Top freehold zones in Dubai for investment

Top freehold zones in Dubai for investment

01.01.2023 (updated 01.20.2023)

  • AX Blog
  • Top freehold areas in Dubai for investment

Dubai offers unique investment opportunities that are hard to match in the global real estate market. High-quality housing with a developed infrastructure, a wide range of five-star hotel service, steadily rising prices and demand and a yield of 5–8% per annum attracts investors from all over the world. And if earlier potential buyers were stopped by strict rules for property ownership for foreigners, with the advent of freehold zones in 2002, the situation changed radically. Today, the emirate has over 60 Freehold Zones and the list continues to grow.

In this post, we will look at the list of freehold zones in Dubai, where you can profitably purchase buy-to-live and buy-to-let villas and apartments.


What are freehold zones in Dubai?

Freehold zones are designated areas of Dubai where foreigners can purchase real estate with the right of full ownership. Residential and commercial real estate purchased in these areas can be disposed of at your discretion. It means that you can rent, resell, renovate, inherit it, etc. There are no restrictions on citizenship, so this format is very popular among foreign investors and expats who come to Dubai.

Among the main advantages of freehold property are:

  • Such real estate remains in the ownership of the owner and their heirs without time limits – as long as they wish it. 
  • Owners of freehold properties can use, sell or rent the property as they want. 
  • Owners of real estate in special freehold zones are entitled to a 3-year resident visa with the possibility of extension if the value of the property in Dubai is at least AED 750,000 ($204,000) and 10-year – at least AED 2 million ($544,500) in any emirate. 
  • A wide range of properties that meet different preferences and budgets in the best areas of Dubai with developed infrastructure.
City Walk
City Walk district in Dubai

Freehold zones for buying apartments in Dubai

Business Bay

A thriving business community on the banks of the Dubai Canal is home to many international companies, hotels, banks and luxurious view apartments of various sizes and configurations. Closely connected to the city center, the neighborhood is ideal for entrepreneurs working in the business centers located here. The ROI for studios here is as high as 6.7%. The cost of apartments starts from AED 815,000 ($222,000).

Furnished bedroom in an apartment in Dubai
An example of apartment furnishings from the developer

Downtown Dubai

Downtown Dubai is the cultural and financial hub of the emirate with many attractions and popular spots – from the legendary Burj Khalifa skyscraper, the Dubai Opera and dancing fountains to the Dubai Mall, the largest shopping mall in the country with a variety of shops and boutiques of world brands.

The community is characterized by vertical development – this is an area of high-rise towers, offices and business centers, which is perfect for those who prefer vibrant city life. A dense tourist flow provides year-round high demand for real estate and, as a result, a good ROI – about 6% per year for studios for long-term rent. The status of the community makes it an excellent option for short-term rentals, which can bring up to 11-13% per annum.The average cost of apartments starts from AED 933,000 ($254,000) for a studio.

Dubai Studio City

This is one of the best areas to buy freehold property with maximum return on investment. Although Dubai Studio City is better known as a free zone for media companies, it also includes residential buildings with quality infrastructure, green parks and swimming pools. The rental yield here reaches 10.9% per annum, which makes the area especially attractive to investors. The apartments are offered in mid-rise and high-rise buildings with a pleasant family atmosphere. Dubai Studio City is a pet-friendly community with good schools and medical clinics, supermarkets and restaurants.

You can buy a studio in Dubai Studio City for only AED 340,000 ($92,500).

Dubai Motorway
One of the major highways in Dubai

The Greens

The project features 40 low-rise residential apartment buildings in the prestigious community of Emirates Living. This project is a great destination for those who are looking for a calm and serene lifestyle. It is another extremely profitable location with an ROI of up to 10.2% per annum. The community has a lot of greenery, its own lake as well as swimming pools, barbecue areas, playgrounds for children, places for walking pets and walking paths. Studios at The Greens start at AED 520,000 ($141,500).

Freehold areas for buying apartments and villas in Dubai

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina is the most famous community of Dubai on the coast of the Persian Gulf. This prestigious and popular area with dazzling skyscrapers, white sand beaches, numerous entertainment venues, bars, restaurants and marina has become one of the symbols of luxury property in Dubai. Here you can find comfortable studios, spacious apartments and penthouses, as well as villas.

The average ROI for studios reaches 6.4% per annum while for 5-bedroom villas it can exceed 9.6%. Prices for apartments start from AED 670,000 ($182,500), for villas – from AED 3.1 million ($844,000).

