Posted: Jan 31, 2017
Where are the best places to invest in 2017? Housing hotspots that offer capital growth, healthy-rental returns or locations with long-term potential. Identifying these places is never easy. But a few tell-tale signs usually standout: improvements to infrastructure, forward-thinking local councils or developers investing in turnaround towns that have previously been overlooked.
Leading property professionals from around the globe share their hotspots for the coming year. Remote and romantic parts of Spain, France and Italy rank highly among the experts. Yet, we have included news and views closer to home, too. Here is our essential guide for those thinking of moving overseas or looking for an investment property in the UK.
1. Mallorca, Spain
“We have seen price increases of 12% in 2016 and expect the market to remain strong throughout 2017, with another 8-10% uplift in prices. This can partly be attributed to global uncertainty. We have had an abundance of enquiries from international buyers as Mallorca is being viewed as a safe haven, in terms of financial and political stability.
“The island has been favoured over mainland Spain for investment as some buyers are still cautious of the Spanish market. We have seen this increased interest in Palma, mainly in property between €1.5m up to €8m. Those looking to invest in Europe in 2017 should look here, the market always outperforms others and prices will continue to increase.”
• Alejandra Vanoli, Managing Director of Mallorca Sotheby's International Realty (www.mallorca-sothebysrealty.com)
2. Paris, Lisbon, Dublin, and Portland and Oregony
"This is a year of greater unpredictability, but the markets seem willing to overlook the uncertainty given the expected pro-business stance of the Trump presidency and other governments. For global buyers, investment in luxury residential real estate will continue to be viewed as a safe and attractive investment. Currency moves will fuel increased demand in luxury markets in stable environments.
“On a relative basis, London may be a more attractive location for global buyers in 2017, as will Paris due to the weak Euro. Uncertainty surrounding the US election coupled with the strong US dollar may give Asian buyers greater impetus to invest in markets closer to home (within Asia as well as in Australia and New Zealand).
“Technology hubs will also continue to attract capital. Regional migration and a strengthening economy will continue to bolster housing markets in small-to-mid-sized tech hub cities such as Lisbon, Dublin, and Portland, Oregon. Luxury real estate in the Pacific Northwest seems likely to benefit most from a price appreciation perspective in percentage terms.“
Dan Conn, CEO, Christie’s International Real Estate (www.christiesrealestate.com)
3. Basilicata, Molise, Ostuni and Carovigno, Italy
“People looking for a second home abroad still believe that the “belpaese” is one of the best choices. We believe the growing trend for overseas enquiries for Italian properties would be confirmed this year.
“Tuscany, Liguria and Lake Como will remain the top hotspots, but there will be upcoming areas such as Basilicata and Molise that are growing at a very fast pace, owing to low prices and stunning views. At the same time Ostuni and Carovigno in the Puglia region will be once again among the most chosen cities this year. Indeed Salento remains one of the most sought-after areas of Apulia.
“Potential buyers are looking for the best place to retire or they are looking for a new beginning or new business. Many of them decide to invest in Italy, mostly in the wine and food sector. South Italy is full of opportunities.”
• Simone Rossi, Managing Director at Gate-away.com (www.gate-away.com)
4. Cambloux, France
“Combloux in the Evasion Mont Blanc ski area of the French Alps was our most popular location in 2016. The new development here – Les Fermes du Mont Blanc – which is located just 200m from the centre of the resort, combines the dream of owning a ski property in an idyllic location with buy-to-let style rentability.
“The resort is within touching distance of the famous town of Megeve, but without the associated price tag. Many people are looking towards smaller ‘satellite resorts’ such as this, which are close enough to popular areas to make them a savvy investment.
“There is a hassle free, fully managed purchase option which gives the owners up to six-months of usage per year, while offering healthy rental returns.”
Francois Marchand, Director of Erna Low Property (www.ernalowproperty.com)
5. Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
“The Cincinnati-Middletown area is an up-and-coming city for college leavers. The city is also an emerging food and drink capital: approximately 500,000 people attend Taste of Cincinnati each year. Key neighbourhoods include foodie central Over-the-Rhine; European-style Mount Adams, full of young professionals and artisans; exclusive Indian Hill; well-educated Hyde Park; and family-oriented suburb, West Chester.
"Homeowners can take advantage of the city life, fine dining, cultural amenities, museums, ballet, symphony, and major league sports.”
