General Election: The 2017 Housing Manifesto Of The 3 Major Parties

General Election: The 2017 Housing Manifesto Of The 3 Major Parties

So, the General Election is looming. On 8th June, we face the decision of whether to carry on along the path of ‘strong and stable leadership’ promised by the Tories, or gamble on the prospect of the unknown – a Labour candidate who looks nothing like the party face we’ve been used to over the last two decades. Then there’s the Lib Dems, UKIP, or the Greens: of which there is much less to say.

But for investors in The House Crowd, the principal focus will be the housing policy offered by each of the major political parties. So, just to save you trawling through the party manifestos, we’ve done the dirty work for you. Here’s what you need to know about the 2017 housing manifesto for the Conservatives, Labour, and Lib Dems. Just an FYI – at time of writing, the Greens and UKIP are still yet to publish their manifestos.

Conservative Party 2017 Housing Manifesto 

The ‘Homes For All’ section of the Tory manifesto begins with a comment that states the blinking obvious: ‘We have not built enough homes in this country for generations, and buying or renting a home has become increasingly unaffordable’. So how do they plan to fix it?

The key, they state, is to build enough homes to meet demand. Again, pretty obvious. They identify that the effect of this would be to slow the rise in housing costs, allowing more ‘ordinary, working families’ to buy a home and also to bring down the cost of renting. Crucially, for investors, this will ensure that more private capital is invested in more productive investment, thus hastening economic growth in a secure way for the future.

The Tory manifesto pledges the delivery of one million homes by the end of 2020, with half a million more by 2022. They promise to deliver on the reforms from their Housing White Paper, freeing up more land for new builds in the ‘right places’, encouraging modern methods of construction, and by giving councils the power to intervene where developers do not act on their planning permissions. The Tories will also diversify who builds homes in the UK.

The plan also includes the building of better homes, supporting ‘high-quality, high-density’ mansion blocks, mews houses and terraced streets. And all this whilst retaining the strong protections that currently exist over designated Green Belt, National Parks, and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty. Thus, the government must build 160,000 houses on its own land, and rebalancing housing growth across the country – not limiting it to the south-east.

Housing for older people is also a priority, so the Tories plan to help housing associations increase their specialist housing stock.

The manifesto identifies councils as being to blame for the failure to build sustainable, integrated communities, fingering them as the ‘worst offenders’ and accusing them of building ‘for political gain rather than for social purpose’. The Tories plan to enter into new Council Housing Deal with ambitious, pro-development local authorities to assist them with building more social housing. ‘We will work with them,’ they say. ‘To improve their capability and capacity to develop more good homes, as well as providing them with significant low-cost capital funding’. As a result, they plan to build new, fixed-term social houses, which will ‘be sold privately after ten to fifteen years with an automatic Right to Buy for tenants’, the proceeds of which will be recycled into further homes. Compulsory Purchase Orders will be reformed, reducing cost and difficulty for councils to use, making it easier to determine sites’ true market value.

Finally, the Conservative 2017 housing manifesto pledges to work with private and public sector house builders to capture the increase in land value created when they build to reinvest in local infrastructure, essential services and further housing, making it more certain that public sector landowners benefit from the increase in land value expected from urban regeneration and development.

Labour Party 2017 Housing Manifesto

Labour have titled the 2017 Housing manifesto section of their election manifesto ‘Secure Homes for All’. It also begins by outlining the housing crisis, and pointing the finger at the Tories for failing to fix the housing crisis in the last seven years, stating that ‘Since 2010, housebuilding has fallen to its lowest level since the 1920s… rents have risen faster than incomes, there are almost 200,000 fewer homeowners, and new affordable housebuilding is at a 24-year low’.

Labour’s solution? Investing in building over a million new homes – 100,000 council and housing association homes a year by the end of the next Parliament.

Their plan for a new Department of Housing is ostensibly to ‘ensure housing is about homes for the many, not investment opportunities for the few’. We wonder whether they know about the democratising power of property crowdfunding in this area… and whether they plan to invest in the innovative finance model for real estate at all.

