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Brexit: What Can UK Property Investors Expect on January 31st 2020

Brexit: What Can UK Property Investors Expect On January 31st 2020

The long “Brexit dip” in the London property market appears to have bottomed out ahead of a possible spring revival. While the economy is still languishing, the current weak pound could actually make the UK property market more appealing to foreign investors, as their money will go further.

Assuming the European Parliament also gives the green light, the UK will formally leave the EU on 31 January with a withdrawal deal – and it will then go into a transition period that is scheduled to end on 31 December 2020, during this period the UK will effectively remain in the EU’s customs union and single market.
The UK Property Market has been held back over the last 12-18 months due to the uncertainty of Brexit and latterly the election. Now both of these questions are settled it is likely there will be a bit of a Brexit bounce in activity at the start of 2020. As a result, we expect more people to put properties up for sale and more buyers coming into the market.
Estate agent Savills has said it is benefiting from a “Boris bounce” that has driven an increase in UK house sales since the December general election.
Looking to the year ahead, increased political stability in the UK should maintain improved sentiment in real estate markets. Nevertheless, some caution may remain until the full impact of Brexit is better understood.
The UK property market is looking increasingly attractive to foreign investors thanks to the country’s current weak currency, with high-net-worth individuals from across the world looking to snap up some Brexit bargains.
It is still too early to predict what impact Brexit will have on property values. A weakening of the appeal of UK investment could drive prices down or a lack of certainty could drive up interest.

In years gone many international buyers never look past London, but since 2016 other key UK locations have become increasingly popular option for foreign investors looking for value that just isn’t available in London.

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
The February Budget will no doubt affect the market, especially if there are reforms for first-time buyers, however, it’s largely expected that confidence will somewhat return, and house prices will increase.
Whilst there are concerns about the impact of Brexit on the U.K property market, it would seem that for the most part, it’s only a decelerated market from a domestic perspective. Foreign investors are not put off and are instead seeking areas in the UK that secure investments with the greatest possible yield.

For regular updates on Brexit and investing in UK buy to let hotspots, follow Surrenden Invest on social media.

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How will a No-Deal Brexit effect UK Property Investment? Are There Any Positives

How Will a No Deal Brexit Effect UK Property Investment? Are There Any Positives.

Let’s assume that the UK and EU cannot agree on the future relationship and the divorce is messy.

Regardless of your position on the debate, it seems inevitable that such a scenario would cause a degree of volatility to both the economy and the property market.
Whilst some in the Brexit camp will be quick to refer to previous negative house price predictions never coming to fruition, this time we would have categorically left the EU.
In other words, we would be entering unchartered territory and housing would be one of the first industries to feel the effects.
There’s little question that an uncompromising no-deal political rhetoric would result in Sterling’s devaluation, the result could be a potential rise in inflation.

“A no-deal Brexit is definitely going to be a challenge for the economy which is why the government is putting together so much preparation, should it come to that. And we’re very clearly focused as a government that we want to get a deal.” 

Amber Rudd, Secretary of State, Department of Work and Pensions.

But are there any positives for the UK housing market from a no-deal Brexit?

Despite concerns over Brexit and reports of falling house prices in July, average property prices are forecast to increase by 1.5% over the next three months. August is set to see prices rise by 3.2% and although this is expected to drop to 1.4% in September, annual growth will be up 3.1% according to the forecast – the most significant annual increase in house prices since last November.
While many areas are expected to see property prices climb in the three months to October, with rises of anywhere between 0.8% in Scotland and 7% in the south-east of England, other parts of the UK may see modest slumps – although taking into account the level of uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the outlook is still positive.
Scrapping stamp duty for downsizers could be a cost-effective way to stimulate activity throughout the market, freeing up family homes and enabling chains of transactions at relatively little cost.
Furthermore, many home buyers may be keen to complete before the 31 October deadline and this surge in transactions could also stir up the housing market.
Potential positives of a no-deal Brexit
  • All of the uncertainty could mean that we’re in for a buyers’ market.
  • Should prices drop, first-time buyers may have the opportunity they have been looking for, particularly if interest rates stay low and the Help to Buy scheme continues. However, one of the consequences of no-deal could be that the mortgage lenders are forced to tighten their purse strings.
  • A weaker Sterling value could turn the UK into an off-shore investor’s delight – particularly as the country will continue to be recognised as safe, transparent destination.
  • Combined with recent announcements to further cut corporation tax, widen the threshold on higher rate income tax and reform stamp duty rates to pre-2007 levels, investment activity in certain sectors may be able to stimulate the property market as a whole.
Although it certainly wouldn’t be plain sailing and many in the Leave camp may feel dissatisfied, this is probably the best outcome.
Furthermore, many home buyers may be keen to complete before the 31 October deadline and this surge in transactions could also stir up the housing market.

