How Do I Diversify My Property Portfolio?

How Do I Diversify My Property Portfolio?

A diverse property portfolio is the absolute gold standard when it comes to a successful investment strategy. Cherry picking a healthy mix of investment types across the board, and taking into account your lifestyle requirements and risk profile, is key. You should also put in the time and effort to compare and contrast which investments are likely to generate the highest returns.

That’s just for starters. Let’s go into a bit more depth about what you need to know in order to create a fully diverse portfolio of property investments.

Why Should I Create A Diverse Property Portfolio?

It’s principally about not putting all your eggs in one basket. With diversity across your entire portfolio, you bolster yourself against any problems should anything come up to scupper any one investment in the portfolio.

What Criteria Should I Be Looking For?

Well, this is a subjective thing. In short, it depends what you’re looking for. There’s an array of factors to consider in order to nail down what exactly is going to be the right investment for you.

These include (but are not limited to) questions such as:

  • Are you looking for a short or long term investment?
  • Are you likely to need your money back quickly (i.e. how much liquidity do you need?)
  • Are you looking for income or capital growth?

What Options Are Available?

Again, depending on your criteria, you might consider:

  • The slow and steady traditional buy-to-let model
  • The fixed revenue of student developments (ensure that you’re able to exit easily, though!)
  • HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy) – a lucrative choice, but pretty management intensive

Alternatively, you could consider investing in:

  • Development finance
  • Hotel investments
  • Secured lending
  • Commercial property

Location, Location, Location

Another way to broaden the scope of your property portfolio is to diversify by location.

There is, however, a counterargument to this: whilst investing in property over several locations is a diverse-happy strategy, there’s a lot to be said for specialising in one or two particular areas. This is an option for those aiming to deepen their expertise in one area, and can also be argued to deliver better results.

That being said, when diversifying by location, here are some of the major factors to bear in mind:

  1. Promising Places

Look for towns and cities with projected increases in property prices. This can often be seen as a result of new employment opportunities being created by businesses opening or relocating to the area.

Tip: a term common in property investment circles is the “Waitrose” effect: price increases can sometimes be anticipated by the opening of a new Waitrose food market in the area.

  1. A Place In The Country

As the capacity for home working grows, more people are taking advantage of the chance to relocate to the countryside. Smaller villages in the outskirts of big cities, particularly those on good rail routes for commuters, are likely to grow in demand.


Both in the residential sales and rental markets, a key part of your research should definitely include knowing what is in high demand.

As the population of renters looks to overtake the number of homeowners, many investors are considering buy-to-let as a good option to add to their portfolio. Consider covering your bases with both buy-to-let and development projects for the sale market.

REITs and Crowdfunding

  • What is a REIT?

REIT stands for Real Estate Investment Trust. It’s a company that owns and operates income-producing real estate.

  • What is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunded property investment involves coming together with a group of other investors, each putting in a sum towards purchasing a property.

What’s the Difference?

With models like property crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, there are fewer potential outgoings and a lot less hassle than when investing with a REIT. Nonetheless, by virtue of the crowdfunding model itself, sharing the investment with many other investors, you lose the control that you have with a REIT investment.

With REITs, however, there are typically lower rates of return to be expected. This is due to higher expenses, such as maintenance costs and fees. These kind of portfolios can be much more complex to manage. REIT investments are generally a better bet for a long term investment, typically spanning 10 to 20 years, whereas with property crowdfunding and P2P secured lending, you’re looking at a much shorter term investment, from as little as 3 months. Returns in crowdfunding and P2P for property are potentially significantly higher than REIT investments – up to 12% p.a. on some platforms.

Even if you don’t have huge sums to invest, both REITs and property crowdfunding are potentially good options, allowing you to create a diverse property portfolio more affordably.

If, however, you are leaning towards leaving your investment with the experts, rather than managing your portfolio yourself, you should still be sure to keep an eye on market conditions. Knowing when it’s time to review the ratio of your portfolio, and spotting signs that an investment could lose its profitability (meaning you should make a hasty exit!), is vital.


Spreading your capital over a variety of investment types is, inarguably, the most sensible course of action. REITs and property crowdfunding are both good options if you wish to add property to your investment portfolio, but don’t want the job of managing a property yourself, or wish to diversify as far as you can within your affordability. Whatever path you choose, don’t forget: diversity is vital.

Why Foreign and Domestic Investors Love Manchester

It’s no secret that the Manchester property market is the centre of attention for property investors both here and abroad. In fact, it’s all across the news. Perhaps that’s part of what’s driving this attention: more and more investors are wising up to the possibility of great ROI in the heart of the Northern Powerhouse.

Money From Abroad Fuels Manchester Property Market

There is no signs that the flood of cash flowing into the Manchester property market, nor the city’s economy at large, is likely to slow any time soon. Manchester is now the largest economic area outside London: £56bn of gross value added. Germany alone is set to spend £200m in the city before the year is out, fuelled in no small part by the drop in the value of the pound against the euro.

