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Turkey island in Dubai set for $21m auction

Land, Nature, Outdoors Creative Commons/Imre Solt
Consisting of 300 manmade islands, The World was launched by Nakheel in 2003
  • ‘Turkey’ in Dubai’s The World development is up for auction
  • Bids for the manmade island start at AED78 million
  • Demand for luxury waterfront properties in Dubai is rising

A manmade island on The World development off the coast of Dubai has been put up for auction, with the price tag starting at AED78 million ($21.24 million).

Part of an archipelago built in the shape of the map of the world, the island – named Turkey – has had “many” potential buyers visit the 47,645 square metre plot but has so far not received any confirmed offers.

A Dubai Land Department valuation certificate included with the advertisement on the Emirates Auction website values the island at around AED128 million. Bidding on the island will end at 5pm on July 26.

The World was launched in 2003 by state-owned master developer Nakheel.

Made up of 300 small manmade islands, it was conceived as a luxurious private development of tourist destinations and secluded homes for the ultra-wealthy. 

The project ran into difficulties during the 2009 global financial crisis, but Dubai’s record-breaking real estate market, where luxury waterfront properties are in high demand, has seen some owners eager to try and make a return on their investment.

Andrew Love, partner and head of Middle East Capital Markets at real estate consultancy firm Knight Frank, said he expected to see an increase in appetite.

“With beachfront villas in limited supply and prices at all-time highs, you may start to see a resurgence in interest with high-net-worth individuals building out private homes on their own islands versus paying AED10,000 per square foot for a villa on the Palm,” he said.

However, Love warned that the lack of critical infrastructure and amenities has impeded the islands’ appeal to investors and developers so far.

“Unfortunately, many of the island owners bought in the last cycle where prices were very high. Even in today’s buoyant market, plot prices for World Islands are still well below 2008 original sale prices.”

Some projects have got off the ground, such as a hospitality destination launched on the Lebanon island, and The Heart of Europe, a large-scale development being developed by the Kleindienst Group across six of the islands.

AGBI has contacted developer Nakheel for comment.