The Impact of Covid-19 on Residential Global City Markets

  • Dubai continues to remain as one of the most affordable prime residential markets in the world. The city offers great value for international investors looking for investment grade residential assets 
  • Seoul, Moscow and Berlin show highest prime capital value growth in last six months
  • Lisbon, Moscow, Amsterdam and Seoul forecast for strongest growth 
  • Berlin, Paris, Miami and San Francisco tipped for five year growth

Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns significantly disrupted global real estate markets. While the longer trends are still developing, the immediate impact of the pandemic on prime residential values in cities around the world has resulted in a fall of 0.5% for capital values says global real estate adviser, Savills, in its Prime Residential World Cities Index, released today. 

Sophie Chick, head of department, Savills World Research, said, “Global uncertainty was already weighing on prime residential markets in 2019, with modest falls of 0.3% recorded in the last six months to December 2019. Combined, the annual average price movement turned negative for the first time since 2009, down 0.8% for the year to June 2020.”

Just nine out of the 28 cities monitored saw positive prime capital value movements over the first six months of 2020. The markets which have held up best are generally characterised by strong domestic demand and limited supply. These factors are particularly prevalent in a number of European cities in the Savills index. 

Seoul and Moscow recorded the strongest price rises with an increase of 5.5%. Seoul’s market has been on an upward trend for the past few years and the prime residential market in Moscow is driven predominant by domestic demand. Covid-19 caused the price of oil and the value of the Russian ruble to fall sharply, driving capital into the property market. 

Elsewhere in Europe, the best performers were Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris with six month price growth of 3.1%, 3.0% and 1.2% respectively. These European capitals have seen high level of demand and a shortage of supply, driving price growth even during the pandemic and associated lockdowns. 

In China, pent-up demand and credit easing from the Chinese central bank saw values rise  in some Chinese cities, with Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Shanghai experiencing marginal prices rises during this period of 2.0%, 1.9% and 1.2%.  Conversely, Beijing and Guangzhou saw minimal price falls of -0.2% and -0.7%.

Mumbai saw the largest decline over the first half of 2020, down 5.8% Elsewhere in Asia Pacific, Sydney, Hong Kong and Bangkok also experienced falls as the impact of Covid-19 weighs on the market. 

In the US, Los Angeles saw the largest price falls in the first six months of the year, down 4.70% The city has been badly impacted by the pandemic and unemployment  rose to 20.6% in May, up from just 4.6% in February. New York has also been badly impacted, with the city also dealing with oversupply in the prime market and values had already been moving downward over the past few years as a result. 

Sophie Chick, concludes, “Looking forward, although much depends on the economic situation, which is still materialising in a lot of cities, it’s important to remember that this is not an financial crisis as it was in 2008 and we’re not anticipating the falls in values that were seen during that period. 

“We expect some cities to outperform others. Over the second half of 2020, we’re forecasting Amsterdam, Lisbon, Seoul and Moscow to see the strongest growth. 

“And over the next five years, Lisbon and Amsterdam are expected to stay in the top performers list, joined by Berlin, Paris, Miami and San Francisco.”

In the Middle East, Dubai continues to remain as the preferred prime residential destination. However, similar to a few other global cities, the capital and rental values have witnessed a downward trend due to a supply and demand imbalance.  Swapnil Pillai, Associate Director, Research Middle East at Savills said: “At an average USD 560 / psf, it offers great value for international investors looking for investment grade residential assets and relatively high yields compared to its global peers. The associated cost of purchasing a property is low at circa 7%, compared to other established and emerging hubs where it can reach anywhere between 15% – 35%. The recently relaxed LTV norms and lower bank lending rates should support a recovery in activity in the second half of the year, while a limited pipeline of new project launches should result in a positive long-term outlook.”    

Savills World Cities Prime Residential Index – capital values price per square foot and price movements in local currency – cities ranked by half year growth 

City 6 month change

December 2019 – June 2020

1 year change

June 2019 – June 2020

Prime capital value – $ per square foot (June 2020) Prime capital value – € per square metre (June 2020)
Seoul 5.5% 13.8% $1,540 €14,700
Moscow 5.5% 5.6% $1,250 €11,900
Berlin 3.1% 7.4% $1,030 €9,870
Amsterdam* 3.0% $970 €9,230
Tokyo 2.1% 3.1% $2,230 €21,300
Shenzhen 2.0% 2.0% $1,480 €14,000
Hangzhou 1.9% 4.6% $990 €9,410
Shanghai 1.2% 3.4% $1,750 €16,800
Paris 1.2% 3.6% $1,630 €15,500
Kuala Lumpur -0.1% -2.2% $270 €2,550
San Francisco -0.1% -0.3% $1,540 €14,800
Beijing -0.2% -2.1% $1,410 €13,500
Miami -0.3% -3.0% $960 €9,150
London -0.4% -0.8% $1,830 €17,500
Geneva -0.4% -3.5% $2,000 €19,100
Cape Town -0.70% -5.8% $260 €2,450
Guangzhou -0.70% -0.90% $1,150 €10,900
New York -1.0% -2.2% $2,490 €23,800
Barcelona -1.80% -1.80% $680 €6,470
Madrid -2.10% -1.7% $720 €6,870
Singapore -2.50% -1.3% $1,490 €14,200
Bangkok -2.70% -5.8% $840 €7,980
Dubai -3.0% -7.5% $560 €5,350
Hong Kong -4.20% -6.8% $4,440 €42,400
Lisbon* -4.30% $880 €8,440
Sydney -4.50% -1.6% $1,590 €15,200
Los Angeles -4.70% -2.6% $1,410 €13,400
Mumbai -5.80% -13.7% $1,130 €10,800

Source: Savills Research (*new addition to the index and therefore historical data not available). 


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