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‘Record deal’ for rental property is testament to the ‘Dubai dream,’ says agent who brokered it

LONDON: An estate agent in Dubai who last week helped broker a $1 million-a-year rental agreement for a luxury townhouse on Jumeirah Bay Island, believed to be a record amount for a property of this kind in the city, said the deal is testament to the “Dubai dream” and evidence that the city’s housing market is thriving.

“Back in the day it was the ‘American dream’ — now it’s the ‘Dubai dream,’” Dalila Laaribi, from luxury real estate brokerage Driven Properties, told Arab News

She said the client, a young businessman based in the US who made his fortune in cryptocurrency, wanted a property that offered a specific kind of “peace of mind.”

She added: “We went to purchase but he did not find what he wanted. He didn’t even tell me (what he wanted, I learned it) just from his face. I’m trying to understand, ‘OK, what is it?’ because he wanted luxury, he wanted a certain location. You have to understand the person in front of you.”

Laaribi said that in deals for this type of high-end property, usually clients are more interested in buying rather than renting.

“When looking at rentals, they will try to tell you, ‘Let’s purchase.’ In this case, ironically, it was strange because he actually came to purchase and we ended up renting,” she said.

The property he chose is at one of Dubai’s most exclusive addresses. The gated Villa Amalfi community is described as offering the finest in contemporary luxury living on Dubai’s beachfront, close to the Bulgari Resort.

The five-bedroom, 5,192-square-foot, fully furnished townhouse comes with Christofle cutlery, Hermes furnishings, contemporary art, a private gym, sauna, marble floors, a private gardener and a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the sea and the city skyline. Access to the super-exclusive community is carefully controlled and limited to authorized individuals and their guests, to guarantee the privacy and security of residents.

“People will say, ‘Why would someone rent at this price?’” Laaribi said. “They don’t understand what his peace of mind is worth and don’t understand what’s in his pocket.

“Sometimes what $1 is worth to you and what $1 is worth to me are totally different, and your $1 million and my $1 million are totally different. And people go for their peace of mind. Like I always say, peace of mind is worth millions and you cannot put a price on your peace of mind.”

The record-breaking lease agreement was finalized by Laaribi and her colleague, Inga Brykulska.

“(The Villa Amalfi) deal took a while to close; it was not an easy transaction,” Laaribi said. She added that Driven Properties are no strangers to landmark deals in the luxury real estate market, including records for the most expensive penthouse and the highest cost of land per square foot.

“At the end of the day, it’s not just me, it’s me and my team — and it’s also Dubai,” she said.

Dubai’s property market has experienced a boom in recent years and with the city’s population expected to double in the years ahead, the sector is expected to continue to grow exponentially, further cementing its position as a global real estate hot spot.

“Everywhere wants to become like Dubai in 10 years,” said Laaribi. “But we’re not going to be like this in 10 years, we’re going to be much better because every day there’s something new and something happening.”

She said that compared with other metropolitan markets such as New York or Hong Kong, where the luxury property sector is somewhat saturated, Dubai still offers huge investment opportunities.

“The prices are still very good and competitive compared with the likes of Hong Kong and New York, because for the price that you’re going to pay in Hong Kong or New York, the unit is (relatively small in) size (compared with Dubai),” she added.

Laaribi said that although she specializes in the luxury property market, Dubai is also still a great choice for first-time buyers and other people on more modest budgets who come to the Gulf for work.

Asked whether Dubai might be good choice for a luxury-property-themed reality TV show, such as Netflix’s “Selling Sunset,” which is set in Los Angeles, Laaribi was unsure.

“I haven’t watched it,” she said. “It’s crazy, I am in that field but I do not think I’m going to learn something from it. I think it just entertainment.

“My job is very sensitive. There are a lot of VIPs (who value their privacy).”

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