Knight Frank’s Global Property Search is available in eight languages and, with visits from over 170 countries annually, offers an intriguing snapshot of demand for luxury property around the world.
The total number of searches for luxury residential property on Knight Frank’s website rose by around 35% in 2012 compared with 2011. Breaking this total down by world region provides a practical illustration of some of the key themes discussed elsewhere in this section.
South America leads the upswing by some margin, with an 82% uplift in searches. With Africa following (with 48% growth), it seems likely that we are starting to see the impact of emerging- market wealth creation and its transfer into prime property, especially considering the rate of growth in Brazil and Argentina. Growing political uncertainty may be an associated driver for Venezuelan buyers’ sudden upsurge in interest in luxury property.
Perhaps more surprisingly, we find it seems likely that we are starting to see the impact of emerging- market wealth creation and its transfer into prime property
Europe third in our regional ranking. Lower growth might be expected from an already well-established buyer market, but this illustrates another of our global themes: growing demand for safe havens.
The upturn in searches from Spain, Portugal and Italy, each almost double the average global growth rate, suggests that economic uncertainty in the eurozone is leading prospective buyers to consider investing in locations outside their home countries.
The cluster of Middle East countries in our table – Kuwait, Qatar, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia – confirms the growing impact of wealth originating in this region on the global property market.
The danger of making sweeping assumptions based on web trends is illustrated by Germany’s position in our table of top web search markets. Is it the fear of a eurozone collapse that is driving Germany’s wealthy to consider purchasing luxury property in the safe havens of London and Switzerland? Or was the 60% growth in search volumes simply the result of the need to invest the fruits of the recent Teutonic export boom?
Turning to consider those locations most in demand, all the cooling measures in the world have not weakened Singapore’s appeal. The Caribbean hotspots also performed well, with strong growth in searches for Bermuda, Barbados and the Cayman Islands.
The spike in interest in Belgium may be a sign of new French interest in their conveniently placed neighbour – according to the media, a number of high-profile individuals have already moved over the border.
Overall, our record of leading target markets points to growth in demand for ever-popular locations: the US, Switzerland, Monaco and Australia.