Housing is one of the great challenges about setting up in Abu Dhabi. Expat packages either include housing or an allowance to cover at least part of your accommodation costs, although the amounts are much smaller than in the boom days so it’s likely that you’ll need to top up from your own pocket to cover the rent or mortgage if you want to be somewhere decent.

The first question to answer is: to rent or to buy? Most expats opt for renting as it gives you more flexibility, particularly when you first arrive in the capital and are unsure of the best location to live in. Also, you need to have lived in Abu Dhabi for a minimum of six months before you can apply for a mortgage here, so your first year at least is likely to be in rented accommodation. However, an increasing numbers of expats living in Abu Dhabi are now choosing to buy rather than rent property as they plan to put down longer term roots.

Unfortunately, the days of getting a 90% mortgage are over, and at the end of 2013 Central Bank announced a new ruling to cap mortgages. As restrictive as it sounds, the good news for those wanting to buy a home is banks have dropped interest rates to attract borrowers.

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