Nonetheless, it’s not just Brexit that’s got Germany investing in Manchester. The Amazon distribution hub, a 280,000 square foot are at Manchester City Airport, was purchased for £35m by German investors Hansainvest, for instance.

So, why Manchester? Well, there’s all the rabid regeneration that’s transforming the city in so many ways. But it’s also the state of London’s property market.

Manchester’s Winning Property Prices

Knight Frank have recently released research findings demonstrating that London’s property prices are now so stupendously high, they’re starting to hit an affordability ceiling that threatens to smother the capital’s market altogether. As such, investors are looking elsewhere, and Manchester is where they’re feasting their eyes.

It’s a city that’s experiencing the strongest house price growth of any city in the UK. It’s been voted the most liveable city in the UK by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Scale. Its student population is the largest in the UK, with student accommodating offering excellent ROI.

Student Property in Manchester

Student property is one of the investments tipped to be unshaken by Brexit. Demand for purpose-built units for this demographic are in chronic undersupply, meaning any rental development of this kind will be snapped up without hesitation by student tenants. The King’s Court development on Hyde Road, for example, offers a huge 8% net income guaranteed over five years: no development risk (as it’s already developed), and immediate income up for grabs.

The Manchester Property Market Rules, OK?

We’ve covered the subject of the Manchester property market boom, and corresponding regeneration, almost weekly over the last few months. And believe us, it’s not just because of our vested interest in the city: this is simply news that’s completely dominating the property investment space.

Compounding evidence that Manchester is pretty much the best place to invest in the UK right now is everywhere, with property experts across the board extolling the virtues of the Northern Powerhouse, and its strong potential for excellent returns for those willing to place their money here.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms

There are a lot of terms unique to the investment world that will be new to those just embarking on building a property portfolio. That’s why we thought it would be very useful for you to have a thorough Glossary of Property Investment Terms to help you to thoroughly understand some of the finer points of investing. We hope you find it useful!

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd

A Shares 

A class of shares which have specific rights attached to them, as set out in a company’s articles of association.

Angel Investors

Investors who provide investment and other support to early-stage businesses. Traditionally angels are wealthy individuals who have a significant amount of entrepreneurial, industry or investment experience.

Angel Network (or Angel Syndicate)

A group of angel investors that pool together money and other resources to invest in, and provide support to, early-stage businesses.

Annualised Return

Average return each year over the minimum term, based on the total of rental income and estimated capital growth.

Find out more about Annualised Returns here.

Articles of Association

A company document that sets out its management and administrative structure.

The articles dictate the internal affairs of the company such as director and shareholder rights, the issue and transfer of shares, and the organisation of meetings.

Asset Class

A class of economic property that has similar characteristics. Listed shares, government bonds and real estate are all asset classes.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd

B Shares

A class of shares which have specific rights attached to them, as set out in the company’s articles of association.

Below Market Value (BMV)

Properties are sometimes sold at below the market value, meaning they are offered at lower prices than comparable properties.

Beneficial Shareholder / Owner

An investor who owns the economic value and other shareholder benefits attached to shares, such as dividends and tax reliefs, but the registered title to their shares is held with another person or entity often for administrative convenience.

Bridging Finance

Bridging loans are a short-term funding option. They are used to ‘bridge’ a gap between a debt coming due – primarily for property transactions – and the main line of credit becoming available. Alternatively, they can act as a short-term loan in pressing circumstances.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd

Capital Employed  

The sum of shareholders’ equity and debt liabilities; can be simplified as Total Assets – Current Liabilities.

Capital Growth

The increase in value of an asset or investment over time, measured on the basis of the current value of the asset or investment, in relation to the amount originally invested in it.

Convertible Equity

An equity investment where money is invested in a company in exchange for shares to be issued at a later date. The share issue is generally triggered by the company raising finance from other investors. In return for investing early, the convertible equity investors receive a discount on the price of the shares issued to the other investors.

Convertible Note

A debt investment where money is invested in a company with the expectation that the debt will “convert” into shares issued at a later date. The share issue is generally triggered by the company raising finance from other investors. Before the conversion, the investor is paid interest.


The funding of projects or ventures by raising money from a large number of people, usually online. The three main types of crowdfunding are equity, debt and rewards/donations.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd

Damp Proof Course (DPC)

A barrier through the structure by capillary action such as through a phenomenon known as rising damp.


Money owed by one person/company to another. The borrower has to repay the money at a later date and generally also has to pay interest.


A reduction in the ownership percentage of a share in a company caused by the issue of new shares.


An investment strategy that involves mixing the amount, values and kinds of investments within a portfolio to spread risk and minimise losses.


A dividend is a distribution of a portion of a company’s earnings, decided by the board of directors, to a class of its shareholders. Dividends can be issued as cash payments, as shares of stock, or other property.

Dividend Distribution

The distribution of a portion of a company’s profits to investors.

