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United Arab Emirates

About United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is at the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula and borders Oman and Saudi Arabia. The desert kingdoms are known for their splendid beaches and their extraordinary skyscraper buildings as well as their luxury hotels and Dubai, the best known of the seven emirates (although the capital is Abu Dhabi) is a global hub for business and aviation. There is an enormous amount of off-plan properties for sale in Dubai at competitive prices, however overseas buyers should note that they will need a deposit of 25% if buying a resale property and seeking a mortgage.

About United Arab Emirates

Capital: Abu Dhabi
Currency: United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)
Language: Arabic

The United Arab Emirates is at the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula and borders Oman and Saudi Arabia. It has a population of some nine million, of which only 1.4 million are Emirati citizens – the rest are all classed as expats. This confederation of seven emirates was established in December 1971 and includes: Abu Dhabi (serving as the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. Of these, the best known amongst Westerners, particularly for holiday visits, are Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The desert kingdoms are known for their splendid beaches and their extraordinary skyscraper buildings as well as their luxury hotels. Shopping in the gold and precious gem souks is a big attraction for visitors, who will also find that other amenities taken for granted at home are provided here, such as international schools and excellent healthcare. It has become a hub for Formula 1 racing and Dubai has two major golf courses. Horse racing is another sport at the heart of Dubai, and you’ll also find the more traditional Arab sports of camel racing and falconry.

UAE economy

Its economy is based on oil in common with its neighbour Saudi Arabia and it also has significant natural gas reserves. It is one of the most diversified economies in the Gulf and Dubai is an important city for global business as well as an aviation hub, with Dubai airport being the world’s busiest airport. It is ranked as the 26th best nation to do business in and Dubai in particular is developing its economy way beyond its natural energy resources.

The cost of living here is high. Many are lured here by the ‘tax-free’ promise, only to find that accommodation is expensive and utility bills are high due to the need to run air conditioning at all times during the summer months. On the upside, domestic help and childcare are less costly than in the West. Local produce is economically priced, but imported goods are quite expensive.

UAE culture

The UAE is an Islamic culture from a religious perspective and whilst it may not be as strict in its application of Sharia law when compared with Saudi Arabia, it is nevertheless conservative when compared with the West and extreme caution must be taken over dress codes and behaviour in public, because failure to follow the rules can result in imprisonment. Historically, UAE culture is based on Persian, Indian and East African influences in addition to its Arabian culture. Alcohol is only served in hotel restaurants and bars plus nightclubs. Some supermarkets do stock it, but it is important to remember that it is illegal to be drunk in public and driving with any trace of alcohol in the blood is an offence.

Location and price

Since 2002 it has been possible for foreigners to buy property, sell property, and lease or rent property in Dubai. It is best to purchase property in Dubai from a developer, or to enlist the services of a real estate agent. Buying off-plan is extremely popular here, but buyers are urged to check the details out carefully and visit a show home if possible. You may find that there is more red tape involved in buying a property her than in Europe, which is why patience and a good lawyer are essential.

Dubai is considered one of the best places in the world to buy property right now due to a fall in property prices in 2016. However, expats are required to put down 25 per cent of the property’s value as an initial down payment before taking out a mortgage for an already built or resale property. Popular districts that are seeing many new residential developments are Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), Dubai Sports City and Dubailand. Complexes around the Dubai marina are the most expensive, but there are others built around man-made lagoons that are considerably less expensive. Properties in Dubai go from around €130,000 to anywhere over a million.

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