NEW DELHI: Vinod and Rashmi Maheshwari have been looking around for a home in Europe for sometime and reckon the pandemic could now throw up opportunities both for second homes as well as investments which can be used for tourist rentals later. Added to that are the attraction of schemes which many European nations like Portugal are hawking, such as investor visas or citizenship which are issued if one makes an investment beyond a certain threshold.
Consultancy firm Oxford Economics estimates that property prices have fallen in all major European countries except outliers like Germany. Prices in Southern Europe-in countries like Greece, Spain and Italy-were among those most impacted, aver many sources. In the German market, prices in major cities rose by just 4 per cent compared to an average of 10-12 per cent in previous years.What makes western countries attractive buys are not just prices but also low interest loans. Loans are now available from global banks for such purchases at historically low rates for purchases in most western markets.
Malta and Portugal have proven to be popular destinations they offer easy residence and visa programs with investment. Cyprus and Greece provide residence and Shenzhen visas for investments in real estate worth 300,000 and 250,000 euro respectively. Others have similar programs with riders on investment in bonds or manufacturing. UK offers residence within two months on an investment of £2 million in the UK Investor Immigration Program.
Said Manish Arora, an international realty consultant, “Buying a house anywhere, and especially in a western market, is a bet that things will improve in coming years, which we feel is correct. It is also an investment in the tourist rental market. So you get both property appreciation plus rentals.” Many historic towns in Italy for instance have low property prices. Investors may, however, need to spend some money in cosmetic improvements, warns Arora.
Once tourism picks up after the Covid-19 pandemic subsides, profits from rentals are expected to go up. As are property prices. “With work from home becoming a norm in many sectors, it makes sense for even upper middle class professionals to relocate and work from a country of their choice.” Greece’s Golden Visa program has proved to be popular with the Indian rich ever since it was announced in 2013, Arora added. “Greece is a tourist nation and sub-letting is easy there, this adds to the attraction.”