Whilst the Tories accuse local councils of building ‘for political gain rather than for social purpose’, Labour plans to give councils new powers to build homes. They plan to begin the biggest council building program for at least 30 years, ditching the Tories’ ban on long-term council tenancies so that council tenants can have a ‘secure tenancy in a home built to high standards’. The ‘right-to-buy’ policy would be suspended in order to protect affordable housing for local people, unless councils can prove they have a plan to replace homes sold like-for-like.

To avoid urban sprawl, Labour promises to start work on a new generation of ‘New Towns’ to build the homes needed, prioritising building on brownfield sites and – like the Tories – protecting Green Belt land.

The priority, of course, for Labour, is to build new council funds through their National Transformation Fund, which – they say – will ensure a ‘vibrant construction sector with a skilled workforce and rights at work’.

Along with all those council houses, Labour will also build thousands of low-cost homes specifically reserved for first-time buyers, giving local people buying their first home ‘first dibs’ on new homes built in their area. Labour councils across the country, they say, have already been building an average of nearly 1,000 more new homes than Conservative councils.

Just as the Tories do, Labour pledges to ‘not only build more, [but to] build better’. More homes will be insulated, and new modern standards for building ‘zero carbon homes’ will be implemented. Equally, the party plans to consult on new rules on minimum space standards, and introduce new minimum standards to ensure properties are ‘fit for human habitation’ and ‘empowering tenants to take action if their rented homes are substandard’. Like the Tories, Labour also identifies the need for older people’s housing, ‘ensuring that local plans’ address this need. There’s also their predictable promise to ‘reverse the cruel decision’ to abolish housing benefit for 18-21 year olds, a controversial move by the Tories that has had many up in arms.

Controls on rent rises, more secure tenancies, landlord licensing and new consumer rights for renters are all promised. They also promise an inflation cap on rent rises, and to make three-year tenancies the norm. They equally state that they’ll legislate to ban letting agent fees for tenants – which seems a slightly odd statement considering this is already in the pipeline.

Liberal Democrat Party 2017 Housing Manifesto

In the same vein as the two major political parties, the Lib Dems, too, begin their 2017 Housing manifesto section with the (not-so) news that the ‘housing crisis in Britain has become an emergency’. Their figures for increasing the rate of housebuilding are to double the current level to 300,000 new homes a year.

Rather kindly, the Lib Dems have broken their housing pledge down into bullet points, which makes it rather easier to share verbatim:

We will:

  • Directly build homes to fill the gap left by the market, to reach our housebuilding target of 300,000 homes a year, through a government commissioning programme to build homes for sale and rent. We will ensure that half a million affordable, energy-efficient homes are built by the end of the parliament.
  • Create at least 10 new garden cities in England, providing tens of thousands of high-quality, zero-carbon homes, with gardens and shared green space, jobs, schools and public transport.
  • Set up a new government-backed British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank with a remit including providing long-term capital for major new settlements and helping attract finance for major housebuilding projects.
  • End the Voluntary Right to Buy pilots that sell off housing association homes and the associated high value asset levy.
  • Lift the borrowing cap on local authorities and increase the borrowing capacity of housing associations so that they can build council and social housing.
  • Scrap exemptions on smaller housing development schemes from their obligation to provide affordable homes, and strengthen the hand of local government to prevent large developers reneging on their commitments.
  • Require local plans to take into account at least 15 years of future housing need – focusing on long-term development and community needs.
  • Create a community right of appeal in cases where planning decisions go against the approved local plan.
  • Enable local authorities to: – Levy up to 200% council tax on second homes and ‘buy to leave empty’ investments from overseas. – Enforce housebuilding on unwanted public sector land. – Penalise excessive land-banking when builders with planning permission have failed to build after three years. – End the Right to Buy if they choose.
  • Help people who cannot afford a deposit by introducing a new Rent to Own model where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property, owning it outright after 30 years.
  • Improve renting by banning lettings fees for tenants, capping upfront deposits and increasing minimum standards in rented homes.
  • Help young people into the rental market by establishing a new Help to Rent scheme to provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time 62 Support Families and Communities 6 renters under 30.
  • Give British buyers a fair chance by stopping developers advertising homes abroad before they have been advertised in the UK.
  • Give tenants first refusal to buy the home they are renting from a landlord who decides to sell during the tenancy at the market rate according to an independent valuation.
  • Promote longer tenancies of three years or more with an inflation-linked annual rent increase built in, to give tenants security and limit rent hikes.
  • Improve protections against rogue landlords through mandatory licensing and allow access for tenants to the database of rogue landlords and property agents.
  • End the scandal of rough sleeping by increasing support for homelessness prevention and adequately funding age-appropriate emergency accommodation and supported housing, while ensuring that all local authorities have at least one provider of the Housing First model of provision for long-term, entrenched homeless people.

