Malaga, the 2nd best city for telecommuting

28th May 2022
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Malaga is the second best city in the world for telecommuters, according to  a study by the consulting firm Savills . The pandemic and the digital revolution created the category of "digital nomads". The possibility of working from anywhere in the world is no longer the privilege of only a few professionals in the technology sector; today, many workers and managers in all kinds of sectors could become expatriates.

The annual Executive Nomad Index report by real estate consultancy Savills, which ranks the world's most attractive cities or regions for remote workers, focuses specifically on these "digital nomad" executives. The city of Malaga was included in this list for the first time, in second place, after Dubai, above Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca.

The ranking of the world's twenty best locations for telecommuters is as follows: Dubai, Malaga, Miami, Abu Dhabi, Lisbon, Barbados, Barcelona, ​​Palma de Mallorca, Algarve, Saint Lucia, Cayman Islands, Dubrovnik, Malta, Antigua, Côte d'Azur , Mauritius, Athens, Cyprus, Bahamas and Tuscany.

The many positive Google entries, as well as the opinions of other multinational companies (Vodafone, Citi, Globant, among others) about Malaga are also key to understanding why the city was included in this international ranking. But aside from the obvious hype, the city offers many reasons to attract what the report calls "the influx of leaders who have become digital nomads since the pandemic."

The Executive Nomad Index scores each city on five points: internet connection speed, quality of life, climate, air connectivity and price of high-end rental housing. Malaga scored 32.38 points, just two points less than the first place in the ranking, Dubai. In terms of quality of life, Malaga achieved the highest score (10.38) on the entire list. It also scored highly for Internet connectivity (8.06) and competitiveness of primary rents (5.26). The climate is average (4.45), which is above Dubai or Abu Dhabi, but below tropical destinations such as Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Santa Lucia or Miami.

DUBAI - THE BEST CITY

Dubai's fast-growing fintech and financial services sectors, along with its tax-free environment and high quality of life, are a strong magnet for executive  nomads looking for a new challenge .

"Many have been affected by layoffs at global technology companies," says Swapnil Pillai, director of Middle East research at Savills. "They're looking at the city as a base to support these booming industries."

Pillai notes that most of them are Dinky (Dual Income, No Kids) and prefer high-end residential properties in Downtown Dubai near the Financial Center (DIFC) or Dubai Marina due to its proximity to Media City and Internet City.

"Most of the city's co-working spaces operate at close to 100 percent occupancy, which confirms that Dubai is the number one destination for executive nomads," says Pillai.

Dubai scores highly for both types of connectivity. Dubai International, the main airport, is the busiest international airport in the world. Meanwhile, Dubai's investments in its digital infrastructure - the UAE now has the fastest mobile internet speeds in the world - these high scores have elevated the emirate to the top spot for executive nomads.

MALAGA – THE SECOND BEST CITY

The Andalusian economic capital has raised the stakes in recent years as a major cultural and tourist destination, known for its excellent museums and beautiful old town. Malaga received special attention this year: Google created its new cyber security center here, which includes 2,500 m2 of office space and is located on Paseo de La Farola.

You can read about Google's new cyber security center here

While the wealthy have traditionally moved into large villas on the east side of the city, the west side is the new focal point for renewal and landmark developments. Among them is the Sierra Blanca Tower, whose prices represent a new benchmark for Málaga, as they hover around 10,000 euros per square meter.

The typical rent for first-class apartments is 15-22 euros per square meter, but the demand is much higher than the supply.

"Executive nomads want everything ready when they move in, including furniture and internet connection," says Perez-Peña. "Nowadays we see a lot of new companies that serve this market, but there is not enough real estate."

He adds that there is also a shortage of high-quality office space and co-working spaces. "We didn't build enough to meet the demand".

MIAMI - THIRD BEST CITY

The fine line of sunshine, low taxes and wonderful beaches has long made Miami one of the most popular destinations for Americans looking for a better quality of life. The current influx of executive nomads includes emigrants from financial firms in New York and Chicago.

"This affluent demographic has driven demand for luxury real estate to an all-time high, making it more challenging for families moving here to find the best private schools," says Cyril Bijaoui, a broker partner at Corcoran.

They like areas like Miami Beach, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, and Key Biscayne and prefer single-family homes) over condominiums. Those looking to rent before buying will find that price increases have moderated somewhat now, after a period of very high demand and tight supply and rapid inflation, notes Bijaoui.

However, about half of the nomads in leadership positions - many of whom are thinking long-term and have signed commercial leases for office space for more than 10 years or bought commercial real estate - are buying apartments.

"They generally don't like to waste money on rent," says Bijaoui. "They are used to ownership and are not afraid of reselling and moving."

MALAGA - CLIMATE - CULTURE - PUBLIC SAFETY

According to Savills, all locations included in the rankings “have a digital nomad visa program or equivalent, or are already part of a large economic bloc that allows people to move freely to live or work there; they offer a year-round favorable climate, high quality of life and established,  first-class housing markets  ”.

The  report  highlighted that Malaga "has become a major cultural and tourist destination in recent years, known for its excellent museums and beautiful old town". "The arrival of highly listed companies like Google is a big milestone for Malaga. These companies all say that Málaga is the place to be and their word of mouth is spreading”.

THE DIGITAL NOMAD VISA IS NOW AVAILABLE IN SPAIN

The report noted that the  introduction of Spain's digital nomad visa  in 2022 "undoubtedly contributed to Malaga" breaking into second place in the ranking. "The city's attractive climate, beaches, culture and gastronomy are big plus points, but also the relatively affordable rental market; costs are half that of European competitors in the index. Malaga International Airport is easily accessible from the city center, which is an added advantage for executive nomads who need to travel regularly. Savills recalled that a direct flight from New York to Malaga was launched earlier this year.

Restaurant prices, rents and daily life in Malaga are still cheap compared to other big European cities, and people feel "safe" in the city, Pérez-Peña added.

We have already presented Malaga in several articles



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