Luxury home hotspots: Neighbourhoods set to outperform in 2019

When it comes to identifying tomorrow’s prime residential hotspots, nobody is better placed than Knight Frank’s global team of local insiders. They share the lowdown on the neighbourhoods set to outperform the rest.

Words: Kate Everett-Allen, Head of International Residential Research, Knight Frank

This year's line-up of 'ones to watch' ranges from regeneration projects to new transport links, and from emerging tech hubs to new cultural quarters. Each selection tells a unique story, showing that there really is no substitute for a bit of insider intelligence.


Wynyard Quarter, Auckland

Ian Little, Bayleys Realty Group

Home of the 2021 America’s Cup, Wynyard Quarter is changing – fast. Over the past 10 years this waterfront precinct, once the heart of Auckland’s marine and petro-chemical industries, has emerged as a major hub for national and international corporates including Fonterra, Datacom, Microsoft and the ASB Bank as well as for the city’s innovation and co-working scene.

As the local business community has grown, so too has the range of entertainment and hospitality options on offer. In 2016, the NZ$36 million ASB theatre – the new home of the Auckland Theatre company – opened immediately adjacent to the waterfront restaurant, bar and café strip.

With all this activity comes a growing residential population and, inevitably, a sweep of new residential development projects. Apartments at 132 Halsey start at NZ$1 million and go up to NZ$2.5 million, some of the highest prices in the city. The 91-unit 30 Madden project includes maisonettes and penthouses priced from NZ$600,000 to NZ$6 million, and plans have recently been announced for a 435-apartment and retail complex.

Yangpu Riverside, Shanghai

Regina Yang, Knight Frank Greater China

Known as the cradle of modern industry in Shanghai, Yangpu Riverside is the site of China’s first power plant, gasworks, water plant and textile mill. Nearly 70 industrial heritage sites in the area, all ripe for conservation and renovation, contribute to the area’s unique character and atmosphere.

Redevelopment has been under way for some 15 years, and Yangpu Riverside is now positioned as a mixed-use cluster with business premises offering innovative recreational facilities alongside metropolitan residences.

Due to its long-standing status as an old industrial zone, residential prices in the area used to be among the lowest in the city. However, recent projects by renowned developers including the Yango Group, Poly Group and Greenland Group targeted particularly at middle-class families and young professional couples have set new price records in the area. Three-bedroom apartments (of 120 sq m to 150 sq m) are priced from 10–14 million yuan, while four-bedroom apartments (150–250 sq m) range from 15 to 26 million yuan. 

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Hung Hom, Hong Kong

David Ji, Knight Frank Greater China

Once home to the old Hong Kong Whampoa Dockyard, the neighbourhood of Hung Hom has traditionally been home to a mix of blue- and white-collar workers.

Boasting a distinct identity and strong sense of community, local landmarks include Hong Kong’s second largest indoor arena, the Hong Kong Coliseum and the Senso Italiano gallery. Hung Hom is also the place to go for some of the city’s best and most authentic southern Chinese food.

Now, with the advent of a new metro station, as part of the ongoing HK$90 billion Shatin to Central Link project which is scheduled to open in 2021, the area – hitherto connected to Hong Kong Island only by ferry or road – will be able to add excellent transport connections to its list of attractions.

The impact is already starting to be felt in the property market, with prices rising steadily. Most two and three bedroom flats in the area are priced between HK$180,000 to HK$200,000 per sq m.  

Alabang, Metro Manila

Jan Custodio, Santos Knight Frank

Alabang is poised to be the next hotspot in Metro Manila with a series of major development and infrastructure projects set to enhance the area’s accessibility and appeal. The biggest road project, Skyway Stage 3, is due for completion by mid-2020, and will provide a seamless connection between the north and south of the metropolis through an elevated link road that connects the North and South Luzon Expressway systems. 

Other ambitious developments include Alabang Town Center – an open-air shopping centre that combines nature with retail – and Filinvest City, a multi-use residential, business and wellness hub that prioritises green landscapes in an urban environment.

A new project by Megaworld, Alabang West, looks to bring California’s Beverly Hills to Manila. The 10 billion peso project will have a 1.3 km commercial and retail row, inspired by Hollywood’s Rodeo Drive, while the exclusive Alabang West Village will provide 788 residential lots ranging from 250 sq m to 800 sq m.

