Dubai property has lifestyle appeal for world’s super-rich

Dubai has been highlighted as a hot spot for the super-rich looking to invest in property.

A new report by Sotheby’s International Realty and the research firm Wealth X into the property market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, found that while London remains the prime hub for those looking to buy, Dubai is one of three considered to have the most potential – alongside Madrid and Cape Town.

These were identified as appealing to the wealthy because of the lifestyle opportunities on offer.

There are more than 211,275 ultra high net worth individuals around the world, who collectively own US$3 trillion worth of property, a spokesman for Wealth X said. Its own index tracking global demand for property increased by 7 per cent in the year to March 31.

Dubai is home to 495 ultra high net worth individuals and has 34 billionaires, more than any other city in the Middle East.

The average price per square foot of properties with a value of more than $1 million was $834 in Dubai – more expensive than Madrid ($526) and Cape Town ($350), but still cheaper than London ($3,103), where more than a third of properties over $1m sell for prices above $10m. The average price for a Dubai property listing in the $1m-plus bracket was $5.5m.

“Dubai is often referred to as a ‘trailblazer’ within the Middle East,” said Loshini Lawrence, head of sales and leasing at the Arabian Gulf unit of Sotheby’s International Realty.

She said that it recently sold a property overlooking the Gulf for $11.5m – its most valuable deal in the region.

David Johnson, head of sales and marketing at Quintessentially Lifestyle, a luxury concierge service, said that one of the attractions of Dubai for the super-rich is its cosmopolitan composition.

“We have such a mix of people here,” he said. “There are so many nationalities and there is so much to choose from – from the ordinary to the uber-luxury.”

His company has 60 offices worldwide and offers everything from arranging cleaners to planning holidays.

He said some of its local members may have their own staff, but will still use a concierge service for privacy.

Requests that it has dealt with include shipping in regular suppliers of Wagyu beef from London in a private aircraft for one client and customising Rolls-Royce cars for another.

Niall McLoughlin, senior vice-president at Damac Properties, said that security, a lack of taxes, freedom of capital flows and connectivity all make Dubai appealing to the super-rich.

“Seventy per cent of the world’s population can jump on a plane and in one direct flight be in the UAE. Affluent people don’t like connecting flights,” he said.

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Michael Fahy

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