Kathleen Coumou, Christie's International Real Estate's Executive Director (www.christiesrealestate.com)
6. Marbella, Spain
“In the last decade alone, hundreds of thousands of British nationals have chosen to holiday in Europe and buy second homes there, too. Spain will remain appealing for many British buyers regardless of Brexit negotiations, due to our short flight time from the UK, secure lifestyle and consistently warm climate.
“In 2015 Spain recorded its strongest growth since 2007, where its GDP rose 2.7 per cent and although still on the up, property prices remain low compared with the rest of Europe, creating a highly accessible market.
“Marbella is experiencing rising sales volumes with price growth slowly increasing due to the number of newly-built modern villas in the area. Gated communities such as Sierra Blanca are particularly popular with buyers.”
Managing Director of Sequre International, Graham Davidson (www.sequreinternational.com)
7. Rhône-Alpes and Vaucluse, France
“Since the Brexit vote, we have seen even more UK buyers choosing France for full-time living, holiday homes and income producing properties. The main reason seems to be that so many people want to maintain a link with Europe and we are certain that more people will be motivated to buy in France as the UK's official departure comes closer.
“What makes an area in France desirable as an income producing asset? Other than access and climate, it has to offer something different from what potential holidaymakers have at home, so mountains, the Mediterranean, markets overflowing with Provençal vegetables and cafés.
“We believe that the most undiscovered corner of France that offers access to this kind of lifestyle, but where property prices are still very interesting, is the Rhône-Alpes and the less popular part of Provence known as Vaucluse. Flights arrive in Marseille, Avignon and Lyons from Ireland, Scotland, and all parts of England.
“The climate boasts 300 days of sunshine a year, while the mountains and the sea can be accessed for day trips. Neither of these areas, which adjoin each other, are overcrowded with tourists, so the buyer and the holidaymaker feel they have discovered something a little unknown...an important factor for anyone looking for the next place to invest.”
Daniel Brewer, Director of Healey Fox (www.healeyfox.com)
8. Bogota, Columbia
“Colombia’s capital is an alluring mix of business and pleasure. Boasting a beautiful historic centre, a thriving luxury shopping and dining scene. Bogotá is simultaneously becoming South America’s newest tech hub – Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have all opened offices, while local start-ups are booming.
“Huge improvements to security and stability have made Bogotá more attractive to both international investors and overseas home buyers, and that has boosted quality of life immeasurably.
“The attitude of people in Bogotá is driven, entrepreneurial, family-oriented, and outdoorsy. In terms of neighbourhoods, Zona G is known as the Gourmet Zone, where the high-end and up-and-coming restaurants are located. Meanwhile, Zona T (which has a T-shaped area at its centre) is most recognised for its bars and nightlife.”
• Rick Moeser, Christie’s International Real Estate’s Executive Director for the Southeast Region, Caribbean, and Latin America (www.christiesrealestate.com)
9. Limone Piemonte, Italy
“We will see some stunning luxury chalet construction in Limone during 2017. It is an Italian gem for second homeowners looking for both ski and summer holiday homes. At only 85km from Monaco and with easy access to the airport in Nice, together with Cote D’Azur beaches, the five and six-bedroom chalets can command impressive rental returns of around 40,000 Euros a week, which is an impressive proposition for global property investors.”
Luca Catalano, Director of development (http://realitalia.co.uk)
10. Barcelona, Costa Blanca and Costa Brava, Spain
"There has been talk in recent months of declining demand for Spanish property in the wake of the UK's vote to leave the European Union, thanks to the pound's weakness. Spain, though, still shows signs of being as popular as ever among lifestyle buyers, with the Costa Blanca, Costa Brava and British expat favourite, Benidorm, all among the most searched-for destinations on TheMoveChannel.com in Q4 2016.
“For US or other non-EU buyers, Spain is also an attractive investment, for buy-to-let or capital growth opportunities. It is perhaps no surprise that Barcelona, which combines both tourist and investor markets, is the most popular hotspot in Spain.”
Dan Johnson, Director of TheMoveChannel.com (www.themovechannel.com)
11. Les Gets, France
“Les Gets is one of the fastest growing property hotspots in the Alps and a major draw for British investors as well as holidaymakers looking for all year round possibilities.
“It offers both world class winter sports linked with one of the world’s largest ski areas and a growing summer trade for cycle enthusiasts (nearby Morzine hosted a finish to the 2016 Tour de France).
“The area offers buyers an attractive proposition for both rental and user occupancy throughout most of the year. The fact that it is just over an hour’s drive from Geneva Airport, ensures easy access with major airlines on one of Europe’s most popular routes. Adding to the growing demand for high-end properties in the town.”
