Dubai's World Islands has seen a spike in sales this year as the rich look to snap up second homes in an offshore development.
The Heart of Europe development sold 122 properties in the first three months of this year, the developer Kleindienst Group said on Monday.
The company said it made sales of Dh345m in the first quarter of 2019 – a 69 per cent increase from the same period in 2018.
Renewed interest in the sprawling World Islands project follows a long period of stalled progress during the economic downturn.
The majority of the properties have been sold to buyers from the UAE and wider GCC area.
“The model for world-class second homes in Dubai is working,” said Josef Kleindienst, founder and chairman of the Kleindienst Group.
"The record sales this quarter have reinforced the concept with many investors who now understand the definition of second homes either as a holiday retreat or as a good financial investment with guaranteed returns.
“Whether you welcome friends and family to spend time on a Floating Seahorse Villa or your suite in one of the 13 hotels, the trend is moving towards second homes and income-generating assets.”
More than 80 floating seahorse villas have now been sold, valued at Dh15m each, as part of the project along with islands named after Sweden, Germany and St Petersburg. All properties which make up Phase One of the project are expected to be handed over later this year.
Once all phases of the Heart of Europe, a six-island cluster in the middle of Dubai's The World islands, have been completed it will be home to 4,000 units.
The cheapest property at the Heart of Europe is a Dh1.5m unit at the Cote d’Azur Hotel.
There are more than 2,000 workers, many of whom live on site, working on the project that had dubbed an attempt to bring the Maldives to Dubai.
Kleindienst claimed a number of celebrities have purchased properties but they remained tight-lipped about their identities.
According to Mr Kleindienst, there is a growing market for second homes in Dubai which made the Heart of Europe an attractive proposition to would-be investors.
He said that the concept of a second home referred directly to a property located outside a major city that required an owner to drive or sail to get there for a weekend or staycation.
It was quite often the case these homes were used as a second source of income through rental to holiday makers, added Mr Kleindienst.
Kleindienst claimed that, according to its own research, there is an estimated demand for between 50,000-60,000 second homes in Dubai. This market is said to be worth around Dh50 billion, said Mr Kleindienst.