So that’s the top three parties covered. Clearly, there’s plenty to consider; lots of contrasts, but equally lots of crossover between opposing parties. Who’s getting your vote on 8th June? Actually, don’t answer that – no one wants to deal with another war in the Comments section on Facebook… there’s too many of those out there already.

What Makes The House Crowd Different?

What Makes The House Crowd Different?

Property crowdfunding is a fast growing industry within the investment and savings sector. Inspired by our model and our success as the first property crowdfunding platform in the world, many imitators have emerged to challenge the crown.

Yet, despite the increasingly competitive industry, we continue to be the best crowdfunding platform of all (officially!) So what’s the secret to our success?

Most people will tell you that the way to differentiate yourself within your market is simply to be different. But any old idiot can be different – you’ve got to back up your uniqueness with solid foundations.

We stand out from the crowd because we are expert at what we do and we do it with complete transparency. Investors appreciate the low minimum invest level, investment security is high, and the opportunities for diversification within the asset class are excellent.

Besides all that, we still have to provide a compelling reason for people to get behind us. And that is precisely what The House Crowd has done.

The First And Still The Best

We have always defined ourselves as original thought-leaders. Because we were the first property crowdfunding platform, it goes without saying that we know a good deal of everything there is to know about the industry – after all, we invented it. But, moreover, we are at the forefront when it comes to anticipating, identifying, and reacting to changing circumstances to ensure we meet investors’ needs.

Frazer: The Face of The House Crowd

Besides our obvious expertise, there is also a recognisable face at the forefront of The House Crowd as a brand. That face, of course, is Frazer. It is Frazer’s vision that gave birth to the property crowdfunding model, and his story is one that is as human as it is inspirational.

From his Manchester rave culture adolescence, to his career as a music lawyer, through to a range of entrepreneurial projects, and the eventual dawning of property crowdfunding, Frazer has lived a varied and vibrant life.

The hard work, skills, and knowledge it took him to get The House Crowd off the ground, legally permissible, and into the public eye are a testament to the power of labour and perseverance. To know that there is a man who has a lifelong passion for entrepreneurial spirit is an appealing and assuring concept for people searching for the right hands into which to trust their investment.

Hard work and skills may have been what got The House Crowd off the ground, but part of Frazer’s continued popularity is his honest and sometimes forthright way of communicating. He is a character who has always questioned the status quo, famously leaving his glamorous career in law after being told that ‘love is not a word lawyers use’ by his boss. Never afraid to swim against the tide, it’s both Frazer’s boldness and his intuition for what works that breed confidence from others.

By equal measure, he owns up to his investment mistakes; he shares and clearly articulates how he endeavours not to make the same mistake again. These are rare qualities in most leaders.

Swimming Against The Tide

It is Frazer’s questioning of the status quo that has fed the originality of The House Crowd’s manifesto.

The company has always been about democratising property investment, opening the doors to people from all walks of life. Regardless of how much or how little somebody has to invest, our policy has always been the same: we treat everyone with the same openness, attention, and we care for their money as if it were our own.

Our honesty and transparency differentiate us from the faceless competition, who despite adopting our innovative model, still slump through the dark ages when it comes to their attitude to investors. To us, our investors are all equal, and are welcomed in as though we were a family (if that’s not too trite an analogy).

These are the reasons we are different, and the reasons why we continue to lead the way in the property crowdfunding space. As we continue to grow and evolve our model with the changing shape of property in this era of uncertainty, we are adamant that we will never let go of these factors which make us so unique and special. We hope you will join us on the journey.

