Yet-to-be-built Dubai penthouse sells for record sum of US$136 million

Yet-to-be-built Dubai penthouse sells for record $136 million
A five-bedroom penthouse has sold for just over US$136 million, setting a new record for one of the world’s busiest luxury real estate markets. Photo credit: Nakheel Properties and Provident Estate

By Jacopo Prisco of CNN

A five-bedroom penthouse covering almost 22,000 square feet has sold in Dubai for 500 million UAE dirhams - just over US$136 million (about NZ$221 million) - setting a new record for one of the world's busiest luxury real estate markets.

Set atop a 71-storey tower called Como Residences, the yet-to-be-built apartment is located on the exclusive Palm Jumeirah, an archipelago of artificial islands known for its designer villas, upscale hotels and beach clubs with infinity pools.

Built just over 20 years ago, the archipelago spans an area of 560 hectares (1380 acres) and is home to about 80,000 people. Its newest attraction is the Palm Tower, a 52-storey, 760-foot-tall (232-metre) hotel and private residence skyscraper with a public, 360-degree observation deck right at the top, offering stunning views of the Dubai coastline.

The Como Residences are currently under construction and Provident Estate, the Dubai agency that brokered the sale, says it anticipates completion by late 2027 - meaning the buyer of the penthouse will have to wait at least three more years before they can enjoy their purchase.

Record sales

The previous record for a penthouse sale in Dubai dates back just a few months, when an apartment occupying the top floor of the Marsa Al Arab Hotel sold for 420 million UAE dirhams (about US$114 million). According to Provident Estate, the penthouse at Como Residences is the third most expensive in the world, after Penthouse D at One Hyde Park in London, priced at $237 million, and the Odeon Tower Penthouse in Monaco, priced at US$440 million.

The Como Residences penthouse features a 360-degree sky pool and is in a "strategically located" spot in Dubai with views of Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa - the world's tallest building - and Dubai Marina, Sam Horani, an associate partner at Provident Estate, told CNN. Horani said the agency won't reveal the identity of the buyer but adds "they are from Eastern Europe." 

According to its developer, Nakheel, the Como Residences tower will be over 300 metres (984 feet) tall, meeting the definition of supertall skyscraper. Limited to just 76 apartments, from two to seven bedrooms, it includes an elevated private sandy beach, a 25-metre lap pool and a rooftop infinity pool. Each floor is occupied by one or two residences only, served by private elevators. The starting price for the units was set at 21 million dirhams, about US$5.7 million.

"A trophy asset"

"It's a very exclusive property, it's very much a trophy asset," says Chris Boswell, a Dubai-based luxury real estate agent who was not involved with the sale. He adds that due to the limited availability of properties like this, he's not surprised someone is prepared to wait years for it. "There aren't any real large-scale penthouses like that, unless you go for something that is off plan, meaning under construction. And people are prepared to wait that long for the best ones."

Boswell, who has brokered sales of up to US$55 million in the region, says there has been a shift in the type of buyers in the last few years. "We're seeing a lot more people now who are buying to live here," he says. "For many years, we were predominantly dealing with speculative investors, but now Dubai is not the same landscape as it was before; it's not full of cranes and construction, and people are coming here to live now. I'm seeing a lot more inquiries coming from the United States, from Italy, from France, from the UK."

He adds that one of the factors that motivates people to move to the area is safety. But when it comes to the asking price for a penthouse, the view is one of the key drivers. "The view is of massive importance," he says. "And the view from this specific penthouse will be unmatched."