All buyers want for Christmas is European property, according to TheMoveChannel.com’s inaugural Hotspots Index. The quarterly report reveals that the Krakow received the highest number of searches in Q4 2014, accounting for 1.65 per cent of all searches by location. This is the second quarter in a row that Krakow has dominated demand, thanks to Poland’s stable market.
Despite the overall economic malaise, Europe topped buyers’ wish lists for Christmas, with the top 10 hotspots all located on the continent. Rome was the second most sought-after hotspot, leading a resurgence of interest in Italian real estate. While the capital city rose one place compared to the previous quarter to become runner-up, Como climbed 11 places to seize sixth spot.
Spain accounted for two of the top five hotspots, with the Province of Alicante climbing five places quarter-on-quarter to receive 1.06 per cent of location searches, the third highest share on the site. Malaga held steady in fifth place.
While Spain accounted for 10 of the top 50 hotspots, though, Portugal was the most popular country overall: it was home to 11 of the 50 most searched-for locations, with Cascais, Albufeira and Tavira all inside the top 10. Protaras fell in popularity, from fourth place (Q3 2014) to ninth place (Q4 2014), but Cyprus’ presence inside the top 10, despite its recent economic and legal issues, indicates the strength of Europe’s appeal to overseas investors.
The second largest city in Poland, Krakow is an important cultural and economic hub that has transformed from a tiny village to a major business centre. In 2014, commercial property has driven demand from investors, as the country’s political, legal and economic stability has become even more attractive during a time of wider unrest and uncertainty.
Italy’s property market has enjoyed a steady flow of returning buyers from overseas, as the exchange rate between the pound and the euro favours British buyers, who remain enchanted by the country’s dolce vita. The renaissance of interest has been driven by major cities, such as Rome and Florence, according to the Italian revenue agency.
Located in the Valencian Community, the Province of Alicante is another regular among holiday home hunters. With tourist arrivals forecast to top 10 million by the end of 2014, the area remains a key driver of foreign demand for real estate, while Spain’s appeal is now at a 12-month high on TheMoveChannel.com, thanks to prices more than 40 per cent below the 2007 peak showing signs of bottoming out, as well as the strength of the pound against the euro.
Warsaw, a centre of both nightlife and commerce, has historically dominated interest from investors and buyers. Alongside Krakow, the city has seen a wave investment this year, with demand office space from a growing number of companies driving activity. Demand for residential property is also strong, as developers race to meet it.
The Costa del Sol has been the jewel in Spain’s property crown for some time among holiday home buyers. Its popularity among overseas investors is echoed by its booming visitor numbers, with Malaga’s tourist industry welcoming 13.4 per cent more people in the first half of 2014 and generating more €500 million. With Spain’s property market showing increasing signs of stabilising, demand is set to keep soaring.
Italy’s lifestyle appeal has fuelled a resurge in demand from overseas buyers in the second half of 2014. Como has always been a favourite among British buyers, in particular, with the region of Lombardy traditionally attracting the second highest number of enquiries in Italy on TheMoveChannel.com.
Cascais may have slipped three places from the previous quarter, but it remains a key driver of foreign interest in Portuguese property. The country’s residency scheme is increasingly boosting Portugal’s popularity among non-EU buyers, generating €972 million in the past two years. Demand mostly comes from Chinese buyers, with attention particularly focused on Lisbon and surrounding areas, such as Cascais.
Albufeira was the most searched-for property location in Portugal two years ago. Since then, demand has spread wider, as the recovery moves across the country. Nonetheless, this tourist resort in the Algarve region retains its strong appeal to both holidaymakers and holiday home hunters, thanks to its high quality golf courses, rising one place in the Hotspots Index since Q3 2014.
Cyprus has seen buyers return in force throughout 2014, with sales rising six months in a row in August 2014, according to the Department of Lands and Surveys. Protaras is located in the resort-fuelled region of Famagusta, where sales climbed 100 per cent in October 2014. Located near Ayia Napa, the town’s sandy shorelines and blue sky match the attractive range of apartments, villas and restaurants, making it a popular location for a holiday home.
With all its waterways and historic architecture, Tavira is regarded the Venice of the Algarve’s property market. The southern region of the country has long fuelled the housing market’s recovery, thanks to the strong tourism industry, attractive coastlines and affordable prices. While Tavira has fallen eight places since Q3 2014, it remains one of Portugal’s most sought-after hotspots.
The full top 50 hotspots on TheMoveChannel.com in Q4 2014 is as follows:
|Rank||Hotspot||Share of searches
|3||Spain/Province of Alicante||1.06%||5|
|21||Portugal/Armacao de Pera||0.55%|
|25||Spain/Province of Barcelona||0.48%||18|
|33||Portugal/Olhos de Agua||0.42%||-10|
|37||Spain/Costa Blanca South||0.37%|