Streets Paved With Gold 07 October 2021
For the past week, ending 07 October, Dubai Land Department recorded a total of 1,959 real estate and properties transactions, with a gross value of US$ 1.93 billion. It confirmed that 1,307 villas/apartments were sold for US$ 839 million, and 158 plots for US$ 160 million over the week. The top three transfers for apartments and villas were for a US$ 148 million apartment in Marsa Dubai, US$ 93 million for a Burj Khalifa apartment and US$ 72 million for a villa in Wadi Al Safa 5. The top two land transactions were in Hadaeq Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid for US$ 9 million, and in Madinat Dubai Almelaheyah for US$ 8 million. The most popular locations were in Al Hebiah Third, with 52 sales transactions, worth US$ 34 million, Al Yufrah 2, with 21 sales at US$ 9 million, and Al Yufrah 3 with 13 sales transactions, valued at US$ 4 million. Mortgaged properties for the week totalled US$ 817 million, including a plot for US$ 272 million in Marsa Dubai. 125 properties were granted between first-degree relatives worth US$ 93 million.
According to the latest CBRE report, Dubai residential property prices climbed 4.4% during the first eight months of the year – its highest annual growth rate since February 2015 – with average villa prices 17.9% to the good and apartments at 2.5%. Overall average rents were 2.7% lower, with villas 15.5% higher but apartments heading 5.2% lower. The study noted that “while there are still headwinds which are tapering performance, we do expect price performance to begin to improve in the not-too-distant future.” Over the period, residential transactions volume came in an impressive 76.8% higher, split between the secondary market (up 120.7%) and off-plan transactions (39.5%); YTD figures are already higher than all but two total annual returns over the past decade. It is also estimated that in the first eight months, 24.6k units were added to Dubai’s property portfolio, with a further 24.7k expected before year-end.
According to Property Finder, last month, Dubai recorded 5,762 transactions worth US$ 4.4 billion – the best September monthly return in eight years, and also the highest value of real estate sold in a single month since December 2013. YTD returns showed 43.3k transactions, valued at US$ 28.4 billion – 45% higher than the whole twelve months of 2020. The report also noted that there has been a growing trend for end-users to renovate, upgrade or extend their current properties instead of entering a booming market of increased prices – with a welcome knock-on effect for local contractors. 56% of all September transactions were for secondary and ready properties, totalling US$ 3.0 billion – the balance, (US$ 1.4 billion), for off-plan properties. Other analysts see Expo 2020 giving the market a further boost, as potential short-term visitors for the event could potentially turn into residents in the long-run, with a potential 20% surge to the emirate’s real estate transactions. The median price for secondary apartments has increased by 41%, year on year – 20% for secondary villa and townhouses. For off-plan apartments and villas/townhouses by 15% and 10% respectively.
Dubai’s office market saw Q3 occupancy rates 1.7% higher at 78.8%, driven by an increasing number of new IT firms, FinTechs and Chinese companies, (that may include coders). On the retail side, Dubai was slightly higher at 0.3%, than its pre-pandemic level, but rents remain under pressure, down 16.4% YTD. Its hotel occupancy rates were 11.4% higher YTD, with rises in both daily rates and average RevPar (Revenue per Available Room) of 2.3% and 11.4%.
According to the first Finom ‘Innovation in Business Index’, Dubai is ranked at 30th, with 63.1 points out of one hundred, and for attracting venture capital was at 32nd, (with 54.1 points), in relation to the funding of start-ups. The initial list of one hundred was derived from a shortlist of two hundred global cites and uses various categories, including IT, AI, software, machine learning and FinTech innovation. Other metrics included the ability to drive innovation forward in the business world, their research capabilities and strong industrial presence. San Francisco topped the overall index, owing to its strength in company R&D spending and green technologies, while London dominated in FinTech and start-ups. Beijing was ranked the top city in the fields of AI/machine learning, and education/mobility. The emirate boasts some two hundred VC funds, which boosts Dubai’s economic activity, with UAE start-ups accounting for 61% of the US$ 1.2 billion raised in the region in H1; Telegram and Careem are the most well-known of the Dubai start-ups.
Emirates Airline and Qantas have announced they will extend their alliance for another five years so that both airlines’ passengers will continue to have access to an expansive joint network, and their loyalty programmes. The carriers have existing approvals from regulators to operate a joint business until March 2023 but hope to get clearance to operate the agreement until 2028.