St Kilda Road Precinct, Melbourne

Sarah Harding, Knight Frank Australia

Leaving Melbourne’s business district and walking down St Kilda Road towards the beach, you could be forgiven for thinking you were on a wide tree-lined boulevard in some European city. At the northern end, multiple tram stops provide access to attractions including the Royal Botanic Gardens, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Arts Centre, while to the south Fawkner Park, The Alfred Hospital, Albert Park Lake and some of Melbourne’s top private schools are in walking distance.

The precinct has a well-established office market, popular with advertising agencies and tech companies who prefer to be outside the traditional CBD. A thriving co-working scene is fuelled by popular cafés and restaurants such as seafood stalwart Bacash and hip newcomer Matilda 159. Several secondary office buildings are earmarked for high-end residential conversion, encapsulating the area’s live/work ethos. Expect to pay around A$1.8 million for a prestigious St Kilda Road apartment.

Applecross, Perth

Michelle Ciesielski, Knight Frank Australia

Jacaranda trees line the streets of the affluent suburb of Applecross on the southern banks of the Swan River, less than nine kilometres or one train stop from Perth’s CBD.

With good connectivity to three of Western Australia’s world-class universities, the state’s top private schools and the soon to expand Garden City shopping centre, Applecross attracts both local and international families, drawn by its combination of proximity to the urban action and quiet suburban allure.

Located within the Canning Bridge Precinct, the town square is transforming to provide a unique, vibrant and creative community hub with a mix of residential, commercial, recreational and cultural uses. This regeneration will introduce more high-density living, with well-appointed apartments starting from A$600,000. Houses in Applecross start from A$1.5 million, putting it among the 10 highest-priced suburbs in Perth.


Pasadena, Los Angeles

Tim Durkovic, Douglas Elliman

Home to the Rose Bowl, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena offers an attractive combination of relative value compared with neighbouring communities in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, and the desirable lifestyle and privacy that Los Angeles residents seek.

Home to a population of around 145,000, the neighbourhood is easily accessible, with a light rail line that puts it within 15-20 minutes of Downtown Los Angeles.

The picturesque Spanish Colonial Revival style buildings found in Old Pasadena appeal to upmarket shoppers and the area is widely recognised as one of Southern California’s most popular retail and entertainment destinations. 

With the San Gabriel Mountains as a backdrop, Pasadena offers a plethora of home types, from craftsman-style properties to mid-century post-and-beam dwellings as well as the famed "La Miniatura", by Frank Lloyd Wright. The average property value is approximately US$825,000, but it remains a highly accessible market with listings starting at US$450,000 and rising to US$28 million.

The West Coast, Barbados

Edward de Mallet Morgan, Knight Frank International

Following five years of weak market sentiment during which prices for some prime properties fell to levels not seen since 2008, the west coast of Barbados is arguably at its most affordable for a decade and, as a result, is starting to see a resurgence in activity.

Extending across the parishes of St Peter and St James, with the famous Sandy Lane Hotel at its heart, the “Platinum Coast” has been the first on the island to see sales volumes start to increase. A new government and a radical debt restructuring plan is being received positively by investors and second home buyers alike.

Buyers can choose from Caribbean villas and colonial-style properties with verandahs, many with stunning beach views. Aside from five PGA-standard golf courses, the area is home to luxurious eateries – Lonestar and Cin Cin are bywords for the freshest seafood, while newcomer Nikki Beach brings a dose of Ibiza-style glamour to the island. The average price of a condominium slipped 11% over the last year down to $644 per sq ft, putting the area firmly on the radar of those seeking a buying opportunity.

Delray Beach, Florida

Nick Malinosky, Douglas Elliman

Tucked neatly between Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Delray Beach offers relative value and a more relaxed feel than its coastal neighbours. Atlantic Avenue and A1A Ocean Drive are the town’s prime destinations, with beachfront plots significantly deeper than elsewhere along the coast. Key buyer groups include New Yorkers, Canadians and Europeans who find the low tax rates, climate and accessibility appealing. Both Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale airports are located within less than a 25-minute drive.

The new US$1 billion Brightline train has significantly reduced journey times along the coast, while the town’s Pineapple Grove Arts District, Morikami Museum and Cornell Arts Museum attracts a creative crowd which is catered for by an increasingly hip restaurant scene. Housing in Delray Beach consists of luxury detached family homes circa 3,500 sq ft in size with a private garden and pool, which start at US$3.5 million and townhouses of approximately 3,000 sq ft starting at around US$2 million.

