Living In UAE: Home Loans for Expats

If you are planning to live and work in Dubai or anywhere in the UAE for more than three or four years, then it’s probably best to buy a house rather than paying rent. Owning a house near your workplace gives you more freedom and flexibility compared to a rented apartment. Buying a house is expensive no matter the country, so a home loan lifts most of the immediate concern for money, and if you bring your family, it will be worth it.

As an expat, you need to meet certain conditions and get familiar with the rules before applying for a home loan in the UAE. Let’s start with the basics.

Eligibility criteria for a home loan
  • Non-residential individuals applying for a home loan in the UAE should have a minimum age of 21 and a maximum age of 65. And should be residing in the country for 6 to 12 months.
  • Salaried, expat, or self-employed, you will require original bank statements for the past 6 months along with documents that prove you can afford the mortgage like tax returns, resident visa, proof of salary, payslips, and such.
  • Speaking of salary, the minimum salary required for a mortgage in UAE is generally around AED 8,000 to AED 15,000, with most banks asking for a minimum of AED 10,000 and the top end ones 20k. 
  • Banks prefer clients with a credit score of 700, and anything below 400 will get you rejected. Some banks even take your employer’s credibility into consideration when going through your loan application. 
Additional costs when buying a house in UAE

In UAE, non-residents and expats must pay a down payment of a minimum of 25% when purchasing a house compared to the 15 % for a citizen. So if the total cost of a house is AED 300,000, an expat will have to cough up AED 75000 upfront; that’s a lot so make sure you have the cash before finalizing a deal. And if the property value is greater than AED 5 million, then the down payment increases to 35% for expats and 30% for UAE nationals.

Apart from the property cost, there are multiple fees to take care of like: 

  • The mortgage registration fee of 0.25%.
  • Transfer tax 2%
  • Property valuation fee paid to the bank, AED 2500 – AED 3000, plus 5% value-added tax.
  • Dubai Land Department fee of 4%, plus an additional AED 580 admin fee.
  • Real estate agent commission of 2%
  • Property/Title Deed registration fee, AED 1000 – 2000 
Applying for a mortgage/home loan in the UAE

There are basically two ways to apply for a home loan in the UAE, either go directly to the bank of your choice or get in touch with a property broker. Make sure to compare the bank’s interest rates and minimum salary requirements first. In our opinion, as an expat, you should seek the services of a broker, they already know the local market and will find a bank which suits you the best. 

Keep in mind to first get a pre-approval from the bank before going on the hunt; it will provide you with a baseline for negotiation. After that, it’s pretty straightforward, just choose a mortgage plan, get a mortgage agreement and wait a few weeks for it to process, then the bank will pay the amount in time. 

Best banks for home loans in the UAE for Expats

Commercial Bank International (CBI)  

  • The minimum monthly salary required is AED 15,000
  • Processing fee 1% of the loan amount
  • Interest rates start from 2.99% p.a.
  • Free property insurance with the home loan.
  • Salary transfer is optional
  • No processing fee for buyout loans
  • Clear 40% of the outstanding loan amount without any partial settlement fees

HSBC Bank

  • Can clear 25% of the outstanding loan amount without any partial settlement fees
  • Salary transfer is not required
  • Can get pre-approved in 60 minutes
  • Repayments up to 25 Months
  • Early settlement fee 0-1%
  • Minimum salary AED 15K-20K
  • Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB)
  • Salary transfer is optional
  • 6 months grace period is provided for salary transfer customers
  • Can clear 30% of the outstanding loan amount without any partial settlement fees
  • The interest rate of 3.75%
Emirates NBD
  • Interest rates from 2.49% p.a.
  • Loan amount of up to AED 15mn.
  • Reducing interest rate starting from 2.49%* p.a
  • 50% discount on Processing Fees
  • Loan tenor up to 25 years
Points to remember

Property and life insurance are mandatory in the UAE for a mortgage; you can either get it along with the house or look for a separate policy later. Insurance policies are generally much more affordable in the UAE compared to other countries; it mostly depends on what valuables you have in your house.

The loan/mortgage market in the UAE is cutthroat, so lenders often change their interest rates to compete with each other. To change their mortgage provider, people directly contact their banks to ask for a switch; some offer a new plan with a lower rate while others get rid of the fees. However, there is a transfer fee involved when refinancing the mortgage it’s typically 1% of the loan amount.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are for informational purposes only based on industry reports and related news stories. PropertyPistol does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information and shall not be held responsible for any action taken based on the published information.

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