More investors could be considering real estate as a migration portal in the wake of COVID-19

Real estate gains allure as migration portal

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Wealthy investors could be looking even more intently at real estate as a migration portal once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, analysts with a global relocation and citizenship advisory firm speculate. Already, Henley & Partners has charted a first quarter pickup in investment programs that offer a gateway to residence in Portugal, Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, and projects there will be a growing appetite for similar opportunities elsewhere in the European Union.

“High-net-worth individuals favour European real estate-linked programs as they offer a unique hybrid investment opportunity that includes multiple yields from real estate, with all its traditional upside, as well as an alternative residence and/or citizenship with the option to relocate if they need to,” says Juerg Steffen, chief executive officer of Henley & Partners. “As a tried-and-tested hedge against volatility, securing alternative residence or citizenship through property purchase is one of the safest, smartest, most sustainable investments you can make right now.”

Parag Khanna, founder of the Singapore-based data mining and scenario modelling firm, FutureMap, likewise predicts COVID-19 will prompt two relocation trends: an international movement toward perceived safe havens; and domestic outflows from dense urban metropolises to smaller cities and rural areas. Canada is unnamed but vaguely identified among possible non-European destinations for those seeking a new national address.

“People will seek to move from poorly governed and ill-prepared places to more proactive countries with better medical care or where involuntary quarantine, whenever it strikes next, is less torturous,” Khanna theorizes in a recent Henley & Partners report. “It is clear that COVID-19 is spreading more rapidly in places that are roughly 27 degrees north latitude, where much of the world’s population is concentrated. It is worth exploring whether countries with colder or warmer temperatures, lower population densities, or less intensive participation in global supply chains are safer.”

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