Dubai property brokerage plans to sell 'metaverse mansions'

Union Square House is aiming to launch the first set of NFTs in July with a focus on ultra-luxury properties

A concept of a metaverse city. Photo: Union Square House
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A Dubai property brokerage plans to sell the region's first “metaverse mansions”, where buyers can own a non-fungible token (NFT) with and without the bricks and mortar asset.

The digital mansions will enable buyers to view their properties in augmented reality, Union Square House (USH) said in a statement on Monday.

The brokerage is looking to capitalise on Dubai's “high level of familiarity” with the virtual world, it said.

“Our foray into the metaverse stems from our strong belief in a prevalent virtual world that is set to transform many sectors, top of which is real estate,” said Gaurav Aidasani, founder and managing director of USH.

“In futuristic cities like Dubai, which thrives on a predominantly young generation, people understand the value and potential of digital assets.

“We believe digital real estate has already gone mainstream. Lenders are even offering mortgages to support customers in buying virtual properties. All these developments give momentum to digital properties, presenting investors in the metaverse with an opportunity to multiply the value of their virtual assets,” he said.

The company is aiming to launch the first set of NFTs in July and only ultra-luxury properties will be sold, with a focus on “micro markets such as The Palm Jumeirah, Emirates Hills, District One, Dubai Hills Estates and others”, a USH representative told The National.

While the project will start in Dubai, the company plans to expand to Abu Dhabi and other major cities, he said.

What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is a digital space where participants, represented by three-dimensional digital representations, avatars, interact.

In other words, it is an online equivalent of a person in a virtual world, performing interacting and transacting.

Payments in the metaverse are made using cryptocurrencies, built on blockchain.

No one owns the metaverse, not Meta (formerly Facebook), even if it named itself as such.

Like the internet, there is no defined owner and the metaverse can be expanded under internationally-adopted regulations.

Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg estimates the metaverse will reach fruition in five to 10 years.

How big is the property market in the metaverse?

Property sales on the four major metaverse platforms reached $501 million in 2021 and are expected to double this year, according to MetaMetric Solutions.

The size of the metaverse real estate market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 31.2 per cent during 2022-2028, Brandessence research said.

In February, what was thought to be the world's first metaverse mansion was put on sale in the form of Hampton Hall in England.

Developer Stately Homes aims to build the 11-bedroom property for the market at £29 million ($40m), on a half-hectare plot in the gated Crown Estate in Surrey. The precise location is up for negotiation.

Whomever buys the house in reality will be offered first refusal on its digital blueprint in the form of an NFT.

Updated: May 17, 2023, 3:54 PM