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Knight Frank Sees Europe Edging North America For Hottest Luxury Real Estate

Tom Burroughes

11 December 2018

Three European cities – Madrid, Berlin and Paris – are expected to chalk up the fastest growth among prime real estate markets next year, although the North American cities of Miami, Vancouver and Los Angeles are also predicted to be among the highest rises in 2019, according to global property consultants .

While images of riots in Paris and concerns about faltering euro-zone economic growth hardly create a rosy backdrop, Knight Frank reckons the aforementioned European cities will be the strongest luxury markets for 2019. Its forecast is among scores of usual exercises in guesswork about future market trends that firms engage in at this time of the year.

The relative affordability of these European cities is a strong reason why they might produce the highest gains in prime property prices next year, the firm said.

“Still positive, but marginally down on 2018, the normalisation of monetary policy, weaker economic growth and a fragile political landscape post-Brexit will influence demand, but the relative value of these cities remains a key driver,” Kate Everett-Allen, partner, international residential research at Knight Frank, said.

Miami is forecast to rise by 5 per cent, followed by Vancouver – the strongest market over the past decade – at 3 per cent, Los Angeles at 2 per cent and Sydney also at 2 per cent. Geneva, Melbourne and London are expected to eke out a 1 per cent gain, while New York and Singapore will hold unchanged, and Dubai is expected to fall 2.4 per cent, with a 5 per cent drop in Mumbai, and Hong Kong is seen sliding by 10 per cent next year.

Vancouver, a popular destination for Chinese expats, has seen luxury properties surge by 101.5 per cent over the past 10 years. Sydney has risen by 60 per cent. In contrast, New York has only managed a growth rate of 15.2 per cent over that period.

As far as the US market is concerned, Knight Frank said an important event to watch in 2019 is when the full impact of changes to state and local tax deductions (or “SALT”), enacted a year ago, are understood in April when citizens file their tax returns. The changes to tax deductions have been seen as a blow to higher-tax states on the coasts, which tend also to be more politically liberal. Other events affecting real estate are the UK’s departure from the European Union at the end of March and a possible easing of loan-to-value ratios by Hong Kong authorities. In India, the government may put a developer tax into action on unsold inventory.

Among other predictions, Knight Frank said more cities will join the “ultra-prime” market for high-end properties: San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Beijing and Shanghai. The ultra-prime bracket is defined as a city where three or more sales above $25 million take place every year.