Residential v Commercial Property Investment

Residential v Commercial Property Investment

This is an excerpt from Chapter 6, ‘Residential versus Commercial Property Investment’, of Frazer’s upcoming book, The Alternative Guide To Property Investment. You can register your interest in pre-ordering the book by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post.

We have discussed the residential property investment sector at some length, but commercial property can be an excellent addition to a healthy investment portfolio if you are looking for consistent, steady yields alongside a decent level of growth.

Commercial real estate has shown long-term positive performance, with combined annual returns averaging around 9% depending on the area and type of property.

The steady and predictable cash stream potentially afforded by rental income from commercial property translates to possible protection against volatility in financial markets.

Here are some reasons why investors may find commercial property attractive:

  • Historically strong returns – With an average annual return of about 9% over a 20-year period commercial real estate has performed well historically.
  • Rental income from stable commercial properties means a potential steady and predictable cash stream (translating into possible protection and diversification during financial market volatility).
  • Beneficial taxation – When structured properly, commercial property can offer investors a number of tax benefits.
  • A hedge against inflation – A potentially important factor for your portfolio, since property normally benefits from inflation.
  • Ability to leverage your capital – As with residential property you can obtain mortgages and potentially multiply your ROCE (return on capital employed).
  • Diversification – There is no direct correlation with the stock market and you can further diversify within the asset class itself.

These are some of the different types of commercial property into which you can invest and spread your risk:

  • Office property (either prime or secondary);
  • Industrial property: Warehouse and manufacturing units; heavy manufacturing; light assembly; ‘flex’ warehouses (mixed industrial/office space); and bulk warehouses, like distribution centres.;
  • Retail: Individual shops,takeaways, shopping centres, etc.;
  • Multi-unit apartment buildings/HMOs: Although providing homes, these are treated as commercial premises;
  • Self-storage: Self-contained units rented to tenants for storage of material items, usually on a monthly basis;
  • Hotels: Bed and breakfast, small boutique hotels or big-name establishments.

However, property investors when they start investing seem to prefer residential, perhaps understandably, as it falls more easily within their knowledge base and comfort zone.

The philosophical difference between residential and commercial is that when you invest in residential property, you are essentially transacting with individuals – it is a much more personal transaction especially as people will be living in your property and making it their home.


To read more about why to invest in property, you can click below to register your interest in the book. Fill in your details, and once the book is released, we will send you more information.

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Capital Growth v Cash Flow

Capital Growth v Cash Flow

This is an excerpt from Chapter 5, ‘Capital Growth versus Cash Flow’ of Frazer’s upcoming book, The Alternative Guide To Property Investment. You can register your interest in pre-ordering the book by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post.

Capital growth is a very powerful concept. As Albert Einstein once said, compound capital growth is the eighth wonder of the world.

What compound growth means is that if an asset worth £100,000 increases in value by 10% a year it will only take eight years for that asset to be worth more than double its original value. In ten years it will be worth around £259,000. And that’s without leverage.

Imagine that you’re back in 1996. You have £16,000 to invest, but you’re not sure what to do with it. Your stockbroker tells you one thing, your financial adviser tells you another, and your bank manager – of course – reckons you should stick it in the bank for a rainy day.

Instead, you decide to use that £16,000 as a deposit on an £80,000 buy-to-let property in London (that was the average house price in London just 20 years ago).

Two decades on, the average London property is worth over £488,000.

That means, provided you covered your mortgage payments and costs with rental income, your £16,000 has turned into £408,000 profit. Now there may well have been various incidental costs to take into account but, I think it’s fair to say, you would still have done many times better than if you had put that money into a pension or kept it in the bank.

It’s not possible to make the benefits of property investment any clearer than that.

It is, in my opinion, far and away the best investment you can make. Imagine that property only did half as well as this over the next ten years. It would still be likely to produce several times the returns of any other asset class.

Because of the power of compound growth, many people think property is all about capital growth, and that aspect is certainly what helps make it an attractive investment. And the fact that you can leverage purchases and obtain, for example, an 80% LTV mortgage multiplies the rate at which your capital can grow at astonishing rates.

