India’s second-richest man is building his Dubai empire with another beach house purchase, breaking his previous record for the most expensive real estate deal in 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, who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak publicly.
Alshaya Group owns local franchises for retail brands including Starbucks, H&M and Victoria’s Secret. Ambani is the chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd., India’s largest company by market value, and is worth $84 billion.
The billionaire has been grabbing property abroad, increasingly looking west for second homes. Reliance spent $79 million last year to buy English club Stoke Park and Ambani is also looking for property in New York, Bloomberg has reported.
Ambani’s latest purchase in Dubai is a stone’s throw from the $80 million home he bought earlier this year. The deal was the city’s largest-ever residential sale until another mansion on the palm-shaped island sold for $82.4 million.
The Dubai Land Department reported a $163 million property deal on Palm Jumeirah earlier this week, without disclosing the identity of the buyer. A Reliance spokesperson declined to comment, while Alshaya representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
A string of record deals underscores Dubai’s recent success in luring some of the world’s wealthiest business executives. The city-state’s property market, which accounts for about a third of its economy, is recovering from a seven-year slump thanks to the government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis and plans to give foreigners a bigger role in the economy.
Foreign residents are more than 80% of the population of the United Arab Emirates. They have been the mainstay of the economy for decades, working in the private sector and using their money to buy property or shopping in the world’s biggest supermarkets. Indians, in particular, are regularly listed among the top buyers of Dubai real estate.
By the end of last month, the emirate’s prime property prices had risen more than 70% over the past year, the biggest gain on Knight Frank’s global index.
While those are past successes elsewhere, there have been a few significant deals around the world. In the US, Joe Tsai’s Blue Pool Capital acquired a New York mansion owned by Dan Och for $188 million, while Asia’s most expensive house per square foot was sold in Hong Kong for HK$640 million ($82 million ) in November.
Meanwhile, London’s most expensive house — a Knightsbridge mansion overlooking Hyde Park that changed hands in April 2020 for 210 million pounds ($232 million) — is up for sale again.