune 500 firms that have discovered a strategic location where they can access markets in the Middle East, African, and Indian subcontinent regions. [Source1]
Fundamentals of Dubai
Dubai is famous for its flamboyance, for being the location of the world’s highest skyscrapers, for breaking records, and for being one of the best places to live. Dubai’s Biggest Appeal?
What is it about Dubai that makes it equally appealing to vacationers and expats? A major reason is that it is so secure.
Dubai is frequently ranked as one of the world’s most secure cities in terms of social and economic stability. According to a safety assessment of 134 countries prepared by Global Finance magazine, the UAE has been ranked as the second safest nation in the world this year. The index takes into account three main factors: war, personal safety, and natural disaster risk.
As a potential investor, safety is a crucial concept.
The UAE provides a safe environment not only for its citizens and expats, but also for the millions of tourists that visit each year. As an property investment, this should reassure you that Dubai’s population and tourism will continue to increase, bringing the possibility of capital appreciation, good rental returns – especially with vacation rentals as tourism improves each year – and stability. [Source2, Source3]
Popular Iconic Destinations
- Burj Khalifa
- Burj Al Arab
- The Dubai Mall
- Mall of Emirates
- Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
- Dubai Miracle Garden
- Frame Dubai
- Ain Dubai
- Palm Islands
- Museum of the Future
- The Dubai Fountain
Dubai is one of the world’s most affluent economies. With a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $421 billion, the United Arab Emirates is the fourth-largest economy in the Middle East. Dubai accounts for roughly a quarter of the overall GDP, and with lower oil reserves, the city has significantly diversified its economy in recent years.
While oil revenue may have contributed to the city’s quick growth, today less than 5% of Dubai’s revenue comes from oil. The economy is currently fueled by commerce, aviation, financial services, tourism, and real estate development.
Strategically, Dubai is ideally situated for firms operating between Europe, Asia, and Africa due to its central location across the continents. This is one of the many advantages Dubai offers enterprises as a location for a base of operations.
Dubai is the financial hub of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has become a global financial powerhouse, attracting some of the world’s top businesses as a base of operations. In turn, this has attracted top professionals from every country; Dubai has a large ex-pat population that continues to grow each year.
Dubai is home to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), one of the world’s top 10 financial hubs and a major hub in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region. [Source4]
Facts & figures (design) – business, tourism, population, transaction, capital/rental growth
The current population of Dubai: 3.331 million
- Dubai is home to one-third of Fortune’s 500 largest corporations.
- 0% income tax
- Ability to invest with a secure 10-year visa
- There are around 750 hotels in Dubai and in 2022 12.82 million tourists visited the city
- 7/10 of the tallest hotels in the world are in Dubai.
- After London, Paris, and Bangkok, Dubai is the fourth most-visited city in the world.
90,881 real estate transactions recorded in 2022
Rents increasing – average value up 6.9% to 10% [Source5]
Property supply and demand
The supply of properties can be added to determine how many properties will be completed by developers and reach the market for rent or sale. Obviously, the figures could vary if a developer delays a project.
Population dictates the demand for real estate. Put simply, more people require more homes. In the majority of established real estate markets, homebuilders steadily add inventory in response to market demand. HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, turned this spontaneous growth entirely on its head when constructing the city of Dubai.
“If you build it, people will come.”
As a result of this rapid expansion, there was ultimately a period in which the supply of new houses on the market outpaced demand, resulting in an oversupply that led to a price correction during the past five years. [Source6]
Is It safe to invest in Dubai property?
UAE is recognized for its business-friendly regulations. Dubai imposes no annual property tax, income tax, capital gains tax, rental revenue tax, or value-added tax on property investments (VAT). This enables the investor to allocate a much greater portfolio to the purchase of real estate and, as a result, earn higher profits. [Source7]
Local demand dynamics
Population (historic growth, forecast)
Looking back over the past fifty years, Dubai has been the world’s most rapidly expanding city. What was once a little fishing village of 20,000 inhabitants in 1960 has now grown to accommodate millions of people from all over the world.
