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How Covid Has Changed the World Property Market

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Since we’ve been locked out of the rest of the world, we’ve pretty much focussed on our own little bubble and property market here. But let’s have a look at how COVID has affected different property markets around the world. 

In many first world countries, the property markets have been somewhat shielded from huge government support packages. We haven’t yet seen people selling and running for the hills in London, New York or Sydney. Still, we have noticed apartment rents dropping in cities and suburban bidding wars happening as people are given the freedom to work from anywhere.

As vaccine rollouts allow more cities to reopen offices, bars, restaurants and museums, some things are changing again…while other things are staying the same. 

Let’s put the microscope on some of the world’s big cities to see what’s going on.

 

London

London has taken a hit. Rents in fancy areas have been tumbling at the fastest annual pace in a decade. At the top end of the market, brokers estimate luxury sales won’t recover for another five years, as those with cash to splash look for country homes rather than penthouses.

Not surprisingly, the coastal county of Cornwall has replaced London as the U.K.’s most popular location for property searches — even though the capital city is about 16 times larger. London prices are still rising, but it’s lagging behind other large English cities like Manchester or Birmingham. 

London will recover but there probably will be some longer-term challenges. It’s perhaps not the growth story we’ve seen over the last 20 to 30 years that’s going to happen going forward. Outer suburbs are growing in demand thanks to work from home policies.

 

New York

For homebuyers looking to get the biggest discount in New York right now, the strategy is simple: Head to the areas with the largest number of office towers. In Midtown East, vendors were accepting prices lower than 14% of their asking price, on average. In Manhattan, 97% of condos were sold below or at the asking price. While there has been a slight uptick in apartment purchases, there’s no sign of a rush back. 

There’s also little sign that rental prices are set to increase anytime soon, with landlords in pricey areas forced to offer steep concessions. There are a tonne of rental properties lying vacant with nearly 20,000 empty rentals in Manhattan alone, last month. And the fate of these rentals depends heavily on how often people will be required to come to the office.

 

Singapore

A fave Asian location for Aussie expats, Singapore is surprisingly in the middle of an upswing. Prices of private apartments are rising at the fastest past since 2018, prompting speculation the government should step in to slow down the market. 

A record number of former government apartments are selling for over S$1 million ($743,000) and sales of private homes have reached the highest level in almost a decade. Prices for bungalows (mansions) have broken records with one bungalow sold recently for S$128.8 million.

Analysts see parents increasingly prepared to fund their children’s purchases as a key factor supporting demand. Anxious parents could be the very reason the market is booming – they’re concerned about what the future holds, so they’re trying to set their children up now.

 

So, should in look at investing OS?

There’s certainly an argument for and against investing in London or New York right now. While you may get a better price than normal, you may have difficulty leasing it in the short term. Of course, these cities will bounce back – potentially even next year – so if you could ride the rent risk, you could potentially benefit long term.

As an Australian citizen you are permitted to buy property both in the UK and US.

If I can assist you with any further questions or if you’d just like run an idea by me, please, get in touch!

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