Monday, August 23, 2010

Freehold vs Leasehold Property in Dubai 2010

Freehold vs Leasehold Property in Dubai

The Dubai property market is experiencing a yo-yo effect these days, but it hasn't stopped the investors coming in or the developers from completing their projects. Among the most in-demand Dubai real estate types, freehold property takes the highest place. What is freehold and how is it different to regular leasehold property? In simple terms, it means expatriates can own property in Dubai, although they are not citizens. While the general public would be happy with that brief explanation, investors need to know much more about the difference between freehold and leasehold property and how the options affect their investment decisions in Dubai.

Typically, when you are a freehold property owner, you own all the rights to the property as a whole, which includes the building and the land on which it's situated. But in Dubai, freehold property is restricted to owning just the building and not the land. This is because law stipulates that no foreigner can own land in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai has limited freehold property developments to specific communities, which are liberally available for investors and end-buyers. Within main city areas, the majority of the property is still leasehold and only owned by UAE nationals. Even without complete autonomy, freehold Dubai property is always more appealing for buyers and investors, because it allows them to do as they please with their property, as long as it's within legislation and planning laws imposed by the Dubai government.

With leasehold, you only have the right of abode for a specified time period, such as one year, two years or more. Sometimes, the lease period can be for several decades. In general, leasehold property cannot be modified at will by the tenant. But in a more beneficial way, a leasehold property owner can rely on the property's original owners to supply maintenance and security services, while freehold property owners don't have that facility. In Dubai, this differs a little with modern freehold property, because the developers contract building maintenance and 24-hour security services before they sell the property to investors and end buyers.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dubai Souqs and Bazaars

Dubai Souqs & Bazaars

The Dubai souqs are the most popular among visitors, partly because of the bargains, but mostly because of the massive selection available for every conceivable type of product. The Dubai souqs are not as fascinating as the true traditional and ancient souqs in Marrakesh, Morocco or Mutrah, Oman, but it's the most crowded on any given day. The early souqs were focused on trading in spices, silks, perfumes and precious metals, but now the markets have expanded to include consumer electronics, household appliances, gaming systems, toys and novelties and much more.

Deira, which is mainly residential and the oldest section of Dubai, houses the majority of the souqs, including the famous Gold Souq and Spice Souq. If time permits, you can visit both sides of the Dubai Creek, by crossing the creek on an abra (small wooden raft-like vessel), which costs you just one dirham. (around $0.25). The souqs open as early as 7:00 am daily (except on Friday) and stay open till 12:00 noon, which is the start of the mid-afternoon break. They re-open at 5:00 pm and stay open till 7:00 pm. Thursdays and Fridays are best avoided if you are looking for leisurely shopping, as these are the busiest days at the souq (Dubai's weekend).

The Dubai Gold Souq is the most sought-after bargain hunting destination for tourists. You can be at the Dubai Gold Souq all day and be unable to decide on a single purchase, such is the vast variety of gold, diamonds, silver, pearls, emeralds, rubies and amethysts. If you're only window-shopping, you can simply start from one street and finish at the other end, but people who visit the Dubai Gold Souq rarely go away without buying something. Thousands of shops line the streets and the prices are often less than half of what you'll find in the rest of the world.

Then, there's the Dubai Spice Souq. The aroma will waft across your nostrils, tempting you to try one after another of the amazingly delightful spices from the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Stocked from shelf to shelf above and row to row on the floor, the spice stalls now line a few narrow streets, shadowed by the new cheap goods stalls coming up all around. The diminishing number of stalls are perhaps due to another reason – all super markets in Dubai today offer a wide range of spices too. Regardless, if a cultural experience is what you need, you simply have to visit the Spice Souq.

Other Dubai souqs include the Textile Souq, Bur Dubai Souq, Satwa Souq, Food Souq, Perfume Souq, Electronics Souq, Mina Bazaar and the Fish Market. Despite Dubai's prevalent mall culture, these souqs are a perfect for an off-the-beaten path shopping experience.