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.
Over the last two years as an AIRINC Research Analyst, I’ve gotten accustomed to the multifaceted approach we take for our quarterly data collection. New assignments are allocated every three months and we fall into a familiar rhythm.
Over six months after the first COVID-19 case was reported, countries across the world are still adjusting to the new “normal.” After conducting almost thirty real estate interviews across nine Asian cities, the difference in city positioning, restrictions, capacity, and others’ perception of each city is stark, and the executive segments of these markets are responding differently.
I arrived early in the morning at Kinshasa’s N'djili International Airport this past January 29th on a connecting flight from Addis Ababa. Upon arrival, I expected the same chaos that I experienced during my previous surveys in 2003 and 2008, but I was pleasantly surprised.
On my most recent trip, I surveyed Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital and most populous city in Tanzania. While conducting my survey, I observed that several areas have developed in order to cater to expatriate needs. While overall availability of goods and services is consistent, certain categories are lacking and require purchases to be made on home leave or through travel to nearby international cities, like Nairobi.
The decision to move the Nigerian capital from Lagos to Abuja was made in 1976. However, after many years of planning, development, and construction, Abuja finally replaced Lagos as the political capital in 1991.
Before my trip to Brazil, I heard both positive and negative impressions of the country. Since it was my first time visiting, I was interested to see which kind of experience I’d have. It ended up being a bit of both.
I arrived in Cape Town during Stage 4 load shedding, when state-run energy company Eskom was conducting one of four scheduled two-hour blackouts. In Camps Bay, I passed expatriate quality homes along the water and saw that every home displayed a large security company sticker. I also noticed that, even during a blackout, electric fences were still buzzing.
At the beginning of 2020, I surveyed Fort McMurray, an oil town in northeast Alberta, Canada. In January, there are limited outdoor activities in Alberta, so on a Sunday, it was recommended I go to a “park” walkable from the hotel.
While South American countries have a wet season, the duration and severity vary. Knowing this and having traveled extensively throughout the continent, my February survey delivered some unique experiences. I encountered urban flooding in both Brazil and Paraguay and in both instances the flooding occurred subsequent to a relatively short period of rainfall. Both times also seemed to be a failure of infrastructure more than anything else.