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كريس شوتروبس

Chris Schutrups

Managing Director, Mortgage Finder

Once you have made the decision to purchase property in the UAE, you will need to secure finance to complete the transaction. Buying a property outright with liquid assets or personal savings is not a reality for most, and completing the home buying journey is only possible with a mortgage. Here are a few points to consider when looking for home finance.

Mortgage eligibility

It is important to first understand the eligibility criteria as clearly defined by the UAE Central Bank.

For UAE nationals:

For Expats:

For off-plan:

For off-plan purchases, the maximum you can borrow is 50% of the value of the property – this applies to UAE and GCC citizens, and Expats.

Mortgage affordability

The following factors will determine your borrowing capacity:

Ultimately, it all comes down to what the bank determines you can comfortably afford. Banks in the UAE use the Debt-Burden-Ratio (DBR) to calculate how much you can afford to borrow. Your DBR is your monthly debts (inclusive of future mortgage repayments) as a proportion of your monthly income. Banks will also apply a slightly higher interest rate to calculate your future mortgage repayments to account for potential interest rate hikes. Each bank’s formula in calculating affordability differs slightly, but as a general rule of thumb, your monthly salary must be at least 4 times higher than the expected monthly repayments.

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Types of Mortgages

When assessing your options for financing you should shortlist mortgage providers, compare available interest rates and understand how the rate is applied. It’s also important to assess all the terms and conditions that come with each associated mortgage product as the interest rate is not the only factor to consider. 

Fixed rate mortgages

Fixed rate loans generally last for a term of between one to five years, with three years being the most common. Once the fixed term ends, the rate will automatically move to a reversion rate. 

The main advantage of a fixed rate loan is certainty. Fixing your loan ensures you are not exposed to interest rate fluctuations and your monthly repayments remain consistent for a set period of time, making it easier to budget.

Variable rate mortgages

Variable rate loans fluctuate based on the Emirates InterBank Offered Rate (EIBOR). With variable interest, your monthly repayment amount may change, which may impact predictability in your monthly expenses.

Discounted rate mortgages

A discounted rate mortgage is based on a standard variable rate, where the lender grants a percentage discount for a specified period of time. The discount is applicable for a set period of time only, not for the full tenure of the loan.

Offset mortgages

Some lenders offer an offset mortgage option, where a savings account or current account is linked to your home loan. Any cash balance that sits in this account saves you interest on your loan, with interest calculated on the difference between your loan balance and savings balance.

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Remortgaging is the transfer of your existing mortgage to a new lender. The purpose of refinancing is usually to obtain a lower interest rate or to release built-up equity.

Down payment

In addition to the minimum down-payment required to secure a mortgage, borrowers must also demonstrate their ability to cover additional one-off upfront costs which amount to approximately 7-8% of the property’s value.

Some banks may allow you to add a small amount of the upfront purchase costs to your mortgage, freeing up more cash to put towards your down-payment. This would in turn allow you to purchase a more expensive property.

If you’ve allocated all your savings toward the purchase of your property, you may struggle to pay your mortgage repayments initially. Some banks allow you to defer your repayments for up to six months, helping you to get back on top of your finances before your repayments start.

Tips for saving for a down payment:

Rent-to-own schemes

If you are looking to remove the stress of a down-payment and upfront costs altogether, a rent-to-own scheme may suit you better and get you into your first home faster.

To find out more about these, go to: What is the rent-to-own scheme in Dubai?

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Disclaimer: Property Finder Guides is published by Propertyfinder FZ-LLC 1505 Shatha Tower, Dubai Media City, PO Box 50954, Dubai UAE. For article reprints, permissions and licensing, contact info@propertyfinder.ae. The information contained in Property Finder Guides is intended to be for general use only. The views, information, or opinions expressed by non Property Finder employees are solely those of individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of any company, or its employees. While Property Finder had made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information, we will not be held responsible for any errors contained in the document. If you wish to use or copy any of the text, or other materials, found in this report, you must first contact Property Finder for a written copyright permission in relation to the proposed use.

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