UAE real estate market is growing as fast as the country itself. It is hard to imagine that just a half of a century ago poor fishing villages were scattered around the land where state-of-the-art, dynamic cities with modern skyscrapers are situated now. Following the integration of individual emirates in 1971-1972 and oil discovery, the country started getting richer and due to wise investment in industry and agriculture, it managed to reach economic prosperity in a relatively short period of time.
The UAE today is a dream country for many people. Warm sea, never-ending summer and high standards of living – no wonder people wish to stay there for longer or even move there to take permanent residence. In addition to that, the Emirates is a great country for doing business. The UAE government allows foreigners to open companies in the country providing most favourable conditions: 100 percent ownership, affordable fees, no income tax, etc. People also come to the UAE to work and study. And moreover, the UAE is a popular real estate investment destination, for example, you can buy property to rent out there. There is no real estate tax and no rental tax in the country. Properties in the UAE have high rental yields – 7 percent per year on average. And as the population of the country is constantly growing, so is the demand for rented accommodation.
The choice of housing in the UAE is really great. Construction is permanently underway in all the cities. New apartment complexes, townhouse and villa communities and whole new districts spring up. So there are a lot of options, from affordable to premium, with a whole range of convenient amenities. In case of apartment, it can be unique infrastructure, in case of villa, a private swimming pool or garden.
Foreigners can buy property in the UAE but it is allowed only in freehold areas. Freehold areas are designated zones free of financial restrictions adopted in the rest of the world. Freehold areas are found in all the emirates and as a rule they are some of the most sought-after neighbourhoods with a great variety of property types to choose from.
The UAE is made up of seven emirates: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain. Each of them is unique in its own way, each has its own pace of life but at the same time each has its own rules. Some emirates, like, for instance Dubai, are more liberal, some, like Sharjah, are stricter. Those who wish to buy property in the Emirates should take all these factors into account when making their choices.
1-bedroom apartment is probably one of the most popular types of property of all times. How much does 1-bedroom apartment in the UAE cost? Firstly, the price depends on the emirate, secondly, on the district and further, on the floor space of the apartment, the storey it is on, the age and quality of the house and the amenities available. In addition to that, every buyer has their own demands and preferences.
Dubai is undoubtedly the UAE's leader in residential property sales and the most liberal and popular emirate of all. They often call this huge, multinational metropolis Middle Eastern New York, with people from all over the world coming there in search of work and better life. There are always plenty of job opportunities, high demand for housing and the highest supply. 1-bedroom apartment prices in Dubai depend, first of all, on the district. Russian-speaking customers tend to choose the three following areas: Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai and Palm Jumeirah. Prices of 1-bedroom apartments there start from $127 thousand and these are the most affordable options that include fully-furnished as well as furniture free apartments. On average, 1-bedroom units in these locations cost from $240 to $570 thousand and $650 to $750 thousand in the premium segment. But if you look through the offers posted on Property Finder or Bayut, you will find more expensive 1-bedroom units with prices starting at one million USD.
Surely, Dubai has more affordable housing options, too. These are mostly found in the peripheral areas, like International City or Dubailand. 1-bedroom apartments in districts like these cost from $70 thousand, average price is $85-87 thousand, the most expensive apartment costs about $240-260 thousand. Despite rather high long-term rental yields, up to 9 percent, properties in these districts are not considered liquid from the point of view of resale. Mostly migrants employed in low-paid jobs in Dubai rent apartments there, so it might be difficult to sell your property afterwards because of dubious reputation of the areas. What's more, for instance, the quality of housing in International City is not very good and the district itself is considered old (it was launched back in 2002), while Dubailand has poor infrastructure.
There's no doubt that in terms of supply Dubai outweighs all other cities of the UAE, though they also worth noticing, as all customers have their own considerations, and living standards there are just as good.
Abu Dhabi is another well-known and popular emirate. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates, the largest and the richest emirate in the country. Lifestyle in Abu Dhabi is more tranquil than in Dubai and will appeal to those who don't like much hustle and bustle. The city boasts long glorious beaches and has a great number of various green zones, parks and gardens.
A non-resident foreigner can get employed, set up a company (on their own in one of the freehold areas or together with a local partner) and buy property in Abu Dhabi just like in Dubai. There are less new developments in Abu Dhabi compared to Dubai, that's why the supply is less, too. Moreover, life in the capital of the UAE is quite expensive and the same goes for property.