Nonetheless, many people have come unstuck by leveraging highly and speculating on capital growth. They have then found themselves in an unsustainable position having to subsidise mortgage payments as the rental income has not been sufficient to cover their financial outgoings on the property.

You may be able to support one property at £200 a month whilst you wait for it to increase in value, but how many more of those could you afford?

However, if all your properties at least ‘wash their face’ and produce a small profit from rental income, you can support as many of them as you can buy – and benefit from the capital growth in all of them.


To read more about why to invest in property, you can click below to register your interest in the book. Fill in your details, and once the book is released, we will send you more information.

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Establishing Your Own Investment Criteria

Establishing Your Own Investment Criteria

This is an excerpt from Chapter 4, ‘Establishing Your Own Investment Criteria’, of Frazer’s upcoming book, The Alternative Guide To Property Investment. You can register your interest in pre-ordering the book by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post.

We held a dinner for our top-20 investors recently and I think it’s fair to say that just about everybody had different reasons for investing and slightly different criteria for choosing what to invest in.

Before investing any money, you need to consider what you want to achieve. Do you want to sit back and let your investment grow in value (e.g. stamps or wine or a pension fund, if you still think that’s a good idea) or do you want to generate an income (e.g. shares or property)?

Or perhaps a mix of the two?

Do you solely want to provide for your retirement and reinvest any income generated or do you need to earn an immediate income from your investments?

Are you prepared to risk all your capital on the same sort of investment or do you want to make some ultra-safe investments and speculate with a certain portion of your money on riskier but potentially more lucrative investments?

These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself as the answers will help formulate your own investment criteria. If you have decided that you want to invest some of your capital into property, then the two most significant decisions you need to make are whether you want the emphasis to be on capital growth or cash flow and whether you want to make commercial or residential property investments.


To read more about establishing your own investment criteria, you can click below to register your interest in the book. Fill in your details, and once the book is released, we will send you more information.

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The House Crowd Reviews Show How Great We Really Are!

The House Crowd Reviews Show How Great We Really Are!

We already know that we’re the best property crowdfunding platform in the business. And so does the industry, if our recent Crowdfunding Platform of the Year award from Property Wire is anything to go by (it is). But what do our investors think? Well, The House Crowd reviews on TrustPilot from our investors are pretty positive as well!

We boast an ‘Excellent’ rating on TrustPilot, with 9.2 stars out of 10 overall from investors who’ve reviewed us. Scrolling down the page, we were thrilled to see five out of five from all reviewers, which gave us a real sense of pride. Among the top reviews featured, we are described as ‘absolutely amazing’, ‘helpful’, ‘one of the best online investment programs I have come across’, and ‘professional, courteous and slightly irreverent’. That sounds like us, alright!

Our Top The House Crowd Reviews

Just to save you clicking and scrolling around, we’ve saved some of the best snippets from our favourite The House Crowd reviews on TrustPilot for you to take a look at.


“I have invested for several years now (with a large amount of £££’s) and am VERY happy with the returns. Relatives who I have encouraged to join are also extremely happy.” – Marios Michael


“I have been using the house crowd now for over two years and have found no issues at all in my dealings with them. All contact has been professional, courteous and slightly irreverent, which I find to my taste in an otherwise dry area.” – Trevor


“We’ve been using THC for several years now, over a number of differing project types. Generally speaking THC provide an excellent service with good returns and thus far have fulfilled all of our expectations.” – Ron Stolle


“I really like the total transparency of the House Crowd operation. You have access to all the information about every project. The variety of projects on offer is quite amazing too. Returns may seem high at first glance but when you look at the careful research that has gone into each project, it is clear these returns are achievable.” – Phil Rigby


“THC offer the ability to spread investment risk and their management team do all the hard work whilst gaining significant improvements on the average returns from direct investment.

