01-04-2021 - Thursday - 12:03 pm

Popular Freehold Areas in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for Overseas Investors

Ann Susan Paul | 24 November 2020

Freehold areas are those designated investment zones in the country where non-UAE nationals can own properties. The non-Emirati owners of these properties are also allowed to sell or lease them. In this article, we take you through some of the most popular freehold areas in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for overseas investors.

With the UAE government allowing expatriates and foreigners to buy property in certain areas of the country, real estate investment in the region has seen tremendous growth. Further, opening up the property market to the world made UAE a global investment hub. As a result, many developers are now offering attractive and flexible payment plans in the most sought-after freehold areas in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In this article, we look at some of the most popular of these locations where overseas investors can buy properties.

Freehold areas in Dubai

Dubai has been open to overseas property investors since 2002 when UAE Prime Minister His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum issued a decree allowing foreign investors to buy property in designated investment zones in Dubai. Here are five of the most popular freehold areas in Dubai.

  • Al Barari
  • Arabian Ranches
  • Palm Jumeirah
  • Business Bay
  • Discovery Gardens

Al Barari

Al Barari freehold areas

One of the most uniquely designed and maintained communities in Dubai, Al Barari features a lush green neighbourhood offering luxury villas and apartments. Available for both off-plan investment and as ready-to-move properties, the freehold area also has plots for sale. A luxury villa in the community would cost about AED7 million. Meanwhile, you can buy an apartment here for as low as about AED600,000.

Check out our listings at Al Barari here.

Arabian Ranches

Arabian Ranches freehold areas

One of the most premium villa developments in Dubai, Arabian Ranches 1, 2, and 3 offer world-class amenities amid and luxurious living experiences. Spread across an area of 6.67 million sq. m., this freehold area by Emaar Properties has large villas and townhouses – both ready and off-plan. Arabian Ranches villas start from about AED1.2 million.

Check out our listings at Arabian Ranches here.

Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah freehold areas

One of the most iconic destinations in the world, Palm Jumeirah is a symbol of the luxurious and opulent Dubai lifestyle. Both off-plan and ready properties are available in this famous freehold area. Apartments, penthouses, villas, townhouses, and plots – this waterfront community offers every type of property for overseas investors. An apartment can cost from around AED720,000 and a villa can be for about AED4.2 million.

Check out our listings at Palm Jumeirah here.

Business Bay

Business Bay freehold area

The most bustling neighbourhood in Dubai, Business Bay is at the heart of Dubai. With particularly stunning views of Burj Khalifa, the freehold area is where you can find the most high-rise buildings with luxurious apartments and penthouses. You can invest in off-plan and ready property in Business Bay. A studio in this area would cost you about AED400,000.

Check out our listings at Business Bay here.

Discovery Gardens

Discovery Gardens freehold areas
Image credit: Nakheel

Discovery Gardens is one of the most affordable freehold areas in Dubai for overseas investors. All the buildings in the region are ready to move in. Above all, a studio in this family-friendly community can be purchased for as low as AED280,000. With lush green surroundings and a calm neighbourhood, residents can enjoy a serene lifestyle that is surprisingly affordable.

Freehold areas in Abu Dhabi

Considering the growing population in Abu Dhabi and its potential to become one of the leading real estate markets in the world, the Government has allowed non-Emiratis investors to purchase property in certain investment areas, similar to Dubai. The following are five of the most popular among overseas investors.

  • Al Reem Island
  • Yas Island
  • Saadiyat Island
  • Masdar City

Al Reem Island

Al Reem Island freehold areas
Sa7er90, CC BY-SA 4.0

With sleek and contemporary residential apartment buildings, Al Reem Island is one of the most popular freehold areas in Abu Dhabi. Overseas investors have a choice of townhouses and plots also to invest in. You can buy off-plan and ready properties in Al Reem Island. A studio apartment here can be bought for as low as AED400,000 in this mixed-use development.

Yas Island

Yas Island freehold areas
Image credit: Yas Island

Above all, Yas Island is known to be home of the famous Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by Formula One. The community is also one of the most popular upcoming investment destinations in Abu Dhabi. This freehold area offers a selection of off-plan and ready projects. From apartments and villas to townhouses and plots, overseas investors enjoy a long catalogue of property types available in the island. Meanwhile, a studio here can cost from AED740,000.

Saadiyat Island

Saadiyat Island freehold
Image credit: Visit Abu Dhabi

A mastermind of Aldar Properties, Saadiyat Island is also a major tourist destination in Abu Dhabi. Above all, this freehold area apartments and penthouses, villas and townhouses, and even plots available for sale. Both off-plan and ready properties are available. The starting price of a studio apartment in this family-friendly and culturally unique community is AED540,000.

Masdar City

Masdar City freehold areas
Image credit: Masdar City

This mixed-use development offers overseas investors an array of high-quality apartments. There are a handful of townhouses also in this community. Considered a sustainable city, this freehold area is also home to the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. Moreover, this is an energy-efficient area that has off-plan and ready properties for sale. You can buy a studio apartment for about AED475,000.


In conclusion, if you like to invest in any of these popular freehold areas in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, please contact us. Moreover, our real estate agents are licensed by RERA and have hands-on experience in assisting investors to find the best opportunities in the UAE property market. For this reason, we take pride in being one of the trusted real estate agents in Dubai.

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