House Hunting in the United Arab Emirates: A Solar-Powered Palace in Dubai (2023)


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In the Persian Gulf city, 50,000 new residences are expected to be completed by year’s end, which should keep a check on soaring prices.

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12,000 Square Feet of Luxury in Dubai17 PhotosView Slide Show ›

Luxhabitat/Sotheby’s International Realty

By Marcelle Sussman Fischler

(Video) Inside The Life of Dubai's Royal Family

A Six-Bedroom Villa in the Heart of Dubai


This six-bedroom house is one of 189 clustered like petals around green space in the Dahlia section of Al Barari, a 351-acre oasis and eco-friendly community about 20 miles from the Persian Gulf in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

The two-story, 12,713-square-foot villa, built in 2011 on a quarter-acre lot, is the only solar-powered family villa in Al Barari. Its green-energy system “saves 40 percent a month” on electricity and water, said Carina Bou Ali, an associate director with Luxhabitat Sotheby’s International Realty, which has the listing.

The formal entrance, tucked down a path beside an attached three-car garage with an electric-vehicle charger, has double wood doors with a starry design and glass inserts. The ornamental pattern is repeated on the balustrade leading from the foyer up a staircase rising two levels to the second floor.

“The houses have very high ceilings to prevent humidity accumulation,” and allow the “cold air to drop,” Ms. Bou Ali said.

Floors in the formal areas and on the staircase are marble and limestone, while the bedrooms have wood floors. The 11 bathrooms are tiled in four different designs.

A center hall, with a powder room to one side and a seating alcove under the stairs, leads to the formal dining room, which opens to the rear garden through two sets of folding wood-trimmed glass doors. To one side, the formal living room has a coffered ceiling and a fireplace with a gel fire feature. Wall-to-wall folding doors overlook a pool and Jacuzzi in the rear garden.

The family dining room, open to a den, has a picture window separating it from the main kitchen, which has SieMatic cabinetry, a granite center island and a porcelain plank floor. A service kitchen and a laundry room are beyond the main kitchen.

All the bedrooms are en suite. The primary suite, off the center hall, opens to a side garden. Upstairs, a second suite opens to a large terrace overlooking the pool and Jacuzzi.

Alongside the solar panels, staff quarters on the roof include two rooms and a bathroom accessed via a garden staircase. Maid’s quarters, including a kitchen, bath and living room, are on a mezzanine level reached by steps from the foyer.


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The garden and pool area have new lighting and irrigation, a large wall with a water feature, an outdoor shower, chaise longues, and other seating and dining areas.

The house is a seven-minute golf-cart ride to restaurants, salons and other shops beyond Al Barari’s gate. The community offers themed gardens, naturally landscaped lakes and freshwater streams, as well as a spa, health club, playgrounds, kids club, barbecue areas and an open-air cinema. Downtown Dubai and its beaches are a half-hour drive. The 17-mile drive to Dubai International Airport takes 25 minutes.

Market Overview

According to Knight Frank’s Wealth Report 2022, released in January, Dubai — the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai — was the world’s top-ranked growth destination for prime and luxury properties in 2021, with luxury prices increasing by 44 percent year over year.

Chris Whitehead, the managing partner at Luxhabitat Sotheby’s International Realty, explained the lure this way: “Dubai offers an excellent lifestyle, with little to zero crimes, no personal income tax, ease of business operations, health care, multicultural restaurants, various shopping options, and sunny weather all year round.”

Before the onset of the pandemic, the market in Dubai was still recovering from a slump that began in late 2014. “Negative sentiment, coupled with a huge supply of new developments, had led to prices falling consistently during that period,” said Andrew Cummings, a partner and head of prime residential in the Middle East for Knight Frank.

Following a strict but short Covid-19 lockdown, the city reopened to tourists in July 2020 and the market followed suit, with activity increasing “as buyers re-evaluated their lifestyles and, generally, sought to move to bigger homes,” Mr. Cummings said.

“It was really the start of 2021 that saw the market take off,” he continued, with the year-end total of about 52,000 apartment and villa transactions, totaling 114.2 billion U.A.E. Dirham ($31.1 billion), outstripping the total for the two previous years combined.

