India’s second-richest man is building upon his Dubai property empire with another beach-side villa purchase, smashing his prior record for the city’s most expensive residential real estate deal within a matter of months, according to people familiar with the matter.
Mukesh Ambani bought the Palm Jumeirah mansion last week for about $163 million from the family of Kuwaiti tycoon Mohammed Alshaya, said the people, asking not to be named as they’re not authorized to speak publicly.
Alshaya’s conglomerate owns the local franchises for retail brands including Starbucks, H&M and Victoria’s Secret. Ambani is chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd., India’s largest company by market value, and has a net worth of $84 billion.
The billionaire has been snapping up properties overseas, increasingly looking westward for second homes. Reliance spent $79 million last year to buy iconic UK country club Stoke Park and Ambani is also scouting for a property in New York, Bloomberg has reported.
Ambani’s latest purchase in Dubai is a short stroll from the $80 million home he bought earlier this year. That deal was the city’s biggest-ever residential sale until another mansion on the palm-shaped island sold for $82.4 million.
The Dubai Land Department reported a property deal worth $163 million on Palm Jumeirah earlier this week, without disclosing the buyer’s identity. A spokesperson for Reliance declined to comment, while representatives for Alshaya didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The flurry of record deals underscores Dubai’s recent success at luring some of the world’s wealthiest business executives. The city-state’s property market, which contributes around a third of its economy, is recovering from a seven-year slump thanks to the government’s nimble handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and initiatives aimed at giving expatriates a bigger stake in the economy.
Foreign residents make up more than 80% of the population of the United Arab Emirates. They’ve been a mainstay of the economy for decades, primarily working in the private sector and spending their money on property or shopping in some of the world’s biggest malls. Indians, in particular, have consistently ranked among the top buyers of Dubai real estate.
As of the end of last month, the emirate’s prime property prices have surged more than 70% over the past year, the biggest gain on Knight Frank’s global index.
While that’s outpaced gains elsewhere, there have been a few landmark deals globally. In the US, Joe Tsai’s Blue Pool Capital 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.
Meanwhile, London’s most expensive home — a Knightsbridge mansion overlooking Hyde Park that changed hands in April 2020 for £210 million ($232 million) — is up for sale again.