Drag-Along Right

A contractual obligation that allows majority shareholders to force minority shareholders to join in the sale of a company on the same terms, valuation and conditions of the majority shareholders.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd

Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)

A UK tax scheme offering income tax and capital gains tax reliefs to qualifying private investors who invest in eligible businesses.


Shares or other securities that represent an ownership interest in a company.

Equity Crowdfunding

A type of crowdfunding that enables multiple investors to a buy shares, or other equity interests, in a company, usually through an online process.


An event when investors may be able to cash in and sell their shares, such as an initial public offering (IPO) or trade sale.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd

FENSA Certificate

Documentary evidence that the installation work has been self-certified to comply with the Building Regulations

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The financial services regulatory body in the UK, formerly called the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

Fully Diluted

All the shares of a company in issue, plus all shares which are the subject of options or other contractual rights to be issued in the future (regardless of whether the right has vested).


An investment opportunity that seeks to raise money to be invested across multiple businesses. Fund campaigns are commonly used to invest in businesses participating in accelerator programmes and competition winners.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd

Gas Safety Certificate

By law, landlords must have all gas appliances serviced regularly, normally once a year, by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Gross Development Value (GDV)

The estimated value that a property, or new development, would fetch on the open market if it were to be sold in the current economic climate.

Gross Rate of Return

The total rate of return on an investment before deduction of any fees or expenses. The gross rate of return is quoted over a specific period of time, such as a month, quarter or year. It is often quoted as the rate of return on an investment in marketing materials.


The stage that a business is at when it has passed its ‘seed’ or initial stage and has established proof of concept and looking to grow.

Gross Yield

The yield on an investment before the deduction of taxes and expenses (such as management fees and maintenance costs). Gross yield is expressed in percentage terms. It is calculated as the annual return on an investment prior to taxes and expenses divided by the current price of the investment.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd

High Net Worth Investor (HNWI)

A classification used by the financial services industry to denote an individual, or a family, with high net worth. If you earn more than £100,000 a year or have net assets of more than £250,000, you may qualify as a High Net Worth Investor.

HMO (House in Multiple Occupation)

A house occupied by more than two qualifying persons, being persons who are not all members of the same family. A “qualifying person” is a person whose only or principal place of residence is the HMO.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd

Initial Public Offering (IPO)

The first time that a company’s shares are available for public purchase by means of a listing on a stock exchange. This process is also known as ’going public’ or ‘floating’.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd

Know Your Client (KYC)

The regulatory process that financial services firms and certain other businesses must perform to verify the identity of their customers to help prevent against money laundering and other financial crimes.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd

Loan to Value (LTV)

A term commonly used by banks and building societies to represent the ratio of the first mortgage lien as a percentage of the total appraised value of real property. For instance, if someone borrows £130,000 to purchase a house worth £150,000, the LTV ratio is £130,000 to £150,000 or £130,000/£150,000, or 87%. The remaining 13% represent the lender’s ‘haircut’, adding up to 100% and being covered from the borrower’s equity. The higher the LTV ratio then the riskier the loan is for a lender.

More on Loan to Value here

Local Housing Authority (LHA)

The main provider of social housing (or housing authorities) for people who cannot afford to buy their own homes. Local authority housing is allocated according to eligibility and need. Rents are based on the household’s ability to pay.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd

Net Profit

The actual profit after deducting expenses, such as management fees, letting fees, maintenance costs which are were not included in the calculation of gross profit, have been paid.

Net Yield

Net yield is everything after expenses. It takes into account all fees and expenses associated with owning a property. It is a far more accurate way of calculating actual yield. It is also much harder to calculate as most costs are variable.


A person or firm that holds assets, such as shares on behalf of another, enabling the nominee to handle complicated administrative matters.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd

Open Market Value (OMV)

The realistic price that could be achieved for a property if marketed for sale.


A right granted which gives the receiver an option, but not an obligation, to buy (or sell) shares in a company, or other securities, at an agreed price within a certain time frame.

Ordinary Shares  

Shares which represent normal equity ownership in a company. Ordinary shares generally entitle the owner to vote at shareholder meetings, receive dividends, and receive distributions on the winding up of a company, but do not carry preferential treatment.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd

Pre-Emption (Also called Anti-Dilution)

A contractual provision which requires the company to offer its shareholders the chance to purchase additional shares to maintain their percentage of equity in advance of further shares being issued.


A group of financial assets such as shares, property or bonds, held by one person or entity.

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

The name of a process by which electrical appliances are routinely checked for safety.


The period of time after an investment has been made in a company.

Preference Shares

A class of shares which have specific preferential rights attached to them, as set out in the company’s articles of association. Typically the preference will be a dividend paid in priority to other shareholders, or priority to distributions on the winding up of the company.

Professional Investor

A classification used by the financial services industry to denote an individual or family.

Property Yield  

A calculation to give an indication of annual returns based on the rental income against how much the property cost: Property Yield (%) = Rental Income/(Property purchase price + Refurbishment Budget).

