Adar Poonawalla, the prominent Indian vaccine magnate, is said to be investing approximately £138 million ($173 million) in acquiring a mansion located in London’s prestigious West End. This transaction stands out as the most expensive residential property purchase in the UK capital for the current year.
As the Chief Executive of the Serum Institute of India (SII) and inheritor of the wealth backing the globe’s leading vaccine manufacturer, Poonawalla has reached an agreement to purchase Aberconway House in the affluent Mayfair neighborhood. The property is currently owned by Polish billionaire Dominika Kulczyk.
Adar Poonawalla is reportedly acquiring a mansion spanning 25,000 square feet (2,323 square meters) through the UK subsidiary of the Serum Institute of India, known as Serum Life Sciences. This transaction is set to mark the most expensive residential property sale in London for the current year and the second-highest price ever recorded in the city. The only precedent is a mansion in Knightsbridge purchased by Chinese property tycoon Xu Jiayin for a record-breaking £210 million in January 2020, just before his company, China Evergrande Group, faced financial challenges.
Wealthy individuals worldwide have been increasingly acquiring larger and more opulent residences in the prime areas of Central London. According to data from Beauchamp Estates, the average value of ultra-prime home transactions this year has experienced a remarkable surge, witnessing a 43 percent increase compared to the figures recorded in 2022.
Mayfair Residence of a Pharmaceutical Magnate
Adar Poonawalla is acquiring Aberconway House at a substantial 148 percent premium from the £57 million that Kulczyk reportedly spent to purchase the mansion in 2020.
At the disclosed price, the vaccine heir is committing to approximately £5,520 per square foot for the residence. Interestingly, Poonawalla had previously rented the property from Kulczyk at a rate of about £50,000 per week in 2021, according to a Bloomberg report from that period.
The cost per unit is additionally 36 percent above the average price of £3,520 per square foot for ultra-prime residences in Mayfair, as indicated by Beauchamp’s data for the current year.
Reportedly, the 42-year-old billionaire and his family have no intentions of establishing permanent residency in the UK. Instead, they solely aim to utilize the mansion as a central hub when they are in town, as per an insider cited by FT.
Adar Poonawalla, the younger Poonawalla, is the offspring of the 82-year-old magnate Cyrus Poonawalla, who has amassed a considerable fortune over the past five decades by producing affordable vaccines at SII for sale to developing countries. According to Forbes data, the patriarch is currently ranked as India’s sixth richest man, boasting a net worth of $21.9 billion.
Situated along South Street in the City of Westminster, the 1920s-era residence is positioned just a few blocks away from Hyde Park and approximately 1.2 miles (1.9 kilometers) from Xu Jiayin’s property at 2-8a Rutland Gate in Knightsbridge.
Media reports suggest that the head of Evergrande is encountering difficulties in selling his expansive 45-room residence as part of his urgent efforts to secure funds. The property has reportedly been listed on the market for more than a year, underscoring the challenges faced by the Evergrande boss in his current financial predicament.
Wealthy International Investors Fuel Demand for Luxury Housing in the UK.
The transaction further propels the thriving ultra-prime housing market in London, drawing significant interest from affluent buyers across the United States, Europe, India, Malaysia, and China. Mayfair and Hyde Park have emerged as the premier destinations this year, particularly for sales exceeding £100 million, as reported by Beauchamp.
Purchasers have been acquiring more expansive properties, as highlighted by the agency, with the average size of premium homes exchanged in the first five months of this year increasing to 11,200 square feet, a notable jump from the 7,000 square feet recorded in 2022.
The firm emphasized in its November Ultra Prime Barometer report that the allure of Great Britain as a location for primary or secondary residences is driven by business interests and educational opportunities. Despite global market volatility and geopolitical uncertainties, the sustained strength of the UK economy and favorable exchange rates have continued to bolster the keen interest of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWIs) in prestigious properties within the capital.