With One Bound, They Were Free

Nick Churton of Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices Robert Paul Properties’ London office celebrates the lifting of travel restrictions by the USA and how these new freedoms may impact the international property market.

After months and months of pandemic lockout, on 8th November 2021 the USA slid back the
bolt on their vast door and opened it to European traveler once again. Family members, New York shoppers, business people, sun-seekers, sightseers and skiers can, once again, hop across the Atlantic. But they are not the only people released to travel. Homebuyers have also slipped the leash.

The global pandemic has prompted significant changes in the real estate world. Once-
committed city dwellers have surged to the countryside in pursuit of space and health. Also, the number of people choosing to work from home has been accelerated by at least a decade,
changing commuting habits and lifestyles for millions for ever.

During the national lockdowns many people made new life choices, such as deciding to move to
the coast, create gardens, grow vegetables or to keep livestock. These opportunities were
eagerly seized upon and realized as soon as domestic travel bans were relaxed. What we saw,
therefore, was an unexpected explosion in home sales.

Now that the pandemic is, we hope, more under control in Europe and America, two-way
travel between these continents is possible again. All those international buyers seeking a
lifestyle change can now stop screen-shopping and start the job of house hunting for real.

The USA has long been a magnet for homebuyers from Europe, and especially from the UK
where the US maintains a long-held third place in popularity after Spain and France. But this
could change as Brexit has made retirement or holiday home ownership in EU countries much
more complicated for UK citizens. The US with its sun, snow, fun, common language and wide
variety of cultures could well now leapfrog its two main competitors to become the number
one destination for UK home buyers.

In 1775, a silversmith called Paul Revere warned Bostonians that the British were coming. Now
more Brits will be on their way. But this time, they will come in peace. They will also come in
delight and approval of what the Patriots have done with the place over the past 250 years.