Buying property in prime central London by generation - who's buying where and for how much?

We explore how much each generational cohort spent acquiring their slice of prime central London in 2018

Words: Flora Harley, Senior Analyst, Knight Frank Research

At a glance

  1. Our analysis of purchases in prime central London shows different patterns emerging between the generations in terms of location and spend
  2. Millennials spent a combined £3.47 billion (US$4.42 billion) buying a piece of prime central London
  3. Generation X, a smaller cohort, spent £3.50 billion (US$4.45 billion) with Baby Boomers spending more than double that – £8.58 billion (US$10.93 billion)
  4. Marylebone is a popular destination for all ages, coming in third for Millennials and Generation Xers, and second for Baby Boomers
  5. Baby Boomers are more inclined to look towards the traditional “golden” postcodes, with Kensington in first place and Knightsbridge third
  6. Islington takes top spot for both Millennials and Generation X
  7. Millennials favour Riverside, Aldgate and Tower Bridge, while Generation X looks to Wapping, South Kensington and Tower Bridge
The full read

When it comes to purchasing prime property, age is more than just a number. Our analysis of purchases in prime central London shows different patterns emerging between the generations in terms of location and spend.

Millennials spent a combined £3.47 billion (US$4.42 billion) buying a piece of prime central London in 2018. Generation X, a smaller cohort, spent £3.50 billion (US$4.45 billion) with Baby Boomers spending more than double that – £8.58 billion (US$10.93 billion).

Baby Boomer purchasers are more aligned to market performance in relation to volumes of sales – that is, as the market rises, so does their propensity to buy. However, it may also be inferred that they are a driving force in market performance.

Generation X is the least responsive to changes in the marketplace in regards to volume of sales. However, the average spend of both Baby Boomers and Generation Xers remains impervious to market movements.

One potential explanation is that budgets remain stable despite market conditions, and so when the market falls purchasers are able to acquire properties that would previously have been out of reach.

LOCATIONS FOR THE AGES

Definitions: We use The Center for Generational Kinetics definitions of different generations: • Millennials: born 1977–1995 • Generation X: born 1965–1976 • Baby Boomers: born 1946–1964. For the purposes of this report we have included those born after 1995 in the Millennial category and those born prior to 1946 in the Baby Boomer category

Where are they all going?

For volume of transactions, Islington takes top spot for both Millennials and Generation X. James Marshall of Knight Frank in Islington notes that the area “is a trendy, busy and fun place to be, with healthy restaurants, cool bars and independent shops as well as green open spaces, all within a 30-minute walk of central London.”

Marylebone is a popular destination for all ages, coming in third for Millennials and Generation Xers, and second for Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers are more inclined to look towards the traditional “golden” postcodes, with Kensington in first place and Knightsbridge third.

However, when we look at the top spot in regard to the proportion of sales made up by each cohort, Millennials favour Riverside, Aldgate and Tower Bridge, while Generation X looks to Wapping, South Kensington and Tower Bridge and the Baby Boomers once again favour the traditional prime areas of Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Kensington.