Lynn Range | Luxury Real Estate

The state of luxury real estate around the world

BY LILLIAN DICKERSON - November 06, 2020 - Inman News - June 8, 2021

Although the world has faced a lot of uncertainty over the past few months, the pandemic has highlighted humanity’s resiliency. That resiliency has likewise seeped into the real estate industry around the world. After months of being shut down in some cases, luxury real estate is now gradually making strides towards recovery on a global scale, but that recovery is more uncertain in some countries than others.

Inman recently touched base with luxury real estate agents in seven different countries to hear more about how their markets are faring at this point into the pandemic. Here’s what they had to say.

Hong Kong

The coronavirus pandemic hit in the midst of political upheaval in Hong Kong. Many residents of the territory had been taking to the streets for months to protest a now repealed extradition bill that would allow criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China in some cases, as well as other grievances like police brutality and implementation of universal suffrage.

Despite the territory’s political turmoil, or perhaps because of it, Hongkongers on the whole swiftly adopted widespread mask usage and a prominent protest group created a website tracking cases, monitoring hot spots and providing other COVID-19 resources.

During such uncertain times, Hong Kong’s luxury real estate market has taken a significant hit.

“The market’s activity is significantly reduced compared to an average year, down about 50 percent,” K. S. Koh, CEO and founder of Landscope Christie’s International Real Estate, told Inman in an email.

“Buyers are staying on the sideline and sellers are desperate,” he added.

Koh also said his inventory of luxury listings has declined by about 30 percent from this time last year, and homes are being sold at discounts between 10 to 30 percent.

Unfortunately, Koh and his team fear that business may take an even greater hit if unemployment continues to rise in the territory and an anticipated fourth wave of COVID-19 hits.

However, Hong Kong’s luxury market, Koh said, stands in sharp contrast to the residential market at large, which has recently seen an uptick in activity in the HK$10 million (about $1.3 million USD) and under price range.

New Zealand

“It’s very easy to forget that it’s even going on here in New Zealand,” Ben Hawan, a New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty sales associate, told Inman in reference to the coronavirus pandemic.

While cases have surged across the U.S. recently, Hawan said life is pretty normal in New Zealand these days, resulting in increased demand from foreign buyers lusting for a lifestyle away from the pandemic.

“We’ve obviously seen an increase in inquiry from overseas and that’s a mix of expats, so Kiwis living abroad, and also foreign nationals,” Hawan said. “New Zealand does have restrictions on purchasing as a foreign national.”

“I see a lot of [expats] making long-term plans to hunker down here for the next one to five years,” in order to wait out the pandemic, he added.

Palpable market demand and inventory shortages has kept prices up and is “even pushing prices up,” Hawan said. As New Zealand nears the start of its summer season heading into the end of October, Hawan said he expects to see a “flurry” of high-end market activity.

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The business of real estate is more than just business to Lynn Range, it is a passion project as she offers her clients a mix of local intelligence, industry knowledge, and transactional expertise.

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