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Last modified on 24th May 2024. Dubai Real Estate Blog

11 minutes read


Dubai’s rapidly rising real estate sector presents numerous options, but one of the key differences is whether the property is freehold or leasehold. Whether you are an investor, a tenant-buyer, or just a home-buying enthusiast, you will be able to easily discern and procure the best real estate property for sale after reading this guide which will help you identify which one will fit your needs and aspirations.

What is a Freehold Property in Dubai?

A freehold property in Dubai is one in which you have these two wholly owned components: property and land. As a result, there are no time limits on selling, renting, or handing it down to your offspring. This alternative is popular among investors and long-term occupants.

What is a Leasehold Property in Dubai?

When you buy a leasehold property, you get a limited time to use the property — normally up to 99 years. A landlord owns the property and may restrict your chances to make significant alterations. This is ideal for people seeking to enter the market at a lower entry expense or reside there for a short time. 

Freehold vs Leasehold in Dubai: 10 Key Differences

Feature Freehold Property Leasehold Property
Ownership Outright ownership of both property and land Temporary right to use the property for a set period (usually 99 years or less)
Control Full control over the property; can sell, rent, or modify without restrictions Limited control; may need landlord`s permission for major changes or modifications
Inheritance Can be passed down to heirs Cannot be passed down; the lease expires
Investment potential Generally considered a more stable and valuable investment Can be a good short-term investment, but the value may decrease over time as the lease expires
Restrictions Fewer restrictions on use and modifications More restrictions on use and modifications; subject to terms of the lease
Ground rent No ground rent This may be subject to ground rent payable to the landlord
Service charges Usually managed by an owners` association Usually managed by the landlord or a property management company
Permission for changes No permission is required for most changes or modifications Permission may be required from the landlord for major changes or modifications
Areas available Available in designated freehold areas across Dubai Available in designated leasehold areas across Dubai
Residency visa Eligible for a long-term residency visa if the property value meets the minimum requirement May be eligible for a residency visa depending on the length of the lease and other factors


Leasehold ownership provides an alternative route for investors and homeowners looking to enter Dubai’s bustling real estate sector and suits property owners with specific preferences and financial considerations. 

Pros of Buying Leasehold Property in Dubai:

  • Affordability: Generally speaking, leasehold homes are less expensive than their freehold counterparts, which makes them a desirable starting point for first-time or budget-conscious property owners.

  • Flexibility: Leasehold provides a certain amount of flexibility, making it ideal for people looking for a temporary place to live or for investors hoping to make quick profits. This can be especially tempting to people who aren`t sure what their long-term goals are for Dubai.

  • Maintenance and Amenities: A wide range of amenities, including landscaped gardens, security services, and swimming pools and gyms, are frequently found in leasehold buildings. For individuals looking for a hassle-free lifestyle, the added advantage of having maintenance and upkeep handled by the landlord or a specialized property management company can be a big draw.

Cons of Buying Leasehold Property in Dubai:

  • Limited Ownership & Control: Unlike freehold owners, leasehold owners have less freedom. Landlord approval is typically needed for significant renovations or changes, which can be a barrier for owners who want complete control over their property.

  • Depreciation and Uncertainty: The value of a leasehold property may decrease as the lease period draws to a close. Buyers seeking long-term investment appreciation may find this alarming. There may also be uncertainty over the terms of the lease renewal, which adds another degree of unpredictability.

  • Ground Rent: Leasehold properties frequently require the landlord to receive periodic ground rent payments, which eventually raises the total cost of ownership.

Best Areas to Buy Leasehold Properties in Dubai:

Leasehold properties in Dubai offer a diverse range of options across various communities, each with its own unique charm and price points. Here`s a closer look at some of the top areas:

Dubai Marina, well-known for its flashy towers and lively waterfront promenade, is a great pick for individuals looking for a lavish way of life. For a one-bedroom flat, the usual leasehold price here is AED 1.2M; larger units with excellent views can cost up to AED 5M or more.

1. Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT):

Situated around picturesque lakes, this lively town provides a blend of residential and commercial skyscrapers. JLT offers comparatively more reasonably priced leasehold flats; one-bedroom units start at AED 800K, while larger units can cost up to AED 3M.

2. Business Bay:

This is a rapidly developing business and residential hub with a modern urban living style and canal views, as well as convenient access to major highways. Leasehold apartments in Business Bay generally cost from AED 900,000 for one-bedroom units to AED 4,000,000 or more for larger and high-end apartments.

3. Discovery Gardens:

This is a family-friendly community with well-maintained greenery and relatively affordable properties. Leasehold apartments in Discovery Gardens cost from AED 600,000 or lower for smaller units to AED 2,000,000 for larger units suitable for families.

4. Dubai Silicon Oasis:

This technology-oriented community includes modern apartments and villas close to tech parks and educational facilities. Leaseholds in Dubai Silicon Oasis start from AED 700,000 for smaller apartments and reach from AED 3,000,000 or more for larger villas.

5. International City:

International city offers diverse cultural communities and affordable properties. Leasehold here may start from as low as AED 400K for a studio apartment and reach AED 1.5M for large, multi-bedroom apartments.

6. Palm Jumeirah:

This well-known artificial island provides a lavish lifestyle and a selection of leasehold villas and apartments with breathtaking Arabian Gulf views. On Palm Jumeirah, leasehold properties can potentially exceed AED 10M for larger, more upscale houses, with typical prices starting at AED 2M.

7. Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR):

JBR is a popular, beachfront area with high-rise towers that offer breath-taking sea views. Leasehold apartments starting prices are from AED 1,500,000 for one bedroom and to AED 6,000,000 or more depending on the unit.

8. DIFC:

This upscale neighborhood offers absolute leasehold apartments and penthouses that enhance living with access to world-class activities and a cosmopolitan atmosphere. DIFC’s leasehold properties generally begin at roughly AED 2.5M and regularly exceed AED 10M for the highest-quality options.

9. Motor City:

Offering a variety of leasehold apartments and villas for sale with views of the Dubai Autodrome, this distinctive community has a motorsports motif. In Motor City, the cost of a leasehold property can range from AED 700K for tiny flats to AED 3M for larger villas.


The epitome of property purchase in Dubai is freehold ownership, which draws a diverse array of homeowner buyers looking for guaranteed stability and long-term capital gains. 

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Pros of Buying Freehold Property in Dubai:

  • Total Ownership & Control: Having a freehold title gives you total ownership of the asset and the ground it sits on. This means that you will have unrivaled control over your investment, free from time limits and outside approvals, so you can sell, lease, alter, or leave it to your descendants.

  • Strong Investment Prospects: Historically, freehold properties have demonstrated more durability and value appreciation in comparison to leasehold ones. They are therefore a preferred option for investors looking for steady and possibly profitable returns on their investment.

  • Pathway to Residency: For individuals who fulfill the required minimum investment, freehold ownership provides access to long-term residency visas. This can be a big motivator for people and families who want to live permanently in Dubai and take advantage of all its advantages.

  • Financial Leverage: Mortgage financing is frequently available for freehold properties, giving buyers the chance to leverage their investment and possibly increase returns over time.

Cons of Buying Freehold Property in Dubai:

  • Greater Initial Investment: Generally speaking, freehold homes are more expensive than leased properties, necessitating a bigger initial investment.

  • Maintenance & Upkeep Responsibilities: Freehold owners are responsible for their property’s maintenance and upkeep. This includes repairs, renovations, and compliance with community regulations, which could be costly and time-consuming. 

  • Market Fluctuations: While freehold properties offer more stability, the market is still subject to fluctuations and economic cycles. Buyers should examine market conditions thoroughly and opt for well-established properties with a growth track record.