Patrick Remme of Alpine Lodges (www.alpine-lodges.co.uk)
12. Valencia, Spain
“Spain’s property market has come a long way since the doldrums of the 2008 financial crisis. Luxury homes are still about 15 per cent below their peak, but this has created opportunities for buyers and investors lured to Spain’s beautiful towns and cities, such as Valencia.
“Young Spaniards and professionals from around the world, are pouring into Valencia to take advantage of the low cost of living, warm weather and the culture. It is one of the most creative cities in Spain, with its thriving arts district and futuristic architecture embodied by The City of Arts and Sciences building, which resembles the skeleton of a whale.
“Spain has a consolidated and growing economy with high standard of health, low crime rate, excellent infrastructure and legal system. This gives international buyers peace of mind when purchasing homes in the country.
Jose Ribes of Rimontgó (www.rimontgo.com)
13. Vienna, Austria
“Sophisticated, affordable, clean and safe: it’s little wonder Vienna regularly tops quality of life polls. The Mercer Quality of Life Survey recently named the Austrian capital number one in the world for the seventh year in a row. Geographically central with work opportunities and excellent transport links, it has become a key European business hub.
“Austria now boasts one of the highest figures for GDP per head globally, according to the World Bank. A large student population ensures superb recreational activities and vibrant nightlife.
“Vienna draws in vast numbers of tourists every year and benefits hugely from this financially. The government invests money back into the city's infrastructure, meaning Vienna runs smoothly, and residents have a very high quality of life.”
Julie Leonhardt La Torre, Senior Vice President, Head of Operations, EMERIA, at Christie’s International Real Estate (www.christiesrealestate.com)
14. Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester, UK
“We predict that Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester will be key areas of residential growth in 2017. Following substantial government investment over the past couple of years towards regeneration, including improved transport links such as HS2, these cities have becoming vital business hubs. What’s more, each of these cities has added demand for rental accommodation from both students and graduates thanks to their flourishing universities.”
• Tarlochan Garcha, CEO of Kuflink (www.kuflink.co.uk)
15. Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, UK
“In the early 20th Century, Dame Henrietta Barnett created Hampstead Garden Suburb. It has been the ‘go to’ place for residents looking to buy anything from cottages through to castles.
“The leafy enclave, surrounded by Hampstead Heath Extension, is the chosen place to live, where demand for its properties has always outstripped the supply, boosting prices over the years.
“The Barnet Council, the New Hampstead Garden Trust and English Heritage have had strict controls on architectural heritage, so new developments have been few and far between. That is until now.
“Hampstead Reach, on the borders of The Suburb, is a desirable development of town houses and apartments all designed in the style of the Arts & Crafts Movement. With free Stamp Duty deals, guaranteed 4% rental returns and a host of other incentives, this is one of the most exciting opportunities in 2017.”
Trevor Abrahmsohn, Managing Director of Glentree International (www.glentree.co.uk)
16. East London, UK
“London is experiencing a shift to the east, with everyone from investors to first-time buyers seeking value and new opportunities. Barking, once a grand place to live, is going to be playing a key role in the future. Our research shows an average property price of £276,145; just 57% of the average for London. This relative affordability, coupled with some strong and improving transport links, plus a proactive council and a regeneration initiative, is making the area a highly attractive and interesting proposition.
“The area is served by the District line, London Overground and National Rail. Half a dozen key projects, spanning new homes, retail and commercial space, are already under way with many more already committed to via secured planning – making this an area to watch in 2017.”
Anne Currell, Group CEO at Currell (www.currell.com)
17. Stockport, Greater Manchester, UK
“Stockport should be at the top of the list for any investor hoping to achieve strong, consistent returns through property. Seven miles south east of Manchester city centre and eight miles from Manchester Airport, the commuter town boasts direct rail services to Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and London. ”
“With a £42million transport interchange under construction and £1billion being invested across retail, residential and commercial sectors over the next five years, Stockport is establishing itself as a regional business hub.
“Over the past year, property prices in Stockport have increased by 15.9%, and 1,100 new homes will be built over the next five years to cope with increasing demand. Properties in the area offer investors strong, consistent yields - a safer bet than relying on speculative capital growth. In fact, individuals investing in The House Crowd’s Bank Chambers development in Stockport are currently enjoying returns of up to 10% per annum.”
