Europe’s real estate industry expects to be busier and more profitable in 2015, despite concerns over weak fundamentals and economic conditions. The five leading cities for investment prospects in 2015 are a mix of German stalwarts and recovery plays: Berlin is top, followed by Dublin, Madrid, Hamburg and, in a remarkable revival, Athens. Dublin’s ranking and Athens’ rise reflect the opportunistic streak that runs through Europe. Madrid’s ranking, too, reflects a capital surge into Spain that started in 2013 and shows no sign of easing up. If anything, there are signs of this activity spreading across southern Europe.
Real estate companies in London and other major European cities are bracing for a surge in their already hot property markets due to signs that wealthy Chinese are seeking a haven from the nation’s stock market turmoil.
Chinese individuals and corporations have been amassing property overseas for several years, particularly in the United Kingdom.
Yet after last month’s market crash, in which about 30 percent was knocked off the value of Chinese shares prior to government intervention, real estate industry insiders predict that Chinese investors will be looking to further diversify their portfolios by pumping money into European property.
“There is anecdotal evidence that Chinese buyers have intensified their interest in global property markets, including London, as a result of the recent stock market volatility,” said Tom Bill, head of London residential research at Knight Frank LLP, a property consultancy founded in 1896.
Brian O’Connor, director of Adhoc Immobilien, a Berlin real estate agency in Germany, echoes this. “The whole (Chinese) market is precarious, so people would like to spread their risks and enter different markets,” he said.
The value of investment in overseas property by Chinese individuals and companies rose from $600 million in 2009 to about $15 billion in 2014, according to estimates by Knight Frank. The company said Chinese buyers accounted for 11 percent of all transactions above 1 million pounds ($1.55 million) in London last year, up from 4 percent in 2012.
Here is the list of such markets where the experts of PwC and Urban Land Institute see good prospects for 2015. For comparison we present the top ten, which they advised to pay attention in 2014.