Dubai is emerging as a favourite for the ultra-rich, and Ambani's reported purchase cements this status
Dubai has been a red-hot property market, and its status has only gotten a boost as demand was spurred by geopolitical instability in Europe and mortgage buyers looking to get in ahead of well-telegraphed interest rate hikes as central banks tackle inflation.
Prime residential prices – across the Palm Jumeirah, Emirates Hills and Jumeirah Bay Island – in particular have seen a huge surge. The first half of the current year saw residential real estate transaction volumes up 60% with an 85% rise in the value of property sold, property consultancy Betterhomes said in a recent report.
Data from global real estate consultancy Knight Frank earlier revealed that the Palm Jumeirah – a series of artificial archipelagos where overall prices increased by 38.6% – registered villa price growth of 10.9% during Q1 alone, with the priciest villa ever sold in Dubai transacting on the iconic island during March for a record AED 280 million.
Similarly, in the exclusive Emirates Hills – a prestigious gated community made up of around 600 villas and home to mostly high-net-worth individual (UNHWI) from the Indian subcontinent as well as Iran and Western Europe – the rate of annual villa price growth stood at almost 20% at the end of Q1. The period between January and March registered a price rise of 6.5%.
However, more recently, Dubai's property market has added another feather in its cap.
On Friday, Bloomberg, citing two people familiar with the deal, reported that Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. is the mystery buyer of an $80 million beach-side villa in Dubai, the city’s biggest ever residential property deal.
The property on Palm Jumeirah was purchased earlier this year for Ambani’s youngest son, Anant, one of the people said, asking not to be named as the transaction is private, added the report. Anant is one of three heirs to Ambani's $93-billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The beach-side mansion sits in the northern part of the palm-shaped artificial archipelago and has 10 bedrooms, a private spa, and indoor and outdoor pools, local media reported without saying who the buyer is.
Dubai’s property market contributes to around a third of its economy, and is in the process of recovering from a seven-year slump, due to its deft handling of the pandemic, introducing a legal and regulatory framework aimed at giving expatriates a bigger stake in the economy. For example, under revised rules, investors can obtain a 10-year visa if they purchase property worth at least 2 million dirhams.
British footballer David Beckham with his wife Victoria and Bollywood mega star Shahrukh Khan will be some of Ambani’s new neighbors, according to the report.
Back in January, Property Finder said the total value of property transactions in Dubai broke a 12-year record in 2021, hitting AED151.07 billion. Around 40.4% of all transactions were for off-plan properties — property available for purchase before it has been constructed.
The Ambanis have has been increasing their real estate footprint overseas. Last year, Reliance spent $79 million to buy Stoke Park Ltd. in the UK, which houses a Georgian-era mansion said for older son Akash, who was recently named chairman of telecom operator Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. His twin sister, Isha, is scouting for a home in New York, Bloomberg added, citing the person.
Foreign residents make up more than 80% of the population of the UAE and have been a mainstay of the economy for decades, doing mostly private-sector jobs and spending their money on property or shopping in some of the world’s largest malls. Indians, in particular, have consistently ranked among the top buyers of Dubai real estate, stated Bloomberg.
The global property market has been on fire recently. Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli was said to be buying a home in London’s exclusive Belgravia district for about £92 million ($108 million) in June, and the Financial Times reported earlier that an estate 20 miles west of London sold for £125 million.
In the US, Joe Tsai’s Blue Pool Capital recently acquired a New York penthouse previously owned by Dan Och for $188 million, while Asia’s most-expensive apartment per square foot sold in Hong Kong for HK$640 million ($82 million) in November, added the report.