It was reported that HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum issued Decree No. (40) of 2021, forming the new board of directors for the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority. It will be chaired by Hamad Mubarak Buamim and Abdulwahid Abdulrahim Al Ulama as the vice-chairman. Other board members include Abdullah Saif Al Shamsi, Charles George Webb, Roger Alfred Pierreinstein and Thierry Jean Luis Gemount, in addition to the CEO of DMCC. The decree is effective from its date of issuance and will be published in the Official Gazette.
YTD, DMCC recorded its best ever nine-month performance since its 2002 formation, with 1.8k new companies joining the free zone., including a record September number of 214 new entities. The increase in numbers was boosted by expanding the DMCC Tea and Coffee Centres, along with launching both the DMCC Cacao Centre and the DMCC Crypto Centre; the latter could well be home to one hundred crypto and blockchain companies by 31 December.
During September, the Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange recorded a spike in trading activity, with increased interest in currencies as an alternative asset class. DGCX’s G6 Currencies Portfolio traded a combined total of 1,434 lots, valued at US$ 80 million, with the recently launched Pakistani Rupee (PKR) Futures Contract continuing to expand, with a combined value of US$ 108 million. DGCX also posted gains in its Hydrocarbons asset class, as its West Texas Intermediary (WTI) Futures Contract came in 37% higher, on the year. Its precious metals’ portfolio also moved higher, with its Sharia Compliant Spot Gold Contract trading a total of 20 lots. Over 2021, the DGCX has signed MoUs with Sudan’s Financial Markets Regulatory Authority and with Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX) – a subsidiary of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) – to provide both technical support, knowledge, and skills.
Dubai Airport Freezone Authority reported that it contributes 11% (US$ 21.0 billion) to Dubai’s H1 non-oil foreign trade – 34% higher on the year – whilst posting a US$ 1.69 billion trade surplus. Imports, exports and reexports grew by 44.5%, 24.0% and 20.5% in H1. Imports, (at US$ 9.63 billion), account for 8.5% of the emirate’s total imports, whilst reexports, at US$ 11.11 billion, represents 20.5% of Dubai’s total non-oil foreign trade.
H1 saw Jebel Ali Free Zone saw a 40% increase, year on year, in new customer numbers including machinery/equipment, vehicle/transport and retail/general trading which witnessed increases of 188%, 100% and 78%. Jafza, home to over 8.7k multinational companies, generated US$ 104.2 billion of trade last year, equating to 32% of Dubai’s total trade value in 2020, and accounting for 23.9% of total foreign investment.
Oxford Economics noted that, driven by higher energy prices, GDP growth in the GCC will more than double from 2.2% to 5.1% in 2022, with the UAE leading the bloc’s uneven economic recovery, attributable to its proactive approach to attracting global talent. However, there was a warning that, although the bloc has benefitted from domestic and global reopening, it will continue to lag other emerging market regions in regaining pre-pandemic activity levels, which will not be reached until Q1 next year. The report also noted that oil prices have almost doubled in the previous twelve months to 01 October, with Brent rising from US$ 39.27 to US$ 78.20; it also upgraded its regional oil growth forecast from 3.8%, (three months ago), to 6.7%. What with higher prices and higher demand, it is time for local producers to utilise the extra revenue to close budget gaps and build up financial resources. However, if the local central banks continue to follow the US Fed, it might see the regional nations lifting rates, when local circumstances dictate otherwise, and this could stunt credit growth recovery.
For the first time in its fifty-year history, the UAE is planning to raise up to US$ 3.5 billion in a debut bond sale, comprising three tranches of senior unsecured bonds with maturities of ten, twenty and 40 years, subject to market conditions. After drawing more than US$ 20 billion in orders, the federal government tightened the price guidance for its debut bonds – by around 80bps over US Treasuries (UST) for a 10-year portion, about 110 bps over UST for a 20-year tranche and around 3.3 per cent for 40-year Formosa bonds. Earlier in the year, the cabinet approved a public debt strategy, aimed at developing the domestic market for local currency bonds, in a bid to “revitalise the financial and banking sector in the country.” Moody’s commented that the higher debt burden will be offset by a further accumulation of liquid assets and is unlikely to significantly affect the fiscal strength of the federal government.