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd

Registered Social Landlord (RSL)

Registered providers that own and manage social housing.

Return on Capital Employed (ROCE)

The return on capital employed is, considered by some, a better measurement than return on equity, because ROCE shows how well a company is using both its equity and debt to generate a return.

RICS Surveyor

Building surveyors, like all surveyors, inspect property or land. RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) is a professional body for chartered surveyors, which includes chartered building surveyors. RICS sets standards and guidance for surveyors and provides training and professional development opportunities for surveyors to comply with changing standards and legislation.


The potential for losing something of value. With equity investment the main risk to the investor is losing the money invested.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd

Secondary Market

A market where investors purchase shares from other investors rather than from the company that has issued the shares directly.

Shareholder Agreement

An agreement between a company’s shareholders detailing certain rights and obligations of the shareholders.


An ownership interest in a company which entitles the shareholder to certain rights, for example a share of profits or dividend payments from the company. Shares are also referred to as “stock”.

Sharia Compliant

Investments that comply with Islamic law and principles, eg. ethical investments with no borrowing where investors share in the profits and losses.

Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA)

The regulatory body for solicitors in England and Wales.

Sophisticated Investor

A type of investor who is deemed to have sufficient investing experience and knowledge to weigh the risks and merits of an investment opportunity. This category is for people who have invested in shares in more than one unlisted company (including via The House Crowd) in the last two years or have been a member of a business angel syndicate or network for at least six months including The House Crowd’s Investor group.

Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)

A Company set up for a particular purpose. In the case of The House Crowd, SPV’s are set up for the purpose of purchasing/owning a property on behalf of the investors.

Subscription Agreement  

An agreement between a company and investors purchasing shares in the company. It sets out the terms of the share purchase and details certain rights and obligations of the company and the investors as shareholders.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd

Tag-Along Rights

A contractual obligation which gives minority shareholders the right, but not the obligation, to join a transaction where shares are sold by majority shareholders, on the same terms, valuation and conditions of the majority shareholders.

Term Sheet  

A non-binding agreement addressing the basic terms and conditions under which an investment will be made in a business. A term sheet often serves as a template to develop more detailed legal investment documentation.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd


An asset or property that is free and clear of any encumbrances such as creditor claims or liens. An unencumbered asset is much easier to sell or transfer than one with an encumbrance. Examples of typical unencumbered assets are a house without any mortgage or other lien on it, a car where the automobile loan has been paid off or stocks purchased in a cash account, rather than a margin account.

Glossary of Property Investment Terms | The House Crowd


The monetary worth of a business or property as determined by considering both qualitative and quantitative factors.

We hope you found this useful. If you have any questions, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’re always here to help you with anything you might want to talk about, so do drop us a line!


Investing in Wilmslow

The town of Wilmslow is situated within the prestigious Golden Triangle of Cheshire towns and villages. Along with Prestbury, Alderley Edge, Hale, Altrincham and Bowdon, properties in Wilmslow are highly sought after, and some of the highest priced in the UK, outside of London.

Other than being a favourite of footballers and celebrities, there are many other factors that make Wilmslow a prime property hotspot. The main factor is its ideal location, but the benefits of living in Wilmslow are numerous.

Wilmslow Transport Network

Wilmslow is situated just three miles from Manchester Airport, and ten miles south of Manchester city centre. This makes it an excellent location for commuters to the city, and for those working at the airport, which is currently undergoing massive regeneration, creating many new jobs.

Of course, Wilmslow’s closeness to Manchester Airport is also attractive to those who travel internationally for work and pleasure.

Transport will play a major role to anybody considering Wilmslow to set up home. Most commuters into the city rely on public transport, particularly rail services. Wilmslow railway station is situated 12 miles south of Manchester Piccadilly station, on the Crewe to Manchester line, as little as 15 minutes away.

Manchester airport, too, is just minutes away by train. Bus routes are well served for easy access to surrounding towns and villages, however there is little point taking the bus into the city when the rail service is so quick.

Its proximity to the vibrant city of Manchester is a major draw, but Wilmslow is also set within stunning English countryside, offering residents the best of both worlds: combined city and country life.

Countryside Living in Wilmslow

There are beautiful countryside walks to be enjoyed all along the River Bollin, running from the centre of Wilmslow itself to Twinnies Bridge. There’s the chance to wander through picturesque parkland, footpaths and woodland trails, home to a profusion of rare flora and fauna.

Wilmslow is also home to a wonderful Artisan Market, selling local and ethically-sourced produce. This runs on every third Saturday of the month in the heart of town.

Education in Wilmslow

Wilmslow is well-served in terms of schools, both at primary and secondary level. The private sector, in particular, thrives in the area, which is little surprise given the affluence of the area. Nonetheless, the state sector is extremely well catered for, with many schools gaining ‘Very Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ OFSTED reports.

