Why should you visit Ecuador?


Ecuador, a country that has an array of delights to offer. The golden sands of the Pacific Coast, the Amazon rainforest, the foothills of the Andes, and the creme de la creme -The Galapagos Islands!

With an eclectic mix of cuisine, culture and climate, this country is defiantly one you should have high on your bucket list. Let Midas tell you why.

The Amazon Basin

Think Indiana Jones battling his way through dense vegetation with a machete. If you want to mimic your idol, then you are in the right place. 

The Amazon Basin, accessible by boat, is an absolute wonder. Along the waterways, you will find beautiful Amazonian lodges scattered around the lakes, and jungle camps to accommodate all your needs. You can also learn how tribes, like the Huaorani, have adapted to westernisation.

The wildlife that thrives in this vegetation is diverse, sloths, monkeys, caiman, and (yikes) snakes are all common. If you are lucky, you will see some rarer species too, jaguars, pumas, peccaries and if you’re really lucky, the pink river dolphins!

Known locally as Boto, these beautiful creatures enjoy the freshwater of the Amazonian rivers. These dolphins are actually born grey and slowly turn pink as they age. And surprisingly the male dolphins are pinker than their female counterparts. Don’t be confused by their cute exterior though, these animals are tough and will eat pirañas for breakfast!

Pacific Coast

If you enjoy spectacular sunsets (who doesn’t), then you are defiantly in the right place. Playa de los Frailes, situated in the Machalilla National Park, has been rated as one of the finest beaches in the world. With its wonderful white sands, it is home to some very lucky Inca-defended families, who often take advantage of its therapeutic sulphur lake and mud baths. 

Along the 200km pacific coastal stretch is the Ruta Spondylus, this road connects Manta in the north to Santa Elena in the south. Running parallel to the coast, you can discover along this track the most beautiful beaches, interspersed with quaint fishing villages.

A fact you may not know. Contrary to popular belief, Panama hats originated not in Panama, but in Ecuador’s Montecristi. In this charming colonial town, you can grab yourself a bargain and pick up a genuine straw brim at a fraction of the price.

Andean Highlands

Quito, the capital, is nestled in the slopes of the Andean volcano, Pichincha. Still active, it last erupted in 1999.

If mountain adventure excites you, then your first expedition needs to be an acclimatisation climb of the steep tower of the city’s Basilica del Voto Nacional. 

For expert mountaineers only, Chimborazo (6,263m), which can be seen in the skyline to the south should be your goal. Its summit is the furthest point on the surface from the earth’s core, and if conquered you can boast that you have stood on the closest land to outer space!

If you still have the strength, why not ascend the rim of the Quilotoa crater, where you will witness South America’s striking three-kilometre-wide, uber blue, lake-filled caldera. If tropical rainforests excite you, then make your way straight to the Andean foothills.

The Galapagos Islands

As if Ecuador hasn’t given you enough, we leave the best to last! The Galapagos Islands. These 19 islands that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution when he visited in 1835 are on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Know as one of the most remarkable places for flora and fauna, these islands are a must for any botanists and wildlife lovers. 

Home to 9000 species, you will be amazed by the vast range of plantations and wildlife. Witness flamingos, Sealion, Penguins, Frigatebirds, whose throats become red balloons, sea diving iguanas, ginormous tortoises and so much more.

We, at Midas, are sure our guide has got the fantasising about your Ecuadorian adventure. Now that you’re ready to organise this trip of a lifetime, let us assist you every step of the way. Adventure awaits!

In addition to tourism, the country is widely agricultural, which has seen over the last decade a significant tourism growth. 

For those who are courageously looking for new opportunities, we have 

land for your agricultural or residential developments.

How to choose an interior designer and the benefits of finding the right one

Bespoke Interior Design

As with many professions there are thousands of interior designers to choose from however, making the right choice for your project can make all the difference.

Designing a home is an incredibly personal experience and the process can take many months if not years to complete depending on the size of the project.  For this reason, the chemistry and relationship between clients and the interior designer is so important. 

