Home » Expat Focus International News Update March 2023

Expat Focus International News Update March 2023

Property prices fall across the globe

We have reported previously on sky-high rents in some regions of the world, such as Singapore, but in many parts of the globe real estate prices are falling, making this a good time for investors to investigate potential property purchases. Property prices in Stockholm have fallen by around 20% from their peak price, and UK prices are estimated to drop by 8% in 2023 – still some way off from Germany, where prices have plummeted to a 20-year low. In France, house prices are also due to fall by 5-7%, but property experts recommend waiting for a few months before investing, as the market in this country has not bottomed out yet.

Meanwhile, in a related phenomenon, rental prices are rising in a number of places – including Spain. Real estate investment technology platform Inviertis is predicting a 6% rise of rental costs in 2023. They suggest that there will be an initial cooling-off period in the first six months of the year, followed by a resurgence in the rental market. Vicenç Hernández Reche, adviser to Inviertis and CEO of Tecnotramit, made these comments to the press:

“The more difficult the environment, the more opportunities real estate professionals will have to take advantage and improve our work. We are looking forward to a 2023 that will go from less to more in the number of residential asset sales and that will consolidate trends that are still in the process of maturing and that will be the basis of the new real estate cycle that we are entering.”

Other property experts told the press that some investors are snapping up real estate within 24 hours of its appearing on the market, and many investors are taking less than three weeks to consolidate property deals.

UAE: ‘lifestyle’ appeals to expats

A recent survey by HSBC shows that lifestyle is one of the main reasons why 36% of respondents move to the Emirates. Levels of family stability, cost of living and the chance of an increased income also proved important to those expats who had made the move to the UAE – and living in a sustainable environment proved appealing, too.

New Zealand: appeal to wealthy expats after Cyclone Gabrielle

New Zealand PM Chris Hipkins has appealed to wealthy expats after the devastating cyclone, which recently hit New Zealand, killing 11 people.

“One of the things we know from past events is that there are people abroad with very strong connections to New Zealand who want to be able to make a contribution.”

The appeal will be run along the same lines as the fundraiser which was set up after the Christchurch earthquake, which raised NZ$94 million. Interest rates in the country are currently running at a 14-year high, and the government is keen to avoid further inflation – but reconstruction after this latest national emergency will be costly, hence the fundraiser.

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International school sector is ‘flourishing’

Educational consultants, ISC Research, report that the international education sector is ‘flourishing.’ The number of international schools has substantially increased in the last decade, with current numbers of around 13,190 worldwide. Around 6.5 million students are currently enrolled in international schools, and diversity, parental aspiration and geo-politics are among the primary drivers behind the rise in this sector. Governments in developing nations seem particularly keen to encourage the international school sector.

However, issues with Covid-19 and security crackdowns have, as we’ve reported before, had an impact on Hong Kong’s education sector, and border restrictions on the part of the Chinese government have also had an effect on the enrolment of students from the region to UK schools.

Malaga ‘most family friendly’ city in Spain

Travel experts, Bounce, have rated Malaga as the most family-friendly city in Spain, based on criteria such as the number of green spaces, leisure facilities for children and adults, availability of children’s menus in restaurants, and other factors such as temperature and rates of rainfall. The survey ranks other European cities, such as Budapest, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Amsterdam, Rome, Helsinki, Venice, Milan and Florence, and overall Malaga appears fourth in the Spanish ranking. In Spain overall, the top three cities are Alicante, Benidorm and Valencia, but Malaga scores top of the list when it comes to family friendliness. It’s also listed as the fourth safest city in Spain.

‘Visa Kuwait’ app is launched

An app designed to regulate the entry of expats into Kuwait, as quickly and smoothly as possible, has been launched by the Kuwaiti government, partly in an attempt to cut down on visa fraud. The new electronic system will approve entry visas. Currently, it’s in the initial testing phase, but if fully implemented, you will need to use the app to enter Kuwait. Airline personnel, expats due to enter the country and workers already in Kuwait will be able to download the app. If you have an infectious disease or a criminal record, this information will show up on the app and you won’t be permitted to enter the country.

Crackdown on fake documents in residency applications after Brexit

Fake health insurance policies, leases and bank statements have been used by criminal gangs to falsify residency applications in Spain post-Brexit, the UK press revealed in late February. Over 40 people have been arrested, two of whom worked in government offices, over the fake applications, which were made in 2021. Police and the Malaga Foreigners Office say that around 120 applications, costing around €1600 each, appeared to have been ‘manipulated’ and have begun an investigation. Brits have also been arrested in Tenerife over similar allegations.

The British Embassy has warned expats that Spanish authorities are “on the alert for forged healthcare, padrón (council registration document) and lease contracts, as well as people falsely claiming student status.”

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