List of Communities in Abu Dhabi

In April 2019, following an amendment to its freehold property laws, Abu Dhabi allowed non-UAE nationals – expats and foreigners of all nationalities – to buy freehold property in special investment zones. These investment zones, more popularly known as the freehold areas in Abu Dhabi, are excellent options for anyone who is looking for attractive real estate investment options.

Let’s look at where foreign nationals can find freehold properties for sale in Abu Dhabi, what would be the minimum investment required, and the various amenities these neighbourhoods offer.


Changes to the Abu Dhabi freehold property laws opened up a number of areas for foreign investment in Abu Dhabi. If you’re in search of the best places to invest in Abu Dhabi for foreign investors, these freehold communities offer an ideal mix of freehold apartments and villas.

Al Reef
AED 445,000
AED 1,010,000
Saadiyat Island
AED 530,000
AED 1,800,000
Yas Island
AED 287,000
AED 1,600,000
Al Raha Beach
AED 530,000
AED 3,500,000


One of the highly popular freehold areas in Abu Dhabi is Al Reef. Developed by Manazel Real Estate, the neighbourhood is strategically located on the mainland and enjoys close proximity to Abu Dhabi International Airport.

It’s also situated just off the Abu Dhabi-Ghweifat Highway and offers a shorter commute time to Dubai, making it a popular choice among investors. You can find both apartments and villas for sale in Al Reef. Based on the Bayut & dubizzle Q3 market report, the area also delivers excellent rental yields.

The Al Reef properties offer everyday amenities in community centres and are home to a multicultural population. Its proximity to other developments such as Al Raha Beach and Yas Island means residents have access to a multitude of entertainment and retail options.

View of apartment buildings and shops in Al Reef
Al Reef has affordable apartments and villas ideal for expats buying property in Abu Dhabi

The sales price for villas and apartments in Al Reef are comparatively more affordable than the more upscale communities in Abu Dhabi, which makes them appealing to a larger pool of investors.

Foreign investors interested in buying affordable freehold properties in Abu Dhabi will find Al Reef an ideal investment opportunity. On average you can expect to pay a starting price of around AED 445k for apartments in Al Reef, whilst prices for Al Reef villas start from AED 1M.


A master development by ALDAR Properties, Saadiyat Island has gained popularity as the cultural hub of Abu Dhabi. With world-famous museums, cultural attractions and regular art exhibitions and workshops, Saadiyat Island has caught the eye of global investors.

Properties in Saadiyat Island boast access to expansive golf courses, beaches, restaurants and convenient amenities such as supermarkets, schools and universities on the island. It also has excellent connectivity to Abu Dhabi’s main island through the Abu Dhabi – Al Falah Road.

View of street with villas in Saadiyat Island
Being an Abu Dhabi investment zone, Saadiyat Island has several attractions that boost the investment potential of the properties there

Expats who want to enjoy the luxury lifestyle of the capital’s prime residential areas with the benefits of freehold ownership should consider the properties on Saadiyat Island. According to the current listings on Bayut the starting price to buy apartments in Saadiyat Island is AED 530k, while Saadiyat Island villas start from AED 1.8M.


Yas Island is another great area where expats can buy freehold property in Abu Dhabi. Based on the property price analysis in Bayut dubizzle Q3 market report, Yas Island ranked amongst the most popular areas to buy apartments and villas in Abu Dhabi.

Housing endless attractions like the Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Mall, Ferrari World and other theme parks, Yas Island has attracted global attention and has some of the hottest freehold properties in Abu Dhabi.

With lush golf courses, multiple retail and dining outlets, schools, upscale hotels and regular events, the area boasts a luxurious lifestyle. The upcoming waterfront destination – Yas Bay, will only enhance this lifestyle further by adding more entertainment options to the area.

villas in Yas Island
Looking to buy freehold property in Abu Dhabi? Consider the apartments and villas on Yas Island

One of the most famous of Abu Dhabi investment zones, this famous district offers properties that range from affordable to luxury, catering to a variety of different investor profiles.

In addition to all this, the island’s proximity to the Abu Dhabi – Dubai Highway gives it great investment potential, ideal for expats keen on buying property in Abu Dhabi.

The prices for buying apartments in Yas Island start from AED 287k. For buying villas in Yas Island, you should have a budget of at least AED 1.6M.


For expats buying freehold property in Abu Dhabi, Al Raha Beach is another popular investment zone. The development boasts a range of waterfront properties for sale, including freehold apartments, villas and townhouses in Abu Dhabi.

Consistently ranked amongst the top areas to buy apartments in Abu Dhabi, Al Raha Beach is ideal for both young professionals and families who can enjoy a wealth of amenities including schools, beaches and a mall.

View of buildings in Al Muneera community in Al Raha Beach
Al Raha Beach is one of the freehold areas in Abu Dhabi that has great connectivity to Dubai

The apartments and villas for sale in Al Raha Beach are well-connected to the Abu Dhabi – Dubai Highway (E11) and enjoy close proximity to the happening Yas Island. Prices to buy apartments in Al Raha Beach start from AED 530k. The starting price to buy villas in Al Raha Beach is AED 3.5M.


Looking for the best freehold communities in Abu Dhabi for investing in apartments? These are your best options.

Al Reem Island
AED 548,000
AED 802,000
AED 1,269,000
Masdar City
AED 514,000
AED 761,000
AED 1,101,000
Al Maryah Island
AED 513,000
AED 662,000
AED 1,521,000


Featuring upscale waterfront homes, Al Reem Island takes the top spot for popular freehold areas in Abu Dhabi. Al Reem Island is amongst the city’s most in-demand communities, consistently ranking as the top area to buy apartments in Abu Dhabi.