Best Areas to Buy Freehold Properties In Dubai:

Dubai is home to some of the finest freehold properties across several communities, offering owners choice and flexibility. Here are some of the best freehold areas in Dubai:

1. Palm Jumeirah:

Freehold homes on this man-made island guarantee luxurious views of the Arabian Gulf, private beaches, and top-notch facilities. Prices for freehold apartments in Palm Jumeirah begin at AED 3 million and might exceed AED 30 million for beachfront villas.

2. Downtown Dubai:

Downtown Dubai is a hub of activity, home to the famous Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Fountain, and the Dubai Mall. Downtown Dubai`s freehold flats provide a mix of residential, commercial, and leisure alternatives for a global lifestyle. Smaller flats usually start at AED 1.5M, while larger penthouses with panoramic views can cost up to AED 10M or more.

3. Arabian Ranches:

Arabian Ranches is a family-friendly community that offers spacious villas set amid abundant greenery and serene lakes. These freehold villas allow residents to live a serene life while having easy access to parks, schools, and local community centers. The price of a home in Arabian Ranches usually begins around AED 4M in value for a smaller villa and can go as high as AED 15M for a much larger and luxurious property.

4. Dubai Hills Estate:

Dubai Hills Estate is a fully master-planned living community committed to green living, with several freehold apartments, townhouses, and villas. Additionally, the living area features an 18-hole championship golf course, parks, numerous schools, and a wide range of retail and fine dining establishments. The price of a home in Dubai Hills Estate may be modest, from AED 1.2M or may choose much larger and more expensive villas at AED 8M or more.

5. Mohammed Bin Rashid City (MBR City):

The goal of this massive project is to create a new city in Dubai with a variety of commercial, residential, and recreational opportunities. In MBR City, freehold real estate options comprise villas, townhomes, and apartments, with prices ranging from AED 20M for larger, more upscale properties to AED 1M for smaller, more affordable units.

For a more comprehensive look at freehold areas, check out our blog post: 

Leasehold vs Freehold: Which Type of Property Ownership in Dubai is Right for You?

The ideal kind of property ownership for you will rely on your long-term objectives, financial situation, and unique circumstances. Leasehold can be an excellent choice if you`re searching for a shorter-term commitment or a cost-effective entry point into the market. Freehold is perhaps a better option, though, if you`re searching for a more secure and worthwhile investment with total ownership and control.

FAQs about Buying Freehold vs Leasehold Properties in Dubai:

  • Where can I purchase leasehold properties in Dubai? 

Leasehold properties are available in designated areas like Dubai Marina, JLT, Business Bay, Discovery Gardens, Dubai Silicon Oasis, and many more.

  • Where can I buy freehold property in Dubai? 

Freehold properties can be purchased in numerous areas across Dubai, including popular locations like Palm Jumeirah, Downtown Dubai, Arabian Ranches, and Dubai Hills Estate etc. 

  • Is it possible to change a property held under lease to one that is held under freehold? 

It can be possible in certain cases, depending on the lease terms and landlord`s agreement. Consult a legal professional for advice on the feasibility and process.

  • How does freehold property differ from leasehold property? 

While leasehold refers to ownership of the right to use the property for a predetermined amount of time, freehold refers to total ownership of the land and property. Variations in control, inheritance, and long-term value follow from this.

  • How does a free zone differ from a freehold? 

A free zone is a designated area with special economic rules, while freehold refers to the type of property ownership. Freehold properties can exist within a free zone.

  • How to extend leasehold property in Dubai after expiration? 

Lease extensions depend on the lease terms and the landlord`s agreement. Discuss with the landlord well in advance and seek legal counsel if needed.

  • What are the steps involved in changing a leasehold property to a freehold property? 

The process involves obtaining the landlord`s consent, negotiating terms, drafting a new agreement, and registering the change with the Dubai Land Department. Legal guidance is crucial throughout.

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