According to Knight Frank’s Q1 2022 market report, released this week, house prices across Dubai climbed by 10.6 percent in 2021 and a further 2.6 percent in the first three months of 2022, marking the highest rate of year-over-year growth since January 2015.

“The positive market sentiment, driven by the government’s world-leading response to the pandemic, coupled with the successful hosting of the World Expo, the reopening of travel corridors and Dubai’s global safe-haven status continues to underpin the market’s rebound,” said Faisal Durrani, a partner and head of Middle East research at Knight Frank.

He added that “values are still, on average, about 25 percent below their 2014 peak.” But demand remains at record levels, with international and domestic buyers searching for larger homes.

At the high end, Mr. Cummings said, more than 30 sales have been recorded over $10 million so far this year, a number that, with the exception of 2021, would be a record for a full year. Recent changes to visa laws enabling buyers to obtain Golden Visas for pre-construction purchases are also likely to have a positive effect on the market, he said.


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But even as sales have soared at the high end, pre-construction buying has kept a check on prices in the prime market, which contracted by 6 percent during the first quarter of 2022, for an average price of $1.22 million, according to Luxhabitat/Sotheby’s recent Dubai Prime Residential Market Report.

Topping those are pre-construction branded residences, said Mr. Whitehead, with prices up to $1,851 a square foot. The 28 luxury residences at the upcoming Four Seasons Private Residences are sold out, he said. And The Atlantis the Royal Residences, expected to be completed later this year on the man-made Palm Jumeirah island, will have 231 apartments. Prices start at $1.96 million.

In all, 50,000 residences are expected to be completed by the end of the year, and 100,000 by the end of 2025, though only 25 percent are planned as villas, said Mr. Durrani of Knight Frank.

Available properties range from two-bedroom apartments in Dubai Marina and Downtown Dubai for under $1 million. Villas in popular areas trade between $1.5 million and $2 million, Mr. Cummings said. Luxury villas and penthouses begin at around $5 million and go “exponentially higher, with Dubai’s most expensive home ever recorded this year for $76 million.”

At Al Barari, villas range from $3.5 million to $47 million, Ms. Bou Ali said. And Jumeirah Bay Island, where a 50,000-square-foot plot recently sold for more than $40 million, is the priciest new hot spot.

For affordable living, Business Bay, on the outskirts of Downtown, is promising, and there are new townhouse and villa developments on the outskirts of the city in Dubailand, Mr. Cummings said.

Who Buys in Dubai

Since the onset of the pandemic, a wave of European buyers has descended on Dubai — mainly Germany, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland, agents said. Traditionally, buyers are mainly local or from other Gulf countries, with more from India, Pakistan, Russia, Britain and China.

Because it is a buyer’s market, “a lot of Americans and South Americans started to see Dubai as an investment,” said Mohab Samak, managing director of the Engel and Völkers Market Center in Dubai.

Buying Basics

There are no restrictions on foreign buyers in the Emirate of Dubai, Mr. Whitehead said, noting that fees vary from 6,000 to 10,000 AED ($1,633 to $2722), plus a 5 percent value-added tax.

Though residents can get a mortgage for up to 80 percent of the “loan to value ratio,” many local banks “find it too risky” to issue mortgages to foreigners and reduce the loan-to-value ratio to 65 percent for international buyers, Mr. Samak said.

Real estate commission runs 2 percent of the purchase price for the buyer and 2 percent for the seller, plus a 5 percent value-added tax, Ms. Bou Ali said For foreign owners and tenants, the Dubai Municipality charges an additional 5 percent housing fee for its services, paid in monthly installments, she said.

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Languages and Currency

Arabic; United Arab Emirates dirham (1 dirham = $0.27)

Taxes and Fees

The annual community service fee paid on this house is 81,490 dirham ($22,186).

Buyers pay a 4 percent fee to the Dubai Land Department and a 2 percent brokerage fee on purchases. The 2 percent is often waived for buyers purchasing from pre-construction plans for new developments, Mr. Cummings said.


Carina Bou Ali, Luxhabitat/Sotheby’s International Realty, 011-971-600-545-451;

For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.


How many Emirates does the United Arab Emirates UAE have? ›

The capital city is Abu Dhabi, located in the largest and wealthiest of the seven emirates.

