2024 European Summer Report

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2024 Market Report


Greek Market Booms as Golden Visa Changes Lay on Horizon


Italy Offers Many Options to Live the Sweet Life


Portugal’s Allure Draws Well-Heeled Buyers


American Buyers Can’t Stop Saying “¡Sí!” to Spain

United Kingdom

United Kingdom Rebounds as Luxury Levels Up

EUROPEAN SUMMER 2024 2 06 08 10 12 14

With real estate markets sizzling across the continent despite various global and market factors trying to slow them down, it’s clear that more people than ever are seeking their slice of European Summer.

And who can blame them? There is so much to attract buyers to Europe—both the scenic destinations that pepper the Mediterranean coastline and the vibrant inland cities that offer their own magnetic charm.

From Portugal being among the safest countries in the world to Greece boasting some of the most picturesque beaches ever discovered, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who wouldn’t entertain the idea of owning property in at least one of Europe’s dynamic countries.

Take the Italian region of Versilia, for example. Situated on the coast in the northern part of Tuscany, the area is celebrated for its gorgeous coastline and vibrant communities. Or there’s the bustling cultural hub of Madrid, now giving Miami a run for its money as one of the most exciting destinations in the world for tourists and food lovers alike.

Yes—some European governments may be winding down or tightening their Golden Visa program requirements in an attempt to bring some normalcy back to what has been a wild ride for European markets in recent years, but there are still many avenues for U.S. buyers to gain residency.

At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, we are uniquely positioned to offer insight into the European real estate markets, with multiple locations across Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

As such, the 2024 European Summer Report is packed with deep insights into Europe’s current real estate market, with valuable information on the latest avenues to residency, hidden gem locations, and factors to bear in mind if considering purchasing property across the pond.

Here’s to a summer filled with new opportunities and exciting adventures.


Greek Market Booms as Golden Visa Changes Lay on Horizon

Real estate in Greece is in demand right now. Investors continue to eye the Mediterranean country as a viable destination to purchase and tourist numbers are on the rise each year—boosting the desire for both top-quality second homes and rental properties.

Kyriakos Xydis, Managing Partner, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Athens Properties, shared that the Greek real estate market had been largely underrated for many years, but in the last three-to-four years, there has been a significant increase in interest which has pushed pricing upward.

In 2022, the average increase in pricing was around 12%, and then in 2023, about 13%, he said. But buyers still see value in Greece, and Xydis anticipates that this will continue.


Those seeking to purchase primarily hail from Israel, Turkey, Bulgaria, United Kingdom, France and Netherlands. The number one amenity they are looking for? Being on the water, or at least very close to it.

“No matter if it’s a popular island, or on the mainland, they just want to be close to the water,” he said. Adding that, “The Greek islands are still the most popular destination.”

They are mainly searching for apartments, he said. Adding that low maintenance properties are extremely desirable. And with strict budgets in mind, they are willing to sacrifice the size of the property, as long as it is close to the water.

In Athens, tourists flock to the city to explore for 10 months a year. The only quiet months are January and February, Xydis said.

With prices climbing, Xydis explained that renting a prime apartment for a vacation in Athens can still be considerably more affordable than a four-star hotel. With this factoring into vacation planning, it’s no surprise that occupancy rates for rental properties remain consistently high.

While the demand is high, September 2024 will herald some changes for the Greek real estate market with amendments to its Golden Visa program. These changes will see an increase of real estate investment needed to begin a path to residency in Greece.

In Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Santorini, and islands with a population of more than 3,100 people, the minimum investment will rise from €500,000 to €800,000. In other regions, the entry point will be €400,000.


Italy Offers Many Options to Live the Sweet Life

Making Italy home or purchasing a second home in this stunning Mediterranean country is a dream that so many continue to make a reality each year. And it’s no wonder, with its natural beauty, renowned cuisine, ease of access to and from other European destinations and the United States, and of course, that la dolce vita way of life.

With the demand for prime residences continuing on an upward trend, inventory remains tight across the board. And while there may be splashy headlines enticing foreigners with jaw-dropping deals—including the chance to purchase a home for €1 in certain regions of the country—it’s always best to read the fine print. The €1 homes do need extensive and expensive renovations which must be completed within a certain timeframe. While it can be successful and rewarding, the project can also be lengthy and costly.