Your interior designer must be able to relate to how you want to live and understand the personal requirements of your particular project.  A designer needs to be able to adapt from project to project whether that is by changing styles or by functionality or how much communication clients want to receive.  Certain clients like to be heavily involved in every aspect of the project however others take a more “hands off” approach.  A good interior designer should be able to understand their clients and know which approach will work best.  Likewise, with the design, the interiors of an apartment for a bachelor in central London is going to have very different requirements than a family home in the country.    

Excellent service is such a crucial part of any interior design business.  Any form of construction or change to your home has the potential to be stressful so having a fantastic, responsive, and understanding interior designer by your side is essential.   Many of our clients end up becoming our friends due to the personal nature of the business and the trust that is built up through the process.

Ideally choose an interior design company who has been recognised within the industry by their own peers and industry judges.  Design studios who have won awards and have received international recognition have done so for a reason.

Turnkey projects are becoming more and more popular with clients wanting us to oversee the project from concept through to completion.  This includes the final furnishings, artwork and finishing touches.  When choosing an interior designer it is important to understand the services they offer, is it mainly architectural or are they more inclined towards just light decoration and furnishing?  At Jenny Allan Design we offer the complete solution for our clients, our services range from full interior design of a large new build or refurbishment, incl. kitchens, bathrooms, bespoke joinery and space planning to a furnishing/ dressing service where a client just requires furniture, curtains and/or minor redecoration for a new property.

An excellent interior designer should be able to add value to a home, so when the client does eventually want to sell, the property with the best interiors will outshine the competition.  With a background in property development, Jenny Allan really understands how to add value to properties, in order to future proof them while also creating beautiful, practical family homes for the client to live in.  We design homes that flow, are comfortable as well as stylish and have a calming, balanced vibe.  When a new buyer walks into a property they often talk about the “feel” of the home, and they can’t always put their finger on why a home “feels” right or not, however that is the skill of a great interior designer, to turn what is just a property into a home. 

Written by Jenny Allan

Founder of Jenny Allan Design

Jenny Allan Design is a high end, award winning London based interior design studio.  Named in the World’s Leading Design Names for the last two consecutive years, Jenny Allan and her team create beautiful interiors for private client homes throughout London, the UK and Europe and can adapt to any style or specific requirements.  As a boutique design studio the personal service that they offer to clients is of the highest level whilst also having the in-house capacity to take on the larger projects.   


How has Covid effected the Luxury Real Estate Market?

The year 2020. Who could have predicted the upheaval? Covid-19 struck and effected each and every person on our planet. Every element of lives has been disrupted. Each business and industry has had to take a step back and reassess their survival and livelihood.

According to JP Morgan, before Social distancing made real estate viewings more difficult, the countries with increased high end buyers activity were the South of France, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany. Luxury Lifestyle Magazine stated in October 2019 that the best luxury overseas property were in Spain, Portugal and Dubai.

But how have things changed in post Covid time? 

Andrew Amoils, author of a New Report from New World Health, states that High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) globally were 14% worse off in the first part of 2020 compared to last year. He confirms that this is predominately due to the decline in real estate value.

Knight Frank’s Prime City Index, compiled in July 2020, gives some data to support this. The index, which looked at data for 3 months in 45 of the best high-end real estate concluded that the luxury housing market had had its lowest annual growth rate in just under a decade. Luxury Real Estate prices only moved up 0.9% in the year. The slowest reported growth since 2009. 

Which countries in particular have been effected the most? 

Knight Frank again studied 45 countries to forecast how Covid-19 is likely to effect global prime real estate markets. They identified that 9 were in Europe, 7 in Asia, 2 in Australia, 1 in the Middle East and 1 in Africa. 20 countries saw a decline in the Q2 of 2020 were then categorised into four price bands. A breakdown of these listings can be seen in the diagram below. It concluded that none are expected to grow more than 5%.

