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Dubai Property Buyers’ Guide

Situated in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula on the coast of the Persian Gulf, Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates. It began life as a small fishing village in the 18th century but has now grown to one of the world's most popular tourist destinations.

Surrounded by sea and desert alike, Dubai is a sprawling metropolis with something for everyone, making it an ideal place to buy property. Read on to find out why.

Why Pick Dubai?

It is the ideal time to buy property in Dubai, as the prices are currently low and there is plenty of property to choose from. The tourism industry is booming, so acquiring property to rent can be a great way to earn additional income.

Dubai is split into two halves, divided by the Dubai Creek. On the Bur Dubai side of the creek, you can find the Old Quarter, containing historically reserved buildings and beautiful souks. Deira is the commercial centre, full of modern buildings and shopping malls

What to do in Dubai

Dubai is a sprawling city with a range of amazing things to do on both sides of the river. Below are a few highlights of what to do in Dubai.


Dubai is often seen as a shopping highlight of the world, featuring one of the world’s biggest shopping centres, The Dubai Mall. It includes over 1200 shops and a range of attractions such as an aquarium, cinema, haunted house, VR park and kid’s theme park. It is also adjacent to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. The At the Top outdoor observation deck lets you look out on Dubai from the 124th floor, even seeing the shores of Iran on high visibility and low tide days.


Dubai is also well known for its souk districts, located on either side of its creek. The gold souk has nearly 250 gold retail shops while the spice souk offers colourful spices, herbs, rice and fruits. The perfume souk has traditional oud, essential oils, incense sticks and perfume. You can even get a personal fragrance crafted for you by experts. The textile souk has rolls and rolls of fabrics. You can find cotton, silks, weaves and more. The Souk Al Bahar is a modern take on traditional Arabian marketplaces, situated near the base of the Burj Khalifa.

Food and drink

One of the most popular Arabic street foods you will find in Dubai is shawarma, a dish consisting of meat shaved off a rotating spit, commonly served in a sandwich, wrap or pita with vegetables, pickles and assorted condiments. You’ll also commonly see dishes such as stuffed dates, camel, fouga deyay, shuwaa and biryani.

As it is an Arabic country, the sale and consumption of pork is regulated and is sold only to non-Muslims, along with the regulation of alcohol. A liquor permit is required to purchase alcohol and it is also served in bars, restaurants and clubs.

Local and international travel information

Dubai International Airport is one of the world's biggest airports, serving over 150 destinations in over 70 countries across six continents. This means it is easily accessible from nearly anywhere in the world. A flight from Europe will take you around 7 hours, while one from the America’s will take around 12 hours.


Dubai is great for guaranteed warm weather all year round, with the lowest temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius in January. The desert climate ensures even the winter is warm, making it quite an ideal time to visit, with the temperature still warm but not overwhelmingly hot. Rain is very rare in Dubai, usually in short bursts only once or twice a month in the winter months. The hottest month to visit is in July or August, with temperatures reaching up to 40 degrees


Despite the modernity of some parts, Dubai centres around traditional Arab culture. Traditional handicrafts and arts are commonly practised and can be found when exploring Dubai. Henna is a popular art that was originally worn by brides to bring luck to their marriage, but now remains a popular beauty treatment in Dubai and worldwide.

Ramadan is one of the biggest parts of the Islamic calendar, where adults fast from dawn to dusk as they strive for heightened spiritual awareness. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, where people come together to exchange gifts and celebrate collectively. People feast by eating plenty of sweet treats, such as dates, baklava and kleichas.

Natives usually wear an abaya if they are female, or a kandurah if they are male. While it is not compulsory to wear this clothing in Dubai, it is considered an offence to wear indecent clothing or reveal too much skin, making modest clothing the safest bet. If in doubt, cover your arms and legs. The modern parts of Dubai are usually more lenient about clothing, but if you are visiting the old town or if it is near Ramadan, it is best to cover up to show your respect for the Muslim culture.

Where to buy properties

Palm Jumeirah

The Palm Jumeirah is an artificially made archipelago that extends out of Dubai and into the Persian Gulf, with the name coming from the shape of a palm tree when observed from above. It’s an up-market location with great restaurants and retail, with stunning views of Dubai and the surrounding ocean. Jellyfish and other wildlife frequently swim around the archipelago, which offers beachfront property and quick access to the city via monorail.

The Palm is one of the most expensive areas in Dubai, with a studio apartment costing AED 2.2m and a three-bed villa AED 9m.

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina has a mix of apartments and townhouses, perfectly situated in the middle of a huge range of shopping and dining choices. It’s a highly attractive area, with skyscrapers reaching to the heavens offering superb views of the marina and the surrounding city. The marina is a man-made waterfront, and frequently has marine wildlife such as whales and sharks entering, due to its proximity to the ocean.

It is a good middle-range choice in terms of price, with a studio costing around AED 837,000 and a two-bed apartment AED 2.2m.

Jumeirah Village Circle

Jumeirah Village Circle is a fairly new development area but is one of the biggest areas of new sales in Dubai. While it isn't close to the beach or downtown, buyers are drawn by the diversity of property types and the steadily expanding amenities.

A studio apartment will cost you around AED 450,000 while a two-bed costs AED 1.1m. This makes property prices considerably lower than in other areas of Dubai.

The Greens and Views

The Greens and Views are incredibly popular with expats who are working in the city, specifically near the Internet City and Media City neighbourhoods. Residences enjoy the suburban feel of the development, with a lot of greenery and lakes that you won’t find in the city centre. It is also a great place for families to settle down.

Property in this area costs around AED 1227 per square foot.

The types of typical properties

Dubai offers a variety of different property types to suit a potential buyer’s unique needs. The typical types of properties in Dubai include:


As tower blocks are abundant in Dubai, an apartment is the most common type of property in the city. They can range from studio apartments to larger properties for families. Most apartments are in central Dubai, offering quick access to all the city has to offer.


Villas can typically be found near the water, offering stunning views and direct beachfront access. They usually have direct access to a series of amenities and good transport links to other parts of Dubai.


Townhouses can be found more inland, in communities that offer green spaces and plenty of amenities. They’re perfect for families or young professionals working in the city.


Dubai is a popular destination for expats and overseas buyers, with foreigners allowed to purchase property in leasehold areas. The emirates have a tax-free status, which has played a key role in attracting foreign investment in the economy.

A foreign buyer must simply hold a valid passport to purchase a property, with no need to obtain a residential visa beforehand. However, investing in Dubai properties has the added perk of the provision of a residential visa if they invest at least AED 1 million into a property. This is around £200,000, €241,000 or $272,000. Property transactions in Dubai take around 30 days to complete, meaning you’ll be able to move into your new property in no time at all.

How Offerpal can help you

If you’re ready to take the plunge and move to the sprawling metropolis that is Dubai, use OfferPal’s easy to operate real estate search engine to find the best properties across the city, exploring the wide range of property types and neighbourhoods that Dubai has to offer. We work with leading real estate agencies and property developers in over 13 countries and are dedicated to finding your dream home, so get started today and browse over 150,000 properties with OfferPal.

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