With so much happening in the world right now – not just in the world of temporary housing – we understand the importance of staying informed. That’s why Synergy is here to bring you the latest developments, insights and more from our on-the-ground global housing team
The ongoing evolution in global demographics, coupled with new post-pandemic trends in mobility and digital living, has raised the profile of the temporary accommodation sector. Furthermore, these emerging trends have led to changing consumer preferences, as well as increased investor interest and transaction volume in temporary housing products.
Global mobility policy design is also going through a period of rapid change to reflect the new post-pandemic landscape, with a range of relocation policies in place that ensure talent is moved efficiently and cost-effectively. All of these trends directly impact how Synergy sources and procures accommodations worldwide.
For example, policies now go beyond traditional long-term and short-term options to encompass other situations such as one-way moves, local plus hires, graduate development and internship programs, and various “flex expatriate” arrangements including commuter and remote work. The five most common types of moves Synergy is now encountering through the relocation management companies we partner with are internships, short-term assignments, extended business trips, commuter and remote. Each move type has its own unique temporary housing policy, which has resulted in our team sourcing non-traditional accommodations for stays of 7 to 14 nights.
Market Trends and Industry Insights
Here’s what is happening in EMEA, APAC and the Americas.
London: The market experienced its usual slow season over the winter months. Normally we’d expect high occupancy to follow, but this spring has not heralded the high volumes of previous years. And while the city of London is enjoying healthy, if not spectacular occupancy, the more residential areas such as West London are still seeing vacancies. This may result in some better pricing in these less central areas than would usually be possible this time of year.
Dublin: Since the year began, Dublin has been relatively quiet for corporate stays. Leisure bookings have made up for the lack of corporate bookings, providing aparthotel operators with decent occupancy rates. Serviced apartment suppliers are reporting high vacancy numbers, which has afforded them the opportunity to refurbish and refresh their apartments. With the slower demand, they’ve also dropped apartment inventory and are now identifying new stock for the inevitable return of moves to Dublin.
Amsterdam: Building on a steady winter, Amsterdam is now reporting high occupancy across all housing product types going into summer. Consequently, you can expect to pay higher rates for stays in this city for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, our EMEA supply chain team conducted a recent market review that has brought new suppliers to the market, strengthening Synergy’s offerings for our clients.
Elsewhere across EMEA: Zurich continues to be busy as usual despite the banking crisis that ended the operation of its oldest institution, Credit Suisse. Moves into Tel Aviv have dropped significantly with much inventory remaining vacant. Warsaw has also seen a leveling off in demand since the start of the Ukraine crisis, with rates decreasing as accommodations open up. Occupancy in Paris is high and will only get busier as the Rugby World Cup arrives in September, followed by the Olympic Games in 2024. If you plan to book stays during those peak time periods, Synergy advises booking early and budgeting accordingly.
Bangalore: There are a number of reasons Bangalore is such a requested market for corporate housing right now. Relocations to Bangalore are on the rise as multinational corporations discontinue work-from-home policies. Also, demand has grown for temporary accommodations due to increased recruitment and high attrition rates.
And, with the relaxation of international travel restrictions and the falling rupee, there is an expectation that medical tourism to India will rise, thus further increasing occupancy and ADR in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors. “As such, we recommend clients plan early for moves into this high-demand city,” says Estelle Ho, Global Account Manager at Synergy.
Singapore: Although Singapore saw a slight dip in occupancy in early spring, the market continues to have strong demand and higher pricing compared to the same period in 2022. The greatest demand we’ve seen has been in upper-midscale level properties. Motivated by greater cost savings and quality of living spaces, increased demand for 7 to 14-day stays in serviced apartments has shifted demand away from hotels.
Sydney: An influx of newcomers to Sydney, a popular destination for those moving to Australia, has put pressure on the city’s housing market. This increase in the number of people moving to Sydney and its strong economy have contributed to the trend of falling vacancy rates and rising rents.
Additionally, a dearth of new apartment developments, the arrival of overseas migrants, and the return of international students will see rental demand remain elevated.
Hong Kong: Prices in the extended-stay rental market have been picking up and rising quickly after the border’s reopening, but pricing expectations among expatriates and other travelers are still behind the market. Many believe Hong Kong’s rental market remains weak and that rents can be negotiated substantially, although this is not the case.
Also rising rapidly in price are costs of living in Hong Kong, such as utilities, transportation and daily necessities. New initiations into Hong Kong were up 64% in Q1 2023 over the previous year, indicating that demand and costs may further increase over the next several months.
While a full recovery to 2019 levels appears possible by late 2024 or early 2025, accounting for inflation would leave the corporate travel market between 10% and 20% smaller in real terms than it was prior to the pandemic. Higher airfares and room rates are the largest contributor to growing travel costs and have also become the top factor limiting the number of trips taken. Here are some trends we’re seeing across the Americas.
Greater Milwaukee, Greater Chicago and Greater Miami: All three of these markets are extremely busy and have not seen any downturn in extended stays that other parts of the United States have experienced. We see internship programs growing year-over-year, and temporary housing options are expanding in these locations.
Relocation trends and growing cities: With homebuyers still looking for stability and affordability, cities such as El Paso, Texas; Columbia, South Carolina; Hartford, Connecticut; and Buffalo, New York are projected to see the most growth. In terms of the rental market, cities such as Durham, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Des Moines and Charlotte are expected to grow the most.
Canada: Many locations in Canada continue to face the challenge of limited supply and increasing demand. Rent prices have increased since August 2022, with most areas experiencing a moderate rise. Calgary and Vancouver are exceptions, where stronger recoveries in various industries post-pandemic have led to high and growing demand, along with reduced vacancy rates. Business remains strong, and suppliers continue to expand their inventory to accommodate.
Latin America: In Santiago, Chile, there has been a notable trend among expatriates of seeking accommodations in gated communities, as security concerns have grown in recent years. Subsequently, the trend has driven up rental prices in these types of communities in Santiago. Many landlords in this market are requiring potential tenants to provide guarantors when signing a lease, although we have noticed such requirements may be open to negotiation.
Mexico City, Panama City and São Paulo remain the core cities in which we receive requests. Companies continue to grow in this market and tourism remains steady.
Need help planning your corporate travel or relocation programs?
Synergy is here to help you plan for key impact periods that may affect serviced accommodation pricing and availability. When planning to move assignees and travelers into some of our most requested cities, reach out to us for our in-region guidance at email@example.com.
We hope you found this information helpful as you plan your temporary housing and business travel programs!