Wilmslow Healthcare

For healthcare, there’s the Wilmslow Health Centre as the local GP practice, which also serves nearby Handforth, as well as Alderley Edge and Prestbury. Those looking for private medical treatment look to 52 Alderley Road, a modern private hospital right in the main road out of town.

Wilmslow Rental Market

Data gathered in July 2016 finds that a one-bedroom property in Wilmslow rents for an average of £929 a month, whilst two beds average £1,072.

Wilmslow Rental Market (July 2016) | The House Crowd

Rental properties appeal strongly to the young professional market, those mainly between 26 and 34, often known as Generation Rent. These tenants look for high quality, contemporary apartments within walking distance of Wilmslow town proper, as well as that all-important railway station.

Who Buys In Wilmslow?

Other than the high end of the market, where houses sell for often in excess of £10,000,000, Wilmslow is also popular with young professionals and families. The most highly sought-after commodity in Wilmslow is the three bed semi, with many going for well over the asking price.

Wilmslow Property Market (July 2016) | The House Crowd

However, with increasing employment opportunities in Wilmslow, the town is now attracting a steady stream of young professionals, both single adults and couples, who are drawn to the town, not just for all the above reasons, but also to work with some of the town’s desirable employers.

For those from this demographic wishing to buy, the typical price for two bed apartments is generally around the £250,000 mark.

Employment in Wilmslow

Alderley Edge BioHub

One of the biggest employers currently emerging in Wilmslow is the BioHub at Alderley Park. The hub, created by the BioCity Group, exists to support the growth of successful life science companies. 86,000sq ft of state-of-the-art, world-class labs and commercial office space, filled with emerging pharmaceutical, biotech and life science companies is, of course, a major space for employment of professionals, not just from the sciences, but also office and support staff, Directors, and so on.

Handforth Dean Business Park and Retail Park

Adjacent to the A34 (Wilmslow Road), Handforth Dean is one of the newest office developments in South Manchester. Just across from the Business Park is the highly anticipated Handforth Dean Retail Park, which is on course to open its doors imminently. As well as providing leisure and shopping facilities that local residents are pretty excited about, the shopping centre will also, of course, create a swathe of new jobs.

Imperium Games

Just off Church Street is the international games development studio, Cloud Imperium. Employing a range of professionals in different roles: animation, art, audio, design, engineering, marketing, production, QA, support and UI, it’s a very exciting place for young professionals to work.

TT Games

Another gaming company, TT Games is situated in Emerson Court on the Alderley Road. Its titles are principally for younger gamers, and feature a lot of the Lego brand games. Again, there are many opportunities for digital artists, animators and programmers here at this high profile, BAFTA-winning company.


An award-winning IT recruitment specialist, Venturi is another high profile employer in Wilmslow, on both sides. Recruiting IT specialists to lucrative roles in the local area, as well as within its in-house staff, Venturi is another string to the Wilmslow employment opportunities bow.

As the influx of residents into Manchester and Cheshire continues to grow, as a result of vast regeneration across the Northern Powerhouse, we expect to see demand grow even higher across the region.

Whether you’re planning to invest in Wilmslow’s rental sector, or as a development project, it’s absolutely a seller’s market in Wilmslow right now. Having a property in the town is a pretty exciting investment at the moment: it’s a great time to invest in Wilmslow.

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Property News Round-up 22/9/16

Property News All The Latest Updates


Hi guys and welcome to our September property news round-up. As usual, we will be taking a look at the latest goings-on in the UK property market with five short stories. Today, we start our property news round-up by looking at the new housing minister’s views on ‘build to rent’ to focusing on the amount of rent that millennials will spend before they are 30. Missed our previous blog entries? If so, feel free to catch up here.

New Housing Minister Backs Build To Rent


Housing minister Gavin Barwell backed the build to rent sector in his first speech since being appointed.

His first speech took place at Property Week’s RESI 2016 conference in Newport and a key takeaway was Mr. Barwell stressing to delegates that there is a need to build more homes of every single type and not focus on one single tenure.

Barwell, who is also the minister for London, said that a growing number of people and families are now preferring to rent, so the build to rent sector will therefore play an important role in providing for changing attitudes.

The recently elected housing minister concluded that in the UK we need to have a thriving private rented sector in place.

He praised Essential Living’s Vantage Point scheme in Archway, north London, the office conversion which has 118 homes has opened for lettings. The housing minister said this was a much needed start for the sector.


Manchester Property Prices Continued To Grow in August

Manchester Property

Reeds Rains and Your Move, released their monthly house price index a few weeks ago, and recorded an increase in both prices and transactions for August.

According to their research, the average house price in the north west had risen to £178,423, up from £178,089 in July.

Other commentators mentioned that the UK housing market is settling down from June’s Brexit vote and confidence has emerged from the Bank of England cutting interest rates.

Transactions across the country were also up, rising by 2.6 pc on the previous month, with over 70,000 sales going through.


