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  • EXCLUSIVE

Trump-branded properties in Dubai report 100% growth

Trump Dubai Creative Commons
Donald Trump with Damac chairman Hussein Sajwani at the launch of the first Trump International Golf Club Dubai in 2014 – before the controversies of presidency
  • Trump Estates in Damac Hills features over 240 luxury villas
  • New Trump World Golf Club due to open in emirate
  • Company praised for quality despite controversy around ex president

Donald Trump may be the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation in the US, but his name is still big business in Dubai, where properties in the Gulf city bearing his brand name have appreciated by nearly 100 percent and continue to command strong demand.

The former US president is under multiple probes, including the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol building in Washington last year, and for taking classified government documents with him after leaving the White House.

The billionaire-turned-politician’s company, The Trump Organisation, operates the Middle East’s only Trump-branded golf course and lends its brand to an exclusive residential development in partnership with Dubai private developer Damac Properties.

Owned by Damac, the 18-hole Gil Hanse-designed Trump International Golf Club Dubai is set within the Trump Estates at Damac Hills, a gated community in a private enclave amid the fairways, featuring more than 240 luxury villas.

“Damac Hills prices, from 2020 to now, are up almost 100 percent,” Ali Sajwani, general manager of operations at Damac Properties, told AGBI.

“They Trump-branded golf villas have performed just as well as the rest of the community. I don’t know if they have appreciated exactly 100 percent but they have appreciated significantly with the Damac Hills community.”

In August, Damac expanded its offering within the Damac Hills Trump Estates cluster with the launch of Beverly Hills Drive, a “crème de la crème of luxury” collection of six-bedroom mansions featuring gardens that provide direct access to the Trump International Golf Course.

Currently being advertised with a starting price of AED13.3 million ($3.62 million), Damac said the interiors of the three-storey mansions include crystal chandeliers, polished wood and gold finishings.

Trump villa Dubai
Trump Estates villas at Damac Hills in Dubai remain in high demand

“Over the last few years, we have witnessed a high demand for Trump-branded properties here in the UAE, which are all located exclusively within the Damac Hills community,” Sajwani said.

He attributed the strong demand and sales of Trump-branded properties to “quality”, despite criticism of the 45th president.

“If you look at the name Trump, even before he became president, Trump is a world class organisation — and our relationship is with the Trump organisation as a company,” Sajwani said. 

“They run several golf courses globally. They have some of the best developments in the US. It’s a reputable, high-quality company. We mimic that similar sort of quality for our projects in Dubai.”

Faisal Durrani, partner and head of Middle East Research at Knight Frank, said that Dubai’s latest price rise cycle still has some way to go.

“Prime residential values in Dubai have grown by an extraordinary 90 percent in the last 12 months. This growth however translates into average prices of close to $870 per square foot, making Dubai one of the world’s most affordable prime residential markets,” he said.

“Dubai is in the midst of its third property market cycle – the Covid Comeback. We’ve had two and a half years of price rises, compared to nearly six years of growth in the first cycle and nearly four in the second.”

Trump Dubai gold course
Trump World Golf Club near Trump Estates villas in Damac Hills, Dubai

Despite record-breaking price rises, the UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index 2022 said that, despite a “buoyant year”, the market in Dubai is not overpriced.

“Dubai’s housing market has been a rollercoaster ride over the past two decades as demand is highly correlated to the development of oil prices. Surging oil prices and a pick-up in immigration revived the market last year,” said the yearly study by the Swiss wealth manager.

The Trump brand topped the global league table of the branded residences sector back in 2000, according to a report by real estate services provider Savills. It fell to third in 2015 but was still ranked fourth in the world at the mid-way point in 2020.

Damac is also building a second Trump-branded golf course at another Damac property in Dubai, AKOYA Oxygen.

The delayed Tiger Woods-designed Trump World Golf Club is scheduled to be opened this year, according to a Bloomberg report last year.

Damac did not confirm the opening date of the new course. The Trump Organisation website describes the second Dubai course as “coming soon”.

The demand for Trump-branded luxury properties comes as the UAE’s rich population continues to grow at record pace.

The Wealthiest Cities in the World for 2022 report, compiled with data from global wealth intelligence firm New World Wealth, found that Dubai currently ranks 23rd globally and is home to 67,900 millionaires, 202 centi-millionaires (those with net assets of $100 million or more), and 13 billionaires.

The UAE city is predicted to be in the top 20 wealthiest cities in a few years, with the number of residents having wealth of seven figures rising by 18 percent this year.

Other cities in the region have also seen strong growth, Riyadh up 20 percent to 17,200 millionaires, Abu Dhabi added 16 percent more to total 23,800 and Doha’s millionaire population growing 12 percent to 21,300.

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