Buy To Let Obstacles Fail to Deter Investors

There have been a lot of buy to let obstacles this year. Hikes in stamp duty, reductions in tax relief, tightening of mortgage lending criteria, and, of course, Brexit. And yet, landlords have pushed back, undeterred.

Investors Undeterred By Buy To Let Obstacles

Industry figures released last week show that, rather than being put off by these buy to let obstacles, landlords swept back into the market with gusto in September. Connells Survey & Valuation have released figures also showing a strong and successful September, with buy-to-let valuations rising 24% on August’s figures. Rightmove, too, have revealed a 30% jump in buy-to-let enquiries since May.

Another surprising statistic: in the nine months of 2016, to end of September, more has been lent to landlords than over the same period in 2015. Buy-to-let valuations over 2016 are 0.4% up on 2015.

New rental listings, according to analysis by Rightmove, in the third quarter, were 6% higher than in 2015. Anticipated drop-offs in investor activity affecting tenant choices proved to be unfounded.

From London to the North West

Even in the heady London property market, there was a year-on-year increase in rental listings of 15% over Q1-3 of 2016. As such, these high stock levels on the market led to a drop in asking rents in Q3, down 0.7% on Q2, staying below £2,000 a month. Of course, up in the North West where things are weathering the Brexit storm best, during the same period, rents went up 2%.

In the run up to the changes in stamp duty in April, there was an inevitable rush to close on property purchases in the first quarter of the year. As such, there was a significant drop-off come April, though this may well be down to many property purchases being hastened through before April’s changes hit.

Since then, things have really bounced back. One feature of the recovery seems to be a trend for investors knocking sellers down on asking prices to take into account those stamp duty charges.

Planning Pays Off

For those investors who have factored in those tax and policy changes to their financial planning, there are still strong returns on the cards in the property market. Especially when compared to the dismal performance of savings, bonds and equities, the long term ongoing shortage of social housing and a dearth of house building, is making property an increasingly attractive investment option.

Alistair Hargreaves, from John Charcol mortgage brokers, says:

“I can’t see Government rescinding the tax changes they’ve announced and I don’t see the Bank of England making it any easier for lenders. But that said, the flipside is that lenders are having to innovate to get business and there are still lots of competitive options available for landlords.”

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In addition, Mr. Charcol mentioned that despite tighter lending criteria, there are some innovative buy-to-let mortgage options available. Moreover, he recommended that in most cases landlords should consider longer term fixed rates or lifetime variables which remove some of the uncertainty for their finances.

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Is Property Investment Really Better Than Pensions?

Bank of England Chief Economist : “Property is better than Pensions” (and our view on property investment in Manchester as an alternative)

A couple of weeks ago, the Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane claimed that property is a better investment for retirement than a pension.

Haldane believes that property investment is a better bet for retirement planning than a pension. “It ought to be pension but it’s almost certainly property,” he told one newspaper.

However, former pensions minister Ros Altmann mentioned that Mr. Haldane’s views were “divorced from reality” and it was “irresponsible” to suggest people should rely on property rather than pensions.

Haldane has admitted to the media that he is moderately financially literate and has admitted that pensions to him at times seem relatively confusing.

Other commentators in the financial sector also disagree with Haldane’s recent comments. Many have pointed out that Mr Haldane earns a basic salary of more than £180,000 a year, and it is believed that his accumulated pension pot that will pay him £84,000 a year when he retires from having a long tenure with the Bank of England.

In contrast, wealth manager company Charles Stanley stressed that many people underestimate how income can be made from a household.

For example, if a property is worth £500,000 and the owner(s) downsizes to a £250,000 property, they can release £250,000 that can go towards their retirement.

Mr Haldane is not alone when he admits he struggles with Britain’s “complicated” pensions system, we believe that as well as having a pension, investment is also key.

Property Investment in the North West

We are a passionate bunch here at The House Crowd, especially when it comes to investing in our beloved North West.

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Unlike the confusion about the country’s pension system, when it comes to investing in geographical areas of the UK, the north west remains robust despite the recent Bexit vote.

Commercial property consultancy firm Lambert Smith Hampton’s quarterly UK Investment Transactions shows that despite expectations that investment activity would drastically slow down in Q2 in the run up to the referendum, there was a 42 per cent uplift to £501m compared with the same period in the previous year of £353m. (MEN, September, 2016).

