Have you ever wondered the difference between a leasehold and freehold property? These terms get thrown around a lot when looking to buy a place to call home. But what do they mean, and how do they impact you as a homeowner? This is your guide to understanding the difference between leasehold and freehold so you can make the best choice for your needs.

What Is the Difference Between Leasehold and Freehold Property?

So you’re looking to buy property in Dubai and wondering about the difference between leasehold and freehold property. It is an important distinction to understand before signing the dotted line.

What is Leasehold Property?

When you buy a leasehold property, you’re purchasing the right to live in the home for a fixed period, typically between 99 to 999 years. The freeholder still owns the property, and you pay them ground rent. At the end of the lease term, ownership reverts to the freeholder unless you extend your lease.

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What is Freehold Property?

With a freehold property, you own the home and the land outright indefinitely. There are no ground rents or lease terms to worry about. The property is yours to live in, rent out, or sell. Freehold homes tend to hold their value better over time since there are no restrictions on ownership.

The main differences to consider are:

  • Leasehold properties have limited ownership terms, while freeholds are owned indefinitely.
  • Leaseholds charge ground rent and have restrictions set by the freeholder. Freeholds have full ownership rights.
  • Leaseholds may decrease in value over time and be harder to sell. Freehold homes typically gain weight and have higher resale potential.
  • Extending or renewing a lease can be expensive. Freeholds have lower long-term costs.

Ultimately, choosing leasehold or freehold depends on your needs and financial situation. Both offer benefits, so think about what will work best for your lifestyle. With this guide, you’ll go in with your eyes open to the pros and cons of each property type.

Pros and Cons of Buying Leasehold vs. Freehold in Dubai

When buying real estate in Dubai, you must decide between leasehold or freehold. Each has pros and cons, so weigh them carefully based on your needs.

Leasehold means leasing the land for a fixed period, usually 99 years. The biggest downside is that the property reverts to the owner once the lease ends. However, leasehold is often cheaper upfront since you’re not buying the land. Leasehold properties also usually have service charges for maintenance, but these fees are capped by law.

On the other hand, freehold means you own the land and property outright with no time limit. The primary benefit is that the asset is yours permanently. However, freehold properties are typically 10-30% more expensive. There are also no caps on maintenance fees, so that costs could increase substantially over time.


Mortgages are available for leasehold and freehold, but leasehold may have shorter terms. It depends on your budget and long-term plans. If you live in Dubai permanently, freehold gives you an asset you can pass on to future generations. For investors or those staying short-term, leaseholds could make more financial sense.

In the end, weigh the pros and cons of each based on your priorities. Chat with a broker to explore options in your target area and budget. While freehold may seem ideal, leasehold is a good choice if you go in with realistic expectations. The most important thing is finding a property that suits your needs.

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Factors to Consider When Choosing Leasehold vs Freehold

When deciding whether to buy a leasehold or freehold property, several factors must be considered. Consider how long you plan to live in the home and your budget to determine the best option.

Length of Ownership

If you only plan to live in the home short-term, a leasehold property may be suitable. Leaseholds typically last 99 to 125 years, allowing you to sell the remaining lease term. However, as the lease nears expiration, the property value decreases significantly.

On the other hand, freeholds provide outright ownership of the land and property indefinitely. It allows you to sell at any time without lease restrictions. Freeholds generally increase steadily in value over time, providing a solid investment. A freehold is usually better if you want to own the home long-term or pass it on to the family.


Leasehold properties are often slightly cheaper to purchase than freeholds. However, leaseholds come with additional fees like ground rent to the freeholder and renewal fees if you extend the lease. The total cost of a leasehold may end up higher over time.

Freeholds provide outright ownership with lower additional fees, though the initial purchase price is usually higher. There are no ground rents or lease renewal costs to pay. A freehold is typically more affordable for budget-conscious buyers looking to minimize long-term costs despite the higher upfront price.


As a leaseholder, you are responsible for the property’s interior and exterior maintenance, not the underlying land. The freeholder retains responsibility for structural repairs and maintenance.

As a freeholder, you bear full responsibility for the property and land. It includes all repairs, maintenance, and related costs. A leasehold may be more suitable if you prefer less responsibility for structural issues.

Consider how long you plan to own the property and your budget priorities to determine if leasehold or freehold is right for you. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, so consider what factors matter most for your needs.

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Final Verdict: Freehold vs. Leasehold – Which is Best?

Leasehold could be good for flexibility and affordability, but freehold is ideal for stability and investment potential. Evaluate your priorities and thoroughly research the property and location to decide what suits your situation. The final verdict comes down to whether you want to own or rent the land and how long you plan to stay in Dubai.

It would help to consider what will suit your needs and lifestyle best. Freehold could be the way to go if flexibility and control are most important. But a leasehold may appeal more if you want lower costs and less responsibility. There are pros and cons, so weigh them carefully based on what matters to you. The choice is in your hands! Now you’re armed with the facts, you can find a place to call home with confidence, knowing what kind of ownership you’re signing up for.

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