Historically, the most interesting real estate areas for foreign investors in Abu Dhabi include residential sector, hotel property and commercial premises. Worthy to note, that, this year a massive shift in investments to warehousing and logistics has been noticed. Major players reallotted their standard portfolio in favour of this industrial segment.
Property, including land, in Abu Dhabi may be acquired by UAE-nationals and legal entities, wholly owned by the Emiratis; UAE governmental establishments; companies, held by Abu Dhabi government; foreign natural persons and corporates. These categories of buyers share different rights and regulations concerning property purchase, as in terms of property location, mortgage loan size, etc.
Principal supervisory authority monitoring real estate market is Abu Dhabi Municipality, second-in-command establishment stands for Abu Dhabi Land Department. All kinds of real estate transactions must be registered by Land Department, otherwise a deal can't be recognized as legal and having come into full force.
There are three main types of property possession one may enter in the Emirates. Freehold
– is an ultimate and timeless right for property – units or sections in the building, including parcels of land, that entitles the owner to dispose, lease out, transfer as a gift or an inheritance. UAE-nationals and citizens of the GCC may obtain lands and properties in Abu Dhabi mainland without restrictions. As for other nations, they may register freehold ownership within purposefully designated areas only. Freehold investment areas in Abu Dhabi include yet popular Reem Island, Al Raha Beach, Al Reef, Saadiyat Island, Masdar City, Jubail Island, Al Shamkha and others.
Al Maryah Island, where Abu Dhabi Global Market (an international financial center) is located, refers to free investment zones also, though it is regulated separately and differently from all the rest free zones. The lands at Al Maryah Island are reserved for GCC and UAE-nationals usage, foreigners may share property right for apartment units or entire floors in the buildings. Besides, Abu Dhabi Global Market has its own regulatory division – Property Regulations and Strata Regulation, providing the list of real estate transactions mandatory for registration by this authority. Leasehold
– a time-framed limited ownership of properties excluding land, represented in the forms of "musataha", "usufruct" and long-term lease. Musataha agreement is submitted for 50 years, tenants are allowed to use and alter the property. The contract may be prolonged for the same duration.
Usufruct terms entitles the tenants use the units without right for their alteration. Usufruct is valid for a 99 year-period.
Long-term lease is available for an initial extent of time, not less than 25 years. Jointly Owned Property
– ownership of such a kind of property means that each occupier shares right for the parts of the building and/or land and areas of common use, i.e. lifts, lobbies, passages in the building and pools, pathways and likes onsite. All the unit-holders are requested to join Committee, which will monitor, regulate and sponsor the upkeep of commonly used utilities and facilities.
The law acknowledges one and more owners to the property. When an individual owner obtains and registers real estate under his/her name, that is sole proprietorship. Joint ownership is possible as well, in case when two or more natural persons participate in the purchase and that is reflected in the title deed.
Best areas for investment in Abu Dhabi described in this article