Ultimately, a good deal is all in the details – but clarity in any shape may at least give the economy some breathing space and a sense of comfort about where things are heading. As a result there will arguably be a renewed sense of confidence across the Country in the housing market.

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest

For regular updates on Brexit and investing in UK buy to let hotspots, follow Surrenden Invest on social media.

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Manchester buy to let market to thrive as Brexit deadline draws closer

Manchester buy to let market to thrive as Brexit deadline draws closer

2018 was an outstanding year for Manchester’s commercial property market which retained the number one position of office take up across the Big Six Regional Cities (Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester).

With the new office space take up predominantly from large companies relocating to the Manchester area, a trend which has continued to grow since 2018. Resultantly the city has seen a massive surge in job creation.
In 2018, 1.75 million sqft of office space was transacted in Manchester across 314 deals, up by 54% on the 10-year average. 2018 top deals included:
This trend continues throughout the 2019 with recent a recent deal (June) by The Hut Group, which took up 280,000sqft and British Telecommunication lined up for over 200,000sqft office space in Manchester centre in Q3 2019.
Since 2015, the city’s population has grown by nearly 6%, according to Manchester City Council. An impressive 65% of graduates of universities in Manchester stay in the city after graduating. Additionally, 36% of people from Manchester who studied elsewhere returned home after graduating. Also many young professionals choose Manchester to seek employment as the city offers rich and diverse opportunities across all sectors.
This has resulted in high demand for residential accommodation in Manchester. The city is undergoing rapid change and growing at a rate of around 2,000 homes per year. This is to house Manchester’s rapidly growing population, which is expected to increase from 530,300 in 2016 to 625,000 by 2025. As the demand for homes continues to rise house prices are expected to go up by 57% by the end of 2028.
This is creating an excellent opportunity for buy-to-let investors looking to address the city’s housing under-supply backlog, with some estimates showing the need for as many as 40,000 additional homes. Manchester’s growth and emerging status as a global city provides all the ingredients to ensure the city remains brexit-proof and continues to grow even through political and economic uncertainty. Brexit negotiations seem to make very little impact, on the property market as overseas investment, mainly from Asia and the Far East reaching the highest level this year.

“With a growing population of young professionals and students, we have identified the ever increasing need for accommodation in areas of Manchester with good transport links, relatively affordable rents and amenities on the doorstep. These areas offer potential for long term demand and continued growth in values. The city has so much to offer. Ideally located, continuously outperforming the wider UK property market, delivering healthy returns for investors and attracting more and more professionals, it is clear to see that Manchester is perfect for prime city centre living to live, work and invest.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
Located just 10 minutes away from the city centre, the contemporary Middlewood Plaza development with pricing starting from £159,980 has been designed to suit the needs of urban professionals working in both Manchester and nearby Salford. Consisting of stylish apartments, townhouses and duplexes, and located in the popular Salford area, Middlewood Plaza is the ideal investment property for those looking to be a part of North West England’s bright future.

For regular updates on investing in Manchester buy to let hotspots such as Middlewood Plaza, follow Surrenden Invest on social media.

Growth location focus: Manchester

Growth location focus: Manchester

Manchester is the UK’s media hub, with MediaCityUK in the Salford area of the city acting as a magnet for creative talent, as well as the ideal incubator environment for new creative and digital start-ups.

As an eminently desirable urban location, Manchester is experiencing rapid population growth. The city’s 2018 population of 553,500 people is expected to grow to 631,500 by 2041 based on current trends – an increase of 14.1% according to the ONS.

