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GLOBAL PROPERTY REVIEW- 3rd June 2019

June 3, 2019

Rennes

Rennes is currently top of the pops in its own country, having been voted best place in France to live by L’Express newspaper last year. 

The capital of the Ille et Villaine administrative region, and wider Brittany, headed the poll over a range of categories, including education, environment, property prices and healthcare. 

It adds to its accolade as best city for foreign property buyers, as per The Local’s 2016 survey.

Brittany generally continues to attract second-home buyers, with an understandable contingent from across the English channel – around 8,000 according to last year’s figures from French-property.com. But the success of Rennes is not just holiday makers and retirees driving in from seaside cottages.

A historically important regional city, Rennes has a mix of culture and industry that helps people come for the job, and stay for the atmosphere, the mix of medieval and modern, and urban greenery.

A thriving student scene adds to a strong buy-to-let market in the city. City centre property prices are reasonable among the country’s major cities, at around EUR 2,620 per square metre, yet rental is relatively pricey, indicating therefore strong rental yields.

Broker feedback indicates that larger properties that can contain a few tenants have a lower price per square metre (sometimes as low as EUR 400 per square metre) and overall are a better deal than studio flats. More generally on the second home side, the property types in the city and outside vary considerably, including ‘earth houses’ – stone homes daubed with the clay of the basin in which the city sits – to half-timbered houses, and modest chateaux containing a land plot from around EUR 650,000 and above.

 

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Rome

The Eternal City may need to keep modernity the watch word so it may be an exception to a sluggish Italian property market rather than typical. 

Indeed, the 0.4 per cent fall in property prices nationally, year-on-year, contrasts with a 4.3 per cent rise in both Eurozone and wider-EU prices on average last year. This is as Lisbon puts itself on the map, German cities see rental demand soar, Eastern Europe still tempts global companies for outsourcing and the UK’s northern powerhouse keeps powering.

One issue is a lack of owner investment – Italians tend to spend far less on renovation than other countries, meaning the scenery and weather don’t cover the ancient plumbing or crumbling structures, leaving significant challenges for buyers. New builds are just about emerging and are absorbing some demand, with a 1.2 per cent rise in Q3 2018 last year bucking the trend.

As such, renovated apartments in cities such as Rome are traditionally very expensive. At the top end is the Spanish Steps, in which apartments can top EUR 13,000 per square metre, yet areas popular with tourists and locals such as Travestere can change hands for a between EUR 5,000-7,000 per square metre, according to RomeLoft research.

New developments are few, adding to the sluggish market. However, a recent offplan, eco-conscious residential development in Travestere indicates that builders can see a gap in the market since new builds have fared better in terms of appreciation.

The key question for any investor is whether they want to target the short-term holiday let market, or longer term rentals to city workers. If the former, the advice is to buy within 2 km of the historical centre.

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Mumbai

 

Mumbai last year entered Knight Frank’s Top 20 list for prime residential property on a scale of how much – or rather, how little - floor space $1 million would buy you (Monaco topped the charts for that one).

India’s commercial capital is one of Asia’s alpha cities, as an economic powerhouse and magnet for young talent and global companies seeking to develop into the sub-continent.

Its luxury sector is fast growing to absorb the new wealth, yet prices are presently stagnant, rising just 0.3 per cent last year, according to the Knight Frank data. 

A little down the scale, Mumbai property varies greatly depending on the building age, location and connectivity, as well as the number of amenities. Popular areas for their high liveability quotient include Dadar East, Dadar West and Matunga, all of which have prices of between Rs28,000-35,000 ($402-502) per square foot. 

While commuting into the city is popular, apartment investment further out of the city will need to be near transport links, brokers say. Larger apartments further in can potentially capture the tourist rental market.

Mumbai is an almost endless property city, so it’s necessary to focus on the intended outcome of any investment. There are roughly 100,000 ready properties in Mumbai, according to Makaan – a testament to the significant building activity in the last decade. There are another 38,000 roughly under contstruction. There are around 300 villa areas throughout the city, ranging between 20 lakh and 40 crore. Boisar, Thane West and Khandala are three popular locations. 

Specific locations might be important from a tax perspective, too. Last year it was revealed that buyers in Metropolitan Mumbai who purchased between May-September 2017 would need to pay more stamp duty following a hiatus on raising the ready reckoner rate calculations, now retro-actively enforced.

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