Like the schoolboys in the movie “Dead Poets Society” that so profoundly affected the generation of adolescents growing up in the Nineties, where a group of American high school boys are confronted by the complexities of their existence, between the ambitions of their parents and the strict rules of their boarding school on the one hand, and their youthful dreams and inexperience on the other, the pandemic scenario we are now living through is a crisis that in some ways may resemble that of adolescence, due to the powerful emotional and cognitive uncertainty we feel, between our hopes and dreams and the new fears and obstacles we have to face every day.
In the pre-Covid world of real estate, whenever there was economic turmoil, we knew it was just a matter of waiting until we could see more clearly. In this case, however, waiting does no good at all and would indeed, I believe, be utterly fruitless. Already many opportunities are opening up and they are the product of the great changes in people’s needs, and also of the important geopolitical changes that are taking place at this time. The political and economic balance is shifting rapidly eastward; the middle class is losing the majority it once had, and social differences are growing. In society, and therefore also in the real estate sector, we are seeing an acceleration of the phenomenon known as gentrification as a direct consequence of this shift.To purchase in the right places means, now even more than in the past, ensuring not only a high quality of life but also a secure investment and even a revaluation of one’s overall wealth that will be decisive in the years to come, to maintain or further improve one’s socio-economic status.
I’d like to call my readers’ attention to certain categories of property and locations that are already exhibiting clear signs of a fleeting opportunity that it would perhaps be unwise not to seize. Recent data reported in the Financial Times on September 12 and October 3 point us toward some of the main cities around the globe:
Paris: in the most prestigious districts, prices last summer increased despite the pandemic by 2.3% compared to the three previous months, and there has been an authentic rush to grab the few apartments with terraces and gardens, and those larger than average flats that have always been highly prized, all with elevator, of course. The focus is on having a more comfortable home.
Sidney: the real estate market is suffering greatly from the effect of Covid but luxury homes are seeing strong demand and sales have almost doubled in the post lockdown period, with as many as 28 villas priced over 10 million dollars sold, compared with just 16 last year in the same period!
London: despite Covid + Brexit the demand for luxury homes in Mayfair is so intense that the best properties are often difficult to find on the market. New buyers arrive continuously, even from abroad and particularly from the Asian countries at this time. Some growth is also being seen in sales of country home in the UK, a major comeback!
Miami: the market has literally exploded in recent months, with twice the volume of sales as last year in the positions of excellence.
Beyond these statistics, I’d like to point out that elite tourism will certainly contribute to strengthen this trend among investors toward the central zones of the great capital cities and great art cities and toward more comfortable properties, and probably also toward the country estate which, we have to say, has never lost its international appeal in Tuscany, and will probably experience a strong comeback among the most important Italian clientele as well, in the coming months. The expectation of a fall in prices is clearly in for a disappointment in the prime and super-prime zones which will probably actually experience rising prices in the coming months, with capital coming in from abroad as well as from the internal market. In short, our suggestion at this difficult time is to be very careful in analyzing the new situation, “stand up on your desk” as Prof. Keating taught, to see the world and life from a new angle, and make the right choices, even in real estate, and hopefully come to a place, a condition and a quality of life that is even better than it was before!
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