Barnaby Crompton – the billionaire’s property broker

Barnaby “Barney” Crompton has been involved in the British and Dubai real estate industry for 24 years. He moved to Dubai in 2008. Most of his time in Dubai has seen the super prime property expert specialise in Emirates Hills, one of Dubai’s most exclusive areas. He is a partner in Crompton Saltini Real Estate. Here, he talks exclusively to Victor magazine about his life, his work and his record-breaking property sale…

What attracted you to Dubai?
I was selling houses in London in 2008 and the market was getting increasingly difficult to operate in. It was no secret that times were hard everywhere in the world and even the usually reliable London market was showing signs of stress and negative growth. Naturally as a young professional, with no wife or dependents, I was able to look at other options further afield. At the time the Dubai market was flying. It was actually a conversation with my mother who was a seasoned property investor that made me look at Dubai. Seven days after that conversation, I had booked a week in Dubai staying in The Habtoor Grand Hotel in the Marina and went door to door with my CV, asking for a job. The rest is history.

What do you think attracts others to Dubai?
As the saying goes “You can’t be all things to all men” But Dubai is doing a pretty good job in disavowing that adage. Dubai offers a much higher wage in almost all sectors than the same position would in people’s home countries. This means the standard of living is constantly higher, even though the cost of living is high. The geolocation obviously is a massive draw to those who travel hence the huge success of our local carrier. The new government position reducing almost all barriers to entry when it comes to doing business here makes Dubai an almost irresistible option.

Tell us about that record breaking sale….
My record breaking sale has to be one of the highlights of my career so far. The clients were a referral from a very close friend. They were fantastic, a modest family relocating to the region. They had seen a few options with other agents before I met them, but nothing had been right. I had a few meetings with them at the Burj Al Arab so I could get to know them as individuals and understand what they were looking for. Once you spend some time with your clients, finding what they want becomes easier for both parties. We went through a few options on my iPad, selected four or five properties to view, and one of them was the final house they bought. When you work with individuals of this calibre their legal teams make sure that the whole process is quick and efficient. Their team was fantastic from start to finish. I’m delighted to say that the family and I are still in touch.

What do you think makes a luxury property?
Luxury is entirely subjective. I think that’s why it is such a prevalent term in the UAE market. To some a swimming pool is the height of luxury, to others, the bare minimum.

Are you dealing with more UHNWIs these days?
I’m fortunate enough to say that I’ve been dealing with UHNIs for the last 12 years of my career, but there is definitely an increase in enquiries in my sector of the market.

Are more people buying property as an investment?
The average return on investment (ROI) on rental properties in London is circa 3%, in New York and LA it’s approximately 4/5%. Paris is similar to London at around 3%. When you look at Dubai it’s incredibly easy to achieve a 7/8% net ROI, so it’s an incredibly attractive prospect to invest here. There is always an appetite.

Where would you say is the best location in Dubai to live?
The boom in property development through the city means developers have always strived for that special USP to separate themselves from the crowd – which means Dubai has a myriad of communities to choose from. For me, the top three communities would be: -Emirates Hills, for its large homes and the master developers leniency in terms of designing and building your own property on some truly magnificent plots. Palm Jumeirah, the beach front metropolis with beachfront homes, promenades with licensed restaurants, sprawling malls and plethora of stunning hotels. Jumeirah Bay, the most sought after private island residence in Dubai. Limited plots have attracted more than 30 of the world’s dollar billionaires to make purchases on the island.

Any clients you can tell us about?
My clients are hugely private people who would not appreciate me discussing them in a public forum, even in an esteemed publication like yours! Privacy and discretion is key at all times.

Do you live a luxury lifestyle?
As I mentioned before, luxury is a very subjective thing. I’ve travelled in private aircraft on several occasions, I’ve spent weeks on board some of the world’s most renowned super yachts, but I live in a modest home with my wife and two children. I’d say I’ve certainly had luxury experiences, but my money is being invested for the future of my family – and not being spent on life’s finer things.

What’s your favourite thing to do outside of selling the city’s most expensive properties?
Spending days by the pool with my family is the absolute best use of my time. Your children grow up so quickly, you blink and you’ll miss it. So cherish your time when you can because it won’t be long before they are off with their friends and don’t need you anymore.

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