2020: Luxury in Review

Written by Andrew Cummings

In January 2020 no sensible realtor would have predicted a surge in demand for luxury real estate in Dubai. The Covid-19 pandemic however, fundamentally transformed what was a falling market, into a vibrant real estate landscape with unprecedented demand and minimal supply. So, what has changed in the luxury living scene in 2020, and what can we expect to see in 2021?

District One

District One

Across all levels of the Dubai market there has been a significant increase in demand for villa communities and nowhere has this been more pronounced than in the luxury market. The Palm Jumeirah has led the way with prices increasing up to 20% on some villa products. District One, once a newcomer to the luxury space, has also seen a huge uptick in activity with the developer selling out every villa and plot of land.

In both these areas a lack of supply has led to price increases. But it is not just the supply/demand matrix that has caused this impact. Instead we have to look at why people are buying and for that, as ever in Dubai, lifestyle is a factor. On the Palm Jumeirah, the opening of the Pointe and Nakheel Mall helped to drive that demand by adding premium amenities to an area that previously was lacking. More recently the opening of Palm Views West, an extended beachfront strip of shops and licenced restaurants has helped to really drive interest in this premium waterfront community.

Marsa Al Arab villas

Marsa Al Arab villas

In District One, a prime location has been coupled with world class amenities, such as the 7km crystal lagoon where families can be seen playing on the beach and swimming in the blue waters. Dubai's waterfront communities have really thrived in 2020, with Jumeirah Bay Island in particular seeing strong transactional activity with land plots selling for over AED 35m and a Bvlgari Mansion selling for AED 48.5 million, a significant premium on its original price. La Mer is another area that is proving popular with one buyer purchasing a giant multiple beachfront plot for nearly AED 200 million. Meraas’s highly exclusive Marsa Al Arab project, made up of just 9 unique villas also sold out with prices as high as AED 48 million, with one property already selling on the resale market for AED 60 million.

Traditional prime communities have also fared well with Emirates Hills recording a 2020 record villa sale price of AED 69 million in January followed by a number of AED 40 million sales in Q4. We are particularly pleased that LuxuryProperty.com alone accounted for over AED 160 million of sales in Emirates Hills in 2020. Meanwhile other family communities such as Al Barari and Jumeirah Golf Estates have seen villas get snapped up leaving buyers coming to the realisation that speed matters in the 2020 market.

Emirates Hills
Palm Jumeirah

Villas that we sold this year in Emirates Hills and Palm Jumeirah, respectively

So what does this mean for the traditionally vibrant penthouse market? Well 2021 has the potential set to become the year of the penthouse as a result of some very exciting project completions. First up is One Palm by Omniyat. This long awaited project already boasts two of the highest ever transactions at AED 102 million and AED 76 million. With one penthouse remaining it is likely we will see more records set on this exclusive and sophisticated project. Omniyat have also upped the bar again with the launch of the The Residences Dorchester Collection, a super luxury offering on the water close to Downtown. For lucky buyers they can enjoy yacht trips between the two properties on the developers own yacht.

We are also set to see the handover of the W Residences. The W Dubai The Palm hotel opened this year and has already changed the beachfront scene. These beautiful penthouses offer residents a minimum of 4,800 sq ft and all the lifestyle amenities that come with the stylish W Hotel. But perhaps the most anticipated completion in 2021 is The Royal Atlantis Resort and Residences. Billed as Dubai’s only super-prime project The Royal Atlantis is set to transform the luxury apartment and penthouse scene in as significant a way as it has transformed the Dubai skyline.

Penthouse at W Residences

Penthouse at W Residences

So what can buyers expect in 2021? With the roll out of a Covid-19 vaccine and great controls by governments we can expect to see an influx of overseas buyer demand as those who have seen the excellent way Dubai has handled the pandemic rush to relocate. We anticipate that the high levels of demand for villas in prime communities will continue and in the absence of a surge of supply we will see prices sustaining themselves at current levels, if not increasing for the more desirable properties.

One thing is for certain, Dubai’s reputation for luxury is only set to increase and if you are a buyer, now is the time to get on board.