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Digital Nomads

The ideal of having the freedom to endlessly travel the world is no longer limited to retirement but increasingly achievable while working thanks to both corporate remote work policies, and entrepreneurs designing their lives to facilitate such a lifestyle.

I write from experience having been a Digital Nomad since 2019, working across Australia, the US and Europe. It is not uncommon for my fellow Millennials to desire working globally, as we notoriously rank unique experiences over owning ‘things and bling’. For this reason, the desire to live and work flexibility is here to stay - because not only is it desirable, but it is entirely possible.

It is not just Millennials who have embraced the Digital Nomad lifestyle.

I spoke at the launch of the 2023 US Wealth Report in New York this past month where the event hosts discussed how HNWI (especially Americans) who hold multiple passports have increasingly made what were their holiday homes, their main base. Reasons include lifestyle, preferential tax, and access to nature. If you could, wouldn’t you want to live the lifestyle of being on an endless vacation?

Countries across the globe have clued on to Digital Nomads as being a lucrative pool. I met this week with representatives from ProPanama, the investment promotion authority of Panama. Panama not only have a 9-month Digital Nomad visa, but also an easy to apply Permanent Residency programme (with $350k property purchase).

The war for talent is now not just between companies, but between geographies.

What might Digital Nomadism look like in the future? On the real estate front, there are some clues:

  • AirBNB are piloting partnerships with landlords through a revenue share model.

  • Home-swapping platforms are on the rise, and becoming more premium.

  • Rental buildings come with ‘perks’ of being able to let out your apartment as a short term rental.

  • Build to rent buildings are being created with a mix of short-term (1-30 days), and furnished (6-12 month) units that share amenities and access to ‘hotel-like services’ such as cleaners, GrubHub delivery, and community apps.

As remote work and school is enabled by technology, Digital Nomadism is being increasingly normalised. Opportunities for the real estate industry to service this sector better is immense - across all demographics - not just GenZ/Millennials. Key here is flexibility, affordability (ie - eliminating the barrier of paying ‘double rent’), ease, and most importantly connectivity.

After all, where there’s WiFi, there’s work.


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