Potential buyers will find a range of residential developments on Al Reem offering sleek, contemporary apartments and penthouses. This mixed-use development also has commercial properties like offices and retail outlets available.

With malls, parks, schools and universities in the area, the apartments in Al Reem are ideal for foreigners and expats interested in buying freehold properties in Abu Dhabi.

Buildings on Al Reem Island
Al Reem Island is one of the Abu Dhabi freehold areas where foreign investors can buy property

Good location is another big plus. Al Reem Island is connected to the Abu Dhabi main island via two highways, offering residents easy access to popular hubs.

Sale prices for apartments in Al Reem Island can come in at anywhere between AED 400k and AED 4.2M.


Masdar City is a mixed-use development that aims to be the leading example for sustainable cities around the world. Developed by Masdar – a subsidiary of the Mubadala Investment Group – Masdar City has been given the status of a freehold area in Abu Dhabi.

This energy-efficient neighbourhood combines residential and commercial spaces with a number of amenities including retail outlets, parks, universities and schools. Although Masdar City has a mix of both villas and apartments for sale, the area is more popular with investors for its apartments.

View of apartment buildings and street in Masdar City
Investors who want to buy property in Abu Dhabi will find energy-efficient homes in Masdar City

Masdar City is located less than 10 minutes away from Abu Dhabi International Airport, with other communities like Khalifa City and Al Raha Beach nearby.

Foreign investors and expats who want to make smart investments in Abu Dhabi freehold property should definitely consider the villas and apartments in Masdar City. The starting price to buy apartments in Masdar City is AED 395k, which can get buyers a studio apartment.


Another popular investment zone with freehold properties in Abu Dhabi is Al Maryah Island. This premium waterfront address boasts a modern, vibrant lifestyle with hotels, beaches and an abundance of restaurants nearby.

The area also has its very own mall – The Galleria, which offers a multitude of other entertainment and leisure options for residents to explore.

The island is well-connected to the Abu Dhabi mainland and the nearby Al Reem Island, allowing residents access to a world of other attractions.

Al Maryah Island is a short drive away from Abu Dhabi’s main island

The property mix here mostly consists of residential towers, waterfront apartments and luxury serviced residences. To buy apartments in Al Maryah Island, investors should be looking to have a minimum budget of AED 420k.


For those of you who rather buy villas in Abu Dhabi, these freehold districts present some great opportunities for investment in real estate.

Al Shamkha
AED 4,660,000
Nurai Island
AED 17,667,000
AED 3,055,000
AED 3,266,000
AED 4,966,000


Situated along the Abu Dhabi-Sweihan Road (E20), Al Shamkha is another one of the freehold areas in Abu Dhabi that’s popular with investors, especially those interested in purchasing villas.

Located on the outskirts of the city, Al Shamkha provides a quaint suburban lifestyle facilitated by supermarkets, schools, clinics and other amenities for residents.

Although far from the main city, the Al Shamkha neighbourhood enjoys proximity to Abu Dhabi International Airport and is connected to the major road link of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (E311).

Buyers are offered a range of properties, from residential plots and apartments to huge luxury villas. The prices to buy villas in Shamkha start from AED 4.2M, which secures investors a lavish 5-bedroom villa.


High-profile foreign investors looking for a swanky holiday home should consider the freehold properties in the stunning Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi.

Located a 10-minute boat ride away from Saadiyat Island, Nurai Island offers seaside homes that are the epitome of opulence and serenity. The villas for sale in Nurai Island have gorgeous views of lagoon waters and offer ultimate privacy.

outdoor seating at a Nurai Island villa
Nurai Island is home to luxe villas and is one of the freehold properties in Abu Dhabi

The luxurious Zaya Nurai Resort on the island has drawn attention from tourists and visitors. Nurai Island is the most lavish and expensive of the freehold areas in Abu Dhabi.

According to current Bayut listings, the starting price to buy villas in Nurai Island is AED 12.1M. This will get investors a sprawling, waterfront 4-bedroom villa with interiors and décor of the highest quality.


Mostly off-plan, Ghantoot is another freehold area in Abu Dhabi that is gaining investor interest given its location. Situated along Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Road (E11), the neighbourhood offers excellent proximity to Dubai.

Featuring waterfront residences, which mainly comprise villas, Ghantoot is set to develop into a well-planned district with high-end lifestyle amenities to match.

The area is divided into three sub-districts – Al Jurf Gardens, Marsa Al Jurf and Jiwa Al Qasr that will include hotels, marinas, beach club(s), schools, restaurants and community centre.

Investors can find both ready and off-plan villas for sale in Ghantoot, with a starting price of AED 1.97M.

Please note: the sales prices mentioned above are based on area averages and may vary subject to time, property type and availability.

And that completes our list of freehold areas in Abu Dhabi that are popular among investors – both local and foreign.

Anyone looking for more freehold investment options can explore the myriad of properties available in Dubai’s freehold neighbourhoods.

There are also some great opportunities for property investment in the freehold areas in Ras Al Khaimah.

Although not freehold, don’t forget that there are designated areas for foreign real estate investment in Sharjah.

While non-resident and resident foreigners are allowed to buy property in the country, there are rules to foreign property ownership in the UAE that must be adhered to at all times.

Overseas investors, whether resident in the UAE or not, are permitted to buy property on freehold or leasehold basis. Therefore it is important to clearly understand the difference between freehold and leasehold ownership of property.

Foreigners who make a cash purchase of property worth AED 5M or above and retain that property for at least three years are also eligible to apply for the UAE long-term Golden Visa.