Are there houses in UAE? ›

There are different types of houses available throughout the UAE. Choices range from high-rise apartments, villas within gated complexes, and townhouses.

Is Dubai a country? ›

No. Dubai is a liberal state within the United Arab Emirates.

Where is United Arab Emirates? ›

Location: Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Is Dubai a free country? ›

The government restricts freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and the local media are censored to avoid criticising the government, government officials or royal families. As a result, the UAE routinely ranks near the bottom of many international measures for human rights and press freedom.

What is a person from Dubai called? ›

The Emiratis (Arabic: الإماراتيون) are the native Arab citizen population of the United Arab Emirates. Their largest concentration is in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where there are about approximately 1.5 million Emiratis.

Is Dubai a rich or poor country? ›

Dubai transformed itself into a global business hub and a luxury tourist destination, becoming among the wealthiest states globally. Its economy is vibrant and diverse and generates revenue in various ways.

Is Dubai house cheap? ›

Currently, Dubai's real estate market offers a wide range of cheap properties. However, it is expected that their prices are likely to increase as the number of new projects in Dubai is decreasing.

Is Dubai expensive to live? ›

In terms of costs like food, entertainment and activities, Dubai is reasonably expensive (but proportionally lower than rental costs).

What people in Dubai do for money? ›

The bulk of its money comes from the production of goods and provision of services related to petroleum, petrochemicals, aluminium and cement.

Can you drink alcohol in Dubai? ›

Alcohol. UAE Residents can drink alcohol at home and in licensed venues. Liquor licences are still required for Residents in Dubai but are no longer required for Residents in Abu Dhabi and other Emirates (save for Emirate of Sharjah) to purchase alcohol for personal consumption.

Is Dubai a good place to live? ›

Renowned for its ultra-modern social and economic infrastructure, safe living environment, unrivalled lifestyle offerings and world-class career opportunities, Dubai is firmly established as one of the world's most liveable cities, making it a hugely popular destination among expats and their families.

Is Dubai in Africa or not? ›

Last Updated 17/10/2022. Yes, Dubai is in Asia, but it's also a part of the Middle East which could also be considered part of Africa. Dubai is not a country, it is a city and emirate in a country called the United Arab Emirates, this country is in the Middle East and this is a transcontinental region, ie.

Is Dubai a big city? ›

What is Dubai known for? ›

Dubai is famous for the record-breaking Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, and the Palm, its vibrant culture, turbulent history, modern infrastructure, huge aquariums, and indoor ski slopes. Dubai is also known for its ultra-fast cars, driverless subway, scorching summer heat, and fantastic beaches.

Is there crime in Dubai? ›

There is very little crime in Dubai. Mainly because the main population is foreigners, and if they commit a crime, they'll be deported. There's also a strong police presence in tourist areas and CCTV cameras that line the streets, meaning you'll be safe if you don't wander too far off the track.

Can you have tattoos in Dubai? ›

Of course, this then leads many expatriates to ask are tattoos allowed in Dubai and the UAE. Having tattoos is perfectly fine and legal. And if you're asking can you show tattoos in Dubai? Yes you can.

Is Dubai safe to visit? ›

Reconsider travel to the United Arab Emirates due to the threat of missile or drone attacks. Country Summary: The possibility of attacks affecting U.S. citizens and interests in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula remains an ongoing, serious concern.

Do Dubai citizens get paid? ›

Nearly 90 percent of Emiratis who work are employed by the government, which provides long-term job security along with far more disposable income than workers in most other countries receive.

What language is spoken in Dubai? ›

Dubai's official language is Arabic but there are many variations prevalent in the city. Standard Arabic – the modernised, literary version – is the one you'll encounter in all legal, administrative and government texts, as well as books and newspapers.

What nationality are you if born in Dubai? ›

Emirati nationality law governs citizenship eligibility in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The law is primarily jus sanguinis. Foreigners may be naturalized and granted citizenship, but the process is limited due to the declining share of the Emirati population and fears of national identity loss.