“THC are a friendly, well-managed company providing a first class service people interested in property investment. Crowdfunding is not just the future, it is now!” – Kevin Jarvis


“The House Crowd is an easy way of getting property exposure with a strong return profile for an all equity investment. Diversification is easier than direct BTL since you have other crowd members contributing too.” – James

We could go on (and on!) sharing these great The House Crowd reviews with you, but we think you get the picture. We’ve always known we offer outstanding service and investment options, but to have this fed back in such positive ways by our investors reminds us what a good job we are doing. As we continue to grow and offer more investment products, we’ll be sure to continue putting our investors first, and keeping up the volume of positive investment experiences for everyone who invests with us.

 

Why Property Is the Best Vehicle to Supplement Your Pension

Why Property Is the Best Vehicle to Supplement Your Pension

This is an excerpt from Chapter 3, ‘Why Property Is the Best Vehicle to Supplement Your Pension’ of Frazer’s upcoming book, The Alternative Guide To Property Investment. You can register your interest in pre-ordering the book by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post.

Research from Saga Investment Services (amongst various others that reached the same conclusions) has found that the UK’s over-50s population needs to double the number of pension contributions they are making, if they are to stand any chance of a decent income through their retirement.

The research found that the majority of those over-50s surveyed believed they’d need an average annual income of £15,200 to get them through their retirement (personally I cannot imagine trying to subsist on such an amount in my old age – especially given inflationary factors).

The people surveyed estimated that they could generate this from a pension pot of £143,830 on average. Their estimated figures fall shockingly short of reality.

A pension pot of this size would actually generate just £7,940 guaranteed income a year (for a healthy 65-year-old) for life. That’s nearly a 50% shortfall. Basically, they need double the size of their pension just to make ends meet.

To have a comfortable life, which respondents identified as being defined by holidays, dining out, socialising, and hobbies, it was calculated that they’d need at least £21,630 (clearly they are less profligate than me). That would require a pension pot of nearly £400,000 – double the respondents’ estimate of £194,000 (which would generate just £10,170 guaranteed income a year).

On their estimated required sum, their pension fund would be exhausted within 12 years.

Poor returns, excessive fees and inconsistent annuity rates: a pension sure ain’t what it used to be. It’s no surprise, then, that people are starting to look for alternative ways of generating money for their retirement. Research suggests that property investment is turning out to be twice as popular as any other form of investment with the over-50s.

The younger generation, too, is turning down traditional pension plans, focusing instead on property investments (and now crowdfunding as a means to access the asset class). As mentioned previously, the number of people choosing – or being forced – to rent, due to the difficulty of getting into the property market, or simply because it’s more convenient in many ways, is rising rapidly.

A pension also has the disadvantages of limited (and badly publicised) choice of annuity provider and the fact the money is inaccessible.

When it comes to cashing in, holders are often disappointed to find that they are unable to access their lump sum when they wish to without severe financial penalties. And despite recent changes, one can only access 25% of one’s pension pot without incurring punitive taxation.

Not only that, as far as I know, the benefits of a pension end when the holder dies. That means you could have saved £400,000 in your pension, purchased an annuity with that, at age 65, and receive £21,000 a year thereafter. But if you were to pass away within a few years your spouse and heirs would receive nothing. The pension company keeps everything.

Clearly, this is not the case if you buy a property, which can be inherited; though the Treasury will, no doubt, steal as much of it as they can. Did I say ‘steal’ – how outrageous, that I should accuse our esteemed government of ‘stealing’ money that has already had tax paid on it at least once before – in the form of income tax, stamp duty, tax on savings interest, dividend tax, etc.

I do apologise. Clearly, it’s perfectly fair for them to take whatever they feel like.

Whilst it is important to start saving for retirement as early in life as possible, the younger generations are waiting later and later before considering their retirement planning. This may be in part due to high living costs and stagnating real earnings amongst the young … or, perhaps, their preference for electronic gadgets, dining out, designer clothes and foreign holidays over prudent saving … Just saying!


To read more about supplementing your pension with property, you can click below to register your interest in the book. Fill in your details, and once the book is released, we will send you more information.

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How Much Diversification Is Sensible?

How Much Diversification Is Sensible?

This is an excerpt from Chapter Two, ‘How Much Diversification Is Sensible?’ of Frazer’s upcoming book, ‘The Alternative Guide To Property Investment‘. You can register your interest in pre-ordering the book by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post.