1-bedroom apartment prices in Abu Dhabi start from $223 thousand. Here, too, a lot depends on the district. For example, in Al Raha, popular among expatriates and immigrants, the price of 1-bedroom apartment ranges from $223 to $462 thousand and on Yas Island from $211 to $353 thousand. According to the leading real estate platform Property Finder, Al Reem Island has the biggest number of 1-bedroom apartments for sale with an average price of $245-235 thousand. Areas preferred by foreigners include Khalifa City A and В, Mohammed Bin Zayed City and Downtown Abu Dhabi but they do not always offer apartments for sale.
Another emirate to consider is Sharjah. In comparison with other emirates it is more traditional and stricter while it is known as a cultural capital of the UAE. Art and culture devotees will definitely love the city. The pace of life there is even more relaxed and calmer than in Abu Dhabi and a bit cheaper, too.
As for property purchase, or 1-bedroom apartments, to be precise, Sharjah has a bit more limited choice compared to other UAE cities. For example, Property Finder gives just 22 search results while Bayut gives 37. The average price of 1-bedroom unit in Sharjah is $133-156 thousand, which is notably lower than in Abu Dhabi.
Ras Al Khaimah is located in the north of the Arab Emirates. This emirate presents quite an attractive alternative to Dubai. Due to its northern location, the landscapes of Ras Al Khaimah are more diverse: there are mountain peaks and long stretches of sandy beaches and much richer vegetation.
Nowadays Ras Al Khaimah is developing very fast, the region has immense economic potential. Lots of expats already live there, there is an international airport, new resorts and hotels are springing up, the city expects to welcome millions of tourists. Residential buildings construction is underway here, too, but Ras Al Khaimah's main competitive advantage over Dubai is affordability of housing, which actually has the same quality.
Ras Al Khaimah ranks third after Abu Dhabi by the number of 1-bedroom apartment search results. The cheapest 1-bedroom unit there costs $84 thousand, the most expensive one costs $272 thousand while the average price is $95-103 thousand. Ras Al Khaimah certainly has freehold areas so foreign nationals definitely can buy property there. In the future, with infrastructure growing around new residential developments, housing prices will start increasing, too, so probably now it is the best time to invest in real estate in Ras Al Khaimah.
Another destination for buying a home might be the smallest emirate of the UAE, which is Ajman. Ajman is a rather compact city; it is not big but easily accessible from Dubai and Sharjah. A freehold area was established in Ajman in 1996, so conditions for setting up a business, getting employed or investing in property for foreign citizens are basically the same as in all other emirates. Ajman's government welcomes new investors and provides every possible assistance to them.
Housing in Ajman is reasonably priced, 1-bedroom unit prices start at $27-36 thousand. On average, 1-bedroom apartments cost $94-108 thousand.
The article has listed the main and most popular destinations for buying 1-bedroom apartments in the UAE, each of them has its own distinctive features, advantages and disadvantages. It is up to buyers what to choose as everyone has their own personal aims and preferences. Perhaps, it is also worth noticing that units constructed by the state-owned large developers like Dubai Properties (DP), Meraas Development and Emaar Properties PJSC are more trustworthy. Companies like these have a long-established reputation in the real estate market and do not just construct buildings but develop whole neighbourhoods providing full infrastructure. So when looking for an apartment future property owners are recommended to consider the areas being developed by one company responsible not merely for a single apartment house or even residential complex but for the whole district.
1-bedroom apartments market differs from emirate to emirate. Dubai has the highest supply as well as the widest price range from $70 to $750 thousand. 1-bedroom units in Abu Dhabi are pretty expensive, depending on the area they cost from $223 to $462 thousand. Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman are more affordable from the point of view of property purchase but supply is lower there. 1-bedroom apartments in these cities cost from about $100 to 272 thousand.
To look for properties and check out prices you can use real estate portals like Property Finder or Bayut providing pictures, descriptions and locations of 1-bderoom apartments for sale.
In general, the UAE remains an attractive real estate investment region. New apartment houses and whole residential projects are being built all around the country, with Dubai leading the way. However, other emirates are progressing rapidly, too, and offer great opportunities for life, work and business.