The Seaport District, Boston

George Jedlin, Douglas Elliman

Successive waves of development, beginning in the late 1990s, have transformed this historical part of South Boston. The railyards and warehouses of the city’s former shipping port have been replaced by industrial-chic conversions and state-of-the-art glass skyscrapers.

The District’s 11,000 residents share the waterfront with a marina and attractions including the Institute of Contemporary Art, and Icon, a state-of-the-art cinema featuring far-reaching views of the city’s skyline. They are also spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurants, from local oysters and craft ale at Row 34 to tacos and tequila at Lolita Cocina.

Located within a 10-minute walk of Boston’s Financial District, the Seaport District is popular with young professionals yet also appeals to older residents seeking a city base for part of the year.

Buyers originate from elsewhere in Massachusetts, the East Coast of the US and even further afield, from Europe. A typical two-bedroom contemporary apartment starts at US$1,800 per sq ft with the most desirable projects with the best views commanding close to US$3,000 per sq ft.


St Jean District, Côte d’Azur

Jack Harris, Knight Frank International

Renowned as the capital of France’s illustrious perfume industry, the region to the east of Grasse, known as the St Jean District, is punctuated by grand Provençal estates with traditional features such as exposed beams, wooden shutters and landscaped gardens.

Just 25 minutes from the glamour and buzz of Cannes, the area appeals to those looking for easy access to the coast combined with a slower, more traditional way of life and is also within easy reach of beautiful historic villages such as Valbonne and Mougins, home to the eponymous international school.

St Jean’s popularity is growing once again among international buyers looking to capitalise on its relative value. Prices for the area’s grand manor-style houses and medieval bastides have dipped by around 20% over the last five years, and a four-bedroom residence with 5,000 sq m of gardens starts at around €1.4 million.

Lucca, Italy

Amy Redfern-Woods, Knight Frank International

Lucca, one of Tuscany’s most scenic cities, dates back to the Roman Empire. Cobbled streets, piazzas, art galleries, museums and over 100 churches are all set within the Renaissance walls that encircle the historic city centre.

The city boasts a lavish selection of upmarket restaurants – for something new, try Il Punto or for a more traditional taste, Buca di Sant’Antonio, serving local cuisine since 1782.

Home to a mix of wealthy locals and musicians, the city offers a good quality of life alongside a strong sense of community with an array of events and festivals including the Lucca Summer Music Festival, which also appeal to overseas buyers.

Located within an hour’s drive of Pisa and Florence airports, and only a 30-minute drive from the Mediterranean coast, Lucca offers a more peaceful alternative to some of Italy’s more tourist-led markets. A three-bedroom, recently restored apartment with lift averages around €800,000, while a larger four to five-bedroom apartment with garden and lift can be acquired for around €1.5 million.

Dubai’s Downtown Extension: DIFC, World Trade Centre and Za’abeel

Taimur Khan, Knight Frank Middle East

The development of Dubai’s Downtown neighbourhood has boosted Dubai’s standing as a truly global market. With its luxury apartments, top-flight amenities including Dubai Mall, the world’s biggest shopping and entertainment centre, and proximity to the city’s key business hub, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), it is a magnet for young professionals and families alike.

Now the popularity of this live-work-play hub is spreading to surrounding areas including DIFC itself, World Trade Centre and the prestigious neighbourhood of Za’abeel. With a range of new developments already under way, the so-called “Downtown Extension” looks set to become a sought-after mixed-use neighbourhood.     

Key projects include DIFC’s Gate Avenue, with nearly a kilometre of high-end retail and dining concepts linked by an outdoor promenade, as well as a landmark mosque and the flagship tower Brookfield Place.

Dubai World Trade Centre’s One Central project is set to revitalise one of Dubai’s key central business districts, while One Za’abeel by Ithra Dubai is an iconic mixed-use development featuring the world’s first One&Only Urban Resort.

Trois Chȇnes, Geneva

Alex Koch de Gooreynd, Knight Frank International

Trois Chȇnes, to the east of Geneva city centre, is emerging as a new transport hub. A new fast rail link between Geneva and the French Alps will enable commuters to travel by train between Switzerland and France rather than driving, while a new three-kilometre pedestrian corridor and cycle path will make it easier to commute into the city centre. 

