When it comes to maximizing the investment of your next home, it’s all about looking ahead. Whether via captivating sporting events or a sudden influx of cultural cachet, certain cities surface each year as having a timely je ne sais quois. With added insights on three top cities from real estate expert and industry insider Michael Valdes, Senior Vice President of Global Servicing for Realogy, here are six cities to keep on your watch list for 2019.
As the hypermodern Asian megacity prepares to host the Summer Olympics for the second time since 1964, all the world’s eyes seem to be on Tokyo, with many international investors vying for a spot in Asia’s global epicenter of modernity. “The amount of development that is happening is extraordinary,” notes Valdes of his first recommendation. “What’s more interesting is the amount of outside developers coming in wanting to participate in the city’s continuous progress.” A network of labyrinthine streets ensures that exploration is endless, and you’re never more than five seconds from stumbling headfirst into an amazing meal or cultural experience. Pass a perfect Sunday in the city, and then retreat from the noise in this refined unit under construction in Chiyoda, where skyline views and multiple metro stations are close at hand.
Mexico City, Mexico
When it comes to a best recent vacation experience, Mexico City seems to be the destination on everyone’s mind—and Valdes is no exception. A city equal parts cosmopolitan and hospitable, the country’s capital has undergone something of a modern renaissance; its art, culture, and culinary scenes are all seemingly lifted by a reinvigorated spirit. Whether discovering temples, colorful neighborhoods, or taquerias, so much of the city is best explored by foot, meaning a well-positioned home is highly favorable, and with a peak season conveniently located between March and May, you can enjoy prime weather while much of the world is still waking up from winter.
We’ve already tagged Lisbon as a wonderful city to spend a Sunday in, and 2019 in no way diminishes this city’s pull. This historical capital city is frequently recognized as one of the world’s top cities, with its shopping, seafood, and beaches drawing in travelers. “The makeup of the city has changed, with this beautiful, rich cultural diversity that has come in,” says Valdes. “When you see a city as vibrant as Lisbon and then you add the star factor of someone like Madonna buying a large residence there, you’re putting a lot of attention on the city particularly and the country as a whole.” Take up residence in the heart of the attention in this distinguished street-level home, whose four floors feature frescoes, domed halls, and Juliet balconies. The bright rooms and lush gardens will have you feeling at home in Lisbon in no time.
Beyond insider intel, there are several cities that are creating buzz all on their own. And one of these is Hobart, Tasmania. Thanks to a bursting food scene, a frenzy of art and music festivals, and magical natural landscapes, the 26,000-square-mile island of Tasmania is experiencing something of a cultural reawakening. Here, sprawling farmhouses and oceanfront villas dot the coast, providing peaceful respites from the pulsating energy of a cultural hotspot on the rise. In capital city Hobart, historic fisherman’s cottages and the buzzy Museum of Old & New Art welcome tourists, while heritage homes and stunning acreages await the adventurous owner. With an opposing summer season to much of the Northern Hemisphere, purchasing a second or third home on the island means it’s possible to enjoy summer year-round.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
The relatively small island nation of Sri Lanka punches well above its weight when it comes to travel appeal. A diverse range of spectacular landscapes and unique cultures have earned it a number-one spot on Lonely Planet’s Best of Travel 2019. Where else in the world can you surf soft-sand beaches, hike emerald-carpeted highlands, and explore centuries-old Buddhist ruins in the same day? Start in Colombo, where colonial-era buildings blend with with sparkling new builds, and be sure to set aside time to appreciate the city’s traditional red-and-white brick architecture and dine at the new Shangri-La. For a more rural experience, travel down the coast to fishing village Kathaluwa, where an ayurvedic spa villa offers a vista unlike anywhere else. No matter where you choose to roam, you’ll find that Colombo and its neighbors are real contenders.
It is Italy’s Matera that has been chosen as the European Capital of Culture for 2019, and with events and installations planned throughout the year, the city is certainly worth your time. But the savvy buyer might head north to coastal Bari before planting their Italian roots.
Despite being the second-largest town in Southern Italy, this sparkling seaside port city feels relatively secret. Bari boasts a profusion of white-washed hill towns, restaurants offering understated yet perfected dishes, and narrow cobblestone streets ideal for taking in the city’s rich culture at your own pace. A siren song for history lovers, there’s no dearth of romantic options on the city’s real estate market, where you can find dreamy historic homes like this 18th-century villa. Averaging 300 sunny days a year with a mild, Mediterranean climate, the city makes an ideal choice for those looking for all of the sun of the south without the humidity of the tropics.
Choosing where to purchase your next vacation home isn’t as simple as stopping your finger on a spinning globe. Whether you’re looking to be in the center of a cultural capital or to get as remote as humanly possible, the decision is deeply personal. But if you’re looking to maximize investment by getting in on a soon-to-be hotspot, these cities might just be the ones to watch.