Freehold Vs. Leasehold Properties in Dubai

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This is a question that would have crossed every buyer’s mind while deciding to invest in Dubai real estate. And it should! It is always a good idea to do your due diligence before you take the leap and make one of the most expensive purchases in your life.

What further adds to the complication is the availability of both types of properties and lack of clarity about leasehold pros/cons amongst buyers. Infact, I still keep coming across buyers from different parts of the world who are not aware that Dubai offers freehold properties. They still think that Dubai has leasehold system only.

To give a historical perspective, Dubai allowed foreign citizens to acquire real estate properties in 2001. To start with, expats could only buy leasehold property but just a year later (in 2002), government allowed expats to buy freehold properties too. What it means is that an investor of any nationality (except select few) can buy leasehold or freehold properties in this amazing metropolis called Dubai.

If you also have questions between these two ownerships, this article will explain all about leasehold vs freehold properties and their advantages/disadvantages.


Most residential leasehold properties in Dubai/UAE entitle you to an ownership for a maximum of 99 years. Theoretically, the ownership passes back to the freehold owner on expiry of lease tenure. One more thing to note is that leasehold purchase allows the buyer to own the unit, not the land on which it is built. Usually, most lease tenures can be extended for a period of further 99 years thereby making the total lease tenure of almost 20 years. However, it will be in the interest of buyer to get a clarity regarding this before buying.


  • Prices of leasehold properties are generally lower than Freehold properties thereby making them more attractive from an investment perspective.
  • You can extend the lease for a further term. A tenure of 200 years is practically way much longer than any buyer can plan to live in that property.
  • Maintenance / Renovation of the property is the responsibility of freehold owner. Lessee doesn’t have to worry about that.


  • You cannot sublet your unit.
  • One downside of leasehold properties is that you can’t make changes to your property without the permission of freehold owner. Any changes/additions to the property can only be made with a written approval from freehold owner.
  • Leasehold properties don’t entitle you to a residency visa unlike freehold properties.


A freehold property in Dubai entitles the owner to enjoy many more benefits than a leasehold. Owner has complete ownership of his/her property including the land. One can sell or lease the property without any hassle.


  • Any freehold ready property of purchase price more than AED 1 million entitles the owner and his/her family to get a UAE residence visa.
  • Property is passed on the family after owner’s death.
  • One can renovate the property anytime.


  • Freehold properties are a little more expensive than leasehold properties.


The below mentioned areas offer freehold properties in Dubai. However there may be certain pockets within these areas which may offer only lease hold properties. It is advaisable for a buyer to check the status before buying the property.


Al Barari Dubai Investment Park Jumeirah Village ( Triangle )
Al Furjan Dubai Marina Layan Community
Al Thanyah First Dubai Outsource Zone Legends
Al Waha Project Dubai Residence Complex – Dubai Land Masakin Al Furjan
Arabian Ranches 1 Dubai Silicon Oasis Meadows
Arabian Ranches 2 Dubai Sport City Mudon Projec
Arjaan Dubai Studio City Old Town
Badrah Project Emirates Hills Palazzo Versace
Barsha Heights (Tecom) Ewan Project – DIP Palm Jumeirah
Burj Khalifa Tower Falcon City Project ( Dubai Sustainable City )
Business Bay Green Community DIP Project ( Golden Mile Palm Jumeirah )
City Walk Green Community Motor City Project ( Mira )
D1 Tower Greens Queue Point ( Dubai Land )
Damac Hills Ibn Battuta Gate Remraam
DIFC-INDEX TOWER IMPZ (Int. Media Produc. Zone) Ritaj Project – DIP
DIFC-LIBERTY HOUSE International City Sky Court Tower – Dubai land
DIFC-LIMESTONE HOUSE International City CBD Springs
DIFC-Park Tower JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence) The Lakes
DIFC-Sky Gardens Jebel Ali Village The Polo Residence (Meydan)
Discovery Gardens JLT (Jumeirah Lake Towers) The Views
Down Town Jumeirah Golf Estate The Villa (Dubai Land)
Dubai Culture Village Jumeirah Heights Town Square
Dubai Festival City – Badia Phase 1 & 2 Jumeirah Islands Up Town Motor City
Dubai Festival City – Badia Phase 3 Jumeirah Park Veneto Project
Dubai Festival City – Hillside Jumeirah Village Wadi Al Safa 3
Dubai Festival City – Marsa Jumeirah Village ( Circle ) Warsan



Clearly, freehold properties offer many more advantages and peace of mind to the expat investor compared to leasehold properties. In case you have any further queries related to buying a property in Dubai, please feel free to write to me on

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