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Remote Investing in Dubai Real Estate for Foreign Investors

Master remote investing in Dubai's booming real estate market with our guide, tailored for global investors who are looking for opportunities in Dubai.
Master remote investing in Dubai's booming real estate market with our guide, tailored for global investors who are looking for opportunities in Dubai.

In an era marked by globalization, the opportunity to invest beyond one’s geographical confines has expanded more than ever before. The digital age has dismantled barriers, enabling investors around the globe to explore, diversify, and strengthen their portfolios by tapping into international markets. Among these, Dubai’s real estate market emerges as a beacon of opportunity, promising substantial returns, a thriving economy, and a luxurious lifestyle that attracts investors from every corner of the world.

As portfolios become more globalized, investors are increasingly seeking opportunities that offer not just financial returns but also stability and potential for growth. Dubai, with its iconic skyline, world-class infrastructure, and investor-friendly policies, offers just that. The city’s real estate market is renowned for its high rental yields, robust demand, and strategic location as a business and tourism hub, making it a sought-after destination for investors aiming to broaden their investment horizon.

The Challenge of Remote Investing

However, the journey to investing in Dubai’s real estate market is not without its challenges, especially for those looking to invest remotely. Many foreign investors don’t have the luxury of time to visit properties on-site, navigate through the local banking processes, or establish a network of trusted local contacts. These hurdles can seem daunting, creating a gap between the desire to invest and the ability to execute such investments efficiently.

Remote investing, while offering numerous advantages, also presents unique challenges: the need for reliable local market insights, the complexity of international financial transactions without a local bank account, and the critical importance of having trusted partners on the ground. Furthermore, the most common practice in Dubai and the UAE of completing property transactions with a manager’s cheque adds another challenge for international investors.
A manager’s cheque, issued by a bank, ensures 100% security as the funds are already deposited by the buyer. This method, while offering assurance of payment security and authenticity, requires a nuanced understanding of the local banking system and real estate transaction protocols.

Understanding Remote Investing

The concept of remote property investing has revolutionized the way individuals engage with real estate markets across the globe. This innovative approach enables foreign investors to purchase and profit from properties regardless of their geographic location, breaking down the traditional barriers that once limited investment opportunities to one’s immediate surroundings. Remote investing allows for ownership and income generation from properties without being bound by geographical constraints, offering the same long-term rewards as traditional property investment but with added flexibility and potential.

In the digital age, the process of long-distance investing has been greatly simplified. Online real estate marketplaces now provide comprehensive property listings, complete with detailed visual content such as photos and virtual tours. This evolution in how properties are presented and explored remotely has saved investors time, money, and resources, making it easier than ever to evaluate and invest in properties from afar.

Benefits of Remote Property Investing

Remote property investing offers a multitude of advantages to overcome the classic barriers, including:

  • Diversification
  • Time and Money
  • Technology
  • No Boundaries
  • Flexibility

Diversification: This approach not only diversifies an investor’s portfolio but also exposes them to markets with differing economic dynamics than those found in their home region. The growth of this trend is a testament to the significant impact of technological advancements and various economic drivers that have made remote investing more accessible and appealing.

Time and Money: With the ability to buy property anywhere online, investors are not confined to their local market. This opens up the opportunity to conduct thorough research on location, property values, and market analysis from anywhere in the world, leading to potential savings and a larger margin for return on investment.

Technology: Modern technology and new tools have streamlined the remote investing process over the last years.

  • Online property listing platforms make it easy for remote investors to get an overview
  • Online galaries, virtual viewings, 3D models or even augmented reality, provide a realistic sense of the property.
  • Zoom Calls or other virtual conferencing systems let the remote investor connect with a local agent at any time at no costs.
  • Moreover, digital services facilitate the management of your portfolio from anywhere, with all contracts capable of being signed digitally.

No Boundaries: The internet has effectively removed geographical boundaries for property investors, allowing them to explore opportunities beyond their local market. While many may feel comfortable investing locally, remote investing can offer more viable options and significantly higher yields.

Flexibility: Similar to diversifying a stock portfolio, remote property investing enables diversification of your investment portfolio across different regions and markets. This flexibility offers more options and opportunities that align with investors’ budgets and goals, highlighting the importance of understanding investor profiles and objectives.

What Dubai offers to Remote Investors

Dubai, a vibrant hub at the crossroads of East and West, has long attracted investors with its dynamic real estate market. It is not just the city’s futuristic skyline, strategic location and luxurious lifestyle that attracts global investors, but also the solid framework and opportunities that the real estate sector offers. Home to some of the world’s leading real estate companies such as Damac, Emaar, Sobha Realty and Select Group, Dubai offers a variety of investment opportunities to suit every budget and investment strategy.

Dubai’s Real Estate Markets: Primary and Secondary

Understanding the distinction between Dubai’s primary and secondary real estate markets is crucial for remote investors aiming to navigate the city’s property landscape successfully.


Primary Market (Off Plan)

The journey of every real estate development in Dubai begins with an off-plan project. At this stage, developers start selling units before the commencement of construction, often referred to as the launch day. This phase offers remote investors an opportunity to express their interest in upcoming developments and secure properties directly from the developer. Investing in the primary market allows investors to enter the market at a lower entry price, providing the potential for significant capital appreciation as the project progresses towards completion.