Who is the richest person in Dubai? ›

Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

What is the lowest salary in Dubai? ›

In 2021, the average salary in Dubai is about 21,500 AED (United Arab Emirates Dirham) per month. That's 5,853.54 USD per month, according to the exchange rates in July 2021.
The Minimum Wage in Dubai.
Employee CategoriesMinimum Base Salaries (per month)
Skilled Labourers5,000 AED
2 more rows
6 Aug 2021

Who is Dubai owned by? ›

The Al Maktoum family is Dubai's ruling family and descendants of the House of Al-Falasi, of which Sheikh Mohammed is the tribal leader. His mother was Sheikha Latifa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, daughter of former ruler of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan.

What salary do I need to live in Dubai? ›

Let's begin. If you don't want to read the whole blog, here is the bottom line; a salary of AED 10,000 - 15,000 (USD 2,700 - 4,000) a month is considered pretty decent with the potential to save a good amount, while a salary of AED 15,000 - 20,000 (USD 4,000 - 5,400) per month and more is considered very attractive.

Can foreigners buy houses in Dubai? ›

In Dubai, foreign ownership is permitted in areas designated as freehold. Foreigners (who don't live in the UAE) and expatriate residents may acquire freehold ownership rights over property without restriction, usufruct rights, or leasehold rights for up to 99 years.

What is the average salary to live in Dubai? ›

The average salary in Dubai is AED 21,500 per month, which is equivalent to USD $5,853. The salary of a worker in Dubai is therefore on average higher than in Western countries. Find out the average salaries by profession and how they are set by employers in Dubai.

Can I live in Dubai without a job? ›

UAE visa you can get without a job. Although a majority of the expats, which accounts for about 85 percent of the UAE's population, work as an employee in the country and require a work visa to live here, there has, however, been a noteworthy expansion of the visa scheme as announced by the UAE government.

Is Dubai cheaper than USA? ›

High Cost of Living

The cost of living in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is high compared to the US and the rest of the world. This issue is enhanced by the excessive spending here. Since many of its goods are imports, you do pay a premium for this choice with more expensive goods.

Where do rich live in Dubai? ›

Jumeirah, Al Barsha, Arabian Ranches, Al Thanyah and Umm Suqeim are home to the highest number of rich people in Dubai, says a new report.

Why do rich people move to Dubai? ›

The country's quick reaction to COVID-19 through its vaccination drives, its overall stable weather, great diplomatic relations, peace, a robust economy, a positive business environment, and low crime rates was among the many factors that millionaires are choosing to make Dubai their new home.

How much money do you need to work in Dubai? ›

Salary in Dubai

The UAE does not have a national minimum wage, and as such wages can vary significantly. Wages in Dubai can range from around 4,800 AED up to 99,000 AED. Financial, legal and technological industries usually pay more, whereas wages for roles in manufacturing can be very low.

Can you kiss in Dubai? ›

Is it legal to kiss in public? While rare, people have been arrested for kissing in Dubai – it's not a city big on public displays of affection. In fact, outside your hotel room, it's best to avoid anything overtly physical.

Is it okay to wear shorts in Dubai? ›

When visiting Dubai as a tourist, you will be glad to know that the dress code in tourist places and hotels isn't very strict. Men can wear shorts, pants, shirts, or t-shirts. Women can wear dresses, skirts, shorts, and t-shirts, blouses, tops…

Do females have to cover up in Dubai? ›

Women will be required to cover their head and both men and women will be required to remove shoes before entering. Both men and women will be required to have their arms covered to the wrists and legs covered to the ankles. If tourists are not covered pashminas or abayas may be issued to wear.

Is it easy to get a job in Dubai? ›

Dubai's job market is extremely competitive, and on average, a recruiter will only spend six seconds checking out your resume.

What do I wear in Dubai? ›

The general rule regarding dressing in public in Dubai is to wear clothing that covers your shoulders and your knees. It's best to refrain from wearing clothing that is too tight or too revealing for both men and women. It's a good idea to carry a light sweater or shawl when going out in public places.

Is Dubai good for job? ›

Great salaries

The salaries here at Dubai are really good. In fact, this is one major reason as to why people decide to take up jobs in this desert city. This is applicable for all the expats – even the migrant labourers from countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India.

Is Dubai richest city in the world? ›

#Dubai is the richest city in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) and the 29th wealthiest in the world according to New World Wealth.

Is Dubai under Arab? ›

Dubai, also spelled Dubayy, city and capital of the emirate of Dubai, one of the wealthiest of the seven emirates that constitute the federation of the United Arab Emirates, which was created in 1971 following independence from Great Britain.

