The world continues to grow smaller for today’s luxury buyer and as it does we can observe certain trends among the affluent of a given country. London, for instance, has become a hotbed for Russia’s elite, while buyers from Hong Kong are swooping up property in Sydney. The search for the foreign buyer has been one of real estate’s hottest topics of late. For more on the subject, check out this piece recently published in the Wall Street Journal – a must-read for anyone interested in the matter.
Last month, Luxury Portfolio members from around the world gathered in Venice for our annual International Symposium to discuss the latest in global luxury real estate and share insights and trends. The meeting featured sessions and panels from members around the world led by members from everywhere from Dubai, Mauritius, Istanbul, Bucharest and more. The consensus was that international buyers are looking for a “safe” investment. Traditional destinations of the world’s jet set, such as New York City and Paris, are the obvious markets being referred to here, but they’re not the only ones by any means. Delving closer into the subject, one such characteristic that remains prevalent among these safe markets is the presence of established academic institutions. Simply put, overseas education has become a driving factor behind the relocation of the world’s affluent.
University cities like Montreal, Vienna and Boston are experiencing their own wave of international buyers who invest in high-end real estate while their child is attending school and often turn a profit after graduation. Whether it’s luxurious “student housing” or a place for family to crash when in town, these purchases are fast becoming common practice for wealthy foreigners. In a recent interview for the Financial Times, Beverly Sunn, president of Luxury Portfolio’s Chinese member-broker Asia Pacific Properties, reinforced this notion. “Investors at the luxury sector are highly sophisticated and look to invest in major cities to meet the educational requirements of their children,” remarks Sunn.
Of course, cities with strong academic reputations aren’t the only place experiencing an influx of foreign activity; it’s just where the smart money is investing.