This rise has been affected by a number of significant regional events. Initially, the discovery of oil in the late 1950s attracted international investment and accelerated substantial economic and infrastructure growth. In the 1980s, the city created the Jebel Ali Port and established itself as a re-export hub for Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Since then, Dubai has been linked with opportunity and innovation, and firms continue to go there in order to expand and enter new markets.
The city’s current population of 3.5 million is more than a third of the overall population of the UAE. And it does not end there.
The city estimates that by the year 2040, Dubai would have a population of 5.8 million, nearly doubling its current population. [Source8]
Local nationalities mix
About 67% of the expat community and 71% of the total population of the emirate are of South Asian origin. About 25 percent of the population is of Iranian background. Approximately 8% of Dubai’s entire population is classified as “Western.” The emirate has a median age of approximately 27 years.
Residents age profile
Age Group (yrs)
65 and older
Sheikh Mohammed unveiled the revised Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan with the tagline “Sustainability” at the beginning of 2021. The Hatta Master Development Plan, which provides for the development of the Hatta tourism area, is a component of this plan. Learn here what Dubai will look like in 2040 and the sheikh’s plans.
The Dubai 2040 vision outlines a detailed plan for the city’s sustainable urban growth. This design emphasises the utilisation of available space and the concentration of development in existing metropolitan centres. It will also expand the land area for commercial activities and provide additional room for hotels and tourist activities.
The Emirati city aspires to continue its reputation as a centre for new businesses, multinational corporations, and strategic investments. Education and health facilities, as well as public beaches, will expand under the Dubai Urban Master Plan 2040. To improve quality of life, the Plan prioritises conveniently accessible integrated service centres and increasing population density around key mass transportation stations.
Hatta plays a significant role in Dubai 2040. It will be a hub of innovation and regional startups that promote ecotourism in the mountains outside of Dubai’s central business district. [Source10]
Largest employers in the city
Rank Name Revenues
1 Etisalat 8,780
2 National Bank of Abu Dhabi 2,748
3 First Gulf Bank 1,767
4 Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank 2,521
5 Emirates NBD 2,704
6 Taqa 6,633
7 Emaar 2,201
8 Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank 933
9 United National Bank 733
10 Mashreq 1448
Education (schools, universities, etc)
Dubai is home to some of the best schools and universities in the world, offering a high standard of education to both local and international students. The education system in Dubai is majorly based on the British curriculum, and students have the option to attend private schools, international schools, or government schools. The private schools in Dubai are known for their high-quality education, modern facilities, and a strong focus on extracurricular activities. Many of these schools offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) or US school curriculum, which is recognized globally and prepares students for further studies abroad.
International schools in Dubai cater to students from all over the world, providing education in a variety of languages, including English, French, and German. These schools offer a multicultural learning environment and provide students with a well-rounded education, incorporating both academic and cultural studies.
- # of British Schools in Dubai – 58
- # of US schools in Dubai – 29
In terms of higher education, Dubai is home to some of the top universities in the region, including the American University in Dubai, Dubai Medical College, and Dubai Petroleum Institute. These universities offer a wide range of programs in various fields, including engineering, business, medicine, and more. Many of these universities have partnerships with leading universities abroad, providing students with opportunities to study overseas and gain a global perspective.
- # of Universities in Dubai – 65+
Top 5 Universities/Colleges in Dubai
- American University in Dubai
- University of Wollongong
- Zayed University UAE
- University of Dubai
- Canadian University Dubai
Dubai’s enormous public transportation system makes the city easy to navigate. From the metro to the tram, buses, taxis, and even a monorail, it’s time to explore the city by public transportation. In Dubai, severe social distancing measures are in place, and face masks must be worn on public transportation. Here is a summary of Dubai’s public transportation.
- Dubai Taxi
- Dubai Metro
- Palm Jumeirah Monorail
Tourism (things to do)
Dubai is a city that is synonymous with luxury, adventure, and indulgence. From towering skyscrapers and bustling shopping districts to idyllic beaches and iconic desserts, there is no shortage of things to see and do in this desert metropolis. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveller, here are the top things to do in Dubai for tourists:
Explore the Burj Khalifa: The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, standing at an impressive 828 metres tall. Visitors can take a tour of the building, including a stop at the observation deck on the 124th floor for breathtaking views of the city.
