In May 2020, I conducted a remote housing survey of Stockholm. I read extensively about Sweden’s herd-immunity approach to COVID-19 and how the government is not enforcing business closures.
AIRINC recently conducted rental market updates across Europe and Asia and, in many places, life was getting back to normal.
Due to COVID-19, many markets that have recently been driven by short-term lettings ala Airbnb have had to reverse course. The short-term rental markets in Prague, Dublin, Madrid, Barcelona, Reykjavik, and many others have transitioned back to long-term rentals as a result of closed borders and a drastic reduction in demand.
The impact of COVID-19 on the Beijing and Guangzhou rental markets is somewhat similar. When new international assignees were restricted from entering the cities, the demand for expatriate-quality housing dropped and rents became more negotiable, like many other large business hubs across Asia.
During my Abidjan survey this past February, I found Ivorians to be friendly, often greeting me with “Bonjour Monsieur!” Shopping malls are expanding as new brands arrive in the Ivory Coast market, and good security provides safe areas for expatriate shopping.
I relocated to San Francisco in 2013. As someone who lives here and works in the cost-of-living industry, I can confirm that SF is one of the most costly places in the world. But, I'm also here to tell you that living here is worth the cost. The Bay Area is a truly wonderful place to live. But organizations often have a hard time relocating talent here due to the cost. But even when we do convince people to move, relocations often fail because organizations don't help relocating employees understand the nuances of the Bay Area and find the right housing fit for them.
During my Switzerland survey, I found that many people choose to live in Zug for its lower cost of living and lower tax costs compared to neighboring cities Lucerne and Zurich. Zug is just about thirty minutes by train, which makes it a practical choice.
What is the best solution for your company: full-service relocation, lump sum amount, or a hybrid approach? It’s a hotly debated topic within corporate relocation programs and is discussed at almost every industry event. Companies must weigh their budget against the level of support they are willing to provide transferees. There’s no easy answer, no one-size-fits-all.
My first domestic relocation happened on Valentine’s Day 2010, a few months after my college graduation. At the time, I was living at home with my parents in Central Mass when I accepted a job offer in Minneapolis. Although I did not know anything about the Midwest, I was beyond excited for my first real (i.e. salaried) job and the adventure that awaited living in a new state.
While no one can predict when the COVID-19 outbreak will be contained, the pandemic has firmly stalled and reversed rising property trends across Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore. AIRINC spoke to industry experts across Asia’s most dynamic business hubs to understand the unique characteristics of each market and what changes and opportunities lie ahead.