London defends the top spot of the Swiss Life Asset Managers’ European Thematic Cities Index in 2022, closely followed by Zurich and Stockholm. The proprietary index measures European cities against five core city themes that are aligned with major trends shaping a city’s real estate market.

The top-ranked city in the European Thematic Cities Index for 2022 is once again London. It ranks first among European cities in Dynamism, Networks and Cosmopolitanism as it combines an unparalleled concentration of companies, talent as well as business and lifestyle opportunities.

Second place and a new entrant in the top five is Zurich. The Swiss city is well-connected, dynamic and has an economically sound foundation which promises stability.

Third placed is Stockholm. It gains three ranks and scores with its high-quality transportation infrastructure and its attractiveness to start-ups and venture capitalists.

Bern newly enters the top ten on rank nine, from rank 19 previously, while Luxembourg now ranks 12th (rank 10 previously). Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo, Basel, Manchester and Paris are also among the top ten.

”This year marks the first update of our proprietary European Thematic Cities Index. With this second release we can now also start to analyse underlying relative changes between cities. We can, for example, clearly see some pandemic related impacts on measures such as flight offerings, air quality and economic forecasts”, comments Francesca Boucard, Head Real Estate Research & Strategy at Swiss Life Asset Managers.

The European ranking 2022

Changes in rank of the top ten cities compared to the previous year.
London 1 +0
Zurich 2 +7
Stockholm 3 +3
Amsterdam 4 -2
Copenhagen 5 +2
Oslo 6 -2
Basel 7 +1
Manchester 8 +2
Bern 9 +10
Paris 10 -7

Geneva (+16 ranks) and Liverpool (+13 ranks) replace Rotterdam (-11 ranks) and Grenoble (-25 ranks) in the top 35. A higher Dynamism placement for Geneva and higher Accessibility rank for Liverpool explain their gains. Lower Dynamism and Accessibility scores lead to Grenoble's rank decline. Valencia registered the largest rank increase to rank 84 from rank 112 previously, driven mainly by a better Healthiness placement.

About the European Thematic Cities Index
The European Thematic Cities Index is an important research-driven tool that supports long-term real estate investment strategy decisions and adds to Swiss Life Asset Managers’ expertise as a leading European real estate investor.

The Index is a composite indicator that quantifies the ability of cities to address transformative structural trends that shape real estate demand, categorised into the following five themes:

  • Dynamism – the ability and means to adapt to and embrace changes
  • Healthiness – the ability to build resilience to a shifting climate and support the wellbeing of citizens
  • Networks – the ability to support and grow professional and personal communities
  • Cosmopolitanism – the ability to meet changing consumer demands of multicultural residents
  • Accessibility – the ability to connect citizens to the physical and digital world.

The index provides an overall ranking for 135 European cities from 28 countries based on 49 attributes, which can be split into five subindices representing each of our five themes.

Strengthening the investment approach
The detailed insights gained from this proprietary score aid in the development of well-informed investment strategies and the creation of resilient real asset portfolios. They support Swiss Life Asset Managers and its clients to protect, create and grow income in a rapidly evolving environment. The results of the index can be overlaid with qualitative and quantitative information about submarkets and specific real estate projects to determine the optimal target cities and segments for investment. It also informs the Swiss Life Asset Managers’ house view, which influences investment decision across the business, and ultimately supports the long-term investment objectives of our clients.

Advantages for investors
The European Thematic Cities Index enables investors to allocate capital to thematically stronger cities that are expected to outperform. Cities can also be selectively targeted based on specific investment strategies. A focus on environmental sustainability can for example lead to a prioritisation of cities with superior ecological credentials by weighing healthier cities more heavily. Investors can use the index to review their current portfolios and determine their exposure to cities best aligned to structural change. Ultimately, value can be derived from getting a deeper understanding of city strengths and weaknesses and tailoring portfolios accordingly.

Visit the European Thematic Cities Index website for the white paper containing more detailed information and to see ranking comparison to the previous year.


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