HMOs: Targeting Young Professionals in Shared Accommodation

Specialist commercial lender, Shawbrook Bank, has released a report highlighting HMO Investment Growth as a result of the increasing popularity of shared accommodation.

Young professionals, as you may already be aware, are focusing more on the rental sector. Of course, this is partially down to high house prices. However, the report notes that this demographic are sticking to the rental sector, and shared accommodation in particular, due to the capacity for higher levels of disposable income.

A further survey undertaken by Spareroom.co.uk, which studied 10,000 tenants living in shared accommodation, found over 70% of participants to be under the age of 30, with over 50% identifying as ‘single’.

The combined factors of high house prices and desirability of higher disposable income is compounded by the importance of social life to this group. The Millennial generation is one where friends and fun are key to life satisfaction. It’s no wonder then that living with a group of friends is the accommodation choice for young professionals and recent graduates.

HMO Investment Growth Fuels Landlord Interest

From the property investor’s point of view, HMOs, therefore, are becoming an increasingly popular choice of investment. Compared to other buy-to-let investments, HMOs yield an average of 10% per annum. This compares favourably compared with the 6-7% rental yield to be expected from standard buy-to-lets and blocks of flats on a single freehold title.

With HMO Investment Growth fast coming under the radar of landlords, competition is stiff. As such, investors seeking to cash in on these high rental yields are increasingly finding ways to set their property apart from the rest.

Higher spec HMO properties are springing up, particularly in the popular urban centres favoured by shared accommodation-loving young professionals. Included wifi, flat screen TVs in communal areas of the property, high quality fixtures and fittings, and other features perceived as appealing to their desired tenants, are outlays investors are prepared to make in order to reel in those 10% yields.

Shawbrook’s report concludes with these words:

“Demand for this asset class is on a consistent upward trend… with the supply/demand challenges across the UK housing landscape, and the resulting importance of the Private Rented Sector, HMO property is and will remain an essential and affordable source”.

That being said, local authorities are quickly catching on. Licensing schemes for HMOs are being considered and implemented in some areas, which will limit the number of such properties available in particular districts. As such, anyone considering HMO investment will need to look into this before deciding on their purchase.

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Millennials and The FinTech Revolution

Millennials are ten times more likely to use peer to peer lending sites than their parents’ generation.

It’s no surprise, really, considering that this is a generation reared on technology from day one. The Millennial is also big on the convenience involved in transacting online, and as a result of witnessing the financial crash of 2008 first hand, are significantly more sceptical of traditional banking and investment.

The Financial Life of the Millennial Investor

This is also a generation that thrives on independence, or a sense of it anyway. Perhaps that’s partly a result of the lack of control the Millennial feels over their financial status.

Whilst the typical Millennial is confident about their prospects for professional and financial success in the future, when it comes to working out how to bridge the gap between their current financial situation and the one they’re aiming for, they get stuck.

They are acutely aware of their need to buckle down and make positive decisions for their financial future, and their mistrust of existing financial institutions leads them in the direction of new innovations.

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Casting aside the old financial institutions that they see as outmoded at best, and corrupt at worst, the Millennial generation is crafting a new financial landscape, taking its lessons from the failures of the old models, reinjecting democracy, and merging it with technology.

The result is a great new hybrid, fresh in its infancy, with a big future ahead of it. FinTech is born.

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Millennial P2P investors are starting out on sites like Funding Circle, Indiegogo and KickStarter, investing small amounts in new innovations and businesses. Similarly, we at The House Crowd have noticed a considerable rise in interest in the sector.

For example, according to innovation charity, Nesta, in 2015 the alternative finance market grew to £3.2 billion, whilst equity crowdfunding now makes up around 16% of all seed and venture-stage equity investment in the UK. Millennials extending their newfound thirst for investment to the property sector just seems like a logical progression.

Millennials and The Property Ladder

Our survey, back in October 2015, reported that nearly a quarter of Millennials think they will have to wait for a member of their family to die before they can afford to buy property. Many more may not even have that to (cynically-speaking) look forward to.

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36% of respondents said that they felt they’d be renting forever, with no sign of a property purchase looking likely anywhere on the horizon. It’s a sad state of affairs, that’s for sure. But is it a certainty?

Given that Millennials have already caught the scent of the benefits of investment through their interest in other P2P lending opportunities, moving beyond conventional routes to getting on the property ladder, such as via property crowdfunding, could be a popular move.

However, there are some differences between the P2P lending sites they’re used to, and the higher stakes of property crowdfunding.

Whilst an investor on Kickstarter can back a project for a handful of coins, it’s going to be at least £1,000 to put money into a property crowdfunding campaign. Mind you, when you put that against the £33,000 average for a deposit on a first home (£91,409 in Greater London), it’s a no-brainer.

In other words, you may not be able to raise that whopping deposit, but property crowdfunding offers the chance to enter the property ladder, albeit at an oblique angle.

Is Crowdfunded Property Investment The Answer?

For the Millennial with a bit of liquid floating around, but not enough to buy the house of their dreams just yet, the chance to invest in property (without all the awkwardness of mortgage lenders and banks) certainly beats sticking your spare cash in a boring old ISA and only earning 1.5% on it.

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A £1,000 investment may seem like small fry to the more sophisticated investor, for the younger Millennials just coming of age in the era of FinTech, it’s a step in a braver direction.

Research from the US indicates that Millennials are demonstrating much higher levels of caution when it comes to risk, so property crowdfunding actually offers a safe haven for them, allowing them to spread their investments, and thus, their risk.

The majority still equate risk with the idea of permanent loss, and considering what the Millennial generation has seen go down in the recent financial meltdown, you can hardly blame them. But for those prepared to weather that risk, potential returns through property crowdfunding are certainly turning heads amongst the younger generation.

 

Are you a Millennial just starting out with p2p and property crowdfunding? If you are, and even if you’re not, we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave us a comment on our Facebook and Google Plus pages. If you prefer to tweet us, tweet @TheHouseCrowd.

 

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