Last quarter, in the early stages of the global COVID-19 outbreak, I was surveying Southeast Asia. At the time of my transit through Kuala Lumpur, AirAsia had recently suspended flights from mainland China, Macau, and Hong Kong. Though normally a carrier that promotes customer self-service, the airline was diverting all travellers from these locations to the check-in counters to undergo screening questions before being allowed to proceed; in fact, they were prohibited from using the automated-check-in machines as you can see in the photo below.
The Stockholm housing rental market has been mostly stable over the last several months, despite a steady increase in demand. Rental units are challenging to find in this near-zero vacancy market and houses are especially limited. For new assignees, there has been an increase in demand for employer-backed leases and this trend is expected to grow.
During a recent survey quarter, I had the pleasure of surveying Athens, Greece. While I was on-site, I encountered several protests and demonstrations, which allowed me to really feel like an assignee, navigating the change of social disruption.
My expectations for my November visit to Luxembourg did not include traffic jams, road closures, scaffolding, bulldozers, excavators, jackhammers, or circumnavigating around open-pit construction sites, but that’s exactly what I found.
Western rideshare apps have struggled in Turkey. Protests by taxi drivers and government opposition have left these ridesharing companies in a state of uncertainty over the last year. On my recent trip to Ankara and Istanbul, I experienced this firsthand. In Ankara, I tried to use a popular local rideshare app but gave up because it was only available in Turkish despite claims that they support English-speaking users. Apart from the local rideshare app, there was no other rideshare presence in Ankara, and I was entirely reliant on local taxis.
When it comes to expatriate housing in Taipei, Tian Mu and Xinyi are two of the top picks for most assignees. Xinyi is popular for singles and couples because it’s centrally located to everything the downtown has to offer. Tian Mu has many single-family homes and large apartments that are particularly attractive to western assignees. Tian Mu also has two international schools, the Taipei American School and the Taipei Japanese School, and the Taipei European School is also close by, making it very popular with those going on assignment with a family.
The rental housing market is slowly picking back up in Aberdeen after the slump in global oil and gas prices. Despite current events like Brexit and climate change concerns, the oil and gas industry is seeing a slow but steady revival in this coastal city, bringing in more expatriates who are increasing the demand for good quality housing.
There is a strong Chinese presence in Phnom Penh. Chinese investment is expanding the limited recreational activities in Phnom Penh by funding hotels, resorts, and casinos. According to recent reports, Chinese firms are planning to fund bigger and better 5-star hotels and serviced apartments in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, hoping to bring more tourists and potential investors to Cambodia.
My onsite survey of Buenos Aires, Argentina took place shortly after the country’s presidential election. The former President, right-leaning Mauricio Macri, was unseated by his left-of-center challenger Alberto Fernández. My last survey in Argentina was in 2016, shortly after Macri was elected. While starkly different candidates, the circumstances of their election are similar. Then as now, high inflation, currency devaluation, idle wages and structural issues have left Argentines looking for a change and willing to try something new.
During my recent survey of India, I visited Chennai. The city is located on India’s east coast and has growing automotive, industrial, and technology sectors. Behind the strength of this, the city government has invested in its infrastructure to alleviate traffic, reduce commuting times, and increase available housing units, including many expatriate-focused housing complexes along the attractive coastline.