Dubai Marina location without the stairs for Dh11.5m

Known as a city in which penthouse living is very much in vogue, Dubai’s urbanites have traditionally been drawn towards the tallest towers with the finest city views.

But high profile building fires such as a blaze which engulfed the Address Downtown Dubai tower on New Year’s Eve last year and a massive fire at the Marina Torch Tower in Dubai Marina are prompting many of the city’s wealthy elite to search for apartments on the less picturesque lower floors.

“Over the last couple of years we have been getting more and more calls from potential buyers who are looking for luxury apartments but something on a low floor,” says Daniel Garofoli, a property broker at the high-end Dubai estate agent Luxhabitat who focuses on selling penthouses in Dubai Marina. “There are a lot of people out there who are worried about building fires these days in Dubai.”

Traditionally, Dubai apartments at the top of the city’s towering skyscrapers are reserved for those with the highest salaries including palatial duplex and triplex penthouses complete with private swimming pools, large balconies and servants quarters. Meanwhile the lower floors are often reserved for retail, offices or less swish flats for those who cannot afford a room with a view.

Mr Garofoli is currently marketing what he calls a “marina villa” – a three-storey luxury penthouse located on the ground floor of Park Island tower in Dubai Marina which comes with an eye watering price tag of Dh11.5 million.

The 4,000 square foot apartment is located in the middle of four high rise towers each stretching up more than 45 floors above the marina meaning that whoever buys this property gets a Marina location without the stairs.

The apartment/villa comes fully furnished and fully upgraded with even the pipes and wiring removed and re-done and a US-style water purifying drinking system added. Even the light bulbs have been changed for expensive European brands. The previous owners have installed Rimadesio glass doors from Italy and super-posh branded furniture throughout.

So far the property has been on the market for the last four weeks and Mr Garofoli says that it has been getting at least two viewings a week with interest coming from prominent individuals including a Turkish footballer.

Q&A

Do people really pay more for flats on higher floors in Dubai Marina?

Yes. According to property broker Core Savills, apartments on higher floors and with better views of the Marina can command premiums for both sales and rents sometimes of as much as 20 or 30 per cent compared with similar flats on the ground floor.

How high do the towers get?

Dubai Marina includes a cluster of high rise buildings known as “the tallest block in the world”. Towers in this block include some of the world’s tallest buildings such as the 413.4-metre Princess Tower, 426.5m Marina 101, 380.5m Elite Residences, the 336.8m Marina Torch and 285m Sulafa Tower.

Why are some Dubai residents worried about fire?

In July a fire broke out on the 60th floor of the 75-storey Sulafa Tower in Dubai Marina. The blaze was the latest in a series of high profile tower block fires which have damaged property throughout the UAE. Most dramatically, the world watched as fire blazed at the 63 storey Address Downtown Dubai hotel on New Year’s Eve last year. Also last year, more than 100 flats were damaged in a fire in The Torch building in Dubai Marina – one of the tallest buildings in the world. Despite the damage no lives were lost in the fires.

Is it worth splashing out for luxury property at the moment?

Most property brokers in Dubai say that the luxury end of the market in Dubai is continuing to dip as the number of high level jobs in the city declines in the wake of the city’s slowing economy. According to Cluttons, average housing prices in Dubai fell 2.6 per cent in the third quarter of 2016. The agent predicts that average house prices are unlikely to correct until the middle of 2017 at the earliest while it says the top end of the sales market could lag the rest of the market. However, others are more optimistic. Mr Garofoli says that he has had a record year in terms of sales. “The luxury market is always the last to fall and the first to recover,” he says. “For our clients there is no crisis. People are investing in a lifestyle.”

lbarnard@thenational.ae