The windows and second floor of the Harrods are being transformed to a Dubai property showcase. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Those Middle East investors about to wrap up a property deal in the UK have got themselves a lucky break. The pound’s coming under further pressure after the country’s Supreme Court weighed in that the government will need to take parliament into full confidence on what its Brexit strategy is going to be, (The pound dipped 0.6 per cent after the ruling, trading at $1.26 (Dh4.62).)

“The currency play has meant that people investing from dollar pegged currencies buying now are making considerable savings,” said Victoria Garrett, Head of International Project Marketing at Knight Frank Middle East. “It depends of the property as to the discount available (on the selling price),,, but we are not seeing huge discounts on top of the currency play. But this has not stopped some investors making low offers to see what they can negotiate.

“Post-summer, where we had a lot of clients in London viewing property, we have seen them being a lot more comfortable about making offers and proceeding with their investments into the UK. The fundamentals behind the UK still remain the same — it is a global safe haven, with a transparent legal system and the destination of choice for many HNW (high net worth) individuals to live, educate their children and to base their businesses.”

But developers with off-plan launches have been hedging their bets. Some have indeed taken the plunge, believing that their properties offer enough to convince prospective buyers. Others are throwing in quite a few extras — such as a “free furniture pack and/or legal fee contribution,” said Garrett, who believes some launches now have been pushed back to the second or third phase of their development cycle.

“But this is more for mass-market properties. We are still seeing them hit a record price per square foot for properties in Mayfair.”

Bunker complex

Meanwhile, one developer to go in for a launch now is Amazon Property, but it’s far from the typical residential or office property. They are now showcasing their take on Fort Knox in the US. The London version will be a £30 million, 10,000 square feet project offering bank-style vaults for the super-rich. The bunker complex is located below ground in London’s West End, and is the result of a five-year design and development programme. The bank-style vaults are located over three basement floors, up to 40 feet below ground. And the entire complex is encased in one-metre thick concrete.

The “Armitage Vaults” are available on rent from £20 to £150 a week. “We have already had significant interest and the vaults are already 20 per cent let, with 75 per cent of users being from the UK,” said Tom Archer, Operations Director of Amazon Property. “Around 50 per cent of tenants are wealthy private clients, the balance are businesses.”


Factbox: A Dubai developer goes for the shopper at Harrods

For a second year running, Emaar Properties will be taking space at Harrods in London to offer a glimpse of its projects. The windows and second floor of the Harrods department store are being transformed to be a Dubai property showcase.

“The 2016 sales exhibition with Emaar attracted buyers from London, continental Europe, the Middle East and Asia and we expect this pattern to be replicated in 2017,” said Simon Barry, Head of New Residential Developments at Harrods Estates.