In the previous chapter, I mentioned that I go against traditional wisdom as I am not particularly convinced about diversification across different asset classes as one cannot possibly be knowledgeable about all of them and therefore must seek to rely on third-party advisers. If you have no time or inclination to look after your own money this is probably sage advice.

I accept that for most people there are good reasons to do so but, for me, I would point to the fact that one of the wealthiest people I have ever met invests all his money in property. But not just in any property, and not just in one particular area, but in one particular street (in central London). He won’t even consider buying properties on adjoining streets. As far as he is concerned, they are outside his area of expertise. Clearly, specialisation can have its advantages.

Therefore, I am not giving advice, just telling you what I personally think. The consensus of opinion about diversification may be generally sensible for most people but may not be right for everyone, especially for those who are experts in their field. That’s a matter for you to decide.

What I do think is sensible for most people is to diversify and spread your risk (within reason) so all your eggs are not in one basket.

And one reason I believe property crowdfunding is such a beneficial concept is that it allows you to spread whatever available capital you have over a number of different properties so, if a disaster befalls one, you don’t have all your money tied up in it and you still have others to fall back on.

Within the asset class ‘property’ itself, you could, if you wish, diversify your portfolio in a number of different ways. It could include traditional buy-to-let properties, new-build apartments, commercial investments, HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) and ‘fixer-uppers’.

Secured lending and development finance are other options that fall within the property investment umbrella, as you lend out sums to property developers and business owners who own property they can use as security.

Diversification also means a selection of risk profiles. Of course, you should take into account your personal circumstances and lifestyle requirements, as well as your own attitude to risk. Typically, higher risk investments come with the prospect of higher rewards, whilst a safer investment may yield lesser gains.

Buy-to-let has been the most popular option for property investment. Private renting has almost doubled in the period from 2003 to 2015, and in Manchester, it has almost quadrupled, from 6% to 20%.

This means, in theory, that the buy-to-let sector should offer great potential for investment over the coming years. However, as we shall learn later, the traditional way of purchasing single buy-to-let properties may no longer be the best way to capitalise upon this growing market. In fact, it may not be feasible at all for most individuals anymore.

The commercial property market, too, can be a good option.

Investing in commercial real estate can mean:

  • positive leverage (potentially increasing ROI (return on investment);
  • tax benefits (proper structuring can offer an array of benefits tied to interest, depreciation and so on);
  • more control (personal ownership equals control);
  • a hedge against inflation (such property tends to benefit long term from inflation);
  • cash flow and current income (rental income from stable commercial real estate means a potentially steady and predictable income stream);
  • historically strong returns (average annual return: 9.5% sustained over a 20-year period).

You can find out more about commercial property and how it compares with residential property investment later in this book.


To read more about diversification, you can click below to register your interest in the book. Fill in your details, and once the book is released, we will send you more information.

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The House Crowd Wins Property Wire Awards 2017 Crowdfunding Platform of the Year

The House Crowd Wins Property Wire Awards 2017 Crowdfunding Platform of the Year

Following last week’s news that we had been nominated for the Crowdfunding Platform of the Year in the first annual Property Wire Awards 2017, we are delighted to announce that we won!

Our Property Wire Awards 2017 Win!

As the first property crowdfunding platform in the world, offering diverse property investment products and increasing accessibility to the property investment space, the Global Property News service selected The House Crowd as the leading company in the property crowdfunding space.

We were presented with the award at the ceremony on Old Street, London, on Friday night, alongside many other industry leaders. We met a really interesting mix of people from the industry at large – some we knew already, and some new faces. It was a fantastic opportunity for us to find ourselves amongst such similarly forward-thinking property pioneers.

The awards were extremely competitive within each of the categories, which ranged from Best Buy to Let Mortgage Provider to Best Trade Association and many more in between. There was a real dominance of London-based companies up for nomination, so it was a real joy for us to promote the potential of the Northern Powerhouse.

Recognition For Our Work

This announcement comes just as we reach our fifth anniversary, and we are proud to be recognised as trailblazers in property crowdfunding at this point.