In addition, their research reveals that investors have now turned their attention to defensive assets to counter the volatility in the current market.

Moreover, the level of economic uncertainty still looms, however due to recent low interest rates and an attractive exchange rate means that investors are hungry to invest into a very appetising region.

It’s not only domestic investors that have been drawn to the Northern Powerhouse city. Last month research indicated that Manchester has one of the highest proportions of foreign property investors in the UK, while the city has also been recently described as a ‘magnet for investors’ post-Brexit.

During these uncertain times, we’ve heard many say post-Brexit, that they don’t want to take the risk profile that they did beforehand and that’s why they have looked to the north for an alternative, many have also looked at specialist property due to the fact it tends to be less risky and slightly more defensive.

The likes of student housing, hotels and health centres had become “more institutional, liquid sectors” due to their less cyclical nature and long leases as mentioned by Mike Sales, head of TH Real Estate in a recent Reuters article on UK property post-Brexit.

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To sum it up, whether you agree or disagree with the Bank of England’s chief economist views on property investment is better than a pension or not, one thing is clear that an alternative is needed, the likes of property crowdfunding can be used a vehicle for obtaining relatively good returns with property yields in the north west at around 6-7%.

In addition, as Mr. Haldane put it in a recent article : “As long as we continue not to build anything like as many houses in this country as we need to meet demand, we will see what we’ve had for the better part of a generation, which is house prices relentlessly heading north.”

For more info on our investments and properties click here for more info.

H&M Distribution Unit Opens in Cheshire

Here at The House Crowd, we are always extolling the virtues of our beloved North West. Our part of the country is seeing an influx of regeneration and development not seen since the Industrial Revolution, and it’s got everyone very excited.

We love playing a role (albeit a small one) in making the North West of England the thriving hub of business and creativity that it’s becoming. That’s why we centre on this part of the country for the focus of our developments, creating a new wave of beautiful homes and thriving communities, which will go hand in hand with our vision for a bright future for the region. And this is a vision which a whole swathe of residential property developers, as well as big companies, share.

The All-New H&M Distribution Unit Arrives!

As a shining example of this, we are pleased to share the news that world-leading fashion retailer, H&M, has recently leased a large (105,757 sq ft) unit in mid-Cheshire.

H&M has come to the Winsford Industrial Estate, via Custodian REIT. Situated ten miles from junctions 18 and 19 of the M6, H&M joins other big companies, Iveco, Henkel and Jiffy Packaging, who all occupy units on the site. REIT paid £5.55million for the unit, and has leased the property to H&M until June 2025. The rent is currently £423,000 per year, which reflects a net initial yield of 7.1%, and an expected reversionary yield of around 8.5%.

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The Managing Director of Custodian Capital, the discretionary investment manager, Richard Shepherd-Ross, has described the unit as “modern and well-located, as well as noting that the unit has been recently refurbished, and the location includes around 1.8 acres of potential expansion land, which may be useful for the brand’s future requirements.

As if any more proof was needed that the North West is becoming the UK’s leading location for industrial and retail growth, this is it. Bringing such a world-renowned brand to our part of the country speaks volumes of the potential large companies are recognising in the area. With such companies bringing integral factions of their business to the area, the obvious result is an influx of new jobs. And with new employees comes, of course, the need for suitable homes.

The transport network in the North West is currently excellent, and the ongoing plans for substantial development of public transport in the region will make it even easier for employees to reach those jobs.

Just another reason why investment in property in the North West is an increasingly smart investment. It’s also the principal region that will almost certainly withstand the shock to the property market caused by Brexit, unlike London, whose bubble is looking set to burst at any time.

Of course, property investment is never a sure thing, but at The House Crowd, we could not be more confident of the consistent predictable returns available in the North West. And with our simple, transparent investments suitable for most types of investor, we are proud to be a part of the crowdfunding phenomenon that is democratising the property market at such a crucial time.

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Property News Round-up 8/6/16

Property News All The Latest Updates


Hi guys and welcome to another property news round-up this week we start off by focusing on the EU referendum and look at whether house prices will go down if we have a Brexit vote. We end our round-up in France for the Euros and take a look at the winners and losers of the tournament if it was based on property. Missed our last property news round-up? If so, catch up here.


Will Property Prices Go Down If There’s Brexit?

Property News Brexit

With less than three weeks to go until we cast our votes at our local polling stations on whether we should leave or stay in the European Union, one question that stands out in the property industry is whether property prices will go down if we leave.

