Liam Bailey: “U.S.-China Key to Global Luxury Real Estate”


As global head of Knight Frank’s Research department, Liam Bailey keeps an eye on international property markets to see what’s changing, what’s staying the same, and what’s new and noteworthy. The group’s flagship report, The Wealth Report, comes out every March and analyzes how global property markets are faring.

Mr. Bailey leads and coordinates projects in his home country of the U.K. as well as abroad, covering private housing, investment and development. We caught up with Mr. Bailey to find out why he thinks the future is rosy for Miami and New York, and how the uptick in government regulation of real estate has surprised him. 

Describe your dream property?

It would probably be a rural property in Yorkshire with a bit of land.

Do you have a real estate property that got away?

I can think of a flat I looked at in Bayswater, in London; a two-bedroom that was on the market six years ago. I was humming and hawing. The value has probably doubled by now.

What does luxury mean to you?

Luxury implies quality, but ultimately it’s also defined by rarity. It’s difficult to have mainstream luxury. That’s a challenge handbag makers and designers grapple with.

What area do you think is the next hub for luxury properties?

It’s probably fair to say that it’ll be more of the same. Cities like London, New York, Miami—established hot spots—will become more desirable over time. What we’ve seen in the last two decades is how globalized these places can become. Demands for top hubs will increase more than anywhere else, and the difference between them and others will widen over the time.

What’s the biggest surprise in the luxury real estate market now?

How rapidly governments have become interested in this globalization story. Not just in the U.K., where tax changes are affecting real estate, but also in the U.S., with the transparency requirements in New York and Miami. This drive toward more oversight by government is a huge trend, and the speed at which that’s developed is surprising.

Where are the best luxury homes in the world and why?

I’m biased, but  London is difficult to beat in terms of the mix. If you look at the evolution of Central London, in the 18th and 19th centuries, these great estates were built out. We have these large terrace houses, these crescents, that are unique to London, but are also what people think of when they think of luxury housing around the world.

Those have been augmented recently by new developments, which we never had before. The mix of the two—the period offer and the new-build offer is quite a compelling mix.

What’s your favorite part of your home?

The kitchen. We have a nice kitchen where the family spends time. It’s simple, but it’s the meeting point, the hub of the house.

What best describes the theme to your home and why?

I’d like to say simplicity, really. We wanted to keep things simple and calm. Like most people we live busy lives and travel quite a lot. We wanted something simple and easy to run.

What’s the most valuable thing in your home?

Space. We have great space, which is what we wanted to achieve. But otherwise my wife bought me a grandfather clock for my 40th birthday. It’s a treasured piece. As someone described it, a home without a clock doesn’t seem to have a heartbeat.

What’s the most valuable amenity to have in a home right now?

It’s space and the flow of space.

What’s going on in the news that will have the biggest impact on the luxury real estate market?

It’s gotta be the global economy. The slightly more complicated answer is America’s relationship with China and vice versa. Open trade between those two countries will set the benchmark for the rest of the world. Ultimately, for luxury real estate that’s one of the most important things to be maintained.

What is the best area now for investing in luxury properties?

In most markets that we deal with, prices have risen fairly strongly in the last 10 years. New-build projects have increased in number, but I think what people are looking for is a backstory to their next purchase. They’re looking to see why a building or neighborhood will outperform others. I’d say you’re probably going to see prices go up more slowly in the near future. But the the real opportunity areas are those that are linked to accessibility and transportation. The regeneration and infrastructure story is probably the biggest story.

What area currently has the best resale value?

Hong Kong probably. That has the most expensive luxury real estate at the moment.

About Dolce Vita Diamond

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