Manchester and Liverpool Join Forces For Global Property Expo

Liverpool Property

Manchester and Liverpool will join forces to sell the region to a global audience of investors in October.

Both will send a combined delegation to London for MIPIM UK (the UK’s largest property and investment expo).

Filippo Rean, director of MIPIM UK organiser Reed MIDEM’s real estate division told the Liverpool Echo : Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds provide incredible investment opportunities and their presence at MIPIM UK will provide investors with a unique opportunity to see what these northern giants have to offer.

Mr. Rean added : “As the largest event for real estate in the country, we offer incredible opportunities for investors, developers and representatives from city regions across the UK.”


UK Property Remains The Highest Yielding Investment

Property Money

Despite the uncertainties of the Brexit vote, investors are choosing to invest in property, including investing in sectors such build to rent.

So why have these investors chosen property? The main reason is that they can outperform the likes of government bonds and stocks and shares.

There are still quite a few investors out there who remain very cautious about the ramifications of life outside of the European Union, however, there are many investors out there who feel confident that investing property in the current climate is an opportunity.

Quite a few European based investors have now started to take an interest due to the fall of the pound. The North West in particular has become even more attractive because of this reason, and investors are hungry to invest into a very appetising region.

If this is a topic that interests you we recommend reading our “Is Property Investment Really Better Than Pensions?” blog post and also “Why The UK Rental Market Is Surging“.


Millennials Will Spend £53,000 on Rent Before Age of 30


A combination of falling homeownership levels and the rising cost of renting meant that people born between 1981 and 2000 would pay £53,000 in rent before their 30th birthday (Guardian, July 2016)

The Resolution Foundation mentioned in The Guardian article that this country’s housing crisis is one of the most visible examples of inequality between the generations.

Our very own research from last October found that a quarter of under 30’s say they need someone to die before they can afford to buy a property.

In addition, 36% of those surveyed said they felt they’d have to rent forever.

So while young people are spending more of their hard earned income on rent and finding it harder to save for a deposit, the baby boomer generation are the most likely to be landlords and benefit from the strong rental market, according to The Resolution Foundation.

However, it has been highlighted that the older generations are just as concerned about Generation Y’s struggle to own their home, and support for housebuilding is growing across a variety of age groups.

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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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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, 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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The Alternative Finance Marketplace: How is Real Estate Shaping Up?

We’ve been eagerly poring through NESTA’s 2015 UK Alternative Finance Industry Report, ‘Pushing Boundaries’, since it was published in February this year. The report offers a fascinating, in-depth look at all areas of the alternative finance industry, including – crucially – the Real Estate Alternative Finance (crowdfunding and Real Estate P2P lending) market.

If you like data, you’ll love it. But if you’d prefer something a bit more readable, you’ll be pleased to hear that we’ve put together our own guide to the state of the alternative finance industry, keeping the emphasis squarely on Real Estate Alternative Finance, of course.

Things have changed since NESTA published its report, ‘The Rise of Future Finance’ in 2013. At that time, the alternative finance industry was worth £939m.  In 2015, NESTA reported its value at £3.2bn. The market is on course to surpass the £5bn mark in 2016.

Real Estate Alternative Finance - QUOTE 1

It’s not just financially that the alternative finance sector has grown. It has evolved taxonomically, too.

In the 2013 report, NESTA identified a range of distinct funding models operating in the sector. Two years later, 28% of alternative finance platforms surveyed reported that they were operating a ‘mixed’ or ‘other’ business model, which does not fit into the existing taxonomy.

Real Estate Alternative Finance: Crowdfunding and P2P Lending Tops the Tables

The 2013 report has no mention whatsoever of the terms ‘real estate’ or ‘housing’. And yet, by 2015, NESTA’s report segments data on Real Estate Alternative Finance into its own category, such is the proportion of the industry it covers.

In 2015, Real Estate and Housing was the most popular sector for the alternative finance market.

  1. Real Estate and Housing
  2. Technology
  3. Manufacturing and Engineering
  4. Food and Drink
  5. Retail and Wholesale
  6. Leisure and Hospitality
  7. Community and Social Enterprise
  8. Finance
  9. Construction
  10. Education and Research

Combined debt and equity-based funding for Real Estate Alternative Finance amounted to nearly £700m in 2015, with P2P business lending in Real Estate (for mortgages and property development) taking the lion’s share: £609m – 41% of the total volume of P2P business loans in 2015.

The market volume of equity-based crowdfunding is much more modest, coming in at £87m for 2015, still a very significant sum.


P2P Business Lending in Real Estate

In 2015, P2P real estate lending financed over 600 commercial and residential developments, mostly by small to medium sized property developers.

Of that hearty £609m funding sum for 2015, Real Estate P2P lending saw increased growth throughout the year:

Q1 → £120.78m

Q2 → £146.81m

Q3 → £152.96m

Q4 → £188.12m

Perhaps some of this extraordinary success has something to do with institutional funding in the P2P Real Estate lending sector? Institutional funding was around 25% in 2015, and up to 75% on some platforms.

