Dubai and the UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a favourite destination for Escape to the Sun. It is one of the few places where UK holidaymakers and property buyers can seek guaranteed winter sunshine and warm temperatures that is also easily accessible. There are multiple daily direct flights from the UK with a journey time of approximately seven hours.

The summers months are usually unbearably hot but from October until May, the weather is superb with warm sunshine, blue skies and very low rainfall. This makes it ideal for those seeking a winter break, or second home.

The UAE is also a very safe place to live. According to, Crime Index 2016, the UAE ranks in the top-ten safest places globally in line with Singapore. Indeed, the UAE is seen as a safe-haven of the Middle East not only from a crime perspective but also investment-wise. Whilst unfortunately it is not possible to rule out anywhere in the world from terror threats, the UAE has remained historically trouble-free. Long may this continue.

DubaiAlong with these very low crime rates, the UAE is a peaceful and tolerant place to live that is respectful of all religions. This is particularly so given the population of 2.5m people is predominantly expats which constitute about 90% of the population. There is approximately 250,000 British expats living in the UAE. Whilst Arabic is the official language, due to the diverse nationalities involved, English tends to be the de-facto language on a day-to-day basis.

The weather is not the only draw with world-class leisure, tourism, sporting, dining, bars and shopping facilities available. If you want the biggest or the best, then the UAE, and Dubai in particular is the place to be. Of the seven Emirates, we remain positive on the long-term prospects for Dubai.

Property price growth has been sluggish in 2015 and expected to continue during 2016. This is in part due to falling oil prices and investments from the wider Middle East, China and Russia drying up. The currency (AED Dirhams) is pegged to the US Dollar which is also currently strong and not helping inward investment. There is also a good supply of property coming to market which is also limiting property price inflation.

Longer-term, the economy is seen as stable, growing and well diversified. 70% of GDP now comes from non-oil activity. The Government is also committed to a massive programme of investment in infrastructure. This combined with some exciting residential developments along the new Dubai Canal, Business Bay, The Creek and Dubai Marina will see this dynamic and vibrant city totally transformed again in the next decade. Expo 2020 and the football world cup in Qatar 2022 (sixty-minute flight time to Doha) are sure to increase demand.

Property transaction costs are very low by international standards and, currently, there are no local taxes payable on rental income and capital gains.

The following page gives an outline of the costs involved and property purchase process.

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