“A decade ago, Dubai was not a place to buy a home and settle down.
“It was transient and short term and wasn’t taken seriously as somewhere you might want to spend the next 20 to 30 years of your life. But that has changed, dramatically.
“Dubai is continuing to outperform real estate markets around the world in spite of the economic downturn and the drop in oil prices, with long-term stable growth patterns. And there is every indication that we will see strong growth in the next few months in particular.
“We can expect a much more competitive environment going forward.”
These are the words of Anton Yachmenev, Managing Director of Forum Group’s XXII Carat, a luxury property development sat in the Palm Jumeirah, one of the most exclusive and expensive residential areas in the emirate.
“Dubai’s luxury real estate market is fast becoming an attractive proposition to a multitude of international buyers,” he continues.
“The Palm Jumeirah in Dubai remains a hot spot for the luxury sector and, when complete, our XXII Carat development will redefine luxury living offering residents unrivalled style, convenience and seclusion.
“There is an inherent resilience in the luxury market in particular, which continues to outpace the overall market.”
Yachmenev correctly observes that Dubai’s luxury market is well sheltered from the nuances impacting the rest of the city’s property industry.
While prices may fluctuate for a number of reasons, there is always a demand for one-off, high-end properties that buyers will acquire regardless of what the overall market is up to.
This is evident in research released by Core Savills, which found that areas like Emirates Hills, Palm Jumeirah and Al Barari are still attracting high-net-worth buyers often relocating to Dubai. In 2017, three percent of all residential transactions fell into the luxury segment, including villas in Emirates Hills and the Palm that respectively sold for $25.8 and $22.9 million.
XXII Carat luxury
Yachmenev will be hoping that 2019 sees many of XXII Carat’s 22 villas join the list of high-value property transactions.
Now at completion stage and in the process of receiving building completion certificates, the development comprises properties on plots ranging from 15,600 to 23,300 square feet in size, the higher end units on the market for $25 million.
“We always wanted to do an ultra-high-end development,” Yachmenev reveals. “The exclusive nature and spectacular beauty of the site at the end of the Western Crescent of the Palm, calls for nothing less.
“There is now a trend of discerning well-heeled buyers choosing a permanent home in Dubai and that’s why we came up with the idea for XXII Carat. Buyers are on the lookout for modern, vanguard and expertly appointed villas and we want to give them what they want.
“We have a simple mission, which is driven by the belief that true luxury is about more than just the address.”
So, what is luxury in the eyes of Yachmenev?
“Luxury living used to mean lavish finishes and furnishings, a nice big swimming pool or two and exclusive, unobstructed views of the ocean or skyline,” he says.
“But with the emergence of the ultra-prime segment, these so-called traditional trimmings are simply not enough, and today’s luxury buyer is searching for something altogether more unique and meaningful.
“As the number of high net worth individuals in the world steadily increases, so too does demand for one-of-a-kind ultra-prime properties. Developers the world over are competing against each other to truly stand out and architects and designers are desperately trying to come up with more creative ways to incorporate things like customisation, personalisation and comfort.
“In Dubai in particular, there is a growing appetite for luxurious apartments, penthouses and villas in gated communities, and we are starting to see a lot more world-class amenities and international standards in construction in a bid by developers to attract the ultra-high net worth individuals.”
One way in which XXII Carat is seeking to stand out from the crowd is in what may appear a simple, almost essential element of a residence – a bathtub.
Carved from a single block of crystal sourced from the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, each bath weighs around three tonnes and costs $1 million.
It was not a process Yachmenev and his team could afford to mess up. Each stage was scrutinised to the last detail, from the carving of the egg-shape in Italy to temperature-controlled transportation to Dubai and expert finishing by local craftsmen.
Yachmenev hints at new developments appearing in his Dubai development pipeline in the not too distant future. His focus for the time being will remain on the emirate while the luxury property sector still holds firm – the XXII Carat project is simply the opening page of a new portfolio.
Asked what he believes the next chapter of the sector’s story looks like, Yachmenev explains how exclusivity and rarity are very much on trend.
He concludes: “The key here is fewer units, in the 20 to 30 range, with larger plot sizes and bigger gardens giving the privileged few much sought-after privacy and physical and visual space.
“But with more money involved, buyers are looking for five-star amenities, services and features that you just can’t find in the average luxury property. That might be top-of-the-range kitchens, luxuriant bathrooms, private beaches, concierge services, somewhere to park their yacht perhaps, or even a free Bentley or Rolls-Royce thrown in for good measure.
“The value or worth of ultra-prime properties is becoming more and more heavily weighted on personal values and lifestyle and each group, whether it’s the Chinese, the Russians, the Indians or the Arabs, comes with their own set of requirements.
“Ultimately, buyers now want something that strikes the right balance between aesthetics, exclusivity, rarity and individuality. And luckily for ultra-high net worth individuals, Dubai really does have something for everyone.”