Visit the Dubai Mall: The Dubai Mall is one of the largest shopping centres in the world and is a must-visit for anyone who loves shopping and luxury brands. In addition to the hundreds of shops and restaurants, the mall also features a huge aquarium, an indoor ice rink, and a cinema.
Walk Through the Miracle Garden: The Miracle Garden is a massive flower garden that boasts over 45 million flowers and is a true feast for the senses. From intricate flower arrangements to mesmerising butterfly gardens, this is a must-see for anyone who loves nature and horticulture.
Take a Desert Safari: Dubai is home to some of the most beautiful deserts in the world, and a desert safari is the perfect way to experience the natural beauty of the region. Visitors can go on a guided tour, complete with a thrilling dune bashing experience, camel rides, and a delicious barbeque dinner.
Relax on the Beach: Dubai is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world, and visitors should definitely take the time to relax on the sand and soak up the sun. Whether you’re into watersports or simply want to relax and soak up the sun, Dubai’s beaches are the perfect place to do it.
Take a Dhow Cruise: A dhow cruise is a must-do experience for anyone visiting Dubai. These traditional Arabian boats offer a unique and intimate way to explore the city’s iconic skyline and waterways, complete with live entertainment and a delicious dinner.
Visit the Dubai Fountain: The Dubai Fountain is a spectacular musical fountain that is set on the Burj Khalifa Lake and performs every evening with a mesmerising light and water show. Visitors can enjoy the show from the lakefront or from one of the nearby restaurants and cafes.
Explore the Old Dubai: In addition to its modern, high-rise buildings and shopping districts, Dubai also has a rich history and culture that is worth exploring. Visitors should take the time to visit the historic neighbourhoods and markets of Old Dubai, such as the Deira and Al Fahidi districts, for a true taste of the city’s cultural heritage.
Whether you’re looking for adventure, luxury, or simply a chance to relax and recharge, Dubai has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable vacation in this desert oasis.
Dubai is known for having a low crime rate and is considered one of the safest cities in the world. The Dubai Police Force is highly professional and well-equipped, and the city has implemented advanced security systems and technologies to maintain public safety. The crime index in Dubai is low, with crimes such as theft and violent crimes being rare occurrences.
- Crime Index: 16.37
- Safety Index: 83.63
According to the Numbeo Crime Index, Dubai has a low crime rate, with a crime index of 16.37 while the crime index for London, UK is 73.79 and the crime index for New York, US is 82.39. This indicates that the crime rate in Dubai is lower than in London and New York. [Source14]
Dubai is known for its year-round sunshine and bright blue skies.
Expected capital/rental growth, historic capital/rental growth
Capital growth in 2022: Property prices in Dubai grew on average by 20-40 percent over the last 12 months
Average rental yield in Dubai: 9.19%
Transactions: 90,881 real estate transactions recorded in 2022
Rents: Rents increasing – average value up 6.9% to 10% [Source15, Source16]
Steps to buy a property in Dubai?
Investing in a foreign real estate market is one of the most important yet challenging decisions that requires substantial planning prior to a conclusion. In addition, expatriates who wish to purchase a home in Dubai must ensure that it fits all of their requirements. Before purchasing a property in Dubai, there are a number of things that overseas investors must be aware of, such as the process, costs, laws, and property kinds.
Organising finances (deposit, mortgage, other buying costs)
Before searching for properties to purchase in Dubai, you must have the necessary financing. Emotions can impact the choice to purchase a home, but prospective buyers should not give in to them. Thus, the heartache of having to abandon your desired home after learning its asking price can be avoided. This is only achievable if you have a clear concept of the budget for purchasing Dubai real estate.
It is crucial to begin the property hunt in Dubai only after securing the necessary funds. This will give you certainty while you look for Dubai properties for sale and negotiate with owners. Ultimately, you are not making a decision based on emotion, and you are well aware of your budget.
