Private Office Global Meeting | State of Key Markets

August 5, 2020

Recently, Engel & Völkers conducted its first-ever global Private Office meeting with almost 100 of the most competent and connected real estate professionals in the world. Presented by Constantin von Dalwigk, the Managing Director & Global Head of Private Office and Stuart Siegel, Head of Private Office Americas, the meeting featured twelve Private Office Advisors from key primary and secondary home markets around the world discussing the state of the industry and their markets. Demonstrating the global reach and collaboration that comes with the Engel & Völkers brand, we’re pleased to share with you the highlights of that meeting. Below you’ll find a summary of each market discussed in the meeting and the full video at the end of this post.

Engel & Völkers Hong Kong

  • Presented by Private Office Advisor Chris Liem
  • Hong Kong is the IPO center of the world and a free-port, making it a highly desirable market and future center of wealth.
  • After 12 months of protests, 6 months of COVID, and 18 months of US-CHINA Trade War, the Hong Kong Market now features the world’s highest property prices.
  • Prices in the secondary market rose 1.9% in May, another 6% in June, and are on track to be up year-over-year in the next few months.

Engel & Völkers New York City

  • Presented by Elizabeth Mercedes Berk and Noel Berk
  • Amid the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, New York City went on a 100% closure of non-essential businesses statewide on March 22nd but as of June 22nd, Real Estate services are deemed essential business in Phase II of New York City’s reopening.
  • Business has adapted with a stronger emphasis on digital marketing approaches, such as video walkthroughs, and virtual showings through the use of technology.
  • Overall, listings in Manhattan are down 26% compared to last year, the first year-over-year drop in inventory in five years. Opportunities exist among the surplus of new development that was built during the last construction cycle.

Engel & Völkers Frankfurt

  • Presented by David Schmitt
  • Frankfurt is the banking capital of Central Europe and hence has always been and has remained a very strong market.
  • The residential market was not been affected negatively by COVID-19.
  • The demand for homes (houses and apartments) with a garden has increased by 40%.
  • Fewer requests for listings, but the quality of clients has improved.
  • A challenge exists with banks taking much longer to approve financing for buyers.

Engel & Völkers Santa Monica

  • Presented by Sandra Miller
  • The 2007/2008 banking crisis had a very moderate impact on Santa Monica prices and the same is expected from COVID-19.
  • The effects of COVID-19 on the Santa Monica marketplace do include a 50% decrease year-over-year in the sales volume for single-family residential homes and a 15% decrease year-over-year for condos and townhomes.
  • They expect a 15-30% discount on average now and in the immediate future, and to see lenders foreclose on developers.

Engel & Völkers Mallorca Southwest

  • Presented by Hans Lenz.
  • A resilient destination and real estate market, approximately 80% of the transactions in the second home market are cash.
  • Based on the financial crisis of 2009-2012, Mallorca is a “last in and first out” market compared with other locations in Spain who take longer to recover, and they expect the same this time.
  • The local economy was hit hard due to the collapse of tourism in the last few months, which will now require diversification and less dependence on mass tourism in the future.
  • Safety, healthcare, nature, open spaces, superb connectivity, and an excellent array of lifestyle options of Mallorca are more valued than ever. 

Engel & Völkers Chicago

  • Presented by Jennifer Ames
  • Chicago already had a weak residential market prior to the pandemic due to a fiscal crisis caused by Illinois’ failure to fund state pension fund obligations for many years.
  • Property taxes are the main source of revenue to pay debt service on those pension funds. Taxes have been escalating, causing home values to drop and many homeowners are leaving the state (or moving into rental units) because they don’t want to own in Illinois.
  • Priorities have shifted as a result of the pandemic with buyers less focused on fiscal concerns and more so on lifestyle needs including desires for space to work/study from home, no open floor plans, private outdoor space, etc.

Engel & Völkers Zug

  • Presented by Anja Beck
  • The local high-end rental market was not affected during the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • The sales market slowed down in April/May but is now returning with sales up approximately CHF 1.5 Mio in the low segment as well as in the high-end luxury segment.
  • Some owners of high-end villas canceled listings during the lockdown and postponed to 2021, with a recommendation to use the slow down for renovations, upgrades, photos, and preparation of exposés.
  • Digital sales tools were quickly accepted, both by sellers and buyers, and starting in June, the business has picked up greatly.

Engel & Völkers Park City

  • Presented by Paul Benson
  • They have seen an increased demand from people who live in major metros and large condo buildings that are wanting more space, convenience, and privacy in their homes. Current residents, due to the risk of additional quarantine restrictions, are also looking for more space, like backyards, multiple living areas, and offices.
  • The condo market is in low demand as people do not want to share the use of elevators and other common areas like a gym, pool, spa, etc.

Engel & Völkers Paris

  • Presented by Karen Schoemaker
  • 2019 was a record year with 1,059,000 transactions in France.
  • There has been an increase in the average square meter price in Paris despite COVID-19.
  • There has been no “rural exodus” so far but the immediate vicinity of Paris, already popular, is showing a certain interest increase with a higher demand for terraces, gardens, interior courtyards, and other outdoor spaces.
  • The Parisian real estate market remains stable due to clients’ confidence in the market, a maintained attractivity of Paris perceived by both local and foreign buyers, and a continued strong seller’s market (currently with an average of 7 buyers for 1 property).

Engel & Völkers Montréal Westmount

  • Presented by Martin Rouleau
  • They experienced an 8-week pause in a usually strong spring market but the backlog of local buyers and pent-up demand has yielded unexpected but promising activity post quarantine.
  • Inventory remains low in most areas of Montréal Westmount.
  • Spending time at home, some people have realized that their current properties do not meet their needs, and this has made them look for a change (locally); more land and home offices are popular desires now. 

Engel & Völkers Porto Cervo

  • Presented by Daniela Ciboddo
  • Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean and is world-renowned for its beautiful sandy beaches, picture-perfect panoramas, luxury villas, and sophisticated shops and restaurants. Almost a COVID free region, the island is seen as a secure location for the summer holidays. 
  • The pandemic didn’t affect most of Costa Smeralda. After some initial uncertainty, European buyers became very active in their search for a second home and a good investment here.
  • The newest trend is a desire for the countryside surrounding Costa Smeralda: traditional homes with at least 1 hectare of land, and preferably with notable views and a pool. 
  • Consistently has had a large international clientele with 40% of them being Italians and the remaining commonly from Germany, Swiss, and Nord Europe – although the highest transaction volume comes from clients from Russia and Arabian countries.

Engel & Völkers Vancouver

  • Presented by Jeff Fitzpatrick
  • Consistently voted one of the most livable cities in the world with a current population of 2,581,079 and an expected growth of approximately 43,000 new residents each year.
  • The key challenge with real estate in Vancouver is that it’s surrounded by mountains to the north, ocean to the west, agricultural land to the east, and the U.S. border to the south.
  • There is a $72,662 median income of households (CAD) but local wages are out of sync with real estate values.
  • With the introduction of a foreign buyer tax in 2016 that was increased to 20% in 2018, and a vacant homes tax in 2018 (1% of the tax assessment annually), the luxury market has seen a dramatic downturn.
  • The best opportunities exist in the >$4.0m residential segments.


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