YTD, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise reported it had acquired twenty-three new aircraft, (ten owned and thirteen managed), and signed 147 lease deals, whilst divesting the same number of planes; this brings the total fleet to 425 aircraft serving 114 customers from 54 countries. The Middle East’s biggest plane lessor also added three new managed customers during the period. DAE, owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai, with 114 customers from 54 countries, has placed an order for twelve Boeing 737 Max 8 planes with a customer in the Americas. During the period, it raised US$ 2.55 billion through a 4.5-year, 2.31% unsecured debt deal, and it will pay a debt of US$ 2.19 billion, with a 5.0% interest rate.
The DFM opened on Sunday, 03 October, 5 points higher the previous week, shed 73 points (2.6%) to close the week on 2,772. Emaar Properties, US$ 0.02 higher the previous week, lost US$ 0.02 to close at US$ 1.09. Emirates NBD and Damac started the previous week on US$ 3.87 and US$ 0.34 and closed on US$ 3.50 and US$ 0.34. On Thursday, 07 October, 130 million shares changed hands, with a value of US$ 39 million, compared to 81 million shares, with a value of US$ 50 million, on 30 September.
By Thursday, 07 October, Brent, US$ 4.98 (6.7%) higher the previous week, gained US$ 4.26 (5.4%), to close on US$ 82.43. Gold, US$ 66 (4.3%) lower the previous three weeks, gained US$ 19 (1.1%) to close Thursday 07 October on US$ 1,759.
In the nine months to September, Tesla delivered 627k cars, (including another quarterly record of 241k in Q3), compared to 499k in the whole of the year 2020.The California-based company is seen by many to be a gauge on how well the EV market is progressing, with consumer demand moving higher, urged on by governments, including the US and China, mandating that a certain percentage of up to 50%, of new car sales be EVs in the next decade. In Q3, Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV crossover accounted for 96% of deliveries, while the Model S and Model X made up the production balance of 237.8k units. It currently produces its vehicles in California and Shanghai, while new factories in Berlin and Texas, are nearing completion. The company is also currently accepting orders for its Cybertruck, with production slated to begin in 2022. Its Q3 financial results will be published later in the month.
This week, Tesla is in the news for another reason, and this pertains to its founder, Elon Musk being in court for his role over the company’s US$ 2.6 billion acquisition of SolarCity. Investors, who are claiming that he received 2.4 million Tesla shares in exchange for his holdings in SolarCity, (an amount that subsequently rose to twelve million because of stock splits), calculate that the damages could be between US$ 1.4 billion to US$ 2.4 billion, to account for what they contend is SolarCity’s lower value. The judge has to ascertain whether the solar power provider’s chairman, Elon Musk, and largest shareholder at the time of the buyout, stood on both sides of the fence in the deal and wrongfully used his influence with the Tesla board to get the transaction done. His lawyers argue that the purchase was a “product of fair dealing” that was approved by 85% of Tesla’s shareholders. He is the last Tesla director left in the case, after his colleagues agreed to a US$ 60 million settlement of investors’ claims last year.
What a difference a day makes – following its largest monthly decline since May – on 01 October, Bitcoin jumped to its biggest daily gain since July, with a gain of around 10% to US$ 47.9k, dragging “lesser” digital currencies – Ethereum, Litecoin and EOS – with it. Two driving factors behind the surprise surge were comments by Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, that he had “no intention” on banning cryptocurrencies, and that crypto seems to be in its own bull cycle. There are reports that the US is considering enforcing bank-like regulations on cryptocurrency companies issuing so-called stablecoins, that are tied to another asset such as gold, and are less subject to valuation swings, a move mooted by the Fed. President Joe Biden’s administration is also looking at legislation to register such entities as banks. There is no doubt that the traditional banks are very concerned about cryptocurrencies and if – or rather when – they were to become an alternative to domestic bank deposits or even loans.
According to its President, the ECB is closely watching rising inflation expectations and wage developments, noting that “we should not overreact to supply shortages or rising energy prices, as our monetary policy cannot directly affect those phenomena.” Christine Lagarde also reiterated that predicting the length of disruptions, that has curbed the economy’s post-pandemic reopening, is difficult, but she still expected the “frictions” to be transitory. She still expected “that inflation expectations are anchored at 2%” and the current spike will abate in 2022.
