Thomas Balashev On Why 2021 Is A Year For Optimism And Growth

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Editor's Note: Thomas Balashev, Founder of Montague Real Estate and Co-Founder of Monta Capital, talks about the optimism and growth he and his team at London-based Montague Real Estate are making a focal point of their 2021 strategy.

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Jade Signature, Miami/Sunny Isles Beach, FL, USA

Photo Credit: Jade Signature

We’ve become used every January to hearing about new beginnings and fresh starts, but I think it’s fair to say the start of this year really is a momentous turning point – in more ways than one.

If 2020 represented stagnation, hesitation and decline, 2021 is set to be the year we had all hoped 2020 would have been – the start of an ambitious, prosperous and bright new decade. We’re just running twelve months behind schedule!

I truly believe the luxury markets, and indeed all business, should be optimistic for this coming year for three key reasons. Firstly, mass vaccination means the Covid pandemic will hopefully no longer dominate our lives – from our ability to travel to how we do business – in the way it did last year.

Secondly, the new administration in the White House (love it or hate it) should mean a less isolationist US, and with a return to globalist policies, travel to and investment into the US should become easier and more stable.

Thirdly, Britain will finally be out of the European Union. Again – you may love it or hate it, but I personally strongly feel we must be ambitious and positive about our European divorce, seeing it as an opportunity to forge new relationships and generate greater economic growth.

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One Palm, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Photo Credit: Omniyat

Stability in global markets, coupled with the skies reopening, means that international investing will be far more feasible and appealing to HNWs over the next 12 months it was over the last year. Current circumstances also mean there will be unique opportunities for young, hungry, up-and-coming ambitions companies with a fresh approach to do things differently and grab a market share.

This is why, at both Montague Real Estate and Monta Capital, we are undertaking an ambitious expansion into new markets throughout 2021 and beyond.

Ever since I founded Montague Real Estate in 2015, we have always had one eye on international expansion, but the time has never been quite right – either because we had not yet sufficiently scaled, or because market conditions weren’t conducive to overseas investment.

Now, however, we sense a real opportunity to be serving a new breed of international HNW – one looking to invest in the finest international luxury properties in a post-Covid world. This renewed demand after a slow year in 2020, coupled with our ambitions for international expansion, has made it an opportune moment for us to be investing overseas.

We will be opening our first international office in Hong Kong in Q2 2021. Why Hong Kong as our first port of call, over say Singapore or New York?

Firstly, being a British company means a special connection to Hong Kong given the two regions’ history, making it a natural choice.

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Jade Signature, Miami/Sunny Isles Beach, FL, USA

Photo Credit: Jade Signature

Secondly, the demand from affluent Asians for property in the UK has skyrocketed in recent years; despite the Covid pandemic, inquiries from Asia have increased for us by more than 300% in the last 12 months. For affluent Hong Kongese, London in particular offers exceptionally stable property investments, some of the West’s leading educational establishments and incomparable lifestyle opportunities.

Thirdly, we see Asia as one of the most exciting locations in which to invest in luxury property in the coming years. I believe we’ll see a strong economic bounce back in the Far East, driven by an ambitious Millennial generation seeking affluence and success. We want to be positioned at the center of this wealth generation.

As well as our breakthrough into Asia this year, we also took our first steps into the US and Middle East at the back end of last year and will be building in both these markets over the next twelve months too.

In the Middle East, we will be establishing offices in Dubai, which will serve as a hub for the wider Middle East region; in the US, we undertook our first listing in Miami – a city of great potential and interest to us – and will be expanding further across America over the next twelve months too.

I strongly believe 2021 will also prove to be fertile ground for investment in property as an asset class, including through bespoke property funds. As a result of the Covid pandemic, a number of different segments of the property market – both residential and commercial - have stagnated in growth and are, I believe, devalued. Now, therefore, is the time to be capitalizing upon these destressed assets - before the markets fully recover.

Thomas Balashev

Thomas Balashev

Photo Credit: Montague Real Estate

I co-founded Monta Capital, a real estate fund, in May last year, to serve as the investment arm of Montague Real Estate. Part of the fund’s purpose is to invest in developed high-end real estate sites, and although circumstances in 2020 means our initial growth plans were put on hold, we optimistically forecast 2021 as a far more positive year for funds such as ours.

Both tumultuous market conditions and alternative investment fads will come and go. What has been proven, time and time again, however, is that high-end property serves as one of the safest and most enjoyable investments you can make – be you looking for a luxury property to enjoy and live in yourself, or to invest in, see appreciate and make a profit on. In 2021 we therefore look forward with positivity to seeing the Montague portfolio, and the wider property industry, experiencing a strong resurgence and growth out of the ashes of last year.

Thomas Balashev, Founder, Montague Real Estate and Co-Founder, Monta Capital 

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