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Dubai real estate: Ultra-rich target mansions in hunt for privacy

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  • Inside the ultra-rich’s growing appetite for Dubai’s sprawling mansions as “privacy trumps views”

Dubai real estate: Ultra-rich target mansions in hunt for privacy

The demand for mansions in Dubai has increased significantly this year as more of the world’s wealthy flock to the UAE and tastes for luxury real estate begin to shift, experts told Arabian Business.

Mansions are typically popular among high net-worth individuals in cities like Los Angeles and Florida known for grand properties. However, there has been a shift in demand towards Dubai as more wealthy people move there for its business-friendly laws and growing economy. This comes as US cities like LA implement mansion tax on properties over $5 million. Properties above $5 million are taxed 4 percent and over $10 million 5.5 percent.

This tax is expected to impact the ultra-luxury market and push buyers to consider purchasing properties in cities without property transaction taxes, like Dubai.

For Majid Al Futtaim Development, this rising demand paved the way for the launch of two major projects: Serenity Mansions and Lanai Mansions.

“Dubai has traditionally been known for its iconic skyscrapers and luxurious high-rise living, but there’s a growing appreciation for the privacy, space, and grandeur that mansions offer,” Majid Al Futtaim Development’s CEO, Hawazen Esber, told Arabian Business.

Currently, the emirate’s real estate sector is performing at a 12-year record high, which Esber believes is a direct result of the recent influx of foreign investors to Dubai. The city is now home to 210 centi-millionaires (individuals with a net worth exceeding $100 million) and 15 billionaires, according to a recent Henley & Partners report. Forecasts suggest the city is well-positioned to further cement its status as a safe haven for wealth and well-being.

“Locally, we are seeing a shift in preferences among HNWIs who are now valuing the exclusivity and unique lifestyle that comes with owning a mansion.”

Esber expects demand for these property types to continue on this upward trajectory in the coming years, especially since transacting luxury property in Dubai is “more convenient compared to many other global locations,” he added.

Exclusive mansions: Tailored luxury living

The developer’s latest project, Serenity Mansions – located in Tilal Al Ghaf – has properties that come in various villa styles and range from six to seven bedrooms. The mansions are designed to be customisable to suit the unique needs of each luxury buyer.

Its earlier project on Lanai Island, registered a record sale earlier this year for $54 million. The eight-bedroom property was located on a large corner plot with an extensively designed garden that extended to its private waterfrontage and an expansive living space of over 30,000 sq ft of gross floor area.

Serenity Mansions, situated in Tilal Al Ghaf, offers a range of villa styles with six to seven bedrooms
Serenity Mansions, situated in Tilal Al Ghaf, offers a range of villa styles with six to seven bedrooms

Dubai’s rising demand for opulent villas

Although the demand for custom-built mansions has increased, Savills Middle East has also observed that more developers are including such developments as part of their upcoming projects.

“As a global metropolis, the appetite for large opulent homes across Dubai has only increased and is reflected in the uptake in properties priced above AED10 million,” said Swapnil Pillai, Associate Director of Research at Savills Middle East.

The number of transactions for properties priced above AED10 million recorded a year-on-year increase of 47 percent in 2023, according to Pillai.

“Villa developments accounted for 64 percent of the total transactions for such luxury properties in 2023,” he said.

These property types accounted for 64 percent of luxury real estate, largely driven by houses in Palm Jebel Ali and Jumeirah Golf Estate.

“This trend is only likely to increase as both demand and supply remain healthy,” said Pillai.

Dubai real estate
The prominent areas driving this surge in luxury real estate are Palm Jebel Ali and Jumeirah Golf Estate

Shift in demand: Privacy oversize

However, Charlie King, Partner at Allsopp & Allsopp said that although he hasn’t seen an immediate surge in demand from clients for such massive properties, he expects to see more requests in this category.

“As the demand for ultra-luxury continues to rise, I expect these requests to continue to be on demand from the client side as well as from developers to maintain this in their mind when targeting this market,” King said.

Over the last 18 months, he has seen buyers settling for five to six-bedroom properties between 10,000 and 15,000 sq ft instead of sprawling 30,000 sq ft properties with 10-plus bedrooms. But rather, there seems to be more of an emphasis on privacy and world-class amenities. “These requests are often basement parking, gym, cinema and a wellness space.”

“What I also have noticed is that clients often sought after branded finishes, high end specifications from renowned brands. What is also being asked is volume, height ceiling and spacious rooms for example. Whilst view is also a plus, privacy trumps it,” King added.


Gulf Estate Gazette

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