The award is also a great opportunity for us to share The House Crowd’s story to becoming the first in an industry now worth £700 million a year in the UK alone.

We have worked hard to provide an alternative means of investment for those who are increasingly finding themselves pushed out of the property market by legislative changes.

Over the last five years, we have evolved from buying £50,000 terraced houses to offering the large range of investment products we do now, from peer to peer-secured lending to property crowdfunding itself.

We are also introducing a specialist bridging finance service, along with the planned launch of HC Finance and HC Investments websites.

Frazer Fearnhead, our founder and CEO, said:

“We’re proud of what we’ve achieved over the past five years, and Property Wire recognising us as the best is testament to the team’s hard work.

“Despite having to fight through reams of red tape to make it happen, property crowdfunding is already worth £700 million a year in the UK with numerous other platforms having followed in our footsteps.”

Our Investment Director, David Roberts, has also added:

“We are a follower of Property Wire as a great source of property news. It is a pleasure to be recognised by these industry leaders for the work we are doing in the property crowdfunding space”.

Why Invest in Property At All?

Why Invest in Property At All?

This is an excerpt from Chapter One, ‘Why Invest In Property At All?’ of Frazer’s upcoming book, The Alternative Guide To Property Investment. You can register your interest in pre-ordering the book by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post.

Fact: almost everybody wants to be able to retire at some point and enjoy the later years of their lives in comfort.

If you think the state pension will allow you to do that, then, sorry, you are living in La La Land. The government will not look after you in your later years. It simply can’t afford to.

The maximum state pension in 2016/17 is £119.30 per week. Can you live comfortably on that? In fact, can you live on that at all?

It is imperative that you do something to supplement that. Your main choices are:

  • savings accounts
  • a private pension
  • shares
  • property

I will dealing with each of these briefly.

Savings Accounts

We are always being told that keeping your money in a bank account is safe and it’s guaranteed – at least up to £75,000. That is provided the government doesn’t also go bankrupt, which is not as ridiculous as it might sound; it would have happened here in the 1970s had the IMF not stepped in, and just take a look at Greece and Italy and Portugal and Spain … oh yes, and France, to see how vulnerable many governments are right now. I do not believe saving your money in a bank account is in any way a sensible manner to provide for your retirement.

The only thing that is guaranteed is that the value of that money is being eroded year on year by inflation, and given the current rates of interest payable the net value is actually decreasing. Even if you had a million pounds saved by the time you retired at, say, 2% interest, that would only provide you with £20,000 a year income – and that’s before tax.

Pensions

So, let’s look at private pensions…

The days of the final salary pension are long gone, and few, if any, private pensions have delivered what clients expected while some, it’s fair to say, have been outright disasters. The returns, whilst clearly considerably better than a savings account, are still negligible and the only people, in my opinion, who seem to really profit are the institutions that provide them.

We’ve seen pension fund after pension fund collapse, leaving thousands with substantial losses, executives ripping off their firms and employees for millions, and major holes appearing in the entire ‘safety-net’ structure. Robert Maxwell and the Mirror Group and British Home Stores are just two of a number of pension funds that spring to mind.

Please read Chapter 3 if you need convincing that the pension most people have is nowhere near enough to generate an annuity that will finance a comfortable retirement.

So whilst you definitely do need a vehicle to provide for your retirement, it definitely does not need to be an institutional or company pension.

Investing in Shares

Clearly, fortunes can be made in the stock market – if you know what you are doing. If you don’t, then picking the best tracker fund you can find would seem the most sensible option. I would not advocate against investing in the stock market but in my opinion, it is considerably more volatile than property and there are many more factors beyond your control that make it harder to invest in successfully.

Property

Of all the investment options available, I believe property is the one people most easily understand and, therefore, are most likely to be successful with.

I mean, let’s face it, even Goldman Sachs didn’t really understand what they were peddling in the noughties. The more complicated something is, the more likely it is that investors don’t really know what they are doing or what the risks are. They don’t even know what it is they don’t know, so how can they possibly evaluate the risks?


To read more about why to invest in property, you can click below to register your interest in the book. Fill in your details, and once the book is released, we will send you more information.

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