The 2008 GFC proved to some that the IMF was incapable in preventing or even forecasting the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. Currently, the world body, which has overseen national and international economic affairs for nearly eighty years, seems to be running scared when it comes to cryptocurrencies, with it calling for “robust and globally consistent” standards to govern the sector. Over the past year, the crypto market cap has more than doubled to over US$ 2 trillion. The IMF seems to be worried that the banking sector can also come under pressure if the crypto ecosystem becomes an alternative to domestic bank deposits or even loans. There is no surprise to see that global central banks have been reluctant to endorse cryptocurrencies because of their speculative nature and regulatory oversight. The fund also noted that users need to disclose only limited amounts of information and high levels of anonymity enable money laundering and terror financing.
Maybe the IMF should be spending more of its resources in cleaning up itself as well as the traditional global banking system, which has been more than tarnished by illegal activities especially since the GFC. In March 2017, CNBC reported that a Boston Consulting Group study had estimated that global banks had raked in nearly US$ 1 trillion in profits since the GFC but had paid a staggering US$ 321 billion in fines. It seems that 2020 was a comparatively quiet year but a report by Finbold.com indicating that banks paid US$ 12.8 billion in fines, with US financial institutions being fined a total of US$ 15.1 billion, with the US banks paying out 73.4% (US$ 11.1 billion) of the total. Central banks around the world have been reluctant to endorse cryptocurrencies because of their speculative nature and regulatory oversight.
According to a report in Switzerland’s ‘Le Temps’, the IMF deleted fourteen pages, (containing vital information), from a 1917 report on the state of Lebanon’s financial system, at the behest of the country’s central bank which wanted to omit data that highlighted risks to the country’s financial stability. Less than three years later, the economy collapse resulting in the currency tanking – losing 90% in value – and 50% of the population living below the poverty line. Whether this would have happened if the “full” report was made available is debateable but the new Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, confirmed he would reassess the scale of the country’s losses with Lazard and pursue a deal with the IMF. Financial services company, Lazard, estimate Lebanon’s loss at over US$ 80 billion, with the World Bank describing it as one of the most severe country financial services’ collapse since the 1850s.
With the World Bank reviewing Kristina Georgieva’s role into allegations that she pressured bank staff to adjust data that determined the ranking of certain countries in an index while she worked there, the executive board of the IMF met her to discuss the matter further. The Bulgarian economist is now head of the IMF, taking over the role formerly held by Christine Lagarde, but from 1993 to 2010, she served in a number of positions in the World Bank Group, eventually rising to become its vice president and corporate secretary in March 2008. In January 2017, the World Bank announced her new position as the first CEO of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. After data irregularities were reported in the 2018 and 2020 surveys, World Bank management discontinued the next Doing Business report and initiated a series of reviews and audits of the report and its methodology. Last year, an independent legal enquiry concluded that the World Bank’s Doing Business reports had been altered, on Ms Georgieva’s instructions, to inflate the rankings for countries such as Azerbaijan, China and Saudi Arabia. It is reported that the US, IMF’s largest shareholder, is debating whether to ask Ms Georgieva to resign as a result of the ethics scandal and there is every chance that her days are numbered.
Under new UK anti-money laundering legislation. NatWest has admitted three counts of failing to properly monitor US$ 496 million deposited into a customer’s account; the customer was a Bradford gold merchant, who is alleged to have received nearly US$ 3 million a day in bags of cash, as well as allegedly laundering US$ 495 million through its NatWest Bank accounts, over a five-year period from 2011 to 2016. The FCA said that the bank, facing a fine of up to US$ 360 million, had failed to adhere to the requirements of anti-money laundering legislation in relation to Fowler Oldfield Ltd’s account; when first opened, the figure the firm forecast for its annual turnover was US$ 20 million – but over five years, it was US$ 500 million – and it was agreed that the bank would not handle cash.
