In an exclusive interview for Romania, provided to Crosspoint Real Estate, the International Operations VP from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (LeadingRE) speaks about the international real estate markets, consumer trends and Europe`s new VIP destinations for luxury investments.
1. International investment: If you were to advise wise investments on the real estate international markets now, what would be your recommendations and why?
My recommendation is to diversify your investment in international real estate. Diversification is a superior investment style and effectively distributes risk among multiple markets and it has the potential to optimize your ROI. Clearly, real estate market trends are cyclic, while you may have a down-cycle in one market there may be excellent opportunities in markets in other parts of the world which are in the beginning of an up-cycle. Especially small investors have the opportunity to diversify their assets on a microcosmic level, such as purchasing residential property in markets that show considerable potential for upward growth.
2. Marketing and selling luxury estate: What are, in your opinion, the best ways to find, target, and successfully sell to luxury buyers?
In my opinion, the two best ways to sell to luxury buyers is to be a powerful networker and leverage every available technology. The internet and mobile apps provide instant access to properties for sale and today’s affluent buyers are the heaviest users of mobile devices and technology. It’s critical to showcase your properties on sites that are dedicated to premium priced properties, and since the pool of buyers is global it’s important to recognize that buyers appreciate language translations and currency conversion. Websites and Apps that target specific countries or regions of the world also provide an opportunity to target proper- ties to a specific audience that has a high interest in the attributes or location of your properties. With regard to networking, it’s critical to be selective both locally and on a global basis and spend time with those that offer access to upper bracket clients directly – or provide additional touch points with affluent consumers through their programs. Of course social media merges technology and networking – so in the future this may become our most powerful way to successfully sell properties. However we’re not there yet!
3. In the global consumer industry, there is much debate lately about a new profile of client. How would you describe the profile of the luxury estates buyer and investor in the recent years? Has it suffered any changes?
There are a number of changes that have occurred in the profile of today’s luxury buyer. First, they are younger than ever before, and they are found in more parts of the world. For example, there has been tremendous growth of wealth in China that didn’t exist to the same extent 15 years ago. The millennial generation is going to reshape luxury real estate as they are poised to inherit tremendous wealth from their parents, and already have their views in redefining the luxury residence. Mobile technology has opened up access to luxury on a global basis – and that same technology has redefined work patterns. Therefore, working in a different part of the world for part of the year is no longer an obstacle, and resort homes for extended holidays are now equipped with home offices. There is also a trend toward more services and personal luxuries as many luxury projects now include concierge services, spas and access to five-star hotel amenities. Many affluent clients feel time compressed, and the solution is to utilize personal services that can make them more efficient and provide them with a more enjoyable life. The good news is that their homes are still very important to them and provides a deep sense of enjoyment to them, their friends and family.
4. The European luxury estate market: How would you describe, from your knowledge, the main trends on the European high – end real estate markets? Has confidence returned to real estate markets and Europe is once again the place to do business? Which are the markets to watch in Europe in the next period?
Europe’s real estate industry across the continent has improved in 2014. The industry is definitely more confident about its ability to generate profits again. We can see Europe’s economy is growing again, and political uncertainty over its future is declining, equity is flowing in and debt is becoming easier to find. For example, Ireland is improving; Southern Europe is believed to be past the worst.
As Global capital is flowing into Europe, competition for the best buildings in the best locations of its top cities is intense. Top properties in London, Paris and Germany’s “Big 5” cities will be sought by investors – many of them foreign from Asia and the Middle East – are heavily competing and driving prices up.
Wealthy investors are searching for a safe haven to invest and it seems that high-end real estate has somehow become the new global currency. Besides the usual suspects like London, Paris, Geneva and Zurich, Munich and Dublin are now on top of the list for existing safe haven investments.
As for Emerging Trends in Europe, I’d say that the green agenda is becoming a significant factor also for the high end market! And if you ask me about a second home luxury market to watch and invest now away from the main stream locations, I’d say have a look at Montenegro … The small country is an up-and-coming property hotspot, even called the next Monaco ! Sidelined as a holiday destination it avoided the supercharged over-development that bedeviled many popular European locations. Montenegro is possibly the last unspoiled destination remaining in the Mediterranean !
Leading Real Estate Companies of the World is a prestigious worldwide network that includes over 500 real estate companies with almost 3,500 offices and 120,000 associates. Network affiliates produced over one million transactions valued at $314 billion in home sales in 2013. Crosspoint Real Estate is the exclusive affiliate in Romania of LeadingRE.