Marina Rizzotto, Owner, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Palazzo Estate—which serves Lake Como, Milan, the Tuscany Coast, and Lake Maggiore—said, in addition to inventory levels, predicting real estate market trends in Italy for the remainder of the year involves considering various economic, political, and social factors.

One factor that will be on the minds of buyers is interest rates.

“It’s important to monitor the European Central Bank’s policies and announcements to understand how changes with interest rates might affect their borrowing costs and investment returns,” said Rizzotto.


Foreigners are able to take advantage of Italy’s Golden Visa or Investor Visa programs, where an investment of a certain amount can pave a path to residency. And like some other European countries, Italy does offer the Digital Nomad Visa.

Initiatives like the flat tax regime for new residents, digital nomad visas, and other tax incentives aimed at attracting foreign residents could continue to support the real estate market, particularly in luxury and high-end segments.

“To qualify for the Digital Nomad Visa, applicants must have a contract from a non-Italian company or be self-employed with sufficient income to support themselves in Italy,” Rizzotto said. “This option recognizes the growing trend of remote working and aims to attract digital workers to contribute to the local economy.”

Another popular avenue for foreign buyers to consider is Italy’s Flat Tax program. This is available for new residents who transfer their tax residency to Italy, said Rizzotto. This, she explained, is particularly appealing to high-net-worth individuals who would pay an annual flat tax of €100,000, regardless of their income.

“The aim is to attract wealthy individuals who can contribute to the Italian economy,” Rizzotto said.

Once the decision has been made to make the move to Italy, and no matter what option one chooses to gain residency, the possibilities of locations to suit any desired lifestyle are endless: from the bustling cities of Milan, Rome, and Florence, to the exquisite countryside throughout Tuscany, charming coastal enclaves including Versilia (Forte dei Marmi, Marina di Pietrasanta, Viareggio), Cinque Terre, the “boot tip” of Italy, Puglia, and the world famous lake regions including Lake Como and Lake Maggiore, to name a few.


Portugal’s Allure Draws Well-Heeled Buyers

From its bustling capital city to idyllic coastal destinations, the diversity of Portugal’s real estate offerings continue to capture the hearts and minds of people around the world eager to find a slice of paradise in a beautiful and relatively affordable location.

Americans in particular are investing in Portugal, explained Michael Vincent, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Portugal Property. He says almost half of his clientele last year were from the United States, and sees no sign of that slowing down. Especially as travel between the United States and Portugal is poised to become easier, with more direct flights launching.

What continues to draw them to Portugal’s shores? It’s the appealing climate, low cost of living, safety, amenities, healthcare, and so much more, Vincent said.

“If you bring your American dollar to Portugal, it’s going to go a long way,” he said.


Another appeal, Vincent said, is that the Portuguese are committed to working towards a bright future for their country and focus on improving infrastructure and environmentally sustainable efforts.

Both the lifestyle and economic factors are the catalyst for an increasing number of wealthy individuals making the move to Portugal, said Goncalo Penedo, Business Manager, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Atlantic Portugal.

In recent years, Penedo said it has been well documented that thousands of millionaires have chosen to purchase property in Portugal or make it their home.

Many of these individuals used the Golden Visa program to gain citizenship, however, this path to residency ended in 2023. Now, with other alternatives to residency available, including the Digital Nomad Visa and avenues for capital investment, the Golden Visa may be returning to Portugal as a new political landscape evolves.

The range of residences available span chic urban condos, modern seaside marvels, sun-drenched villas, and sprawling manses in the countryside, proving that there is something for everyone in Portugal.

In the luxury space, homes priced between €3 million and €7.5 million are reflective of the types of mega-mansions one could expect to see in high end neighborhoods in the United States, Penedo said.

Lisbon, Porto, Algarve, and the Portuguese islands like Madeira are all popular with foreigners. While each location offers its own charm and appeal, Vincent and Penedo agree that no matter where one decides to live, Portugal is the ultimate destination.

“It’s truly a nice place to be,” Vincent said.


American Buyers Can’t Stop Saying “¡Sí!” to Spain SPAIN

Interest in Spanish real estate from American buyers is strong and growing stronger, said Bruno Rabassa, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Spain. “In 2023 the number of US buyers in the Spanish real estate market grew by 15%,” he explained. “This is an unstoppable trend—Spain and the USA are increasingly better connected, with more direct flights and more frequency.”