Almost twelve million documents have been leaked by a group of news organisations showing the confidential financial details, and revealing assets held offshore, by politicians and public officials worldwide. The news reports have been published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and its media partners in the Pandora investigation, including The Washington Post, the BBC, The Guardian, Radio France and the Indian Express. Initial reports noted that leaders of certain countries
Initial reports noted that leaders of certain countries, in Africa, Asia and Europe, had carried out suspicious financial transactions to better themselves or their families/associates. One African country’s president and family were allegedly linked to thirteen offshore companies, one of which had stocks and bonds to the value of US$ 30 billion. Another allegation was that an Asian president and family had secretly been involved in seventeen UK property deals, valued at US$ 542 million, which included a US$ 45 million office block for his young son. Indeed, the Crown Estate, after carrying out the checks required in law, bought another office block from the family for US$ 89 million in 2018. In another Asian country, it was alleged that its cabinet ministers have secretly owned companies and trusts, holding millions of dollars of hidden wealth, with the report also showing the personal wealth of its military leaders. The Pandora news reports said a European prime minister moved US$ 22 million, through offshore companies, to buy an estate on the French Riviera in 2009, while keeping his ownership secret. Other documents signalled out a US state that is now rivalling opaque jurisdictions in Europe and the Caribbean for financial secrecy, revealing almost US$ 360 billion in customer assets sitting in trusts in the state, some of it tied to offshore-based people and companies, accused of human rights abuses and other wrongdoing.
The Pandora papers also reported that several major Australian mining companies, including Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, (now owned by Sanjeev Gupta), have continued to trade with a Chinese steel billionaire Du Shuanghua, even after he confessed to paying bribes to a Rio Tinto executive. more than a decade ago. The files also noted that since 2010, Rio had traded more than US$ 200 million with his steel companies — via a Singaporean intermediary. The Papers clearly show that Mr Du is the beneficiary of a company called Bright Ruby Resources, through six layers of trusts and holding structures, including four based in the BVI and another based in the Cayman Islands. The restructuring started in 2009, the year Mr Du was being investigated by Chinese authorities for the Rio Tinto case and since then he has stashed his massive amount of wealth — accumulated via political connections and briberies — in offshore tax havens and jurisdictions such as Singapore. In 2010, four Rio Tinto employees were charged for accepting millions of dollars from Chinese steel companies and stealing state (commercial) secrets. At the trial, he testified as a witness and admitted giving US$ 9 million in bribes to one of the Rio Tinto executives, Wang Yong — a claim Wang denied – and said “without Wang Yong’s help, my company could not grow to this size.” The four accused were given fourteen years’ jail whilst the elusive Du escaped prosecution.
Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, whose senior adviser, Terry Leahy, is the former chief executive of Tesco, has won an auction for the British supermarket Morrisons, with a US$ 9.5 billion bid. The US private equity group had offered US$ 3.89 per share, beating the Fortress offer by GBP 0.01. In July, the Bradford-born grocery had been proved right to reject CD&R’s initial offer of US$ 7.45 billion. The offer has to be approved by the shareholders at a 19 October meeting, following which CD&R will take over Morrisons next month.
Following an investigation into Leicester City and retailer JD Sports over the sale of merchandise, the Competition and Markets Authority confirmed it had “reasonable grounds to suspect one or more breaches of competition law.” Furthermore, it indicated that the investigation relates to suspected infringements regarding anti-competitive agreements over the sale of club branded products in the UK. This comes less than a year after the watchdog launched an investigation into price fixing of replica Rangers football kits sold by JD Sports and other retailers.
UK September new car registrations slowed to their lowest level since the end of the last century, sinking to 214k, down 35% compared to the same month in 2020. One of the main drivers seems to be the global shortage of computer chips (semiconductors), when lockdowns forced car production lines to halt, resulting in microchip manufacturers diverting the chips, that would normally go into new cars, to the consumer electronics market, and supply is yet to fully recover. One bright light was that 32k electric vehicles were registered in the month – almost the same amount registered in the whole of 2019. Last year, new car registrations had fallen 29% on the year to 1.63 million. The main beneficiary of this decline is sales of second hand cars which have more than doubled in recent months due to a shortage of new models, with the Q2 market more than doubling on the year to 2.2 million vehicles.
At this week’s Conservative party conference, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has reiterated that there is no “magic wand” to solve the disruption to fuel and food supplies disappear overnight, noting that supply problems were global, as a result of lockdowns and the rapid re-opening of economies. He did note that “pragmatic controlled immigration” could be part of the short-term solution. The Chancellor is facing a myriad of other problems, that are eating into the populace’s spending, such as rising food and energy prices, cuts to universal credit benefits and tax rises to fund the NHS and social care.
