Buyer profiles: Movers and shakers

Spotlight: Prime London & Country 2017
Movers and shakers

26 April 2017 - Gaby Day

Buying and selling property means different challenges for different people. We profile five influential types of buyer whose decisions will shape the future market.



These buyers have accumulated significant equity during the last  15 to 20 years and, with the ability  to release funds from their pensions, have more capacity than ever to downsize. Our analysis shows that owner-occupiers over the age of  65 hold more than £1.5 trillion of  net housing wealth.With affordability limiting the younger generation, we expect to see an increase in the number of downsizers releasing this equity  to help family members get on the ladder – even in prime markets.Many will be in search of a quieter life, making the move from town  to village or to picturesque coastal retreats. However, there is also increasing demand for older buyers to live in vibrant urban locations.  Both groups of buyers will be in search of prime locations that  offer a high quality of life.


Buyer profiles: Movers and shakers


Stamp duty has been of significant importance for the buy-to-let investor. The 3% surcharge on additional homes has somewhat dampened activity and, coupled  with increasing mortgage regulation and reduced tax relief, investors  are feeling the pinch.

Capturing demand will be key  and these increased tax costs will make investors particularly selective in what and where they buy.

In the country markets, locations that can provide quality schools for families and good transport links  to the capital will remain in demand. Edinburgh, Cambridge and Bath have also consistently been popular locations for investors over the  past five years. 

Second-home buyers

This group includes the ‘weekend warriors’ looking for a flat for the working week alongside a country house for the weekend that’s in commutable distance to London,  as well as those searching for a coastal or Cotswolds hideaway. In 2016, 22% of second-home buyers bought in the south west, with Cornwall and Poole consistently popular locations.

As is the case with buy-to-let investors, second-home buyers will have to consider their purchases more carefully in this less hospitable tax environment.

Buyers will be looking for popular locations that will retain their value, while providing the amenities they enjoy from a second home. 


Families looking for more space and more value for money will be making the move outwards from London.

The proportion of Savills buyers moving from London to the country has been steadily increasing over the last five years. In 2011, these buyers accounted for 37% of London movers. By 2016, it had increased  to 46%. The most popular locations have consistently been the Home Counties, Surrey, Berkshire and  the South East.

These buyers will be challenged  by mortgage regulations as they try  to take on more debt to move up the ladder, leading them to look for more for their money.

Hesitation in the market may also contribute to fewer transactions in the short term, slowing down the market for those keen to sell. But while the value gap between London and the country has fallen a little, there is still a significant saving to  be made by moving out, which we expect to be a major driver of the market as confidence improves.

Affluent first-time buyers

With taxes limiting buy-to-let investors, first-time buyers are experiencing less competition in  the market. This, teamed with low interest rates, presents a good opportunity for those looking to  get their foot on the ladder.

Affordability remains the biggest hurdle, with many reliant on the  bank of mum and dad, and this  has become more challenging  with stress-tested mortgages.

The more affluent of these first-time buyers will be looking to London’s prime fringe markets. Those who have been priced out  of the capital will be seeking urban centres with good transport links  or strong employment markets.


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