Dubai property taxes, costs ranked among lowest in world

Tax on Dubai investment property found to be second lowest in analysis of 15 cities – report

PHOTO: For a $1 million property in Dubai the buying, holding and selling costs over five years is 8% of the property value. Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai has one of the lowest levels of property taxes and transaction costs globally, according to an analysis of 15 cities by UK property firm Knight Frank and accountancy giant EY.

The Global Tax Report 2015 analysed the cost for individuals to buy prime property to rent out over five years, between 2010 and 2015, and analysed the total purchase costs and taxes over the period. It examined two scenarios, involving property valued at both $1 million and $10 million.

Dubai was found to have the second-lowest rate of property taxes, equating to 3.6% of the year-five sales price, with only Monaco (at 3.5%) lower, the report found. Sao Paulo has the highest rate of property tax of the 15 cities analysed, at a whopping 31.5%, the report said.

“Our research shows that the tax burden across the cities in this report varies considerably both in amount and extent. From 3.5% or 3.6% of the property price in year five in Monaco and Dubai respectively, to over 30% in Sao Paolo. However a common thread across all these countries, which shows no sign of slowing, is a continuing focus on property as a source of taxation,” said Carolyn Steppler, Private Client Tax Services Partner at EY in the UK and Ireland, in a statement.

For a $1 million property in Dubai the buying, holding and selling costs over five years is 8% of the property value, ranking the city the ninth most expensive of the 15 analysed. For a $10m property, the costs equate to 5.5% of the year-five property price. Foreign investors buying property in Shanghai were found to be charged the least, with costs for $1m and $10m investments at 2.9% and 2.3% respectively.

The level of taxes and fees for Dubai property is still relatively low despite the 2013 move by the Dubai Land Department to double property transfer fees to 4 percent of the value, the report noted.

“The doubling of the transfer fees to 4%, combined with the introduction of mortgage caps, at the end of 2013 has helped to moderate demand for residential property in Dubai over the past 18 months,” Knight Frank said in the report.

“In early 2015 some commentators expected the Dubai Land Department to raise transfer fees again but this failed to materialise. The softening of residential prices in the emirate has provided the authorities with little reason to increase the burden of transaction costs in the near-term. At 4%, transaction fees in Dubai remain low compared to other markets from which a significant number of residential property buyers originate, including India, Pakistan and the UK – making it an attractive investment destination.”

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