France continues to show its displeasure with its neighbour – this time its irk is centred over post-Brexit fishing rights which is putting increased pressure on already strained bilateral relations. This time, the problem relates to the fact that the UK granted 12 licences out of 47 bids for smaller vessels to fish in its territorial waters, with prime minister, Jean Castex, accusing the Johnson administration of not respecting its Brexit deal commitments on fishing.
and warning that all bilateral agreements with the UK could be at risk if the EC did not take a tougher stance on the UK government. The UK has indicated that it would consider further evidence to support remaining bids for fishing rights, as this week the Macron government repeated its threat to cut the UK off from energy supplies, (it is estimated that 47% of the country’s electricity imports emanate from France).
New Zealand became one of the first (but definitely not the last) developed economies to reverse rate cuts put in place during the pandemic by doubling its cash rate to 0.5% this week – the first rate hike in seven years. Two of the main reasons for this early intervention were to rein in property prices and inflation, with the central bank advising that it plans to remove more stimulus measures, “contingent on the medium-term outlook for inflation and employment,” as the economy continues to recover. In August, South Korea became the first major Asian economy to raise interest rates since the coronavirus pandemic began, with Norway and the Czech Republic following suit last month.
On Monday, trading in Evergrande shares was suspended after the indebted property developer, with debts of over US$ 300 billion, allegedly missed interest payments to its bondholders; shares in its related property services businesses were also suspended on the Hong Kong Exchange. It is reported that a rival real estate firm Hopson Development, is reportedly set to buy a 51% stake in an Evergrande real estate unit for US$ 5.0 billion. Evergrande shares have fallen by almost 80% YTD.
The end of October will see the opening of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. Delegates, from over two hundred countries, heading to the COP26 UN climate summit agreed they must deliver on the US$ 100 billion (AED 367 billion) per year pledge to help vulnerable nations tackle climate change. Under the presidency of Alok Sharma, the pre-COP26 climate event in Milan last week agreed to the consensus to do more to keep the 1.5 degrees Celsius target within reach, adding more needed to be done collectively in terms of national climate plans.
Joe Biden has managed to keep the government going for a further two months, having signed a temporary measure to keep it funded and to avoid yet another federal shutdown, which would have resulted in the closure of federal agencies and hundreds of thousands of government employees having to take unpaid leave. The bill also includes money for hurricane relief and Afghan refugees. However, a further funding of US$ 1 trillion to finance infrastructure was postponed; the bill would have provided US$ 550 billion for roads, bridges, internet and other domestic priorities. There has been opposition from those who would like the legislation to encompass climate change and social welfare. One other problem facing Congress this month is that the US government is set to hit its borrowing limit, (the limit on how much the US government can borrow), within weeks. If this is not solved quickly, the ramifications will be felt globally, with a major economic downturn.
France is still reeling from the so-called Aukus security partnership which saw Canberra cancelling a US$ 27.5 billion deal with France to build a fleet of conventional submarines, to be replaced by at least eight nuclear-powered submarines, utilising US and UK technology. Now the EU has postponed a 12 October meeting with Australia for a month, with EC president, Ursula von der Leyen, questioning whether the EU would be able to strike a trade deal with Australia, in solidarity with France. The EU is Australia’s third-biggest trading partner, with trade in goods and services totalling over US$ 52 billion last year.
According to a Zoopla report, the number of UK streets where the average home is valued at more than US$ 1.36 million (£ 1 million) has risen by 18.0% over the past twelve months to 11.7k. Nearly 65% of the increase was seen in the South East, (with 942 “extra” streets) and London’s 262, bringing their totals to 4.4k and 4.5k. Covid has seen people looking for bigger properties and the stamp duty holiday has helped house prices rocket. London remains home to the ten most expensive streets with Kensington Palace Gardens being the country’s most expensive street, with homes there priced at nearly US$ 41 million on average, followed by Courtenay Avenue in Highgate (US$ 26 million) and Grosvenor Crescent at US$ 23 million. The most expensive street outside London was Titlarks Hill in Ascot, with the average home price at US$ 11 million. Five suburbs – Guildford, Reading, Sevenoaks, Harpenden and Altrincham – had million-pound streets, with 176, 137, 133, 115 and 105 streets respectively. It would be interesting to find out how many such streets could be found in the emirate, but it will be a lot higher than Wales which has only nine £ 1 million streets. It is indeed true that Dubai beats Wales when it comes to Streets Paved With Gold!