P2P business lending for Real Estate comprises a range of financing models and products. There are the short term bridging finance loans, which run for a 12 to 18 month period. Them, there are the longer term (3-5 years) commercial and residential mortgages, and construction/development debt finance.

In 2015, the average size of P2P loans for Real Estate came in at £522,333, slightly under 2014’s £662,425 average. The figure for 2015 was more in line with the average UK house price than the previous year. This may be due to the growing use of P2P lending in funding residential and commercial mortgages, rather than the larger developments focused on in 2014.


Just a quick clarification point here: regulatory constraints mean you cannot use P2P Real Estate lending for your own residential mortgage.

It’s also not a done deal to apply for a loan for a Real Estate development: in 2015, 27.5% of loan applications in P2P Real Estate lending were accepted.

The average number of lenders required to fund a typical P2P Real Estate loan? 490.


Equity-Based Crowdfunding for Real Estate

This model enables investors to acquire ownership of a property asset, via the purchase of shares, either of a single property, or a number of properties as part of a portfolio.


In 2015, equity-based crowdfunding for Real Estate raised a total of £87m, for 174 development projects. This is how the annual quarters looked:

Q1 → £13.09m

Q2 → £23.16m

Q3 → £35.70m

Q4 → £14.63m

Equity-based crowdfunding for Real Estate had a great year in 2015. The record for fastest funding for a development project was set: £843,100 was raised in just 10 minutes and 43 seconds, from a total of 319 investors!


Unlike P2P Real Estate lending, with equity-based crowdfunding, there is scarcely any institutional involvement. Of the 10,626 funders participating in Real Estate crowdfunding, NESTA found that only 3% were categorised as institutional investors by the platform. This contrasts with the 77% of sophisticated or high net worth investors in the model.

Yes, equity based crowdfunded property investment is much more grass roots in many ways than the P2P Real Estate sector. The recent inclination to lower minimum investment thresholds in this area, with the aim of enticing more retail investors attests to this in a very clear way.

Whilst 27.5% of loan applications in P2P Real Estate lending were accepted in 2015, in equity-based crowdfunding for Real Estate, platform acceptance rate was much lower. Only 2.9% of deals made it onto the platform, on average.

However, deal success rate for those who did make it onto the platform was pretty high: 87%. There are also far fewer investors required for an equity deal – NESTA reports an average of 150 per deal. The average deal size for 2015 in the crowdfunding sector for property was fairly high, too: £820,042.

Real Estate Alternative Finance and Manchester

Of the 58 alternative finance platforms surveyed by NESTA for their report, 62% were – unsurprisingly – London-based. However, a significant 5.2% hailed from our home city of Manchester.

Manchester is also one of a number of regional and local authorities that have either partnered with online alternative finance platforms to fund local SMEs, or have used alternative finance methods to fund community projects.

NESTA’s data shows that the most active regions receiving funds from Real Estate crowdfunding were London (of course), the North East, and the North West. The North West was also found to be one of the top 3 regions actually providing funds.


This isn’t terribly surprising given the growing trend for emphasising Real Estate crowdfunding within areas in need of regeneration. Manchester has, as we know, come a very long way. The economy of the North West has been transformed over the last few years, in no small part due to the heavy investment in regeneration projects, in the form of development funding from both the public and private sectors.

It is these regeneration areas that are being identified as some of the potentially best investment opportunities. Not only do they cost investors less than prime locations, but these areas are also the ones that will experience the highest growth over coming years.


Real Estate Alternative Finance and The Government

Direct investment from the government has helped support the growth of both peer-to-peer and crowdfunding markets. In 2015, £60m was lent by the British Business Bank via P2P lending platforms, specifically for SMEs.

Tax incentives have also been applied, including the EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) and SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme). These schemes have been widely used, by a large proportion of investors using alternative funding platforms, and have been especially popular within the equity-based crowdfunding market.

The launch of the IFISA (Innovative Finance ISA) in April 2016 is also an exciting development in the alternative finance sector.

In particular, P2P business lending platforms for Real Estate expect the IFISA to generate a whopping 51.9% growth in transactional volume this year, whilst equity-based crowdfunding platforms for Real Estate predict 30.31% growth as a result of the IFISA.


The figures for Real Estate Alternative Finance outmatch those elsewhere in the alternative finance market. P2P consumer lenders, for example, expect a 26% increase in total volume as a result of the IFISA. It’s clear that Real Estate lending stands to benefit the most.

In anticipation of the influx of retail investors expected by the onset of the IFISA, some P2P Real Estate lending platforms are even lowering their investment thresholds.

What is the IFISA?

At its most basic, the Innovative Finance ISA allows UK investors to lend money using P2P lending platforms to invest up to 100% of their £15,240 annual ISA allowance, and to receive any interest and capital gains tax-free. You can find out more here.

