Christie’s International Real Estate, the property unit of the London headquartered art auction house, is set to launch in Dubai at the company’s next auction in the emirate in October.
The expansion could see Christie’s property wing open three to four offices in the region in total, revealed Joachim Wrang-Widén, SVP and regional director for Europe, Middle East, Russia, India and Africa at a press briefing in London.
Wrang-Widén said the company’s normal requirement for its services was property worth more than $1million, but suggested there was “no point” in having the Christie’s brand on property worth anything less than three to four million dollars in the Dubai market.
He also revealed the company was ready to sell a number of assets that would be “very attractive” to Middle Eastern-based buyers at launch.
“We have one sumptuous Arabic palace coming out which will probably be priced at about 75 million euros and we will have property in Dubai for sale, yes that is also the intention, but I’m not able to say what yet because in Dubai things move so quickly,” he said.
Although not revealing which countries he was eyeing for the other offices, Wrang-Widén said he would not rule out Bahrain.
“If I recognise enough turnover in the local market, we’ll have an office there,” he said. “Bahrain is on my list of do we expand there if yes I have a number of priorities, when do we need to be there and how do we need to be there.”
In explaining why potential sellers should deal with Christie’s rather than pure real estate firms, Wrang-Widén said it was the company’s regular interactions with people of wealth.
“Most people buy and sell their house every five to 15 years. The benefit of using Christie’s International Real Estate is we are dealing with these clients daily, people come in and buy jewellery, wine, paintings perhaps, and they might buy several times a year, so we have more frequent interactions with these clients than real estate firms,” he said.
As an indication of its intent for the Middle Eastern market, Christie’s International Real Estate will also publish its magazine in Arabic for the first time in the coming months.
Christie’s Auction House has sold approximately $250 million of art in Dubai since launching in May 2006.