“One reason that Manchester is such a key growth location is the city’s unique combination of economic opportunity and superb urban lifestyle. This blended offering led The Economist to crown Manchester as the UK’s most liveable city in its 2018 Global Liveability Index.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
The Greater Manchester urban area accounts for 40% of total GVA in the North West, making the city the focal point for the entire region. According to Savills, that region will lead the UK in terms of house price growth over the next five years, achieving compound growth of 21.6% by 2023. 2020 in particular looks to be an exciting year based on the Savills projections, with the North West tipped to enjoy house price growth of 6.0% over the course of the year.
Capitalising on this population growth is the Middlewood Corridor located in between Manchester and Salford, The Middlewood Corridor is the largest of three regeneration corridors (with over £1 bn of regeneration planned) that make up an ambitious renewal programme for Manchester and Salford. It is being built around existing retail parks, with regeneration work running from 2015 to 2030.
Middlewood Plaza is located in the heart of the Middlewood Corridor, marking the start of a new era for Manchester’s residential sector and those who invest in it. The development is set to capitalise on the enormous economic potential of the Middlewood Corridor Regeneration Zone, as well as benefit from the host of amenities that the completed district will provide. With prices starting from £157,281 and only 10% payable on exchange, this could be the development that gets you on the Manchester property market.

For regular updates on investing in Manchester buy to let hotspots such as Middlewood Plaza, follow Surrenden Invest on social media.

Buy-to-let Borrowing for an Ageing UK Population

Buy-to-let Borrowing for an Ageing UK Population

Traditionally borrowing gets harder as you get older, but it is now getting easier to secure a buy-to-let mortgage when you’re over 60. This doesn’t mean over 60s can’t get a mortgage. But lenders might impose an age limit for taking out the mortgage, plus a maximum age for when the mortgage term will need to end.

When it comes to buy-to-let, retired borrowers may have previously found it difficult to secure a mortgage to purchase a buy-to-let property. Lenders were reluctant to offer them finance, particularly if they were still in debt in their retirement.
With around 1,000 mortgage deals available for terms of up to 40 years, which means a buy to let borrower aged 45 years old can easily expect to have a mortgage on a private rented home for 45 years. This seems to be working as the latest buy to let mortgage data from lender trade body UK Finance reveals landlord remortgages are outnumbering loans to buy new homes to let by nearly three to one. Borrowing to buy a new property to rent dropped by 7.7 per cent to 4,800 for the 12 months to the end of February 2019. Remortgages were up 2.1 per cent with 14,400 loans agreed over the same term.

“While theoretically age should not be as big a concern for Buy to Let lenders as for a residential property, the reality is that it is still a factor and many borrowers do face upper age limits. When it comes to BTL mortgages, repayments aren’t usually covered by pension savings or work salary as with residentials. Instead, affordability will usually be determined by the expected rental income from tenants (alongside the usual factors such as loan to value and other individual circumstances).”

Online Mortgage Advisor
Buy-to-let lenders are encouraging borrowers to stay in the market well into retirement as they lift age limits on mortgages. Figures from consumer group Which? suggest two out of three of the 2,057 deals available to landlords have a maximum age limit of at least 85 years old. Some go farther – with 9 per cent offering mortgages to borrowers up to 90 years old and a fifth without any age limit at all.
Age limits might still be a factor, but when it comes to determining whether a buy-to-let investment is affordable or not, many lenders will focus more on the rental cover than the age of the borrower. As long as borrowers can demonstrate that the monthly rent payable on the property is enough to cover mortgage repayments by between 125% and 145%, the investment will be determined as affordable.
With the population living longer, people are still wanting or needing to borrow money for a multitude of reasons. Now lenders aren’t standing in the way as the number of buy-to-let products available on the market is at its highest level since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2007, with many of these products will be available to landlords requiring finance, regardless of their age.

For regular updates on buy-to-let investment opportunities, be sure to follow the Surrenden Invest team on social media.

London House Prices increase as Boris Johnson moves forward with stamp duty tax reform

London House Prices increase as Boris Johnson moves forward with stamp duty tax reform

As we look towards the October Brexit dead line, what is the current state of the UK property market and what effect has Boris Johnson had in the small time he has been prime minster.

Before Boris Johnson became the new PM, he outlined his plans for an emergency budget which would significantly cut stamp duty and potentially reignite a stumbling property market. As Brexit, economic uncertainty and fulfilling policy pledges play heavily on his mind, overhauling SDLT will undoubtedly be the easiest part of Johnson’s role as PM. In his quest to revive the property market, Boris pledged to overhaul the current SDLT thresholds by scrapping SDLT on properties worth less than £500,000. Currently, only properties priced under £125,000 on all current property owners or a £300,000 threshold for first-time buyers (FTBs) are immune from SDLT. The aim to stimulate the more expensive sections of the property market by reversing duty increases on homes valued over £1.5 million by reducing the 12% duty to 7%.

