Once upon a pre-pandemic time, a second home was a country cottage – a symbol of escape, a respite from urban chaos. Fast-forward to today and the new second home is just as likely to be in central Manhattan, London or Paris – still an escape, but from bucolic isolation to the perennial appeal of life in the world’s great cities. So, do we continue along the road away from urban life or make a U-turn back to the city? Those with means can have it both ways and maintain a primary residence in the country alongside a chic pied-à-terre.
High demand is anticipated for city-centre property worldwide in 2022. The Savills Prime Residential Index: World Cities report is forecasting average price growth of 4.3% across 30 international cities. Prices are predicted to rise by 4%-6% in New York and 6%-8% in London. So, what constitutes the perfect pied-à-terre?
Hugues de La Morandière, director of Varenne, Savills associate in Paris, says a pied-à-terre in the French capital must be central, preferably within walking distance of social activities. He’s seeing clients with fortunes made in luxury goods and tech seeking the perfect bolthole. The picture in New York is more dramatic. Property prices plummeted in the first two months of the pandemic, but have now returned to December 2018 levels – and pied-à-terre buyers have played a significant part in that recovery.
Many Brits who fled to the country feel a new balance between urban and rural life has to be struck. Some are choosing to rent a pied-à-terre before buying, contributing to annual rental price growth of about 10% in the first quarter of 2021. Whichever way you look at it – from London, Paris or New York – the fundamental attraction of a city bolthole will never diminish.
Pictures from top: the Paris skyline at dusk (unsplash); Central Park Tower, New York; an apartment in Invalides, Paris