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Is Space Travel Going to Affect House Prices?

Thu 06 Mar 2014

A new report has suggested that space travel could now entirely transform the overseas property market. Research carried out in Knight Frank's most recent Wealth Report looked into the effect of large scale operations such as Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic on the current property market.

By using this sub-orbital space travel, many different wealthy investors will be able to travel from the UK to Australia in just two hours – this opens the door to a huge range of property investment opportunities.

Experts say that within the next decade, the entire property market could be transformed due to the speed in which people will be able to travel from one destination to another. Currently flights across the world take up to 21 hours and so not many people tend to invest in places far away.

Global Head of Residential Research at Knight Frank, Liam Bailey, said:

“By travelling outside the Earth’s atmosphere, gravitational forces will allow spacecraft to travel at over 4,000 miles per hour, so breakfast in Mayfair could easily be followed by lunch overlooking Sydney Opera House. It doesn’t take much imagination to see the dramatic impact this innovation could have on global luxury property markets.”

Sub-orbital flights involve aircrafts being launched briefly up into outer space in order to reach supersonic speeds before they descend back down to earth cutting flight time considerably. This could cut a trip from Dubai to Vancouver down from 14.5 hours to 1.5 hours.

At the moment, London is the most popular property destination as it is most convenient for investors in the Middle East, Africa and Europe than the USA is. This could change within the next decade though with the introduction of sub-orbital travel.

A main factor into the slow adoption of sub-orbital travel is likely to be the price. Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo will give passengers the space view that mankind had not experienced until a mere fifty years ago. A two hour journey will launch six passengers across 70 miles, right up into the sky, where the whole aircraft will experience around five minutes of total weightlessness.

Virgin boss, Richard Branson, told the Wealth Report:

“New commercial space will be one of the most exciting investment sectors in the next 20 years, driven by the initial successes of companies like Virgin Galactic. There is already some good evidence that the leading players are receiving high levels of interest from the mainstream investment community and attracting valuations that reflect confidence in future growth and opportunity.”

But this is not going to be a cheap experience any time soon. Tickets for the two hour journey currently cost $250,000 each and the Virgin Galactic has already seen $80m just from deposits. Any disruption to the property market may be limited for now if the service is only really available to multimillionaires.