So will it? Well, not exactly. Recent stats from National Statistics indicate that house prices are still rising fast. They increased at a rate of 9 per cent a year in the year to March 2016.Prices are predicted to increase by roughly a further 10 per cent by the end of 2018.

In addition the treasury have mentioned that the Brexit would bring about an increase in the general cost of borrowing across the economy. This, in turn, would crush demand for housing and lead to fewer transactions. (The Independent, June 2016). This would therefore have a negative effect on price growth. Some analysts have even said that leaving the EU would also have a negative effect on foreign investment – this causes problems for the top end of property investments in London and the ramifications would lead to reduced investments.

But we all want cheaper homes right? Some have argued that we should welcome lower prices because that will help make homes more affordable, especially for first time buyers. Pro-Brexit Tory Lead of the House of Commons Chris Grayling, has tried to expand on this topic, and mentioned that staying in Europe will make it even harder for young people to buy a house due to immigration from the Continent which, he claims, is driving up domestic demand for housing (as mentioned in a recent article by The Independent).


London Property : Prices Rise 432% In Two Decades

Property News London Property

Property prices per square metre have risen by 432 per cent in Greater London over the past two decades. This compares to a national average increase of 251 per cent, or £2,216 per square mile according to data that was conducted by Halifax.

In addition, Land Registry data indicates Greater London has gone past the £600,000 milestone for the first time.

Moreover, property investment firm London Central Portfolio [LCP] have said that this new London average price (£600,076 to be precise) is 14 per cent higher than a year ago. This has been linked to low mortgage rates and the falling cost of stamp duty on properties costing less than £937,000.


Survey Claims Student BTL Investment Due For Major Expansion

Property News - HMO

Research from Mistoria Group found that one in 10 student property landlords say their HMOs enable them to offset the new tax rules and remain profitable, while a further 50 per cent do not believe any other asset class offers the same yields and return on investment as student property. (Letting Agent Today, June 2016)

The Mistoria Group’s report which was based on a survey of 500 landlords last month – reveals that 35 per cent of student landlords purchased HMO properties in the first quarter of this year to beat the new stamp duty rise, moreover, a further 43 per cent of landlords plan to acquire between two and three new student properties in the next 18 months.

Student accommodation has been the strongest growing investment property market in the UK and the north west has attracted many investors. For example, a HMO that houses four students, can be purchased for just £160,000.

Want know more about HMOs? Check out our handy infographic.


The North-West Has UK’s Highest Property Yields

Property News North West

According to research from LendInvest, the north-west of England produces the best average rental yields over the past five years. In addition, it is estimated that investors could achieve yields some 200% higher with property outside of the capital.

Manchester and Liverpool were top with regards to yields, Manchester producing yields of 6.02% whilst Liverpool saw yields of 5.15% respectively.

Manchester has Europe’s largest student population and a graduation retention rate of 58%, demand for rental accommodation within the northern city continues to outpace supply and continues to attract a wealth of investors.

Interested in the Northern Powerhouse city? Check out our Manchester guides for more info, (North and Central).


Euro 16 : Winners & Losers Of The Property Championship

Property News - Euro 16

Property prices have changed a lot since the last the Euros in Poland and Ukraine.

Just like the property market in England, in Europe there is also a north-south divide.

Turkey, Iceland, Sweden, and Ireland had the biggest rises, though not all for the same reasons.

The Turks win the property championship with a 65.6% increase, Istanbul has helped The Crescent Stars in the tournament as there is burgeoning young population who are new to housing investment and eager to buy in the city that stretches across two continents.

Other successful nations such as the Republic of Ireland, benefited from a booming economy, with GDP expanding 7.8% in 2015 thanks to huge capital investments from abroad. Moving further north, Iceland has enjoyed a nice recovery since the 2008 financial crisis, with demand for high-end properties since 2013.

The Swede’s property boom was down to negative interest rates, many in the Scandinavian country are concerned that high household debt and low-interest rates could lead to a crash.

The home nations also saw property prices increase. As mentioned previously about London property, The average house price in the capital passed £600,000 mark.

Host nation France and one of the favourites to win the tournament, has experienced negative property price growth between 2012 and 2016. This could be inferred to a decrease in household income and stricter mortgage conditions.

See how other European countries did at the Euro 16 property championship below.