Institutional Investment in Real Estate Alternative Finance

Catching the scent of a good thing, institutional investors are also muscling in on the peer-to-peer real estate lending market, as they are across the alternative finance industry.

It is estimated, based on platform reporting, that in the UK in 2015, 1,031 institutional funders were at the bottom of financing loans and equity deals in alternative finance.


45% of all alternative finance platforms reported institutional involvement in 2015. In 2014, this was 28%, and in 2013, just 11%.

For P2P business lending, in 2015 26% of total funding was attributable to institutional funding. In peer-to-peer Real Estate lending specifically, a total of 25% institutional funding was reported, with significant increase between the 3rd and 4th quarters of the year, in particular:

Q1 → 22%

Q2 → 22%

Q3 → 23%

Q4 → 31%

By contrast, however, in equity-based crowdfunding, 2015 saw just 8% of funding coming from institutions.

With institutional funding growing in the alternative finance market, as well as the influx of more high net worth investors, there is some discussion about whether the disruptive force of the alternative finance market is at risk of being stemmed.

Banking institutions have found themselves burdened with heavy regulatory compliance, cumbersome legacy systems and bureaucratic complexity. Since the debacle at the end of the last decade, the general populous has been hungry for new alternatives to the traditional financial system. Confidence has been lost, and – at the retail end of the investment spectrum at least – making one’s savings grow within the received systems has less potential for gains than what’s promised by alternative finance.

Alternative finance has become a key player in the development of a whole new generation of financial products. Along with a range of other FinTech solutions to saving, banking and investment, this revolutionary rumble has got the banks concerned.

It’s no wonder that, as such a disruptive movement grows, it finds itself on the precipice of being co-opted into the corporate world. But all the time that interest rates on savings accounts remain shockingly low, and first-time buyers view getting on the property ladder as likely as a winning Euromillions ticket, the prospect of a less suffocating alternative for growing money will continue to be thoroughly desirable.

And, focusing on Real Estate specifically, research conducted by Crowdstacker found that 44% of retail investors would like to increase their exposure to the UK property market, not only owning their own home, but also by investing through P2P lenders, like The House Crowd. Investor reluctance was found to centre around the time consuming nature and costs of property management, as well as affordability. The alternative finance model of crowdfunded property investment and P2P lending in Real Estate removes those factors from the equation.

2015 also saw the emergence of self-managed, platform-owned listed investment trusts, funds and vehicles: a sure sign that platforms are preparing to challenge the fund management space.

And as the alternative finance world continues to evolve, we are also seeing the emergence of a number of independent online aggregators, such as Informed Funding, FinPoint and ABF. These are rising up to provide additional channels and services for connecting business fundraisers to alternative finance platforms.

That being said, corporate interjection into the alternative finance space should not be considered a negative. It is this involvement that is allowing the industry to grow and evolve.

A number of P2P consumer lending platforms have struck high profile partnership deals with some big-name corporates.


Corporate partnerships have been witnessed between alternative finance platforms and large brands such as Virgin, Amazon, Uber and Sage. As NESTA puts it, these partnerships are “fusing the traditional corporate world with the disruptive models of alternative finance”.

It is these partnerships that will aid in increasing public awareness of the alternative finance sector, but not only this. Corporate partnerships will also attract high quality borrowers, reducing default rates on P2P loans, and also offers the potential for data gathering, which will enhance the industry’s credit scoring capabilities, and inform risk management.

The increasing involvement of high net worth investors, along with institutional funding and corporate partnerships is what is allowing alternative finance to push boundaries, blur definitions, and limit the dangers of orthodoxy: it is a catalyst for rapid evolution.


The extraordinary growth of the industry that we have witnessed over the last few years has begun to level out.

In 2015, the UK’s alternative finance industry facilitated investments, loans and donations totalling £3.2bn. In 2014, this figure was £1.74bn – a YoY growth rate of 83.91%, which is not to be sniffed at. But when you compare this to the 161% growth between 2013 and 2014, it looks positively small.


In 2014, 24 new alternative finance platforms began trading. This was down to 14 in 2015. Fewer new entrants are joining the market, whilst existing platforms continue to increase their total volumes at a steady rate.

Up until now, the industry appears to have been actively pushing its boundaries, both in its evolution, and in its rate of growth. Whilst the figures continue to be staggeringly impressive – with the market on course for a £5bn year in 2016 – plateauing figures are a good sign that the industry is maturing.

Alternative finance is coming of age with intelligence and dignity. It is listening to influential voices from big corporates, accepting helping hands where they are offered, and maintaining its grass roots persona. Most of all, however, it’s making money, not just for a few, but for a large body of investors all along the wealth spectrum. In Real Estate, it’s helping to regenerate run-down neighbourhoods, keeping a stagnant housing market moving, improving living standards across the board.


In short, alternative finance may have been a disruptive teenager, but it’s growing up to be a real force for good in the middle of a blighted financial landscape. The future of finance is looking promising.


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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.”

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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.


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.


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.


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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