Damac Hills

Damac Hills is a prestigious mixed-use community in Dubailand with townhouses, villas and apartments, a professional 18-hole golf course, as well as sports and wellness centers, spas, shopping and entertainment facilities. Here you can find affordable studios from AED 330,000 ($90,000) and luxurious 5-bedroom mansions for AED 17.2 million ($5.2 million). The highest ROI in Damac Hills is 6.1% per annum – for studios, 1-bedroom apartments and 2-bedroom villas.

Mohammed Bin Rashid City (MBR City)

A large modern mixed development area with a large park, the world’s largest artificial lagoon and over 4 km2 of freehold residential real estate at affordable prices. Here you can find ultra-modern apartments, villas, townhouses and mansions with classic and futuristic design. The area is perfect for families with children. There are several prestigious schools with a good rating. In addition to popular entertainment venues, there is a center for equestrian sports and falconry.

You can buy a studio at a price of AED 715,000 ($194,500), a villa – from AED 1 million ($272,500). ROIs for these properties can be up to 5.5% and 4.4% respectively.

Modern villa with double garage
Villa in MBR City.Source: famproperties

Palm Jumeirah

The legendary palm archipelago houses luxurious villas, apartments and hotels with stunning views of the Arabian Gulf and offers premium facilities ranging from infinity pools and state-of-the-art fitness centers, spa and wellness facilities to fine dining restaurants, luxury boutiques and stylish bars for a vibrant night out. This is one of the most prestigious locations in the emirate. A small studio here can be purchased for only AED 778,000 ($212,000), while a villa costs from AED 6 million ($1.6 million) with a ROI reaching 5.6%.

Freehold zones for buying villas in Dubai

Arabian Ranches

If you are interested in freehold areas for buying houses in Dubai, make sure to consider Arabian Ranches. A green family suburb with Mediterranean and Arabic style townhouses and villas, a golf club, a riding club, tennis courts, quality schools and clinics offers a relaxed and serene lifestyle. In addition, the area has good transport accessibility – the center of Dubai can be reached in just 20-30 minutes. Here you can find villas starting at AED 1.5 million ($408,500) with a ROI as high as 6.5% per annum.

Damac Lagoons

Damac Lagoons is a spectacular community with villas and townhouses surrounded by greenery, pristine beaches and crystal artificial lagoons. Each block here is designed in the style of a famous resort – Nice, Venice, Malta, etc. The general development project includes a large shopping center, medical facilities as well as restaurants, a floating movie theater, a museum and numerous entertainment options – from kayaking and zip-lining to waveriding and gondola rides. The price of a villa also starts from AED 1.5 million ($408,500). Although the community is still being developed, the ROI here is expected to be about 6% per annum.

Premium villa with private pool and garden in Damac Lagoons
Villa in one of the Damac Lagoons areas.Source: jbespoke

Emirates Hills

This is a closed high-end community with villas designed in the style of the American Beverly Hills. The houses are located around the Montgomerie Golf Club with a professional 18-hole course. This is an ideal family neighborhood with parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, barbecue areas and a park for walking pets. The project is one of the most expensive in Dubai, with prices ranging from AED 6 million ($1.6 million) to AED 190 million ($51.7 million) with ROIs reaching 3.8% per annum.

Jumeirah Park

This eco-friendly residential project offers a collection of villas surrounded by green parks, with jogging and cycling paths, children’s play areas, gyms and sports fields. The project is connected to the communities of Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT), The Meadows and Jumeirah Village Triangle (JVT). Nearby there are excellent kindergartens, schools and branches of international universities as well as medical centers and shopping malls where you can enjoy first-class shopping and have quality time with your family. For a villa here you will have to pay from AED 3 million ($817,000), ROIs reach 5.3% per annum.

Is there a complete list of freehold zones in Dubai?

The number of zones with the right to purchase freehold property in the emirate is constantly growing. New projects appear, new quarters with the right of full ownership, offering expats not only an ideal infrastructure and first-class service, but also comfortable payment terms, installment plans and various bonuses. Therefore, there is no exact list of free zones in Dubai. If you are interested in a specific property or, on the contrary, you have not yet decided on the direction for investment, it is better to consult qualified specialists. Experienced professionals at the real estate agency in Dubai AX CAPITAL will guide your though the best offers, help you choose a profitable property, whether it be a villa, townhouse or apartment, and take care of all paperwork. With us, moving to Dubai is safe and smooth.

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