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Investing in the UAE - Property tax & market insight

Cluttons has partnered with Trowers & Hamlins to produce a guide to investing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), specifically looking in detail at the property markets in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

This has been a cross team effort, working with Trowers & Hamlins in the UAE to simplify the obligations for those investing in the UAE’s diverse property markets, covering both the residential and commercial sectors. 

The document also includes an update on the residential and office markets in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah and aims to provide a quick and easily digestible resource for all investors and purchasers.

As the surprise collapse in oil prices in 2014 continues to impact the performance of the various emirates across the UAE, we wanted to delve into the tax obligations for buyers, in particular those that are looking to invest in the UAE’s property markets, attracted by its dynamism and global profile. 

Enshrined in the commonly quoted English translation of the UAE Federal Constitution, private property is respected and it is stated that: “no-one shall be deprived of his property except in circumstances dictated by the public benefit and in accordance with the provisions of the law and in consideration of a just compensation.”

In accordance with the Constitution, individual Emirates legislate for the treatment of real estate that lies within their boundaries. In Dubai, the body that oversees the real estate sector is the Dubai Land Department, and in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah that role is undertaken within various departments of their respective Municipalities. 

Free zones are independent areas within the UAE, where restrictions on the ownership of companies are relaxed. These are the only places in the UAE where businesses can be incorporated without any local shareholding. There are two free zones in the UAE that have their own real estate laws: the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC); and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).


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