With fewer homes entering the housing market, and a large amount of demand that is being unmet due to that, the Irish government incentives like “Help to Buy” have only just started to affect rising forecasted housing prices in 2021. But even so, there has been little effect in the market by people that are known as “cash buyers”.
Cash Buyers may not be the people that first come to mind. They’re not exactly the people that pay upfront the entire mortgage, because let’s be realistic, who has ever done that? Cash buyers are investors, and their acquisitions are mostly funded by debt in terms of purchasing power. This is where they get the name “cash buyers” from. Despite the pandemic in 2020, these cash buyers were still highly active in the market. Statistics show that over 1.75 billion euro were invested by investors from European property firms like the LRC. While, it was still down from 2019 when it was pre-pandemic times, where the overall investment was 2.5 billion euro, there was still a significant amount of money being contributed to the market from these investors.
What does all this influx of cash really mean though for a typic mortgage-funded buyer? Cash has long been known to have deflationary impacts of markets. When buying with cash, prices on products such as cars or houses tend to lower the sales price. Many times when buying a house a vendor will accept a lower bid from a cash buyer with the certainty that they are able to complete the sale in full. However, cash buyers can also use their purchasing method to push up prices. In a bidding war between those who want to buy with a mortgage and with cash, the cash buyer has the flexibility to go higher independently.
In 2006, nearly 25% of the market consisted of such sales. However, due to the global crash in 2008, the proportion of cash buyers rose even high all the way to nearly 63% in 2013. Since then the proportion of cash buyers has lessened, but as the statistics for 2020 in Ireland show, the number of cash buyers in the market is still significant. Not only is it in Ireland, but there are commonalities with international trends. In the UK, the proportion of cash buyers has fallen recently from around 36% in 2008 to around 24% this past September. But even so, cash buyers make up nearly a fourth of all purchases in the market.
Lucas Zhang was a Finance major at Ohio State University. He writes about finance, mortgages, and technology for Irish Mortgage Brokers.