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Bedour Ibrahim

The high-end property market in the UK capital has been relatively strong

Qatari Sheikh Sells London Mansion to Fellow Royal for £39 Million

Friday 03/May/2024 - 07:46 PM
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Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has sold a Mayfair mansion to another member of the nation’s ruling family، one of London’s most expensive home deals in the past year.

Sheikh Mohammed sold the Grade II-listed mansion to a fellow Qatari royal for £39 million ($49 million) in October، according to people familiar with the matter. The property — nestled between Hyde Park and Berkeley Square — was bought by the Qatari prime minister in 2021، according to a UK filing، which did not reveal the identity of the new buyer.

Exchanging a luxury property

There are different reasons why a luxury property might be exchanged between members of an ultra-rich family، such as cutting out agency fees or reducing the risk of paying inheritance tax when the owner dies. Sheikh Mohammed negotiated directly with the fellow royal on the sale، the people said. 

Qatar’s government media office didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

Sheikh Mohammed — an experienced diplomat — was appointed prime minister of the gas-rich Gulf state last year، while continuing as foreign minister. He’s played an important role in discussions between Qatar and European countries about the supply of natural gas after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine upended energy markets.

His former home is one of just a handful that were sold for more than £30 million in London last year، including a £65 million Chelsea mansion bought by United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in November. Sheikh Mohammed’s former property was converted into apartments in the 1990s — a layout it has retained to this day، the people familiar said.

The high-end property market in the UK capital has been relatively strong even as global central banks have raised interest rates and Britain prepares to toughen its tax rules for rich foreigners. Still، some sellers have had to lower their ambitions when it came to price.

London's best districts

British billionaire Bobby Arora sold a luxury townhouse in Belgravia — a neighboring district to Mayfair — for £23.5 million at the end of last year، at a discount of roughly 30% from the price paid in 2013. In January، sold properties across London’s best districts dipped below 90% of their asking prices for the first time since early 2019، according to researcher LonRes.

Qatari elites have snapped up so much real estate in Mayfair over the years that the area has been nicknamed “Little Doha”. Abdulhadi Mana Al-Hajri، owner of the Ritz Hotel and brother-in-law of Qatar’s ruler، bought a £37.5 million townhouse a short walk from Sheikh Mohammed’s former home last year.

In 2023، Mayfair was one of the most popular neighborhoods for £5 million-plus deals in London، making up 8% of these transactions، according to broker Savills Plc.

But some property owners — including other Qatari royals and the Al-Khayyat family، which owns swathes of industry in the Gulf state — have considered selling mansions in London over the past 12 months. The share of Middle Eastern buyers purchasing homes in central London’s most affluent postcodes dropped to 5% of all purchases last year from 10% in 2019، according to broker Hamptons International.