As more people get vaccinated against Covid-19 and countries around the world emerge from lockdown, many are planning to travel and invest abroad for the first time in more than a year. EU decided to relax travel restrictions on fully vaccinated tourists from third countries, and aviation and travel groups urging the reopening of the journey between With this reopening will come a boom in travel and investment, anticipate many real estate experts. In popular vacation destinations, especially those with year-round appeal like the French Alps, Venice, Mallorca, and others, buyers who were once frequent visitors are now considering buying properties where they can s. ” install for longer periods and work remotely.
“People have moved from the idea of a vacation home to a real second home, especially in places that offer communities 52 weeks a year,” said Hugo Thistlethwayte, Global Residential Operations Manager at Savills in London . “Those places that genuinely offer a community where people can work from home, like the suburb of Lisbon, and some of the French Alps ski resorts like Megeve, will really benefit.”
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There has already been an increase in inquiries at destinations across Europe, and this summer is expected to be a particularly busy shopping season.
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“Buyers are all waiting for the release of EU travel restrictions, and we expect a real boom in June with more Americans and European buyers returning,” said Diletta Giorgolo of Italy Sotheby’s International Realty in Rome.
Ms Giorgolo said she noticed two different types of buyers: those who want a holiday home by the sea or in the Italian countryside and those who are looking for a permanent residence.
“People in big cities like London want to live and work remotely in Italy, less than an hour from an airport,” she said. “Rome, Milan and Florence are No. 1, but people are also interested in mid-sized cities like Lucca, Palermo and the small towns on Lake Como. We have more demand now than a good inventory. ”
Stocks remain tight at many of these destinations, and buyers, especially those overseas, need to familiarize themselves not only with the regions of their choice, but also with investment taxes and exchange rates.
“The dollar was expected to weaken, but now that has changed and it is expected to strengthen, which will have repercussions,” said Kate Everett-Allen, head of international residential research at Knight Frank in London. . “US buyers will be able to get larger discounts in some of the countries not dominated by the US dollar.”
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Regions set to experience a boom in travel and investment
The pandemic has shifted the priorities of buyers in several ways, and one major change is that many are looking for vacation homes less as an investment and as a retreat that they will use more frequently and for longer periods. As many companies have long-term or permanent remote working policies in place, more and more buyers are adopting “digital nomad” lifestyles and looking for comfortable destinations for work and leisure.
“Right now we think more about what we want than about houses that will provide good rental income. Previously, buyers wanted second homes to work for them for the rest of the year, but that has become much less important, ”said Thistlethwayte. “Where the buzz is right now is this full-fledged second home in a place with a lot of energy, like Aspen [in Colorado], the Hamptons [in New York] and Jackson Hole [in Wyoming]. ”
Proximity to airports is also important for these buyers, for easy access to their homes and main offices. In Europe, the resorts in the French Alps near Geneva, the Barcelona suburbs and the Lisbon region are all expected to experience strong demand in the coming months.
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“UK residents are interested in Lisbon because we are no longer part of the EU, so they can use the Golden Visa program,” Ms Everett-Allen said.
She noted that from 2022, Portugal will prevent foreign investors from buying property in Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve in favor of focusing on inland areas, so there might be a rush in the second half of this year to invest in those areas. The Knight Frank “Next neighborhoods” report for 2021 identifies Praia da Luz in the Algarve as particularly ready for growth.
Buyers are also poised to return to dense urban areas, after a year in which many have migrated to suburban or rural areas in search of more space. Venice, for example, is also named in the Knight Frank report as a city that is expected to see an increase in demand.
“In general, our typical buyers all want the same thing: a nice palazzo apartment with a nice canal view and outdoor space. Location and size vary, but clients are essentially looking for a nice, classic second home, ”said Ann-Marie Doyle, owner and managing director of Venice Sotheby’s International Realty. “We expect the market to continue to grow, as Venice has become even more desirable in terms of lifestyle during this time.”
It’s not just the popular holiday markets that should see a boost in the coming months – many buyers are looking to maintain their homes in larger cities as well.
“People haven’t fallen in love with cities. Now there is a tendency to buy smaller units to use as a pied-à-terre in upscale buildings near parks and amenities, ”Mr. Thistlethwayte said. “If you’re going to be spending three days a week in the office, you’ll want that classic little central apartment that’s perfect for going out.”
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The pandemic has caused shoppers to re-evaluate their lifestyles, and vacation destinations that offer the opportunity to live in exclusive communities with plenty of amenities are particularly in demand.
“There has been a movement towards a closed environment, where people feel safe and are in a bubble and have amenities inside,” Thistlethwayte said. “But in a lot of these places, there just isn’t a housing stock, so buyers are looking for a ton of competition.”
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Remote work policies, which many companies intend to keep in place even as more people are vaccinated and lockdown restrictions simplify, are leading to a move to secondary markets around the world .
“There really is a wall of money coming to us because people are determined to live their lives, even if it means reshaping their lives,” Mr. Thistlethwayte said.
He cited the example of the Swiss Alps seaside resort of Verbier, where the rental stock for next season has almost completely disappeared, a good indicator that the sales market will also evolve at a rapid pace. Some parts of the Caribbean are also experiencing an influx of foreign investors who want to settle on islands and work remotely.
“Once travel bans are eased in the US and UK, we will see an increase in pent-up demand and a surge in activity,” Ms. Everett-Allen said. “Provence, the French Alps and the south of France are starting to see stockouts at the high end of the market, and this will only continue.”
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For foreign buyers, working with an experienced local agent who can help them familiarize themselves with the area is an important first step.
“There are buyers who start looking in Tuscany but end up in Umbria, or who think they want a house by the sea and then realize they want a historic property. Buyers should speak to an agent before coming so that they don’t waste time looking for the wrong properties, ”Ms. Giorgolo said.
Despite the high demand in these European holiday markets, some sellers are finding that pricing their homes correctly for a post-Covid world is still important.
“Particularly in Europe, some sellers have unrealistically valued their properties,” Ms. Everett-Allen said. “In some areas there are houses that have been on the market for years, and these sellers can adjust their expectations and we’ll see the prices start to be a little more realistic.”
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