From May 2024, you can fly direct from San Francisco to Barcelona, and in June, Dallas will get its own direct flight to the Catalonian city. United Airlines has also expanded its previously seasonal direct service from Newark to Malaga to operate year-round.

Regarding residency options, the Spanish Government has recently announced it wants to eliminate the country’s Golden Visa program. According to Rabassa, the Golden Visa—while it has been beneficial—is only one of many options that overseas buyers use to gain Spanish residency. “Less than 15,000 buyers have opted for the Golden Visa [since it was established in 2013], representing only 0.1% of all the transactions in Spain,” Rabassa said.


Other avenues to residency include employment, study, and retirement visas— plus the Digital Nomad Visa, introduced in January 2023. This visa allows remote workers from outside the EU to live and work in Spain for up to five years if they work for a non-Spanish company or have international freelance clients.

“If the Golden Visa winds down, it will not alter our market which is experiencing

annual price rises due to the scarcity of supply and a strong demand,” Rabassa said. “The best day to buy is today—as the Government has announced so little detail, we are encouraging our clients to act now if they see a property they love, as we do not know when this change will go into effect.”

The country is truly a global hotspot, helped by the fact that it consistently places high on quality-of-life reports. The latest annual Expat City Ranking published by InterNations—the largest global community for people who live and work abroad—ranks three Spanish cities as the top cities to live in the world— Málaga taking the top spot with Alicante and Valencia completing the podium.

Madrid, which placed at #6 in the rankings, has been particularly irresistible to American buyers in recent years, said Rabassa: “In Madrid we are experiencing a buyer euphoria from North Americans and Latin Americans. Madrid is undoubtedly becoming the new Miami of Europe, due to the great benefits offered by the city, with museums, gastronomy, shopping, climate, friendliness, and more.”


United Kingdom Rebounds as Luxury Levels Up

The real estate market in the United Kingdom’s capital is back—poised for a robust remainder of 2024 and a great 2025 ahead.

“We’ve had a buoyant start to the year so far in 2024,” said Matt Staton, Head of Residential, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices London. “We expect 2024 to be a busy and strong year for the sales market, with 2025 set to be even busier,” he added.

Real estate in London had slowed during the pandemic, dampening sales with scores of residents choosing to move to more remote, country destinations.

However, post lockdown, the city experienced a large rebound, with people moving back into the capital to be closer to a wider array of entertainment and hospitality offerings.

This initial rebound somewhat halted in 2023, due to high interest rates beyond what the United Kingdom has seen over the past 20 years. Now, with inflation decreasing, and musings from the Bank Of England regarding a reduction in the base rate, people are again coming back into the market.


Staton explained that the company experienced a 56% increase in buyer registrations this year compared to Q4 2023—which was also up 14% year-over-year. Those people that are looking at real estate, are purchasing too. “Last year we saw a lot of people out looking, not necessarily making buying decisions. But we’ve had a 150% increase in transactions in Q1 versus Q4 2023,” Staton said. “People are confident in the market and the economic conditions and are making offers.”

While the greatest number of buyers are domestic, Staton said there is still no shortage of international buyers seeking property in the United Kingdom. With a significant amount of interest from Americans and Canadians, Europeans are also amidst the buyer pool, as well as Chinese and Middle Eastern buyers.

What are they seeking? Staton said a mixture of modern, newly built properties, and beautiful, historic and quintessentially British abodes.

Within prime central London, Staton said luxury buyers are willing to pay premiums for the right postcode—those historically popular areas such as Knightsbridge, Chelsea, Belgravia, Hyde Park, Mayfair, and Marylebone.

There is good news for these buyers, as more homeowners are seeking valuations on their properties as they are ready to make a move, Staton said. In the very high end of the market, the inventory is very tight, but when a trophy property does come on the market, it sells swiftly.

Staton says branded residences are now becoming more popular and prevalent in the London market. These residences, he said, offer some of the finest amenities—from high-end gyms, to pet spas, golf simulators, and more. And so, luxury in London once again reaches new heights, with developers competing to offer the most unique and opulent residence in the city.

©2024 BHH Affiliates, LLC. Real Estate Brokerage Services are offered through the network member franchisees of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Most franchisees are independently owned and operated. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of Columbia Insurance Company, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. Equal Housing Opportunity.
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