Despite a tumultuous political year with the ongoing Brexit dramas, China trade tensions, Hong Kong protests and climate change, Knight Frank experts have forecast positive growth in most prime residential markets for 2020.
While many of the major cities recorded stumbling price growth this year, it is looking to be a strong start to the new decade.
Paris leads the prime residential forecast for 2020 with price growth of 7%, followed by Berlin and Miami at 5% price growth and Geneva and Sydney at 4% prime financial growth.
"I don’t think there are going to be radical changes next year," Knight Frank Global Head of Prime Sales Paddy Dring says. "We do see Sydney being one of the markets where there will be growth and we’re predicting the same for Geneva.
"They’re both markets that have benefited from low interest rates, limited supply – the volumes that are available have fallen for a number of reasons including uncertainty in the financial market.
"They’ve benefited from good infrastructure improvements."
Mounting economics, capital controls restraining outflows and tighter property market regulations has affected prime price performance.
Following unsteady movements in Hong Kong, the luxury segment is expected to remain static next year. And it’s not just internal Hong Kong investing as the nation’s ultra-high-net-worths spend their money abroad.
"Hong Kong investors have always been investing outside Hong Kong, so we haven’t seen a mass exit of people coming out of Hong Kong at all," Knight Frank Asia-Pacific Head of Residential Victoria Garrett explains. "We’ve seen appetite from Asia into markets like Germany, Portugal – that’s been a hot topic, America, Australia and the UK."
In terms of property trends, recent global tensions created a challenging year but prime forecasts for 2020 predict investments in prestigious markets will be strong.
"If it is good blue-ribbon stock, it’s being snapped up and I think locals are stepping forward as well as expats," Knight Frank Australia Head of Prestige Residential Sales Deborah Cullen says. "Nobody’s distress selling, everyone’s holding their portfolios quite tightly."
Not only is investing in prime property a safe bet, but perhaps one of the biggest contributors to stable financial growth in the sector is that as people live longer, they want to enjoy an opulent, comfortable and convenient lifestyle.
"Even when markets are tough, people still need a place to live and they want quality and the best that they’re going to get from their money." – Erin van Tuil
Subtle security, private treatment rooms, creche in gyms and dedicating the top floor of buildings to a communal area rather than a penthouse are some of the trends Knight Frank Global Head of Residential Rupert Dawes is seeing.
"I think for a lot of people, when we get to this level, time is the most valuable thing that none of us can buy," Rupert says. "Therefore, the convenience of everything being incredibly efficient, well thought through and well planned is something they’re willing to pay a premium for."
A new trend the experts are seeing is investors ‘right-sizing’ to an apartment with lateral space as opposed to down-sizing to a smaller property.
One location with all the mod cons of living in utter luxury is One Barangaroo in the heart of Sydney’s newest precinct.
The landmark building, with panoramic views of the iconic Sydney Harbour, may yet be completed but the 6-star hotel and private residence has already captured worldwide attention.
"We’re seeing a lot of people purchase with us as a second or third home," Knight Frank Crown Residences at One Barangaroo Partner Erin van Tuil explains. "Those are people who are potentially looking at the upside of not having to organise your own cleaner, pool person, land tax and those sorts of issues – apartment living is a really attractive option.
"Even when markets are tough, people still need a place to live and they want quality and the best that they’re going to get from their money."
With the promise that investors will pay a premium if they’re delivered the space, direct flights to Australia without stopovers in Dubai or Asia fuel prime property prices.
"When you look at places like One Barangaroo, it’s what the Asian market expects but haven’t been able to buy into," Rupert says. "It will definitely make a difference being able to fly direct.
"What’s going to be exciting for us is as Sydney opens up, people start to get to know Sydney as a destination.
"One Barangaroo is right up there and it’s incredibly exciting from a global stage."