Property News Euro 16 Property

Image Source : Yahoo


What Are Your Thoughts?

Which of our chosen property stories has interested you the most? We would 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.

In the meantime if you want to know more about Property Crowdfunding do register for our Information Pack which will tell you all about it. 

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Property News Round-up 27/1/16

Property News  All The Latest Updates

Hi guys and welcome to our fortnightly property news edition, today we look at an array of news items from the Manchester property boom to leaving you with a quiz!


Manchester Property Boom Map

Manchester Property Map

Student and property enthusiast Ed Howe has put together an interactive map of Manchester which shows all the projects that are taking place in the city to demonstrate the clusters of development activity.

The Newcastle University student is currently studying for a masters in city planning and hails from the Salford area.

His colour coded map illustrates the areas where proposed buildings have been granted for construction. In addition, the map also highlights masterplan areas and transport schemes.

Howe stated: “I think Manchester is pretty special at the moment, as a city we’re starting to attract a lot of investment and cranes are beginning to bounce up onto the skyline once again, constructing skyline-altering schemes.” (Place North West, January 2016).

The masters degree student also mentions that it can be quite difficult to imagine, or remember, all the various developments and that his map makes the city’s regeneration and property boom accessible to the people who live and work in Manchester.

You can view Ed’s interactive map here and read the rest of Place North West’s article here.

Image Source : Place North West

The North West of England is the most lucrative region in the UK for private rented sector

manchester property

The North West of England is the most lucrative region in the UK for private rented sector landlords with Manchester and Liverpool coming out top for rental yields. (Property Investor News, January 2016)

LendInvest’s recent quarterly report also indicates that Cardiff, Coventry and Oldham come next, followed closely by Sunderland, Blackburn and Durham.

The fintech company’s report which analyses changes in trends in rental yields, capital gains and landlords’ total roi, also shows that London and the South East still championing house price growth.

In the report it shows that all of the top 15 performing postcode areas for capital gains are located in London and surroundings areas. Inner London however, sits in 18th place for rental yields but still comes up on top for capital gains.

LendInvest’s CEO Christian Faes mentioned in Property Investor News that there could be some weakening in Londons’s dominance of capital gains tables if house price growth does soften slightly as forecast, and as new buy to let stamp duty hikes take effect.


Buy-To-Let Landlords Storm UK Housing Market

BTL Landlords

A landlord industry body has claimed that there is currently a rush to purchase buy-to-let properties before a stamp duty hike arrives in the Spring.

ARLA’s (The Association of Residential Letting Agents) managing director David Cox stated in This is Money that ‘Buy-to-let landlords are determined to complete purchases before the changes come into force in April are storming the UK housing market, meaning the lull we’d usually see is less significant.

He also mentioned in the This is Money article that with supply, demand and the number of agents reporting rent increases all declining in December, this could well be the calm before the buy-to-let storm.

In addition he also stated that this period of easing in rents could soon end, with new rules cutting the number of properties available to let.

Many in the property industry have mentioned that after April it will be very likely to see the number of buy-to-let properties on the market begin to decrease, and the ramifications will most certainly have a detrimental effect on renters across the UK.

You can read more on the buy-to-let story here.


Brexit poses ‘serious threat’ to UK property investment

Brexit Property

A REFERENDUM vote to leave the European Union would pose a serious challenge for the UK property market, according to new research. (Yorkshire Post, January 2016)

A recent poll that was conducted by a group of property experts revealed that 65 per cent, believe that a Brexit would have a negative impact on investment in UK property.

What was particularly interesting to see it that only 10% of those who were surveyed stated that they would consider relocating their business to another EU country if the UK did leave the EU.

As The Yorkshire Post mentions, survey participants also highlighted their concerns about the housing shortage, rising construction costs and the prospect of higher interest rates, in addition to the property industry skills shortage and planning reforms.

A property industry expert stressed that we want certainty, regardless of the in or out EU debate. He uses the Scottish Referendum example of how many occupiers and investors delayed their decision-making due to having uncertainties.

Image Source : Al Jazeera

Quiz Time! What is all the property in the world worth?


What is all the property in the world worth?

A $11,000,000,000,000
B $217,000,000,000,000
C $550,000,000,000,000

Poll Maker

What Are Your Thoughts?

Which of our chosen property stories has interested you the most? We would 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.

In the meantime if you want to know more about Property Crowdfunding do register for our Information Pack which will tell you all about it. 

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