Best Places to Live in the UAE as a Tax Expat

The UAE’s most popular cities have a variety of housing options for tax expats, from downtown apartments to luxury villas. Our guide will look at what may be the best option for you and emphasise some of the best areas to live in.

rent accommodation

To rent or buy?

Rental prices are decreasing every year in the UAE and rents are said to slip further in 2018, which is good news for tax expats looking to relocate there. In order to rent a property in the UAE, you need to have been issued a residence permit or prove from your employer that the permit is being processed. If your accommodation has not been pre-arranged by your employer, it is highly recommended to use licensed local brokers or agents to aid your rental search. They will be able to tailor the search to your own personal and family requirements. Real-estate agents should be registered with Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) and normally charge around 5% of the annual rental rate. It is worth noting, that you cannot sign a fixed-term tenancy agreement if you only have a temporary visitor visa.

Although renting is more popular, it is possible to buy property in Dubai. Again, it is generally recommended that you use a reliable estate agent to help you with the search and purchase or to buy from a reputable developer.

Property Finder will enable you to search through apartments in a specified area. Recommended agents in Dubai are:

and Abu Dhabi:

Where to focus your search?

dubai marina

Where you live is dependent on a number of factors such as family size, budget and your own personal taste. Different areas offer different advantages; therefore, you should try to match your choice of an area with what is important to you. Other aspects that you might want to consider include the distance from your workplace, the number of tax expats in the area, the proximity to international schools and what suits your lifestyle.

Popular areas to live

Downtown Lifestyle in the UAE

Expats who crave the frenetic energy of city life will find themselves in the perfect place. Every imaginable amenity is within reach and there are countless opportunities to socialise, entertain and dine out. It is ideal for those seeking to be central and to be near the financial heart of the city. Most accommodation is found in low and high-rise residential towers but is modern and chic apartments. However, residents will need to sacrifice space and learn to deal with the congestion caused by crowds and traffic, especially on weekends.


The luxurious Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) is popular with tax expats, particularly younger singles and families, and is situated directly at the beach. All the apartments have balconies and underground parking allocation.

For a more affordable alternative, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) offers a similar selection of apartments. Although they are not sea facing, they are in a prime location and would be a perfect new home for internationals.

If you prefer a more suburban area, then Emirates Hills is the perfect location. There’s a selection of residential areas with villas and apartments, and it is a close-knit community- perfect for families. It’s in close proximity to some international schools and the area also boasts a small “town centre” with a supermarket, restaurants and cafes.

Similarly, the Arabian Ranches is another leafy and tranquil area of Dubai that is very popular with Western expats. Nearby there are schools, a shopping complex, restaurants, cafes and hospital facilities.

If you need more information on what to expect from Dubai, then why not have a look at our other articles on the city:

Abu Dhabi

abu dhabi etihad towers

Khalidiya is a bustling area with a large Western community. There are many housing options in this area that suit individuals, married couples and families. As well as villas, there are many top of the range high-rise apartment buildings with fabulous views of the cityscape of the heart of Abu Dhabi.

Integrated into each other, the Tourist Club Area and Al Markaziyah are two cosmopolitan areas that are ideal for single or married working professionals. Housing in these areas is limited to high rise apartment buildings but with everything on your doorstep, it is the perfect location if you love the hustle and bustle of city life. There is no shortage of shops, restaurants and the public transport system connects the area well to both the city and residential neighbourhoods.

Madinat Zayed is generally quieter and less congested than The Tourist Club and Al Markaziyah areas that are found in the city’s heart. Properties in this location tend to be a little older in comparison to the modern offerings in other areas of the city, with prices being around the same.

The Al Karamah district is an area that is very popular with the expatriate community, especially British nationals. This is due to the British International school being situated here and there being a variety of villas and compounds.

If you need more information on what to expect from Abu Dhabi, then why not have a look at our other articles on the city:

If you are interested in a move to the UAE or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about international tax opportunities, please contact a member of the team