In a landmark move, the Dubai Government has issued a long-awaited property law that legalises foreign ownership of properties in pre-designated areas in the emirate.
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, yesterday issued Law No. 7 that legalises freehold ownership of land and property for UAE and GCC citizens, while allowing the same rights to non-GCC expatriates to pre-designated areas that will be approved by the Ruler of Dubai.
Non-GCC expatriates will be given the right to acquire freehold and 99-year lease property, in areas designated by the Ruler.
The law comes nearly four years after the government first announced freehold ownership to expatriates, grouped under three Dubai-government owned entities Emaar Properties, Nakheel and Dubai Properties. More than 13,000 expatriate families have already moved to their new homes, without securing title deeds in their names, while another 7,000 are expected to move in by the end of the year.
The new law paves the way for expatriate homeowners to register their properties in their names with Dubai Lands and Properties Department, which has been gearing up for the rush in registration.
The law will be followed by a number of new bylaws that will identify the freehold areas in Dubai and determine the registration fees and procedures.
"The law sets out the framework for freehold real estate ownership in Dubai. It confirms the right of UAE and GCC nationals to own property and makes provision for foreigners to own real estate as well," said Mohammad Ali Al Abbar, chairman of Emaar Properties.
"This will give a boost to the secondary market in real estate. This is a development to be welcomed, since it will be another sign of growing confidence in the market," said Sa'ad Abdul Razzak, chief executive of Dubai Islamic Bank.