Source: www.theceomagazine.com/business/finance/knight-frank-covid19-property-impact/

According to the November 2020 Forbes report, which also included data from Knight Frank, the top 5% of luxury homes in the most desirable cities in the world have dropped, these included London, New York and Dublin. 

London’s luxury real estate prices fell by 3.7%. Although, not all blame can put on Covid, in this case, Brexit has had its part to play and pushed the central London workers straight into the neighbouring arms of Paris for example. 

Further a field, Bangkok had a dramatic fall of 5.8% and Singapore has seen the biggest decline in price in the luxury real estate with a drop of 6.1% in the last year. Leonard Tay head of research from Knight Frank claims that this is largely due to travel restrictions during Covid, which has slightly reduced the number of foreign buyers during the period. Dubai, had a 3.7% fall in high end property sales. The government attempted to impose new measures to counteract the leaving of expats by relaxing their residential laws, although these results are still yet to be correlated.

Where is real estate increasing?

On the flip-side, some places, are actually becoming more desirable in luxury real estate. During Covid, affluent buyers are shifting their tastes and essentially looking for outdoor space and an abundance of fresh air.  After lockdown, people are running from the confinements of their prison cities and looking for property by water, near lakes and the ocean. Countries with Iush green countryside or an inviting coastline are favoured. One example of this is Auckland, New Zealand, where with its idyllic countryside lifestyle, according to Knight Frank, luxury real estate has risen by 12% (October 2019 to October 2020). This theory can be evidenced again with the 3.7% increase in Cape Town, and Vancouvers’ 3.2%.This also explains why European cities with lot of parks and green spaces are becoming increasing popular. Worldwide, Sydney, Miami, San Fransisco and Los Angeles were the most resilient in the second quarter of the year. Plus Tokyo had a rise of 8.6% and Stockholm 4.4%.  

Surprisingly, the most significant incline was actually in Manila, the capital of the The Philippines, it saw the largest growth of 14%! More specifically in a new spacious development in the Batangas area, south of Manila. Its new properties have an ocean view and have increased by 20-46% (according to Leechiu Property Consultants).

But where for the future? 

According to Savills Global Prime Index, compiled in July 2020, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Seoul and Moscow will see the strongest increase in price during 2020. And over the next 5 years, Lisbon and Amsterdam are expected to remain the top performers joined by Berlin, Paris, Miami and San Francisco. And surprisingly, despite Brexit, London prices expected to gain 20% (JP Morgan).

Will the housing market crash?

It is good news, investments seems strong, but will Covid-19 cause the housing market to crash in 2021? Some in the real estate industry are nervous that there will be a repeat of the housing market crash in 2008.

Sophie Chick head of Department at Savills World research states “Looking forward, we have to remember that this in not like the 2008 financial crisis, and we are not expecting the same falls that were during this period”. 

Greg McBride, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate also agrees “Due to the increased standards of underwriting and capitalisation, I don’t believe the pandemic will cause the same housing market crash and liquidity crisis banks experienced in 2008. Banks and institutional investors have been predicting and getting ready for a decline in real estate prices for the last few years. Although no one anticipated COVID-19 would come along to do the dirty work, most analysts anticipated a large price drop as real estate hit record high levels year-over-year”.

The National Association of Retailers (NAR) reported that in America the demand for housing has increased by 9.4% in September, a 21% increase over the year and prices have continued to rise.

Experts believe it all depends on the balance of supply and demand. With mortgage rates at an all time low, buyers are back in the market and demand is higher than supply.  In order for the housing market to crash, supply needs to increase whilst demand drops.  

“There will be particular markets that experience price softness as people move out of the high-cost, high-tax city centres for more budget friendly and spacious confinement’s elsewhere. But most markets will continue to be hampered by lack of supply to meet the housing demand”. McBride

To draw a conclusion, the general consensus from those in the field, is that whilst Covid 19 has impacted luxury real estate, no housing crash will occur and that Luxury Real Estate will in prominent countries continue to thrive as it always has.