Posted inOpinionBrokerage

Are super prime realtors the new rock stars?

Exploring the increasing role that real estate realtors are playing in Dubai’s highly sought-after luxury property market


Remember when chefs became the new rock stars? Well, I think the time of the super prime realtors is upon us. Are famous brokers the new rock stars? I certainly enjoyed my moment in the sun last year when I sold the most expensive villa ever recorded in Emirates Hills. The notoriety was amazing.

We’re regularly seeing record-breaking property sales, but does it take a special kind of person to broker these eye-watering deals? I think it does.

To understand what a super prime broker is, first, we must understand what a super prime property is. Super prime properties are the high end of luxury real estate — the sort of dream only 0.001% of individuals at the top can consider owning.

These properties are located in the most exclusive areas, feature the most luxurious amenities, and are priced at the very top of the market. Super prime properties are often owned by ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) who demand the very best in terms of quality, comfort, and convenience.

While the old adage of “location, location, location” remains the most accurate depiction of price, it is not always the divining rule when it comes to super prime—where there must also be fastidious attention to detail. The craftsmanship must be exemplary. If it’s not, it will fall short. 

The UAE’s property market has witnessed a significant (record-breaking) surge in recent years, with the world’s elite flocking to the region to buy homes as permanent residences or just to escape the torrid winters in their home countries. And with the rise in demand for luxury properties, there has been a corresponding increase in the number of real estate agents and brokers labelling themselves as super prime brokers.

Barnaby Crompton, Owner of Crompton Partners and Crompton Saltini Real Estate

Super prime superheroes

These super prime brokers are a new breed of real estate agents, who specialise in selling high-end, luxury properties priced at tens of millions of dollars. They cater to the (often very specific) needs of ultra-high-net-worth individuals, who are looking for the very best in terms of luxury living and high-end amenities. You’ve got to be a special kind of person, with highly specialised knowledge and a packed contacts book to hunt out the perfect property for these most discerning buyers.

And I know from my own experience in this market, that a good super prime realtor not only knows the local market deeply but will leave no stone unturned when it comes to curating a list of homes they think best fulfils their principal’s needs.

While the opening comment about brokers as ‘rock stars’ may have been a little tongue-in-cheek, we’ve certainly witnessed an explosion into the public’s psyche of life as a super prime broker spearheaded by the likes of the Altman brothers, the Oppenheim brothers (Selling Sunset) and Mauricio Umansky (The Agency). These brokers-turned-TV stars have given people an overly dramatised peak behind the curtain at what goes on in the business and how “Hollywood” wants to depict life as a super prime broker. It’s not divorced from the truth, but it certainly isn’t 100% factually accurate.

One factor contributing to the rise of super prime brokers in the UAE is social media. It’s now increasingly easy to have your content viewed thousands and thousands of times as the content-thirsty world drinks in their favourite dinner-time topic of the housing market.

Agents are becoming accustomed to shooting videos using professional videographers and photographers.

It’s now easier than ever to generate global market data and post it on platforms to be absorbed by the scrolling masses. And with increasing numbers of followers comes that ‘rock star’ moniker again.

Another factor is the use of property videos to showcase high-end properties. With the increasing popularity of virtual tours, super prime brokers are now using videos to showcase their properties to clients, giving them a more immersive experience of what it would be like to live in a particular property. This has become a vital tool in attracting potential buyers, especially among those based overseas and cannot physically visit the properties.

Luxury living

The UAE’s global fame as a hub for luxury living has also played a significant role in the rise of super prime brokers. Dubai, of course, is synonymous with luxury living, with world-renowned hotels, high-end restaurants and luxurious shopping malls – all factors which make it an aspirational place to live, and increasingly attractive among HNWIs and UHNWIs.

We have seen an increase in true luxury property by global standards, which has also contributed to the rise of super prime brokers. The ultra-rich expect ultra-luxury – and someone who understands their needs, desires, and requirements.

Dubai’s small, but growing, pool of uber-luxury properties features ultra-luxurious amenities such as private beaches, helicopter pads, and even cryo chambers designed by the most iconic architects like the inimitable Sir Norman Foster and even the king of modern architecture Paul McClean. There is a growing international demand for super-prime brokers with the knowledge, expertise, and network to cater to the needs of these ultra-wealthy and ultra-discrete individuals.

The rise of super prime brokers in the UAE is a testament to the growing demand for high-end luxury properties in the region. With their specialised knowledge and expertise, these brokers play a vital role in connecting buyers with the properties that best suit their needs and preferences. As the UAE continues to attract more ultra-high-net-worth individuals, likely, the demand for super-prime brokers will likely only continue to grow.

However, there are also concerns about the rise of super prime brokers. Some have raised concerns that these brokers cater only to the ultra-rich and that their services are out of reach for the majority of buyers. Others express concerns that the rise of super prime brokers may lead to an increase in property prices, making it even more challenging for ordinary people to afford housing in the UAE.

Despite these concerns, it’s clear that the rise of super prime brokers in the UAE reflects the growing demand for luxury living in the region. Whether this trend will continue in the future remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: for now, super prime brokers are playing an increasingly important role in the UAE’s luxury property market.