If you were a betting person, where in the world would you invest as the most promising, post-Covid-19 property hotspot? According to Knight Frank's analysis of prime residential markets in 20 cities, Lisbon in Portugal – Madonna’s adopted hometown – should top the list. Portugal has been relatively successful in pushing back against the pandemic, despite sharing a border with hard-hit Spain, and having one of Europe's highest populations of people over the age of 80. Why Chinese buyers love luxury homes in historic London buildings In tandem with a swift lockdown response, the country's relative isolation and lower density are credited with helping to keep Portugal's infection rate down. This marries well with Knight Frank's prediction that people will want more space around them once this is all over – if not in their primary residence, then at least in their second homes. While prices of prime properties in Lisbon are forecast to drop this year, Kate Everett-Allen, head of international residential research at Knight Frank, expects an uptick in 2021. She puts this down to two key initiatives: Portugal's non-habitual residents (NHR) system, which offers tax advantages to foreigners, and its golden visa scheme that has “gone down particularly well with Chinese, Brazilian and Turkish buyers”. “It also comes down to fundamentals,” Everett-Allen says. “In terms of housing markets, Lisbon's is still relatively affordable compared to other European cities, and the cost of living is reasonable. “There's a lot of investment taking place, including a new airport. Portugal's got a lot going for it, and we're seeing quite a level of inquiry for the Lisbon market at the moment.” Despite everything, London’s property market is still booming for some Knight Frank forecasts growth above 5 per cent for Lisbon's prime property in 2021, and believes that other European markets such as Berlin, Germany and Madrid, Spain, should also rebound well next year. The other big winner for 2021 is expected to be London. The prime market in the UK capital has had its best start to the year since 2016, and this is expected to continue. Says Everett-Allen: “In London's case, the political certainty provided by last December's general election boosted housing market conditions during January and February. With prices in some areas down by as much as 25 per cent over the last five years, we expect a sharp uptick in 2021.” Of the three US cities tracked (Miami, New York and Los Angeles), Miami is expected to perform the strongest in 2021. Liam Bailey, global head of research at Knight Frank, says that market was already strengthening in 2019, in part due to the state and local tax (Salt) deduction, which heightened Florida's appeal and led to domestic migration. “But the Covid-19 crisis has also underlined Miami's lifestyle advantage for many living in high-density markets,” he adds. Would you buy a tiny home for US$5,000 on Amazon? Los Angeles' distinct lack of new prime supply should cushion price falls in this market in 2021, Bailey believes. In New York, much like London, prime prices have declined in recent years, but transactions have been picking up this year. “There's been evidence of safe haven flows from emerging markets into New York in the past few weeks and the volatility of equity markets is prompting some high-net-worth individuals to rebalance their investment portfolios giving greater weight to property assets,” he observes. Cities with growth forecasts ranging from 0.1 to 5 per cent next year include Berlin, Cape Town, Geneva, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Miami, Monaco, Paris, Shanghai, Sydney and Vienna. Below that, with prices forecast to either remain flat, or fall by between 0 and -5 per cent, are Hong Kong, Mumbai, New York and Singapore. Lower again in Knight Frank's reckoning are Buenos Aires and Vancouver, with forecast price falls of -5 per cent or more. As for Asia, Nicholas Holt, Asia-Pacific head of research, Knight Frank, points to the International Monetary Fund's April 2020 remarks that the coronavirus has taken an “unprecedented” toll on the region, which is likely to experience zero growth this year for the first time in six decades. The region is also home to a number of emerging markets, which are harder to predict. Even Singapore, where Knight Frank had predicted prime price growth of three per cent throughout 2020, is now well into negative territory according to the firm's forecasting. It's a pattern Bailey sees widely repeated. “There were positive signs in several markets globally that prime prices would rise throughout 2020 but, unsurprisingly, Covid-19 has put a halt to that,” he notes. Will the worldwide luxury property market slump end in 2020? Holt recalls the “rather quick rebound” Asian markets experienced after severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) struck in 2003, and is buoyed by signs of confidence returning to China already. “I'm seeing this day by day, led by Shanghai,” says Beijing-based Holt. “Once confidence returns, property markets will follow, and I think 2021 still bodes well for growth prospects in China.” Aside from unforeseen price fluctuations, Knight Frank draws attention to other property market trends it believes may be here to stay in the “new normal” created by the pandemic. Among these, with interest rates set to remain at historic lows in most advanced economies, the wealthy will look to take advantage by refinancing or releasing equity to build their property portfolios. The strength of the US dollar provides an advantage to buyers in places like Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates, whose currency is pegged to the US dollar. And, says Knight Frank, property “will continue to appeal as a long-term investment and store of capital”. BUYING GUIDE What you can buy for €895,000 (US$973,000) in Lisbon: A three-bedroom flat with stunning sea views in a luxury condominium still under construction. Located in beachside Santo Amaro de Oeiras, the flat, which should be ready at the end of 2020, will feature high-quality finishes, and a private garden with terrace and swimming pool. What you can buy for £4.95 million (US$6.2 million) in London: The price of a suite at a new development in Canary Wharf. At 75 floors, Landmark Pinnacle is one of London's tallest residential towers with views that include the city's unmistakable monuments and waterways. One, two and three-bedroom apartments are also available, at prices from £570,000 (US$715,000).