Arab billionaire rents London flat for $90,000 a week

Harrods Estates reports surge in demand for luxury city units among MidEast buyers
By value, MENA homeowners hold 13 percent of London’s most expensive property
By Claire Ferris-Lay
Sun 28 Aug 2011 09:14 AM

A Middle Eastern businessman has signed a lease to rent
London’s most expensive property at a cost of £55,000 ($90,000) a week, in the
latest sign Arab investors are some of the biggest spenders on British prime
real estate.

The unnamed billionaire will be moving into the four-bedroom
penthouse in one of the capital city’s most exclusive districts, Knightsbridge,
Harrods Estates said, at a cost of $4.7m a year.

The company declined to confirm the nationality of the
tenant but the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper reported the man as an “unnamed Middle
Eastern man”.

The penthouse is located in one of the capital’s three most
exclusive real estate developments, One Hyde Park, Lancelot Place and The
Knightsbridge.  

The property arm of the London-based luxury department store
said it had seen a surge in demand for luxury property across London from
Middle East, Russian and Asian clients.

The firm said it had seen the average cost of its rented
property increase to £4,285 from March to date compared to £1,955 the same
period the previous year.

“Some 89 percent of our sales are from high-net-worth
individuals from overseas, particularly Russia, Middle East and Asia, where we
achieve our highest sales,” Shirley Humphrey, sales and marketing director of
Harrods Estates, said in a statement.

“The prime property market in London is the fastest growing
area in the UK. We have not only seen an increase in demand from buyers but
also those looking to rent, which in turn is pushing prices up. We recently
secured a rental of £55,000 per week, which is a record figure for us.” London
is often seen as a safe haven for Middle Eastern investors, who flock to the
capital during the hot summer months.

Buyers from the Middle East and North Africa are among the
biggest spenders on luxury property, holding a 10 percent share of prime
central London real estate, real estate consultancy Savills said in June.

By value, MENA homeowners hold 13 percent of London’s most
expensive property, with an average spend of £4m, the consultancy said.

Luxury development One Hyde Park, which was launched to
great fanfare in January, broke world records for the most expensive price per
square foot at £6,000.

Buyers in the luxurious development, which includes 86
apartments overlooking either Hyde Park or Harvey Nichols, are said to include
Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Jaber Al-Thani and Mohammed Saud Sultan Al
Qasimi, head of finance for the government of Sharjah.

Between 20-25 percent of sales were to Middle East buyers,
with the cheapest apartment in the development costing £5.75m ($9.2m), Arabian
Business reported in June.

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