Emaar Properties has begun selling new “lateral” apartments taking up either half or a whole floor of a new 77-storey tower at the Opera District in Downtown Dubai.
The Il Primo apartments have gone on sale at a marketing suite within the famous Harrods Department store in London, with the smallest units of around 4,979 sq ft being sold for £3.5 million (Dh17m) each.
The tower will have 119 apartments in total, and the biggest will be up to 10,842 sq ft in size, with a balcony terrace of 708 sq ft. The smaller, 4,979 sq ft properties will have 279 sq ft balconies.
The Il Primo Tower will also have a podium containing amenities including a gym, cigar lounge, a library, cinema and spa. Apartments will have full-height glazing offering views of the new Opera House, Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai.
Ahmad Al Matrooshi, the managing director of Emaar Properties, said: “Il Primo is situated in the centre of Dubai’s new cultural hub. The exceptional views of Dubai Opera, The Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa are spectacular. This, combined with the generous apartment sizes, will make Il Primo the most covetable address in Dubai.”
Emaar said that prices will average at around £500 per sq ft, compared with between £1,500-£3,000 per sq ft for prime central London property. It is selling the apartments from a 2,000 sq ft marketing suite on the second floor of Harrods, which has scale models of The Opera District, as well as its Dubai Hills Estate and Dubai Creek Harbour masterplanned communities. The suite will be open until mid-August.
The company has launched the properties in London targeting investors looking for a safe haven for investments in light of the turmoil in the UK caused by the Brexit vote.
Simon Barry, a director of new developments for Emaar’s sales agent, Harrods Estates, argued that Dubai could be a big winner out of the uncertainty over Brexit.
However, it does mean that Dubai-based apartments have become much more expensive for buyers whose assets are primarily held in sterling.
Moreover, prices in Downtown Dubai have continued to decline in recent months.
According to Asteco Property Consultants, apartment sale prices dropped by 4 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016, with existing apartments generally selling at between Dh1,800-Dh2,800 per sq ft.
Faisal Durrani, the head of research at Cluttons, said that he believed the London launch was aimed more at Gulf-based buyers and other, high-net worth international investors than those based in the UK. Cluttons’ recent Middle East Private Capital Survey found Dubai to be the top destination for GCC investors due to “the security of the investment, the returns available and the variety of assets”.
“I think the prime target is Gulf buyers,” he said. “Timing-wise, it’s probably quite good. It’s after Ramadan, during the Eid holidays and as we’re all familiar with, London is a hotspot for Gulf tourists during the summer.
“Given what’s happened to sterling over the last couple of weeks, there is a significant discount for those planning to holiday [in the UK], and I suspect that will drive in a higher number of business people than normal from the Gulf this summer.”
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