Super wealthy investors from the tiny, but incredibly rich, Gulf State of Qatar now own more than £1 billion ($1.4 billion) of property in London’s Mayfair.
According to research from estate agent Rokstone, Qataris have bought so much property in one corner of Mayfair that a new “Qatari Quarter” has started to develop.
It all centres around the London home of Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani, son of Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al-Thani who is cousin of Qatar’s emir. That house, Dudley House, is reportedly worth £200 million, and according to Vanity Fair, was once described by the Queen as making “Buckingham Palace look rather dull.”
While Dudley House is the focal point of the Qatari Quarter, it extends across a large section of Mayfair, and some of the properties owned by Qatari families and investors have spectacular price tags. Rokstone’s research cites an incredible number of super expensive properties owned by Qataris, including, but not limited to: a £40 million building on Green Street, formerly the Brazilian embassy; a £40 million town house on Mount Street; a £13 million house on Park Street.
Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatari Investment Authority, has also bought big stakes in several hotels near the developing Qatari Quarter.
These include a controlling stake, worth more than £1 billion, in the Connaught and Claridges hotels, as well as a £400 million share of the Intercontinental hotel on Park Lane. Qataris even like Mayfair so much that the ruling family has positioned the country’s embassy right in the heart of the Qatari Quarter.
Becky Fatemi, Rokstone’s managing director said:
“On the North West side of Mayfair property covering almost a quarter of the district’s 279 acres is now the West End address of choice for Qatari and other Gulf state end user buyers and tenants. The ‘Oil Royals’ and wealthy families from the Middle East view Mayfair as a luxury village and their favourite place in London, alongside Knightsbridge, for luxury shopping, dining out and leisure. Over two-thirds of Mayfair residents typically eat out 3-4 times per week and Middle East residents spend on average £1,900 per shop.”
The development of the Qatari Quarter is just part of a wider trend of wealthy individuals and investors from the Middle East flooding money in to London property. Earlier this month, Business Insider reported that Iranian investors are preparing to flood money into property in the most expensive cities in the West now that international sanctions against the country have been lifted — and that London could benefit to the tune of more than £1 billion ($1.42 billion).
Every summer the capital also plays hosts to hundreds of so-called “Arab playboys” — rich young men from Arab states — who come to London to drive fast cars and spend lots of cash in department stores like Harrods, according to the Daily Mail.
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