How to Value a Leasehold Commercial Property in the UAE: A Comprehensive Guide

  Buyer's Guide

Valuing leasehold commercial property can be a complex process. It requires a deep understanding of the market, property trends, and the unique attributes of the property in question. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with its booming real estate market and strategic global position, these considerations are particularly crucial.

This blog provides a comprehensive guide to valuing leasehold commercial properties in the UAE, from understanding the basic principles to applying valuation methods and factors that can influence the property’s value.

Understanding Leasehold Commercial Properties

Before delving into the valuation process, it’s important to understand what a leasehold commercial property is. In real estate terms, a leasehold refers to a property where the land on which the property stands is leased, not owned. The lessee (tenant) holds the rights to use the property for a fixed period, typically ranging from decades to 99 years, as defined in the lease agreement.

In the UAE, leasehold properties are common in some regions, such as Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, where certain areas are designated for leasehold property ownership by expatriates.

Commercial properties can be any property used for business purposes, including offices, retail spaces, warehouses, and industrial buildings. The value of a leasehold commercial property is influenced by many factors, including the remaining lease term, location, use, and market conditions.

Basic Principles of Property Valuation

Valuing leasehold commercial properties involves several fundamental principles:

  • Market Value: This is the estimated amount for which a property should exchange on the date of valuation between a willing buyer and a willing seller in an arm’s length transaction after proper marketing.
  • Highest and Best Use: This principle suggests that the value of a property reaches its peak when it’s used in a way that produces the highest possible income. The current use may not necessarily be the highest and best use.
  • Supply and Demand: Property values are influenced by the dynamics of the real estate market. If demand for a certain type of property exceeds supply, values will typically rise and vice versa.
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Methods of Valuing Leasehold Commercial Properties

There are three primary methods used in property valuation: the Comparable Sales Method, the Income Capitalization Method, and the Cost Method.

1. Comparable Sales Method

The Comparable Sales Method, or Market Approach, is based on comparing the property with similar properties that have been recently sold or are on the market in the same area. Adjustments are made for differences in size, condition, location, and other factors. This method is commonly used when there is sufficient market data, and it’s often the preferred approach for valuing commercial real estate in the UAE.

2. Income Capitalization Method

The Income Capitalization Method, or Income Approach, is based on the income the property is expected to generate. This method is particularly relevant for commercial properties, which are often purchased as investment properties. The value is determined by calculating the net present value of future cash flows, including rental income and the potential resale value.

3. Cost Method

The Cost Method, or Replacement Cost Approach, is based on the cost to rebuild or replace the property, less depreciation. This method is often used for special-purpose properties where comparable sales and income data may not be available.

Factors Influencing the Value of Leasehold Commercial Properties in the UAE

1. Remaining Lease Term

The remaining lease term is a critical factor in valuing leasehold commercial properties. As the lease term shortens, the value of the leasehold interest may diminish because at the end of the lease, the property reverts to the freeholder or lessor.

2. Location

In the UAE, location plays an integral role in the value of leasehold commercial properties. Properties in prime locations, such as downtown Dubai or along the Abu Dhabi Corniche, can command higher values.

3. Size and Condition of the Property

The size and condition of the property will also influence its value. Larger properties can command higher prices, and properties in good condition will typically be worth more than similar properties in need of repair.

4. Market Conditions

The state of the UAE commercial property market can significantly impact property values. Factors such as economic growth, investor sentiment, and government policies can influence demand for commercial properties and, therefore, their value.

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Conducting Leasehold Commercial Property Valuations in the UAE

The process of valuing leasehold commercial properties in the UAE involves several steps:

  1. Preliminary Information Gathering: This includes gathering information about the property, such as its location, size, age, use, and condition. It also involves reviewing the lease agreement to understand the remaining lease term, rent, and other relevant terms.
  2. Market Research: This involves researching the local commercial property market to understand current trends and prices. It also includes identifying comparable properties for use in the Comparable Sales Method.
  3. Income Analysis: If the property is rented or couldbe rented, an income analysis should be conducted. This involves analyzing the rental income in relation to the market and the potential income the property could generate if rented at market rates.
  4. Application of Valuation Methods: Depending on the nature of the property and the available information, one or more valuation methods are applied to estimate the value of the property.
  5. Preparation of Valuation Report: Finally, a valuation report is prepared, detailing the information gathered, the methods used, and the estimated value of the property.

Working with a Professional Valuer

Given the complexities of valuing leasehold commercial properties, it’s often beneficial to work with a professional valuer. In the UAE, valuers are regulated by the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) and the Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities. They are required to have professional qualifications and adhere to international valuation standards.

Professional valuers have the knowledge and experience to navigate the complexities of the UAE commercial property market. They can provide reliable valuations that reflect the unique attributes of the leasehold commercial property and current market conditions.


Valuing a leasehold commercial property in the UAE is a complex but necessary process for making informed investment decisions, negotiating lease agreements, and for financing purposes. It requires a deep understanding of the property market, the ability to apply different valuation methods, and the ability to interpret and analyze market trends.

While the process can be complex, understanding the basics of property valuation and the factors that influence the value of leasehold commercial properties can provide valuable insights. Working with a professional valuer can provide further expertise and ensure a reliable and accurate valuation.

Whether you’re an investor considering an investment in leasehold commercial property, a lessee negotiating a lease agreement, or a lender providing financing, understanding how to value leasehold commercial property is an essential skill in the dynamic and fast-paced UAE property market.