>> Learn more about Off Plan Projects in Dubai in our Guide


Secondary Market

The secondary market encompasses both off-plan properties that have been purchased from the developer and are being resold, and completed properties being sold by one individual to another. This market offers a different set of opportunities and considerations for remote investors. Properties in the secondary market can provide immediate rental income if they are already completed, and might also offer the chance to purchase at below the original price if the seller is motivated. This market segment requires a keen understanding of Dubai’s real estate dynamics, including price trends and demand in various districts.

Rosewater, Creek Beach, EMAAR, Buy an Apartment in Dubai, Secondary Market, Dubai, NST Real Estate
Rosewater, Creek Beach, EMAAR

Off Plan vs. Secondary Market Compare i 2023

In 2023, the scale tipped significantly towards off-plan transactions, highlighting a growing investor preference and confidence in purchasing properties before their completion.

The Rising Dominance of Off-Plan Transactions

A detailed examination of the market trends from the first quarter (Q1) to the second quarter (Q2) of 2023 reveals a steady upward trajectory in the number of transactions, with off-plan sales gaining even more momentum. This increase is not just a testament to the market’s recovery and growth but also reflects the evolving investor sentiment favoring the potential returns and benefits associated with off-plan investments.

NST Statistic Dubai Total Sales Transaction 2023 Off Plan Secondary market
Off Plan vs Secondary Market 2023. Numbers of total sales transaction by Dubai Land Department

The graphic shows the development of off-plan versus secondary market sales transactions throughout the year 2023, providing a clear visual representation of their comparative performance.

The last quarter in 2023 closed with a total of 20.462 off plan sales transaction, which is a total volume of 34.3 billion AED ($9.34 billion) 

This trend towards off-plan investments can be attributed to several factors, including the attractive payment plans offered by developers, often you might hear those are like interest free investments, the anticipation of higher capital appreciation before project completion, and the allure of entering the market at a potentially lower price point. Additionally, the primary market’s investment landscape is often perceived as less complex and more accessible for remote investors, further contributing to its popularity.

Secondary Market: Steady but Overshadowed

While the secondary market has also shown growth, it has been overshadowed by the burgeoning interest in off-plan transactions. The secondary market remains a vital component of Dubai’s real estate ecosystem, offering opportunities for immediate rental income and the potential for investment in well-established neighbourhoods. However, the allure of off-plan investments, especially among remote and foreign investors looking for capital growth opportunities and flexible payment terms, has led to a marked shift in investor focus.

Get regular updates about the Dubai Market and Trends

Why Dubai’s Primary Market is the Easiest Investment for Remote Investors

Investing in Dubai’s primary real estate market presents a streamlined and accessible route for remote investors, distinguishing itself as an attractive option for those seeking to bypass the complexities often associated with the secondary market.

Earlier, we highlighted several challenges inherent to remote property investments, such as the necessity for a local bank account and the intricacies of managing transactions from afar. These challenges are notably mitigated when purchasing directly from developers in the primary market, offering a hassle-free investment experience with numerous benefits.

Benefits of Primary Market Investments

  1. No Local Bank Account Required: One of the most significant advantages of investing in the primary market is the elimination of the need for a local bank account, simplifying the investment process for remote investors.

  2. Convenient Online Payment Options: Developers often provide online payment links, making the transaction process not only convenient but also fast and secure. This modern approach to payment is particularly beneficial for investors managing their investments from abroad.

  3. Agent-Assisted Transactions: The entire process of securing a unit can be efficiently handled by an agent from a reputable agency, such as NST Real Estate. This means that remote investors can rely on professional assistance every step of the way, from selecting the right property to completing the purchase.

  4. Flexible Payment Structures: As an off-plan investor, there is no requirement to have all the funds upfront or to take out a mortgage immediately. After the initial purchase, investors typically make only a downpayment and then pay a percentage of the total cost in installments until the handover. The remaining amount is often due after the property’s completion. Payment plans vary from project to project, offering flexibility to suit different investment capacities.

  5. Option to Resell: Properties can often be resold after a certain percentage of the payment plan has been completed. This offers investors the flexibility to exit their investment under favorable conditions or to realize gains before the project’s completion.

  6. No Capital Gains Tax: Dubai is particularly attractive to investors due to the absence of tax on capital gains from property resales. This policy enhances the profitability of investments in the primary market, making it a financially savvy choice for those looking to maximize their returns.

Free Case Study – 89% ROI with Off Plan Investment

Discover the remarkable journey of a remote investor who achieved an astounding 89% ROI with an off-plan property in Dubai.

Download your case study here

As the Dubai real estate market continues to flourish, offering diverse opportunities for remote investors, understanding the nuances between off-plan and secondary market investments becomes crucial. At NST Real Estate, we’re committed to guiding you through this dynamic landscape, leveraging our extensive experience to help you achieve your investment goals. Whether you’re drawn to the potential of off-plan properties or the stability of the secondary market, our team is here to offer personalized advice and insights. Let us help you navigate your investment journey in Dubai’s promising real estate market. Reach out to NST Real Estate today, and take the first step towards unlocking your investment potential in this vibrant city.

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Nina Strenzel

Nina Strenzel

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