Is Dubai man made? ›

It is twenty years since the construction of the man-made islands of Dubai began, the world's largest artificial archipelago. Widely announced as the star project of the urban development of the United Emirate, two decades later, the story is very different to what the developers would have imagined.

Is Lagos bigger than Dubai? ›

To put it differently, Lagos is a big city with three times more people, yet, with a smaller area of just 1,171 km², which is four times lesser. Dubai is not a city for constant trekking, with some 30km buried between the Old City and Marina.

Is Dubai making a new city? ›

Masdar City is being constructed 17 kilometres (11 mi) east-south-east of the city of Abu Dhabi, a five minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport and 40 minutes from Dubai. The city will be connected to existing urban areas via roads and light-rail.
Masdar City.
Masdar City مدينة مصدر
13 more rows

Why is Dubai so great? ›

Why is Dubai one of the world's top cities? There are a number of reasons as to why Dubai is regarded as one of the best cities in the world. This is thanks to its unique architecture, multicultural environment, overseas property demand and top tourist attractions.

What is UAE rich for? ›

The UAE economy is heavily reliant on revenues from petroleum and natural gas, especially in Abu Dhabi.

What are the 6 United Arab Emirates? ›

On 2 December 1971, at the Dubai Guesthouse (now known as Union House) six of the emirates (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain) agreed to enter into a union called the United Arab Emirates. Ras al-Khaimah joined it later, on 10 January 1972.

Which emirates is richest in UAE? ›

Due to its vast oil resources, Abu Dhabi is the wealthiest emirate in the UAE. In fact, it is one of the richest cities in the world!

Which emirates is bigger in UAE? ›

Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is the largest Emirate in the United Arab Emirates, occupying 84% of the nation's land. It has 200 islands and a 700-km-long coastline . Its total area is 67,340 square kilometres and Abu Dhabi City is the federal capital of the UAE.

Who are the 7 rulers of UAE? ›

EMIRATE Ras Al KhaimahRULING FAMILY Al QasimiPRESENT RULER His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi
EMIRATE FujairahRULING FAMILY Al SharqiPRESENT RULER His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi
6 more rows

What is the old name of UAE? ›

And, the federation was complete with the inclusion of all of the seven emirates that formed the Trucial States. This newly founded federal state became officially known as Dawlat Al Imarat Al Arabiyya Al Muttahida or the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Who is the No 1 richest person in Dubai? ›

Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

Who is the richest person in Dubai 2022? ›

Amazing Facts About UAE Billionaires
  • Majid Al Futtaim is both the richest man in Dubai and the richest man in the UAE today after beating out all of his competitors. ...
  • One of these billionaires is a 37-year-old man named Divyank Turakhia of net with $1.9 billion in wealth.

Is UAE A richest country? ›

The economy of the United Arab Emirates (or UAE) is the 5th largest in the Middle East (after Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt), with a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$501 billion (AED 1.84 trillion) in 2022. $501.3 billion (nominal, 2022 est.) $779.2 billion (PPP, 2022 est.)

What is the richest city in UAE? ›

#Dubai is the richest city in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) and the 29th wealthiest in the world according to New World Wealth. Dubai's population of HNWIs, rose to 54,000 in June 2021, up by 3.8 percent from 52,000 last December.

Which emirate is the best? ›

Emirate of Dubai is arguably the most famous one. Emirate of Fujairah is the easternmost and the only Emirate that does not have a coastline along the Persian Gulf. Emirate of Ra's al Khaymah is the northernmost Emirate.

Who first ruled Dubai? ›

1912–1944. After various rulers, Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum who became Ruler in 1912, was the first Ruler to rule for a substantial period of time and is regarded by many as one of the fathers of Dubai.

Who is the Queen of UAE? ›

Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum (born 1985)
Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum
Born5 December 1985 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Names Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
HouseAl Falasi
FatherMohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
3 more rows

Who first lived in UAE? ›

Artifacts uncovered in the UAE show a history of human habitation, transmigration and trade spanning over 125,000 years. The area was previously home to the Magan people known to the Sumerians, who traded with both coastal towns and bronze miners and smelters from the interior.


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