It has been 15 months since US citizens could travel freely to EU member states but last week the European Union announced its border have reopened.
Whilst the European Union cannot compel its 27 member nations to permit US visitors – each country is free to impose more stringent restrictions – the signs are that most will toe the line. Indeed, countries such as Greece and Spain were already permitting US visitors prior to the announcement in an effort to salvage their tourist-dependent economies.
As we highlighted in our House View the success of the vaccination programme in the US – currently 46% of all adults are fully vaccinated – means Americans may exert more influence on Europe’s prime property markets in 2021 than they would normally.
According to Oxford Economics, US residents accrued savings of over US$1.8 trillion in the first year of the pandemic. Many have undertaken home improvements, relocated or purchased second homes, but others wanting an overseas retreat have had to bide their time.
The latest announcement means the US joins Australia, Singapore and Israel, amongst others, whose residents can undertake non-essential travel in the bloc without having to quarantine on arrival. The UK remains absent from the list, which is to be reviewed every two weeks.
It means destinations favoured amongst US residents such as Paris, Rome and Barcelona may once more play host to their transatlantic friends this summer.
Knight Frank’s website saw a 46% uptick in enquiries logged by US-based web users in the week ending 21 June compared to the previous week with properties in Lucca, Florence, Vienna and Geneva high on US search lists.
Google searches for “Europe lifts travel restrictions” by US-based web users increased 750% in the week to 22 June 2021 and according to US-travel App, Hopper, July 4th is shaping up to be the biggest travel weekend since the start of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, shares in American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines were up around 1% each in pre-market trading on Friday.
Stacey Watson, Head of Knight Frank’s US desk comments: “We have numerous US buyers keen to undertake viewings in Italy, France and Portugal who have had to put life on hold for the last 15 months, this move signals a green light for many. Our US buyers are focused, well-informed and keen to make up for lost time.”