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K2 have been running a series of webinars over the past year, to bring the global mobility community together and provide updates and information on the ever changing landscape of travel and mobility.

As usual, Huw Thomas, Business Development Manager, kicked off the session with an introduction and hello.

The audience then heard from one of K2’s founding team, Richard Rutledge, Executive Business Director, who gave an update from K2 and shared the latest information on K2’s recent office openings in Brazil (Sao Paulo) and the UK (Guildford).

Richard also highlighted the recent CSR activity that K2 is getting involved with, most notably the upcoming Race to the King challenge, which is an ultramarathon spread over two days, which 30 K2 team members are taking part in to raise money for the Rainbow Trust children’s charity. Find out more about this challenge.

For a summary of the key takeaways from this latest session, please see below.

Session 5 summary

For this session, updates were provided by the following subject matter experts:

  • Education — Leticia de la Rasilla, Bennet International.
  • UK housing market — Simon Price, K2.
  • Relocation services — Jose Pose, K2.

Education — Leticia de la Rasilla, Bennet International

Leticia began by providing a short overview on Bennet International and their capabilities regarding local and global education services.

Leticia then explored the changes in the education landscape we have seen due to Covid-19 in applications, admissions and enrolment. Leticia highlighted that working with an education specialist has huge benefits, especially amongst these changes as they are experts, but also know the schools and are best positioned to advise.

In general, Leticia explained that we have seen that there are actually more spaces available in some highly regarded schools, worldwide. More spaces are available at this time of the year compared to previous years because schools did not fill their capacities last year. We have seen that some schools still have spaces.

Leticia also explored the trends that can be seen throughout the APAC region. For example, in Hong Kong, when no families or expats could enter Hong Kong the schools started to fill these expensive international schools with local children. These schools now have space, whereas at this time in a typical year, they would be at full capacity.

The session also heard more about the impacts that these changes to schools have had on children and also the varied response in how schools have dealt with the pandemic. In the UK/ Europe, state schools have had an unbalanced response whereas international and private schools have dealt with the changes better. The lack of social contact for children is also a concern to consider (anxiety, lack of concentration, over-use of screen time), but we will have to wait and see the full extent of the impacts.

In general, the response from private and international schools improved as time went by. Now they were able to know when to close the school or when the class or children needed to quarantine, the schools have been efficient.

Leticia then explored some key worldwide trends:

  • Europe: reopened schools after several months of closure in some countries. Hybrid teaching for older years.
  • USA: amelioration due to vaccination program. Some states already decided on reopening fully in person after school holidays.
  • Latin America: schools remained closed in many countries. Doubts for new academic year (northern hemisphere) or reopened and closed again.
  • APAC: schools closed again because of in-person teaching in some locations i.e. Singapore.

London and South East property update — Simon Price, K2

Next to give an update, Simon Price,  gave an insightful overview of the impact of Brexit and Covid-19 on the rentals and sales in London and South East property market.

Simon split his presentation into two sections, providing an update on both rentals and sales.

To start, looking at rentals, Simon highlighted that the supply of good quality houses or flats with outside space is very tight. Due to this, prices have risen and owners are negotiating less. One and two bedroom flats have better availability and some tenants are paying 20% less rent than 2019. More than ever before, a significant number of homes are being selected ‘virtually’. The market is also experiencing delays with pre-tenancy works (Covid-19 related) and the hooking up of broadband.

From a sales perspective, Simon explained that the housing market has been very buoyant in 2020/21, driven by the stamp duty holiday and Covid related demand. From this, the beneficiaries have been sellers in SE England and anywhere commutable to London. The prime London market has also been ‘hot’ as international money has come into ‘safe’ London.

Additionally, much of the rental stock has been sold, resulting in low rental stock and higher rents in areas of interest to international assignees.

Simon finished his presentation with some recent commentary from property experts, Savills, Knight Frank and Buy Association, which provided context and confirmation of the trends that Simon explored.

Relocation services — Jose Pose, K2

The session then heard from Jose Pose, who gave a review of the key impacts to destination services that we are still experiencing.

To start, Jose explored the impacts to travel and the restricted activity that is possible on arrival. For example, there are many countries that require quarantine on arrival, there are huge delays and restrictions for driving license applications and many other administration restrictions are being experienced due to reduced staff and longer wait times. Local curfews have also affected relocation services and had an impact on delays.

Quarantine on arrival has delayed assignee’s ability to explore the new destination and sort housing and schooling, which has been very frustrating. The rulings for each country’s quarantine rulings are subject to change and are different by country. Virtual orientations have therefore become much more common. Temporary housing rates are increasing (have now reached pre-pandemic levels in the past month), now that borders are opening up once more.

With regard to shipping, Jose also highlighted that movement is possible worldwide, with the appropriate use of PPE and when abiding by local regulations. We are seeing a globally consistent increase in rates. We expect an adjustment later in 2021, however we do not expect the prices to return to pre-pandemic levels.

There are also container availability concerns, however there are solutions depending on what the needs of each move are. Transit times need to be communicated transparently, because at the moment transit times can still be affected, and would not always be as expected. Fundamentally, moves can happen, but each move should be considered on a case by case basis.

Jose then provided some key updates in housing for different regions. For example:

  • US: inventory shortage across the region. People are selling their properties instead of renting.
  • Canada: much more availability for condos. Long term rentals being preferred by landlords.
  • Mexico: good stock in property, with negotiations available.
  • Tobago: a lot of expats have returned to their home location, lots of availability, fall in rental prices, only virtual visits.
  • APAC: restrictions extended until 30 June.
  • Africa: seen a number of housing compounds with increased availability, we have seen expats leave and return without families and to smaller apartments (more compound housing available).

The session concluded with a live Q&A. To see a summary of the questions, please see below or you can watch a recording of the webinar.


Are we starting to see a relaxation on quarantine restrictions for people who are fully vaccinated?
Yes, we are starting to see some changes in terms of vaccinations. For example, yesterday Qatar will let people in as long as you can show you have been vaccinated and if you can prove your vaccination record . We would expect this trend to continue. For the UK specifically, the lack of green list countries continues to restrict movement into the UK. I don’t see a significant change in the next month or so.

What would a Bennett consultant recommend in a location where both public and private school could be an alternative for a family in the light of the possibility of having schools close for in-person once more?
We would need to discuss with the family the specific situation and what exactly is required. From this we would be able to make sure we give the appropriate advice. It depends on the situation entirely — there are many components which would have to be considered.

You mention that rates for temporary housing are increasing due to limited availability — do you expect that trend to continue?
We are seeing demand catching up with supply steadily. We see it levelling out, not reducing, but levelling out in the next quarter or so.

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