Should You Buy or Rent When Moving to Dubai?

Thinking of emigrating to Dubai? You’re not alone – we help smart business owners establish their lives here after making just that decision. With such favorable tax terms, fantastic weather, and modern infrastructure, Dubai offers you a high quality of life that few other cities can.

But our clients often ask us, “should I rent or buy?” when moving here. The answer is, of course, that it varies depending on your goals, so in this article, we’ll guide you through all the considerations you need to make before settling in Dubai.

Why is Dubai so popular?

Dubai was established as a small fishing village in the 18th century, but it began to grow quickly at the start of the 21st century. Today, it’s a tourist-friendly cosmopolitan metropolis with more five-star hotels than any other city in the world. This highly populated city is home to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, not to mention thousands of high-rise apartment buildings, offices, hotel complexes, and restaurants.

For your day-to-day life, you’ll be surrounded by successful people enjoying their wealth – many spend their time on the beaches, shopping, dining out, and heading out on their yachts. Besides perhaps hiking up a mountain, skiing, or walking through a dense forest, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something you can’t do here. And, when the whim does take you to head out on your skis, there are direct flights to almost any destination in the world.

Another notable reason why so many are choosing to move their lives to Dubai is due to the business and wealth-friendly climate here. Overlooking the notable tax benefits (which we’re sure you have already noted!), the UAE wants to encourage other areas of industry in the country, besides oil and gas, and so they’re investing in ensuring the UAE is one of the most business-friendly places on the planet. This has made the UAE (and more specifically, Dubai) a hub for global business, and a key place for entrepreneurs to flock to in order to find success.

Should I buy or rent when moving to Dubai?

First, consider the following points:

  • How long do you plan to live in Dubai?
  • How much capital do you have to invest?
  • Monetarily, would it make more sense to you to rent and invest your money elsewhere, or to buy and live in your investment?

We’ll discuss the pros and cons of both in relation to your answers to these questions, and your answers to these questions will dictate which is better for you.

The advantages of renting in Dubai

If you aren’t sure how long you’ll want to call Dubai home, or if you foresee buying could have negative implications for you, it may be best to rent, at least until you feel settled. Here are the advantages of renting in Dubai:

  • If you’re living in temporary accommodation in Dubai while you wait for your visa to go through, renting is a great option. It involves less commitment and often costs less in immediate fees. If you can find a landlord that will allow you to live in an apartment on a monthly rolling basis, you can even try out several areas of Dubai to see where you’d like to live permanently.
  • In Dubai, new buildings are constantly being built and many expats prefer to buy brand new. Moving into a new build as soon as it’s finished is more practical if you’re renting.
  • As a tenant, you’re not financially responsible for maintenance. You’ll also avoid having to pay the annual maintenance fee service charge which covers repair work or maintenance in communal areas of an apartment block.
  • Renting offers better liquidity and quicker access to cash. If you current investment strategy is focused elsewhere, pulling a significant amount out to buy a property may derail you. If renting can meet your needs without feeling like a financial drain, you may decide it’s better to rent and invest elsewhere.

Renting is generally affordable in Dubai, especially compared to other areas of the world.

The advantages of buying in Dubai

For most, the advantages of buying will make it the most practical (and financially sound) choice. Here’s why:

  • You’ll be getting an ROI. Renting offers no ROI, and while the property you live in doesn’t offer the same returns as one you own and rent out, it’s certainly a more sound financial choice. The Dubai market will never fall, so you’ll be putting your money back into your own pocket, plus interest, even if you have a mortgage.
  • The Dubai market is healthy. Property prices are surprisingly low, considering how much attention Dubai has attracted. Buying in Dubai as the city’s popularity is on the rise will only mean good things for you in the long term, especially as the city continues to grow and develop.
  • Option to rent out when you’re abroad – if you plan to spend part of the year in another part of the world, you can rent out your property while you’re gone. Some buildings may have some restrictions around this, but generally, you’ll be able to continue generating income from your property, if you choose to.
  • Comfort is higher when you own your home. When you own a property, you have far more control over what goes on inside the home. While many apartment buildings have rules and regulations about renovations, you can renovate and redecorate within those guidelines as you see fit – no being stuck with lackluster decor.
  • You can get a Golden Visa. If you plan to stay a resident of Dubai for the next decade, a Golden Visa should be your goal, and that’s much more achievable when you own property – read on below to find out more.

What is a Golden Visa and am I eligible to apply?

The Golden Visa allows you to live in the UAE for ten years without worrying about renewing documents or traveling back to your home country at short notice. It’s an incredibly attractive perk for those looking to live and work in Dubai as it removes a lot of the hassle of relocating to the UAE. The Golden Visa affords huge opportunities in terms of relocation and career progression, and only costs (up to) around $1,000 to apply.

The reason why real estate ownership matters here is because you can essentially “buy” your way to a Golden Visa, simply by owning a significant amount of equity in real estate outright in the UAE. While the amount you need to invest is higher than some other (less desirable) countries with similar tax benefits, it’s a relatively low purchase amount.

You can apply for a five-year Golden Visa if you own properties outright worth AED 2 million in the UAE. If you have a mortgage, you may be eligible to apply for the visa if at least AED 2 million of the property’s value is your equity, but outright ownership is most desirable. (We can advise you here.)

For this reason, if you want to stay in the UAE for more than 3 years, it makes sense to buy.

A Golden Visa is also available if you’re a retired foreigner of at least 55 years old with investments worth AED 1 million and a monthly income of AED 15,000. Your Golden Visa can also extend to your spouse and children, regardless of their ages. Not only this, but your family is also entitled to keep their Golden Visas even in the event of your passing, so you don’t need to worry about them being displaced.

Time to Buy? We Can Advise

When it comes to the decision of buying or renting, the choice is yours. Whether you buy or rent in any city depends on your financial situation, life goals, and how long you plan to live there. The decision you make will affect your standard of living, monthly outgoing expenses, and security, so consider what’s right for you carefully.

If you decide buying is right for you, we’re here to help advise you on making a sound real estate investment in Dubai.

We work with the most successful real estate developers in Dubai and have an intimate knowledge of the real estate market. We’ll show you where to invest in an apartment or house in Dubai, bearing in mind your budget, desired area of the city, and the type of home you want to live in. From high-end penthouses in lively hotspots to quiet, family-friendly homes, we can help you find your dream home.

For more information, please click here or get in touch directly through our contact form today and we’ll help you make the right decision.


Sign up for our Newsletter