When it comes to budgeting, a down payment is not the only cost to consider; there are a range of other costs linked with the purchase of a property in Dubai. Actual expenses are:
- DLD fee
- Title deed issuance fee
- Admin fees
- Agency fees
- NOC charges
- Mortgage fees
- Mortgage insurance fees
Search criteria (purpose – buy to live vs buy to let, size, location, type – house, flat, freehold vs leasehold, ready to occupy vs off-plan)
Before deciding to invest in properties for sale in Dubai as an expatriate or non-resident investor, you must have a clear idea of the type of property you desire and establish particular search criteria. You must be aware of your needs, including the sorts of houses, number of bedrooms, availability of amenities, and distance from the area’s important locations. You must also identify the factors on which you cannot compromise and those on which you may be flexible.
For instance, if you are interested in purchasing flats in Dubai and you are aware of your budget, you must begin your search by shortlisting the communities that are within your budget, taking into consideration the amenities, vistas, and advancements.
If you are an expatriate looking to purchase a home in Dubai, you must be aware of the several types of property ownership in this emirate. Dubai was the first emirate in the United Arab Emirates to allow international buyers to acquire property in certain regions. The distinction between freehold and leasehold property in Dubai is the buyer’s right.
Leasehold properties: For leasehold property, you own the apartment but not the land on which it’s built. Apartments are generally leasehold. The standard length of a lease is 99 years.
Freehold properties: Buyers of freehold properties have complete ownership of both the property and the land on which it is situated. Villas and houses are generally freehold properties.
Finding the right agent
Finding a skilled and knowledgeable real estate agent in Dubai is of the utmost importance for an ex-pat. Purchasing a property in Dubai is an excellent investment decision, but you must work with the best team and professionals like The Star Sterling to navigate this investment journey. It is also essential to cultivate a pleasant business relationship with your real estate agent to ensure that they initiate an honest discussion and identify the best feasible solutions that correspond to your investment objective.
It is of the utmost importance to work with professionals because they are the only ones who can provide insight into the property market, its current trends, available options, and the area’s performance in terms of capital appreciation, as well as share first-hand knowledge to help you make an informed investment decision. What could be better than the opportunity to collaborate with the Star Sterling team? We have full licenses, a comprehensive understanding of the market, and a track record of success.
Were you aware? Anyone from anywhere can purchase property in Dubai, irrespective of their nationality or locality. Yes, it is not necessary to be a citizen or resident of the UAE to acquire property in Dubai.
Conducting your own due diligence
Even if you are working with an industry specialist, completing a market search on your own can provide you with a better understanding of the area, its amenities, and the surrounding neighborhood. It will also help you create a realistic image of the property you intend to purchase and prevent you from forming unrealistic expectations.
You can also determine the distance between the property of your choice and surrounding public services and amenities, such as the nearest metro station, schools, children’s playground, and healthcare facility. You can also assess the market value of the available properties in the given location.
There are several different types of property income plans, including:
Long-term rental: This involves renting out a property on a long-term basis, typically for one year or more, to a tenant. This type of investment generates a steady stream of rental income and can provide a good return on investment over the long term.
Airbnb/vacation rental: This involves renting out a property on a short-term basis, typically for a few days or weeks, to travellers or tourists. This type of investment can provide higher rental income in a shorter period of time, but also comes with higher risks and more management responsibilities. [Source17]
In conclusion, Dubai remains a promising destination for real estate investment, offering a combination of strong economic growth, stable political environment, and world-class infrastructure. Whether you are interested in investing in a long-term rental property, a vacation rental, or a mixed-use property, there are a variety of opportunities available to meet your investment goals and risk tolerance. With its dynamic and rapidly growing real estate market, Dubai provides investors with the potential for significant returns, making it an attractive destination for those seeking to grow their portfolios. However, as with any investment, it is important to do your research, understand the local market, and seek advice from knowledgeable professionals before making any investment decisions. By taking the time to educate yourself and make informed decisions, you can maximise your chances of success and achieve your investment goals in Dubai’s vibrant property market.