More expats purchase property back home as Covid-19 impact unfolds: Knight Frank

By Valerie Kor / EdgeProp Singapore | June 10, 2020 1:24 PM SGT
EDGEPROP SINGAPORE - The report states that demand is strongest among the expats located more than eight hours away by flight from home.
The report states that demand is strongest among the expats located more than eight hours away by flight from home.
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, more people are purchasing property in their home country, according to 64% of agents in a survey conducted to assess expat attitudes by Knight Frank.
More than half or 57% of expats polled say that they intend to buy a property in their home country as a second home in case they need to return home permanently, while 29% of expats are considering a permanent move and 14% are purchasing as an additional property.
Victoria Garret, Knight Frank’s head of residential in Asia Pacific, says that lockdown situations around the world have “underlined the importance of family for many”. The report states that demand is strongest among the expats located more than eight hours away by flight from home. The number of enquiries among those living closer to home is fewer.
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“The prospect of a potential eight- or 12-hour flight to reach parents back home or having children heading to boarding school abroad is causing expats to rethink their long-term plans due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Garett adds.
Being close to family members was cited by expats as the main reason behind searching for property, followed by a new job offer, and the third reason is a better healthcare system back home. Children’s education needs came in the fourth place.
Currency was also an important factor, although not the main motivating factor, according to 57% of the agents polled.
The report states that expats who are seeking to buy homes are not looking for high rental yields generally and that most expat budgets sit below US$3 million ($4 million), but higher budgets are set for homes in Australia, Switzerland and France.
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In terms of location, the majority of expats (43%) surveyed prefer suburban areas rather than rural. This could be because they are currently based in cities and suburban areas provide a “middle ground” where there are still a variety of lifestyle options such as restaurants, bars and “cultural amenities”, says the report.
Knight Frank also notes that there is an emerging trend of expats preferring detached homes with private outdoor space, mirroring broader post-lockdown projections. However, it is hard to assess if this will be a lasting development.
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