Frazer Fearnhead, CEO of The House Crowd (www.thehousecrowd.com)
18. Bayswater, London, UK
“Bayswater’s West side is prime property at the moment – with impressive development in the area of the white stucco period homes and flats. They are hugely popular with buyers from both the UK and overseas. The area has what I call a high ‘wheelie bag’ factor with lots of people visiting as it is close to Paddington train station. It is one of London’s most up-and-coming ‘villages’ with close proximity to Notting Hill, the West End, easy access to the City and the proposed redevelopment of Whiteleys Shopping Centre in Queensway.”
Nina Harrison of Buying Agent Haringtons (www.haringtons-uk.com)
19. White City, London, UK
“If I had to single out one place to invest in London in 2017, it would probably be White City. Towards the end of 2017, we will start to see the first completions of the former BBC Television Centre, part of the wider regeneration of the area. This is a particularly interesting new development thanks in part to its proximity to transport links with Wood Lane and White City tube stations on the doorstep. Westfield is also undergoing a John Lewis expansion and will become one of Europe’s largest shopping centres, while Imperial College is creating a major new campus at White City, including more than two million sq. ft. of new offices and restaurants.”
• Camilla Dell, Managing Partner Black Brick (www.black-brick.com)
20. Cranleigh, Surrey, UK
“Its thriving high street, good schools, easy links to London and its position at the foot of the Surrey Hills, have put Cranleigh at the top of people’s wish-list for decades. And this popularity of ‘England’s largest village’ is only going to increase this year.
“There are three big developments planned for Cranleigh, which are set to bring close to 800 new homes. This boost in resident numbers will bring more investors to the village and add more shops to the high street.
“The new homes will be attractive to families, who may be a bit squashed at the moment and provide opportunities for more parts of the village to grow.”
James Britton, partner at Roger Coupe Estate Agents (www.rogercoupe.com)
21. Canary Wharf, Whitechapel, London, UK
“Traditionally, Canary Wharf has been synonymous with the city’s financial district. However, over the past few years its landscape has transformed with the development of more thoughtfully designed residential units, and an array of bars, restaurants and shops. This investment is set to continue and the district will offer eye-catching properties with average prices up to around £900 to £1,000 per sq. ft. In the next five years, we will probably see this jump to £1,400 per sq. ft. as the dynamics of the area have changed and the demand for property is set to increase.
“Whitechapel is another one to watch in 2017 due to Crossrail coming in 2018. The area is set to see more investment and prices are expected to grow by 40% in the next five years. This migration from Whitechapel is set to continue down into Shoreditch, which also offers good transport connections, restaurants and designer shops, creating a residential hub for young people in particular. Additionally, Shoreditch has become a hub for tech companies meaning that it will be an unrivalled investment opportunity.”
Richie Tramontana, Director of The Red Property Partnership (www.redpropertypartnership.co.uk)
22. West Kilburn, London, UK
“For one, two and three bedroom flats, West Kilburn is one to watch. Firstly the area looks cheap. There is still an approximate 20% price difference between West Kilburn price per square foot values, versus neighbouring Queens Park to the north and Maida Vale to the south. Four years ago, when we first started buying there for clients, that price gap was closer to 40%. You can currently buy a two bedroom flat for around £550,000, but we expect the price gap to completely close over the next 3 - 5 years.
“For the family housing market Ealing, Acton and Northfields is an area to watch. We have worked with a lot of families over the past 18 months who rent or own in areas such as Chiswick and Barnes and are looking to upsize for more space. You can still buy a family house for less than £1million and there are excellent state schools in the area. Prices are starting to rise. but we believe they have further to go, and Crossrail will also add to this even further.”
Jo Eccles, Managing Director of Sourcing Property (www.sourcingproperty.co.uk)
23. Sudbury, Suffolk, UK
“The property market is fast-paced, and things can change quickly, but one thing that’s clear is that the market town of Sudbury is set to outperform the property market in the next few years. Recently, we have experienced a wave of buyers moving out from London into the county of Essex and to fast growing commuter towns such as Chelmsford and Colchester.
“However, there is also a second wave of buyers, who initially gravitated to areas that allowed easy station access. These movers are now considering a compromise on travel if that means they can live in a town that retains its traditional feel and charm. Sudbury, in particular, has all the charm and character of a Suffolk market town, fascinating history, and a gentler pace of life.
“We predict that the continued demand for this lifestyle will ripple out further from the immediate commuter towns to places like Sudbury. This suggests that prices will also rise to reflect the fact that some commuters are ready to trade off a slightly longer (but productive) commute for a better lifestyle.”
Alan Williams, Managing Partner of Fenn Wright (www.fennwright.co.uk)