The mansion is currently undergoing some renovation works. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Despite all the doom and gloom in the news, including people losing jobs, companies cutting costs, an air of optimism still pervades – especially among those with deep pockets.

Just recently, an Indian national splashed Dh53 million ($14.4 million) on a sprawling mansion in Dubai that sits on a 39,000 square-foot property, which is more than half the size of a football pitch. It was the most expensive purchase made last year, based on Dubai Land Department transactions, and stands testament to the fact that Dubai remains a favourite of the ultra-rich.

The 24-000-square-foot house in Dubai’s Emirates Hills is currently undergoing renovation works. It is perched on a plot overlooking a golf course. It has one swimming pool and six bedrooms and will be used by the buyer as his permanent residence. The price tag? It is far more expensive than the average cost of a villa in the area, which is home to some of the city’s wealthiest residents.

The identity of the Indian businessman is being kept private, for security reasons.

The purchase came at a time when the realty sector was experiencing a decline in sales transactions, partly due to tight lending rules, low oil prices and strong US dollar. Property analysts, however, would argue that Dubai’s luxury segment is still drawing a lot of attention from cash buyers.

“Dubai’s real estate market remains one of the preferred options for the world’s ultra-high-net-worth individuals and the leading choice for those from the GCC,” said Lukman Hajje, Propertyfinder Group chief commercial officer. Hajje said investors are drawn to Dubai’s sunny weather and sandy beaches, as well as the city’s infrastructure and proximity to other destinations abroad.

“Dubai is unique in that it combines year-round sunshine and sandy beaches with a modern commercial infrastructure within a six-hour flight of 70 per cent of the world’s population,” Hajje added. “These factors allow it to compete with both luxury lifestyle destinations such as Monaco, Saint Bart’s and Saint Tropez, as well as major capital cities such as London, New York, Sydney and Hong Kong.”

A new review of prime real estate markets around the world has ranked Dubai, along with two other cities in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, as one of the top 50 destinations that the wealthiest are most attracted to.

The Alpha Cities index, part of the Global Property Handbook by consultant Wealth-X, Warburg Realty and Barnes International Realty, named Dubai as the most desirable city in the Arab world in which to acquire a luxury apartment or villa.

The recent purchase in Emirates Hills was brokered by PH Real Estate after the Asian buyer found the luxury mansion through propertyfinder.ae.

 “We were delighted to have set the record for 2016, said Myles Bush, chief executive of the company, which topped Emirates Hills’ transaction list for a ninth straight year.

According to propertyfinder, Emirates Hills was the most expensive neighbourhood in the UAE last year, with villas for sale carrying an average price tag of Dh36 million.

Culture Village, whose Palazzo Versace properties are also attracting a great deal of interest, came second, with the average villa price set at Dh24 million.