January 10, 2014 5:48 pm

Property picks for 2014 and the best places in the world to buy

Experts reveal which city or country they would choose if they could spend £1m on any property
Property gambling illustration©Clear As Mud

For many countries, 2014 could be the year when hard-hit property markets enjoy a long-awaited recovery as prices move steadily upwards. But what of the housing trends below the surface that may ultimately have a longer-lasting impact? Graham Norwood asked a range of experts for their predictions and also where they would spend a notional £1m on any property for optimum enjoyment or return.

Kate Allen

FT property correspondent

“Prime London property may become a zombie market this year as political rhetoric ramps up ahead of the 2015 UK election. All parties will probably propose policies affecting tax, finance or ownership. This uncertainty is likely to deter potential buyers.”

My £1m buy: “Rio de Janeiro. With the World Cup this year and the Olympics in 2016, there is a lot happening. House prices are rising strongly and the city is really opening up to foreign buyers.”

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Liam Bailey

Knight Frank head of global research

“There will be the unravelling of some cooling measures introduced in the hottest world markets. With interest rates potentially rising and markets in Hong Kong and Singapore already slowing, there’s a real chance that some measures could be lifted as early as Q2.”

My £1m buy: “For pure lifestyle, stick to prime traditional locations but consider markets where values have fallen the most and prices may take longer to recover – Mallorca in Spain, southwest France or Ireland.”

Yolande Barnes

Director of world research at Savills

“World property will become even more about Asia. The Hainan island experiment by China [a tourist resort with free-market leanings] has proved very successful. Expect it to be rolled out to other South China Sea islands, The popularity of Japanese ski resorts is growing and we may see new Chinese snow resorts pioneered.”

My £1m buy: “In high-supply locations like Florida there are still bargains. I would choose a property for quality and lifestyle as well as ability to generate income from holiday lettings.”

Sir David Tang

FT agony uncle

My £1m buy: “I would purchase several cheap properties and turn them into bedsits to accommodate hard-working migrants coming to the UK. With them as partners, I would set up a business providing 24-hour services – plumbers, electricians, handymen and domestic staff – at half the going rate of central London. This will easily make back the £1m.”

Kevin McCloud

Television presenter and founder of Hab Housing

“The big change will be that we should be making places rather than just building houses. The quality of space in between houses is almost more important than architecture for creating sociability and opportunities for play, food-growing and sustainable environments. Major housebuilders are beginning to see engagement with the community as key.”

My £1m buy: “Bristol will be the European Green Capital for 2015 and is burgeoning with innovation and alternative approaches.”

Nick Candy

Chief executive of Candy & Candy

“London will still be the home for international money in real estate in 2014. The trouble in Ukraine, Thailand and other countries shows why it is so appealing. [But] there will be no significant price growth in the super-prime sector in 2014 partly due to a potential oversupply in some areas.”

My £1m buy: “I would choose Dubai for investment. The market is very strong again, the city has just been chosen to host the 2020 World Expo trade convention, and it is the safe haven of the Middle East.”

Charlie Ellingworth

Founder of Property Vision

“Chinese people with money and visas will invest in countries where their government can’t take it or tax it. And perhaps there will be a realisation that, as London supply goes into overdrive, there may be a limit to the number of overseas buyers willing to pay whatever any developer asks.”

My £1m buy: “Umbria. A farmhouse with vines or a shoebox in Mayfair? No contest. Property is for life, not just investment.”

Edwin Heathcote

FT architecture correspondent

“Look out for houses built for water. The floating houses and glass façades of IJburg in Amsterdam might look pretty good in a century. London, Paris and New York will look at their underused waterways, most of which are in the best positions. In London, this would mean the likes of the river Lea and Lee Navigation.”

My £1m buy: “£1m would secure an entire neighbourhood in many northern towns in the UK. With on-site businesses, studios, shops and public space, something could be done. This would be social, rather than solely financial investment.”

Philip White

President of Sotheby’s International Realty

“Consumers are purchasing larger properties. Previously, people would buy a city apartment and, after they married and started a family, move to more suburban locations. Today those people simply purchase larger apartments or houses.”

My £1m buy: “Golf is hugely popular sport and property on or next to courses combines a great lifestyle with good investment prospects.”

Lulu Egerton

Partner at Strutt & Parker/Christie’s International Real Estate

“Lateral living will come to prime central London. Some 62 per cent of buyers there at present are international. They come with experience of lateral living in Rio, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Rome. They can’t understand the UK’s love affair with five-storey houses.”

My £1m buy. “Fulham in London. The international community has now hit on this area as the next best thing to Kensington and Chelsea. Fulham is becoming populated by bankers, doctors and so on – the foot soldiers of the large global companies.”

Andrew Langton

Chairman of Aylesford International

Spain is on the floor and, despite price reductions, there is still a lack of buyers. Yet in stark contrast, interest in Ibiza has gained momentum. A lack of high-end stock means wealthy buyers will be chasing few properties. This has a knock-on effect – owners pluck figures from the air believing they can sell at a vastly optimistic price.”

My £1m buy: “Marrakech has good quality of life, strong growth prospects, relatively sound political stability, no onerous taxes. Morocco is friendly to foreigners, has liberal inheritance laws, and high-end property at reasonable prices.”

Ed Hammond

FT US mergers and acquisitions correspondent

“2014 will be the beginning of the end of the great migration to prime. The economic turmoil that drove the global elite to shelter their wealth in hard assets is easing; politically, too, governments in Europe and the US are alive to the need to mend the lower rungs of the housing ladder.”

My £1m purchase: “A modest place on the northwest coast of Scotland. With the change leftover, I’d buy a seaplane to allow weekend access – and a few decent stags.”

Stephen Hodder

President of the Royal Institute of British Architects

“A continuing trend will be designing ultra-efficient homes that combine state of the art, energy-efficient construction, appliances and lighting, with commercially available renewable energy systems such as solar water heating and solar electricity. The intent is to reduce home energy use, then meet reduced demand with on-site renewable energy.”

My £1m buy: “I would spend £1m in the Veneto, Italy, from where I could attend the opera in Verona, visit Palladio’s villas around Vicenza, and experience the delights of Venice.”

Irvine Sellar

Founder of Sellar Property Group, developer of the Shard

“Only developments in parts of London which investors know will appeal. Perhaps, prices will level off and, in some areas, ease back. There’s a real danger that less-experienced developers may burn their fingers by overpaying for sites and then asking too much for the finished product.”

My £1m buy: “Bermondsey and Southwark in London are both blessed with fantastic transport links, enabling residents to access the West End, the City or Canary Wharf in minutes.”

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