Alternatives to Dubai in the UAE: buying real estate in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman
When considering promising areas of the UAE real estate market, most often we are talking about Dubai. Nevertheless, other emirates are actively developing in the country today. They create comfortable conditions for living and working, and housing prices have not yet reached peak values. Investors and buyers of apartments and houses in the UAE should pay attention to such promising emirates as Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Ajman.
Ras Al Khaimah
Located in the north of the UAE, the emirate of Ras al Khaimah differs from the rest of the country in that the Hajar Mountains run along its eastern border.
Interest in local real estate has grown markedly after the launch of the project of the first casino in the region, surrounded by elite hotels. The facility on Al Marjan Island is scheduled to open in 2025. After the announcement of the project, the cost of housing in Ras al Khaimah increased by 30-65%.
It is profitable to purchase real estate on this territory for the following reasons:
- The presence of freehold-areas where foreigners are allowed to purchase apartments, houses and commercial objects in private ownership.
- Prices are lower than for similar properties in Dubai.
- The return on investment in housing reaches 7%.
- The annual increase in real estate prices due to the active development of the region and the attraction of foreign investors.
- The opportunity to buy an apartment or a house in installments at the construction stage.
- Bonuses for buying an apartment or villa from developers, for example, in the form of a free license for doing business and obtaining a resident visa.
Today, in the emirate, you can buy both ready-to-move-in apartments and apartments under construction, villas and townhouses. Prices for objects differ depending on the type and class. For example, in the new Bay Residences residential complex on Hayat Island, 1-bedroom apartments are sold for 730,000 AED ($199,000). At the same time, the cost of a finished three-storey townhouse with 3 bedrooms in the Bayti Townhomes complex is 1.43 million AED ($ 390,000).
Abu Dhabi is a coastal metropolis that is the industrial, political, cultural and educational center of the UAE. In terms of demand for real estate, it is gradually catching up with Dubai. According to analysts from the Economist Intelligence Unit, from 2020 to 2022 Abu Dhabi was the most convenient city to live in the Middle East. In addition, the emirate has held the first place in the ranking of the safest places according to the Numbeo index for 6 years in a row.
Abu Dhabi includes numerous islands with picturesque beaches, natural mangrove parks and canals. At the same time, the emirate has an excellent infrastructure for living, working, studying and doing business. There are 5 free economic zones on the territory of the location, where foreign citizens can conduct private business.
The main advantages of buying a property in Abu Dhabi:
- High liquidity of housing.
- Annual price growth. In 2022, the cost of local villas and apartments increased by 8% on average. And in the popular island communities of Saadiyat and Al Raha Beach, the price of housing has increased by 10%.
- The payback of real estate is 7-8% per year.
- The opportunity for foreigners to buy housing in private ownership in dedicated freehold zones, including the popular Yas Island, where the Ferrari World theme park is located, and Saadiyat Island, where the Louvre Abu Dhabi, various museums and art galleries are located.
- Discounts and installments from developers when buying objects under construction.
Real estate prices in the UAE capital are comparable to similar properties in Dubai. For example, a 1-bedroom apartment in the Louvre Abu Dhabi Residences complex is on sale for 2.35 million AED ($640,000). The cost of a premium 5-bedroom villa in the Saadiyat Lagoons complex is 8.2 million AED ($2.2 million).
Ajman is a small emirate in the western part of the UAE. Its area is 269 km2, and the length of the coastline is 16 km. There are free-ownership zones in the emirate, where foreigners can purchase housing in private ownership.
It is profitable to buy a property in Ajman for a number of reasons, including:
- The growing popularity of the emirate among tourists. From January to May 2022, about 237,000 guests visited the city.
- Ajman has good transport links to international airports and the industrial areas of Dubai and Sharjah.
- When buying a property worth 2 million AED ($ 544,500) or more, you can get the status of a resident of the UAE for 10 years with the possibility of extension.
- Ajman Free Zone is located here, where digital platforms for doing business work, government and banking services are provided, and there is no customs duty and income tax.
- There is a major transport hub in the emirate – the Ajman Port, which annually receives more than 1,000 vessels.
- Every year, the number of business licenses issued in Ajman increases, which indicates the popularity of the emirate among investors and entrepreneurs.
- In 2023, a budget of 2.92 billion AED ($795 million) was allocated for the development of the territory. This money is used to solve economic issues, improve infrastructure, increase security and develop digital technologies.
Ajman is a promising place to buy a house, as prices here have not yet reached their maximum values and are much lower than, for example, in new residential complexes in Dubai. There are objects under construction in the emirate, where real estate is sold at a discount from the developer. For example, the cost of a studio apartment in the Garden Residences complex under construction in the Emirates City area is 238,000 AED ($65,000). The price of a 5-bedroom villa under construction in the Azha Community complex in the Al Amerah area is 1.89 million AED ($514,500).
Sharjah is the capital of the emirate of the same name, which is located between Dubai and Ajman. There are many museums, theaters, beautiful parks, churches, which makes the city one of the main cultural centers of the UAE.
In most areas of Sharjah, foreigners can purchase housing on a long-term lease. There is a freehold zone where you can buy real estate in private ownership.
The attractiveness of Sharjah for investors is determined by the following criteria:
- Income from rental housing varies from 4 to 8% per year.
- The cost of housing is lower than the prices of similar apartments and villas in Dubai. For example, in the Aljada complex, 1-bedroom apartments are sold at a price of 760,000 AED ($207,000). The starting price of a premium villa in the same complex is 1.7 million AED ($463,000).
- New residential complexes are being actively built in the city, where you can buy an apartment or a villa in installments.
Thus, despite Dubai, there are also promising and attractive areas for buying real estate in the UAE. To get acquainted with the available offers for the sale of apartments and houses in Sharjah, Ajman, Ras al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi, use the search on our website. If necessary, you can sort the offers by object type, price, number of bedrooms.
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