One of our core beliefs at Propertyshowrooms.com is that gathering customer insight and using it wisely is what empowers smart marketing. That’s why we collect as much data as possible, wherever and whenever we can.
Sometimes we find that the information we collect is fairly predictable, and sometimes it’s so out of the ordinary it leaves us gob-smacked.
2014 was an especially good year for us to analyse, as a rising interest in property investment occurred around the world meaning we saw more activity than ever before from visitors to Propertyshowrooms.com and as a result, our analysts made some very interesting findings.
Here are three of the most surprising trends we spotted in our visitor figures for 2014 and our predictions for how we think they will develop in the short term future:
Russia and China not Top Non-EU Investors
The Top 5 Non-EU Investor Countries according to the data gathered from enquiries made to Propertyshowroom.com are as follows: US (10.35%); UAE (3.00%); Australia (1.99%); Saudi Arabia (1.93%); Canada (1.55%).
What surprised us here was that China and Russia were among the largest groups of investors in overseas property, both commercial and residential throughout 2014 yet according to our data China (0.87%) ranks 21st and Russia (0.71%) ranks 27th for enquiries made from Non-EU countries on Propertyshworooms.com.
One reason for this could be that the majority of transaction activity was at the very high end and in prime markets across the UK, Europe and US.
Another reason could be that at Propertyshowrooms.com we offer both investment opportunities and residential property to suit all budgets, with many of our properties falling below threshold values for visa qualification in countries with a residency scheme for non-EU investors, see below:
The cultural differences between East and West may also further explain why Chinese and Russian investors are not in our top 5. Crossing the communications barrier to deliver opportunities to investors in both countries presents a challenge to many western estate agents and online portals.
Nevertheless, we expect the number of enquiries from Russian and Chinese buyers to increase somewhat in 2015 as more seek permanent residence outside their native countries rather than purely regarding overseas real estate as an investment or safe-haven vehicle.
The Search Price Gap Widens
Our analysts found the average search price for real estate on the Propertyshowrooms.com website over the last 4 years to be as follows:
2011 – Avg Min: €292,539 – Avg Max: €295,534
2012 – Avg Min: €309,693 – Avg Max: €410,037
2013 – Avg Min: €323,160 – Avg Max: €419,870
2014 – Avg Min: €280,682 – Avg Max: €469,752
In terms of the minimum search price over the last four years, fluctuation has been marginal. It’s likely that the difference in max budget is an indication of the rise in investor confidence and spending power over the last few years, leading to 2014 seeing a whopping 62% increase in the average maximum budget for overseas property purchase.
Larger budgets for overseas house-hunting could also indicate a certain degree of recovery in global property markets and a return to prosperity for more people.
Having said that we think in 2015 we could see increased enquiries at the lower price end rather than the higher end as a larger number of smaller investors enter the market.
Increase in UK enquiries
The Propertyshowrooms.com website saw a 16% increase in enquiries from UK-based investors in 2014 compared to the previous year. In addition the number of UK-based investment opportunities advertised with Propertyshowrooms.com grew by a whopping 266.6%.
Given the rise in house prices this is not necessarily something we were expecting to see. In fact average house prices in London went up by £260 every day in 2014, according to recently published data – something that no-one predicted!
However the likelihood is that these figures are more reflective of purchase in the regions as opposed to London, where transaction activity has increased as buyers seek better value outside the capital.
UK-based investment opportunities for those with a smaller budget increased significantly this year, expected to be buoyed further after April 2015 when changes to pension regulations come into effect.
Assets to look out for in 2015 will be located close to business and commercial districts or tourist destinations with growth potential, preferably generating an income from rental together with capital appreciation.
Income-generating assets in the form of student accommodation, hotel rooms and mixed-use residential units, particularly in the UK, are set to become the instrument of choice for many pension savers and small investors in 2015.
Round-up of 2015 Predictions
Here they are once again, based on our very own Propertyshowrooms.com data our predictions for 2015:
- More enquiries from Russian and Chinese buyers seeking permanent residence in countries offering residency schemes
- Increased enquiries for reasonably priced real estate
- Continued growth for UK investment particularly evident in the purchase of student housing projects and mixed-use residential units
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with our predictions for the next year? Let us know in the comments below!