According to research by Covercy, the majority of international property investors using cross-border payments were born between 1973 and 1984, a cohort known as the Xennials. In their late thirties and early forties, they represent the younger end of Generation X and the older members of Generation Y.
In terms of domestic U.S. property purchases, the Xennials account for 38% of total transactions. This is supported by figures from the United States National Association of Realtors, indicating that buyers aged 36 years and younger (the Millennials and Gen Yers) represent the largest share of home buyers – some 34 percent.
Those aged 33-44 are also the most likely to go global and make an investment in overseas real estate and to use online payment services to transfer their funds abroad. The most active of these overseas investors were born between 1975 and 1977.
So why are people in this age range so keen on investing in property abroad? Many of them are at the coalface of their careers, but they’re also young enough to consider upping sticks and moving overseas. Economist Jonathan Smoke of realtor.com® says they’re simply in their prime earning years.
“That group suffered the most” in the last recession, he explains. “They were entering homeownership at the peak of the housing bubble and were also the ones most likely to suffer job losses.
“But a strengthening economy, rising housing prices, and a healthier job market have put them back in the game. “They’re also far more likely to have families. It makes complete sense that they’re coming back,” he adds.
And according to Worldfinance.com, “a recent study published by Blackrock found that Millennials spend seven hours a month checking on their investments – around three times longer than older generations.”
After bearing the brunt of the financial crisis, people in this group are also far more socially conscious, globally minded and, crucially, less likely to trust banks with their money.
“A deeply held suspicion towards traditional banking models and a critical approach to any interactions with the industry can simply be understood as a natural response to their experience of the financial crash,” writes Kim Darrah.
Does the World Belongs to the Young?
If It’s a global phenomenon too. The Wall Street Journal has explored how affluent young Chinese are buying overseas properties direct from their smartphones.
Older Chinese investors are also getting in on the act. According to a recent CNBC article, James Fisher, a director at Hong Kong-based online real estate platform Spacious, says that in the past “Chinese buyers acquired second homes so their children could study overseas or use it as a means to park cash. Now, though, they are focused on rental income and capital appreciation.”
Many are also choosing to cash out or downsize on their primary residences, purchasing vacation homes in places with better air quality, safety standards and overall quality of life. “There’s a lot to be offered by overseas properties that’s not available to these high-net-worth individuals in China”, Fisher adds.
The Generation Gap
The internet wasn’t a part of Xennials’ childhoods, but having hit maturity during the tech boom, they are savvy enough to use the new breed of international currency transfer platforms. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, tend to be less comfortable sending money abroad online, preferring to rely on bank transfers, even though the costs are far higher.
Covercy CMO, Gidon Jablonka puts it like this: “We believe that Baby Boomers, now reaching retirement age, have plenty of opportunities to invest in overseas property, but remain reluctant to use online money transfer services. However, those who are introduced to our services by their children are quick to understand the benefits of the simplicity, security and savings that are at the core of our fully regulated solution.”
The key to further success for companies such as Covercy will therefore be to continue to appeal to younger investors, and to close the generation gap through personal support services that explain the advantages of cutting out the traditional middleman when it comes to transferring funds overseas.