The recently-released Knight Frank Global Buyer Survey reports that over a quarter of respondents are more likely to move house in the next 12 months as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the top three locations abroad being UK, Spain and France.
Knight Frank Global Buyer Survey studies global residential buyers’ attitudes around the world, with over 700 clients in 44 countries. It noted that more than half of respondents have either travelled abroad already or will do so within three months of borders reopening.
It stated that improved access to quality of healthcare is now the second most important motive behind a property purchase, after the upgrade of a family’s main residence. Foreign governments’ handling of the Covid-19 crisis has also become a key consideration for second home buyers around the world.
Knight Frank head of international residential research Kate Everett-Allen reckoned that the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way people live their everyday lives with the home now a hub for work, exercise, learning, socialising and relaxing as well.
“With demands on the home expanding and people having had time to reflect on the way they live and use their space, it is inevitable that as we ease out of lockdown, these changes will have repercussions on property markets around the world,” she said.
Knight Frank Malaysia’s associate director for International Residential Project Marketing Dominic Heaton-Watson noted that after the UK, Spain and France, other preferred destinations are Australia, Canada, Switzerland and the US.
“Countries that offer a good quality of life, political stability, transparent laws, a secure currency, and excellent education systems, while in normal times are easily accessible, were attractive to the survey respondents. New Zealand, Portugal, Malta and Norway also ranked highly.”
The lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic in various countries have also made people realise that they want space. For Malaysians, Heaton-Watson observed that the Movement Control Order (MCO) has allowed them time to reflect on what they want from a home.
“Our residential advisors have seen a marked increase in enquiries for landed properties. Our Malaysia-based clients who invest overseas have taken this into account when reviewing property investments in safe-haven destinations like London where having a second bedroom as flexible work space has become popular,” he said.
The survey highlighted that 56% of the respondents expect some property prices to fall over the next 12 months. The Knight Frank Prime Global Forecast, conducted in April 2020, shows that on average, prices are anticipated to fall in 16 of the 20 cities tracked in the report in 2020.
Heaton-Watson reckoned that Malaysia-based clients buying into the prime central London market are effectively enjoying a circa 23% discount from 2016 prices based on currency and price moderations.
“Well known for its higher education, the UK remains top of the list for many Malaysia-based families, and the ‘lock-down lift-off’ saw a release of pent up demand and return to pre-pandemic levels of activity.
“The stamp duty holiday recently announced by the UK government certainly sparked a great deal of interest and continues to do so, while the cheap, low interest rate environment is likely to be around for the foreseeable future,” he said.