Around one quarter of the buyers in our markets in 2019 were nonBritish. While still important, it is significantly lower than in previous years. Europeans made only 6% of buyers, compared to 16% in the previous three-year period.
In contrast, we noted an increased level of activity from the Middle East accounting for 9% of all transactions in 2019, more than 4 times the number in the period 2016 -2018.
We showed on p5 the currency impact of a weakened sterling and the Saudi Riyal was one of the greatest beneficiaries, along with dollar buyers.
Despite the additional Stamp Duty taxation burden on investors, still 17% of sales in our markets in 2019 were to investors. While that is a smaller proportion than in the preceding four year period, it is nevertheless a significant percentage of the total.
Owner occupiers was the most common category (49% overall) and accounted for 57% of purchases in the City, which also had the highest proportion of pied-a-terre buyers (14%).
The localities with the highest incidence of investors over the five year period 2015-2019, were West End and East London, in both of which 27% of purchases were for investment. The most popular area for parents buying on behalf of their children was Islington and Shoreditch while first time buyers accounted for around 30% of purchases in East London and Aldgate but low proportions elsewhere.
Buyers were older in 2019 than in previous years. The proportion of buyers under 30 averaged 11% in 2019 compared with 18% over the period 2015-2018, while those in the age band 41- 60 increased from 38% to 43%.
There was a distinct difference in age structure between our different markets. We analysed the breakdown between offices for the whole five year period 2015-2019 and found that buyers in the City and West End were generally older, predominantly over 40 and those in Aldgate, City, Islington and Shoredtich and East London, were predominantly under 40.
Cash buyers made up 37% of all purchases in our markets in 2019. The proportion of 100% cash buyers is higher in 2019 than in the previous four year period when the average was 33%.
We looked at the differences between locations for the whole study period (2015-2019) and found that the West End, had by far the largest proportion of cash buyers with 62% of all purchases made with 100% cash, in stark contrast to East London where it was just 9%. This fits with the older age profile in these markets.