Abu Dhabi to give foreigners freehold property titles

Move seeks to attract more investors to UAE capital's real estate sector

Foreigners can own property in Abu Dhabi on a freehold basis in designated investment zones, the emirate announced on Tuesday, seeking to attract more investors to its real estate sector.

Residential units in the zones will be registered under Abu Dhabi's freehold law, with property ownership deeds issued to investors, a statement from the Abu Dhabi Municipality said.

Previously, foreign investors in Abu Dhabi property were generally limited to leasehold arrangements with 99-year leases.

The brief statement did not give details of the freehold arrangement or explain exactly how it differed from other property rights in Abu Dhabi, or from freehold rights abroad. Officials could not be contacted on Tuesday to elaborate on the statement.

Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, has designated areas for property investment by foreigners. Some of the zones are being developed by majority state-owned Aldar Properties, the largest developer in the emirate.

"This marks the launch of a very important phase in the development of the real estate market in Abu Dhabi, a phase which presents us with new opportunities for growth and development offered by Abu Dhabi's economy," Abubaker Seddiq al Khoori, chairman of Aldar, said in the statement.

"We believe in Aldar Properties that attracting long-term foreign investors will bring great benefits to Abu Dhabi in particular and to the UAE in general so that we can continue our path of construction and development."

Abu Dhabi has been trying to boost its residential property market through regulation and other steps for the past couple of years, after its property sector was hit hard during the global economic slump of 2008-09.

In 2012, Abu Dhabi pressed public sector employees living outside the emirate to relocate within its borders. Last November, Abu Dhabi scrapped a 5 percent cap on annual rent increases.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on arabianbusiness.com may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Rashed

@Rights should be given: this is neither Iran nor Baloshistan, this is the United Arab Emirates in the heart of the Arab World and Arabian Gulf. Never forget that you have been well paid for all your contributions, we owe you absolutely nothing. To claim that the UAE was a barren land devoid of its indigenous Arabs and all its citizens are alien settlers is preposterous hogwash. The gates of citizenship were open long ago and those who truly loved this land used that once in a lifetime golden opportunity, now those doors are permanently shut and if just if the citizenship will ever be granted again, there is no doubt that it will only be granted to those whose unwavering allegiance is towards the United Arab Emirates, its rulers, its national language, its culture and heritage, not towards Iran or Pakistan (Baloshistan) or India or etc...

Posted by: Rights should be given

UAE should give rights and citizenships to people who are living here for more then 20 years. Locals who are mostly here are also from baloch and Farsi speaking so please don't consider yourself real locals , you speak balochi and farsi at homes as well , your grand parents have migrated just like us 20 - 25 years ago through ships and camels to live here . Every human being has a right to petition if he lives in a country for more then 20 years According to the UN Human rights Commission . We all die one day and won't take our passports , citizenships with us .

Give out citizenships to who have contributed ( Indians , Pakistanis , Iranis mostly ) .

Live in peace and harmony at the end this land belongs to Allah

Posted by: Salwa

You always hit the nail on the head harder each time. I'm sure your incisive comments will make these bitter foreign whiners cringe in their sofas but hey as the old Arabian proverb goes: those who cannot reach the juicy grapes will claim it to be sour...

So you have the same saying in running this place as we do? What a daft comment to make, sure dude, every street cleaner, every gardener, every waiter, everyone plays a role in the running of this cities as much as every working citizen and foreigner also run other cities all over the world including Europe where the hard construction jobs are always carried out by Afro/Asian migrants.

The national language being Arabic, can you write a small paragraph in front of the authorities in comprehensible Arabic all the reasons that make you so desperate to become a UAE citizen or will you profusely apologize and select one of the below alien languages?

Posted by: Doug

The problem is the inability to have a sensible contribution.

Poster A says: "This thing about Dubai isn't perfect and should be changed."

Poster B then says: "How dare you think you have the right to an opinion. You're an expat."

Poster C then says: "There is something in Europe that isn't perfect. Therefore no criticism of Dubai can ever be valid."


If the Government of Dubai behaved like the Dubai's self-proclaimed supporters, nothing would ever get done. Thank goodness they're capable of understanding the concept of constructive criticism.

Posted by: Steve

@WHJ. Loosing credibility? wow! I was actually trying to be consiliatory in what I was saying, and honest in my acknowledgement of our ability to moan! But hey ho.

In terms of who looks stupid, I'd suggest anyone that gets overly hot headed and starts to rant or gets things factually wrong looks a bit stupid. Lets not forget this is just a discussion board on AB. That could be somebody having a go at Dubai, or having a go at Europe. That's not a dig at you by the way, it's a blanket statement. I'd like to think that I don't say anything that I haven't thought through and can back up with a reasoned argument. So if that's percieved as an acrimonious attack, then apologies, it's not meant as such, it's just reasoned opinion. If somebody else decides to have a rant and look like an idiot then that's there lookout, but please don't tar me with that brush.
And thanks, I will :)

Posted by: WHJ

who. I don't believe I ever implied that anyone is a robot. But please feel free to describe yourself as you wish.

Posted by: who

I suggest you read your comments again and ask yourself which do not apply to you e.g.

"blistering attacks and unwarranted disparagement. You seem to find fault with the retaliatory comments and yet you brush aside the acrimonious attacks as simply "negative opinions"

Answer is clear, all of them apply to you as well.

Live and let live WHJ. Man up please and realise there are individuals in this world and we are not all robots.

Posted by: WHJ

@ Steve. Well, I'm glad you agree that you guys moan and whine a lot.
Again, the problem is with the blistering attacks and unwarranted disparagement. You seem to find fault with the retaliatory comments and yet you brush aside the acrimonious attacks as simply "negative opinions"! You're losing credibility mate, and quite fast.
You might think those people writing comments that besmirch Europe "look stupid more often than not", but, pray, do tell us, how would you describe those chastising Dubai? Imbeciles perhaps?
Enjoy the year off..

Posted by: Shehab

@ SA1
This is not and will never be the region for immigration. You must be leaving in a fool's paradise if you think the permanent residency or citizenship is for sale or distribution. All foreigners came to the golden shores of the UAE to work. May be it is time for you to re-examine your work contract and visa status and you will notice that you haven't been promised anything by anyone. Have contingency plans!

Posted by: Badr

@ WHJ, as usual you've hit the hit the nail on the head real hard. If only these foreigners pointed all their fingers at their corrupt governments that have made them seek jobs and shelters abroad.....
As to the permanent residency, buying a property does not mean that you own the UAE, permanent residency which is akin to citizenship is not for distribution or sale, there are somethings in my life that can never be bought.

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Trading bricks: The growing popularity of real estate investment trusts in the Gulf

Trading bricks: The growing popularity of real estate investment trusts in the Gulf

Investor interest in real estate investment trusts (REITs) has...

Forgotten fees: the challenge of investing in Dubai property

Forgotten fees: the challenge of investing in Dubai property

Investors attracted to low service charges at some Dubai residential...

Dubai real estate: which way will it go?

Dubai real estate: which way will it go?

In this special report, Arabian Business analyses the state of...

Most Discussed