With echoes of New York’s High Line, the area above ground will be an elevated greenway, while underneath, the Leman Express, due to open in December 2019, will connect the city with Evian, Thonon, Annemasse and Annecy.

It will also put Chȇne-Bourg station within 25 minutes of Geneva International Airport. At Eaux Vives, the next stop on the line, a spectacular new station complex will house Geneva’s new opera house, as well as offices, shops and apartments.

A contemporary two-bedroom freehold apartment starts at SFr800,000, whilst a four-bedroom detached home starts at SFr1.5 million. 

11th arrondissement, Paris

Roddy Aris, Knight Frank International

Located on the edge of the historic Marais district, the 11th arrondissement is a young, vibrant neighbourhood. Foodies and fashionistas flock to the chic eateries and boutiques in and around the Place de la République and Place de la Nation – try Septime for a fresh twist on the bistrot tradition, or Le Clown Bar, in the old Cirque d’Hiver, for a taste of the city’s lively natural wine scene.

Home to around 150,000 residents, the 11th is benefitting from the ripple effect emanating from the bohemian buyers that have already helped push up values in the neighbouring 10th arrondissement. Young single professionals gravitate towards the Oberkampf district to the north, while families veer further eastwards to take advantage of the parks and squares.

Properties range from large Haussmann apartments on wide boulevards such as Avenue Voltaire to lofts and ateliers in the more commercial districts.

A three-bedroom apartment on one of the main boulevards starts at €850,000, the same property in the 4th arrondissement would be closer to €1.2 million.

Friedrichshain, Berlin

Claire Locke, Knight Frank International

Friedrichshain may now offer a plethora of entertainment, shopping and lifestyle options, but it has not always been this way. The area was once part of communist East Berlin and remains packed with relics from the German Democratic Republic era, such as the Soviet-era buildings that line the monumental socialist boulevard of Karl-Marx-Allee and the longest surviving stretch of the Berlin Wall.

Now famed for its art scene, Friedrichshain is home to the East Side Gallery, the longest open-air gallery in the world, as well as Urban Spree, an independent contemporary art space that features urban artists and champions a grassroots approach. This willingness to embrace the city’s history, while adding a unique futuristic edge, has attracted many large corporations including Coca-Cola, BASF, Universal Music and Mercedes.

With these businesses come jobs – some 30,000 at the last count – and with jobs comes growing demand for property. The 2018 report from Knight Frank’s German partner, international property consultants Ziegert, lists Freidrichshain-Kreuzberg as one of its top three districts in Berlin. A typical twobedroom apartment starts at €430,000.

Castellana Norte, Madrid

Rosa Uriol, Knight Frank Spain

To the north of Madrid, a new area is under construction which will straddle the prime districts of Charmartin and Fuencarral. The Castellana Norte project aims to create 2.6 million sq m of mixed-used development, providing new employment opportunities, homes and public spaces.

It will involve the remodelling of Chamartin station as well as creating 1.5 million sq m of office space and the construction of over 10,000 homes, effectively shifting the city’s centre of gravity towards the north.

Chamartín is already one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in Madrid, with average new build prices of over €6,000 per sq m and very limited new supply.

The desirability of the whole area can only increase as a result of this substantial investment, and Castellana Norte is expected to become one of the most sought-after areas in Madrid, attracting international students, young professionals and families with high purchasing power.

Chelsea, London

Liam Bailey, Knight Frank

Few London neighbourhoods have a global brand as strong as Chelsea’s, and to name it as an up-and-coming area might on the face of it seem slightly odd. However, this is the perfect example of an area which has been underperforming and which is now ripe for reassessment.

Prices here have fallen 19% since late 2014, compared with a 10% fall across the wider prime London market. While new-build property achieves a premium, established property trades at between £1,200 and £1,800 per sq ft; yet with many sub-£1,000 per sq ft examples Chelsea has become less expensive than many much less glamourous and less central locations.

Yes, the area still lacks the connectivity of other prime neighbourhoods. However, with easy access to the river, unrivalled shopping on the King's Road and Fulham Road and some of London’s best schooling - including the London Oratory School and the Lycée Charles de Gaulle - and the promise (or maybe hope) of a station on the future Crossrail 2 underground railway, it is all set for rediscovery.