Key Highlights

  • EU easing travel restrictions on fully vaccinated tourists from non-EU countries
  • Popular holiday destinations with year-round appeal likely to benefit

Travel Re-Openings Likely to Boost International Markets and Investments

If you and/or your clients are like most of us, we always want what we can’t have…and most of us haven’t been able to travel and/or invest internationally for over a year due to COVID restrictions and lockdowns.

Many real estate experts around the world are anticipating a travel and investment boom.

Hugh Thistlethwayte, head of global residential operation with Savills in London, said, “People have moved away from the idea of a holiday home to a proper second home, especially in places that offer communities 52 weeks a year.”

European Destinations Already Experiencing Uptick in Inquiries

Destinations with year-round appeal such as the French Alps, Venice, and Mallorca are already on travelers’ minds.  According to Thistlethwayte, “Those places that genuinely offer a community where people can work from home, like the Lisbon suburbs, and some of the ski resorts in the French Alps like Megeve, really stand to benefit.”

Buyers Already Re-Emerging

Diletta Giorgolo with Italy’s Sotheby’s International Realty in Rome, said, “Buyers are all waiting for the release of EU restrictions on travel, and we’re expecting a real boom in June as more Americans and EU buyers come back.”

Giorgolo is already noticing two different types of buyers: those who want vacation homes in the Italian seaside or countryside and those who want a permanent residence.

“People from big cities like London want to live and work remotely in Italy, within one hour of an airport.  Rome, Milan and Florence are #1, but people are also looking at medium-sized cities like Lucca and Palermo and smaller cities on Lake Como.”

Regions Expected to See Booms

Just as in the US where buyers are wanting “full-on” second homes in places such as Aspen, the Hamptons and Jackson Hole rather than homes with good rental income potential, Thislethwayte is banking on investments in “full-on” second homes in high-energy markets.

In addition to the markets mentioned throughout this piece, Thislethwayte said that buyers are also ready to return to dense urban areas.  “People haven’t fallen out of love with cities. Now there’s a drive toward buying smaller units to use as pied-a-terres in upscale buildings close to parks and amenities.  If you’re going to spend three days a week in the office, you’ll want that classically small, central apartment that’s perfect for getting out.”

Pay Particular Attention to Portugal Now

As we wrote a couple of weeks ago, Portugal has announced that it will be blocking foreign investors from purchasing property in Lisbon, Porto and Algarve starting in 2022.

Expect to see a rush from American and international buyers to invest in these areas during the second half of this year to “get in” before the cut off.

The Knight Frank “Next Neighbors” report identified Praia da Luz in Algarve as an area “particularly primed for growth” in Portugal.


Thanks to MansionGlobal, Savills, Sotheby’s International Realty and Knight Frank.

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