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Hi, I am a senior architect moving soon to Dubai. I am looking for an opportunity to develop a small residential project.
Anyone had ever bought and developed a single plot in DUBAI?
I know that foreigners are not allowed to buy a land but they can buy an apartment.
So, do you think is it possible to find one or a few local co-investor in order to develop a small area (let's say a small townhouse or a 3~4 villas block or similar).
Anyone with similar experience?
Thanks!
 

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Fascinating idea. I've had the same thought myself as the standard of residential architecture is pretty piss-poor and there's all these empty plots in prime locations like Jumeira.

But you're right in that foreigners aren't allowed to buy empty plots in Dubai. They can only buy off-plan in designated freehold areas, but there's one area that I'm aware of expats building a house to their own design and that's Emirates Hills.

Your best bet is to find a local with a plot to develop and go into partnership with him. He provides the land while you design the houses. It should be possible but the trick is finding the local.

Hi, I am a senior architect moving soon to Dubai. I am looking for an opportunity to develop a small residential project.
Anyone had ever bought and developed a single plot in DUBAI?
I know that foreigners are not allowed to buy a land but they can buy an apartment.
So, do you think is it possible to find one or a few local co-investor in order to develop a small area (let's say a small townhouse or a 3~4 villas block or similar).
Anyone with similar experience?
Thanks!
 

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Fascinating idea. I've had the same thought myself as the standard of residential architecture is pretty piss-poor and there's all these empty plots in prime locations like Jumeira.

But you're right in that foreigners aren't allowed to buy empty plots in Dubai. They can only buy off-plan in designated freehold areas, but there's one area that I'm aware of expats building a house to their own design and that's Emirates Hills.

Your best bet is to find a local with a plot to develop and go into partnership with him. He provides the land while you design the houses. It should be possible but the trick is finding the local.
I was speaking to a local at the Cityscape exhibition whilst we were looking at the canal model. He was showing me where his 20 year old villa was, in relation to the canal - right in the middle of the water!
He was happy for Dubai, was being well compensated but was sad that he would need to move away from the area - as all the empty plots (of which there seem to be loads) were not available for him to buy and develop.
Cheers
Steve
 

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From the day I got here, I've always thought about the immense potential for small developments and especially renovating the large amounts of absolute shacks that are in Jumeriah.

The fact that nobody is doing it suggests to me that it's not possible or you're opening up an unfathomable world of hurt.
 

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The plots do get developed, very slowly. A number of older villas do get renovated.

Many of the empty plots are owned by families and promised to a child for when they marry. Other families hold on to them as appreciating assets, with little desire to develop them right away despite the potential of high rent yields.

Since land in Jumeira/Umm Suqiem can only be owned by locals, the market for land is quite small otherwise the area would have filled up a long time ago. Just another oddity of the Dubai property market.

From the day I got here, I've always thought about the immense potential for small developments and especially renovating the large amounts of absolute shacks that are in Jumeriah.

The fact that nobody is doing it suggests to me that it's not possible or you're opening up an unfathomable world of hurt.
 

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I sure all GCC nationals can own property in Jumeriah and you only need to look at the amount of lights during Diwali to see whose had a by. There's also a massive potential for good rental yields by probably not much more than stripping out the bathroom, kitchen and a bit of plastering.

I spoke to a local friend and he was saying many of the plots and derelict properties were simply long forgotten about and in many cases untraceable. He also said that if you did manage to approach them with the intention of buying, they'd ask for a stupidly high price. Despite the fact they didn't realise they even owned it 10 minutes previously.

Regardless, my point was there must be something prohibitive as everyone who's ever done a barn conversion or split a townhouse into flats in the UK would've been over here years ago.
 

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I sure all GCC nationals can own property in Jumeriah and you only need to look at the amount of lights during Diwali to see whose had a by. There's also a massive potential for good rental yields by probably not much more than stripping out the bathroom, kitchen and a bit of plastering.

I spoke to a local friend and he was saying many of the plots and derelict properties were simply long forgotten about and in many cases untraceable. He also said that if you did manage to approach them with the intention of buying, they'd ask for a stupidly high price. Despite the fact they didn't realise they even owned it 10 minutes previously.

Regardless, my point was there must be something prohibitive as everyone who's ever done a barn conversion or split a townhouse into flats in the UK would've been over here years ago.
Large areas, in particular Jumeirah 1 and 2, are privately owned by the Ruler and Sheikh Hamdan themselves; they build properties on it via their developers (Like Wasl, Meraas etc). Example is the area at the back of the Sheikh Zyed road (Al bad'aa, until close proximity to the Jumeirah road, next to JBS school. They are not for sale; but eventually will be re-developed.
 

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The other consideration is the amount of 'stopping' and 'starting' I've noticed. When the person funding the project runs out of money, the project stops. When they have the liquidity, it starts up again and then it stops after the money runs out. A prime example is the plot behind where I live. The building has been going on for ever, simply because whomever is funding it doesn't have the cash to see it through in one go.
 

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Only very large size plots are shown on free zone websites

I am a civil engineer (with costing & commercial background ) and i have also been exploring the possibility of developing apartments / commercial establishments in UAE free zones.

I understand that foreigners can buy freehold land but as i was searching online through the plot availability ( with free hold authority in jabel ali / RAK freezones ) , the minimum size available is 2500 sq meters.It needs to be a very big developer to buy / develop plots of this size and is impossible for a service class professional.

I am looking for residential plot of size around 30 ft x 40 ft ( plus add open areas as per regulation ) as i understand it can provide around 8 nos of serviced studio apartments , lift parking and swimmingpool.

Free zone authorities are selling > 2500 sq /m plots only .So can members suggest how to buy smaller plots of size 30 ft x40 ft ( residential ) or 40 ft x60 feet (commercial ) ; add open areas as per regulation .

Post Script : As per my information Real Estate development and brokerage lisence is meant for UAE citizens only.However one may construct his own property and later sell in parts as individual apartments.Must refer the legislation and legal advice before any actual buying /construction.
 
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