The Middle Eastern mindset: our insights.
At Homes One, our purpose is to guide clients through unfamiliar territory.
Handholding people as they go through the process of finding, buying and preparing their dream home, in one of the world’s greatest cities, is what we do.
And over the next twelve weeks, we are immersed in some of our busiest times of the year.
Why? Because from mid-June to mid-September, many Middle Eastern families decamp and make home in London. And since the Homes One journey began back in 2007, over 50% of our clients have come from that region.
This means that for us, to understand the Middle Eastern mindset has been, and continues to be, paramount. And although both my wife and business partner Najwa and myself are Lebanese, with many of our friends hailing from the region, we continue to learn about the nuances and demands of serving customers from within this demographic group.
Everyone knows that London is a great place to be in the summer, especially if temperatures back home can run above 50 degrees. But why here, and what are the reasons that run alongside the favorable climate?
Here are our observations on ME client profiles and what they are looking for.
Although this is now changing, traditionally the Middle East has been almost exclusively inhabited by Arab-speaking populations. The annual exodus to friendlier climates offers welcome respite from what can feel mono-cultural, into the more varied and open landscapes of the UK populous, and in particular London… which has to be one of the most diverse and dynamic areas of cosmopolitanism anywhere in the world. To the Arab mindset this is refreshing, inspiring and in many ways grounding. A break from the traditional structures of many Middle Eastern societies within a more down to earth, deconstructed culture is often a panacea.
2. Local knowledge
The one exception to the above rule has been the influx of western professionals to the Middle East to set up infrastructure and commerce as the region matured into a global economic superpower after the second world war. To a great extent, the mobilization of those economies was achieved in partnership with western minds and philosophies. Now, as the Middle East continues to plan for a new economic future, more than ever - from heads of state to local business owners – Middle Easterners value support and affiliation with professionals who have forged the current economy abroad. In many ways London is still the capital of what many people call the EMEA economic region – Europe Middle East & Africa, and is therefore home to one of the greatest concentrations of those minds on the planet, and geographically speaking is local to the Arab world in contrast to Shanghai, Tokyo and New York.
3. Rule of law
Many of the things we take for granted here in London are great gifts to people from the Middle East, who may have spent long periods of time, or even their whole lifetime, in over-controlling societies with a limited sense of opportunity or freedom. Depending on which Middle Eastern country has featured prominently in someone’s experience, they may value a safe stroll though the park as much as they surely would the speed and efficiency of setting up a business or a bank account here in the UK, and the guarantee of an objective judicial process where necessary, in any matters personal, professional or financial.
London is a huge place with 9m inhabitants. It’s an easy place to get lost for a day or two – or longer! For many Middle Easterners this represents freedom from the spotlight they experience back home, due to their position in their family, in the public domain or the corporate structures they exist in. Disentangling from these structures guarantees much needed anonymity and personal autonomy, in the context of an inspiring, creative and sophisticated backdrop, in which they are free to explore their interests and possibilities.
5. Variety of experience
From London the whole of Europe is accessible. It’s easier to travel from Knightsbridge to Marbella or Nice than it is to reach many parts of the UK, which means making a base here facilitates access to the whole of Europe, and proper vacation destinations in the process. Added to which the sheer range of experience available in the capital and home counties makes for a rich and diverse way of life – education, food, film, fashion and finance are all at ones finger tips here, and all in the same day or week if needed.
Allied to the mild summer temperatures, this makes for the best global alternative to being in the Middle East over the next quarter, and a veritable second home to the Arab world.