The Current Market Conditions

  • Average house prices saw an annual rise of 1.2% (to April 2019 Gov.UK House Price Index)
  • Highest level of year-on-year growth in followed by Liverpool (4.9%), Manchester (4.1%) and Birmingham (4.0%).
  • According to the same dataset, London saw a 0% change in house prices. (Hometrack UK Cities House Price Index)
  • Despite the ongoing Brexit-induced pessimism, the latest Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) report stated that there has been an increase in buyer enquiries after declines over the first half of 2019. 12-month expectations are indicating continued growth in sales volumes and prices.
Nevertheless, affluent home buyers pushed the number of deals in central London over £5 million up 12% compared to a year ago, while the number of deals under £2 million rose 16%, according to LonRes. With Boris Johnson beating rival, Jeremy Hunt by 92,153 votes to 46,656 last month, the question on everyone’s lips is whether he will deliver on his promise of cutting stamp duty land tax (SDLT) after October 31st 2019.

For regular updates on property investment in London and other UK regional cities, be sure to follow the Surrenden Invest team on social media.

How long will the London housing market pause for thought?

How long will the London housing market pause for thought?

There are a number of indicators that the pre-Brexit, pent up buyer demand for London property is shortly to be unleashed. Chestertons’ Winter 2018/19 London Residential Property Market Report asserts that the “bottom of the market may be in sight,” while the rate of decline in the capital’s sales prices have slowed. Indeed, demand at the prime end of the market bounced back during the latter half of 2018.

“We’ve seen many buyers – both owner-occupiers and investors – taking a ‘wait and see’ approach in London as the Brexit deadline of 29 March approached. However, the delaying of that date to 12 April – and the 31 October – is testing purchasers’ patience. Add in the prospect of prices in London bottoming out and we could see a swift and decisive rise in transactions over the coming weeks and months.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
Prices in London fell during 2017 and again during 2018. Given the ongoing political impact of Brexit on sterling, this has made for some interesting opportunities for overseas investors. With indications that the market is bottoming out, many investors will now be looking to snap up properties at bargain (for London) prices while they have the chance.
At the same time, it’s likely that many of those waiting to buy property for their own use will also act in the coming weeks and months. As Brexit looks increasingly likely to drag on, many would-be purchasers may be prompted to act before London’s prices begin to rise too steeply again. As such, 2019 – or at least the latter half of it – could turn out to be a good year for property in and around the capital.

“Many property investment companies are looking closely at London again right now, as the market correction that has taken place over the past couple of years makes property ownership in the capital more attractive, particularly given the recent upward movement in rents and therefore yields. As such, London and the commuter belt certainly bear watching over the rest of this year.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
London’s property market is, of course, vast, as is the commuter belt that surrounds the city. Two areas likely to be of particular interest in the near future are Gerrards Cross and Reading, both of which offer a fast, direct commute into central London, as well as a good quality of life for the whole family. If the predictions of the market bottoming out and pent-up demand being unleased play out, it is likely that interest in both of these areas will spike significantly.

For regular updates on investing in London and other key UK cities, be sure to follow the Surrenden Invest team on social media.

New data reveals opportunity for first time buyers to outperform housing market

New data reveals opportunity for first time buyers to outperform housing market

Recent data has revealed that First-time buyers in the UK need an average income of £54,000 in order to buy a property, marking a 9% rise from 2016 when Britain decided it would leave the European Union.

Looking at the data released from property website Zoopla this month, it’s fair to say that Millennials have had something of a raw deal when it comes to their finances. From soaring house prices, inflation exceeding earnings, through to political and economic uncertainty with Brexit – getting onto the property ladder has never been more difficult.
Those wanting a start on the housing ladder will often face a never-ending stream of negativity, with many believing it’s near impossible to buy their first home as they cannot raise enough money. This has created a new opportunity for first time buyers to act more savvy and  to selectively invest in Buy to Let property in national growth locations.
Data released by Zoopla found that the average household income required to buy in London was £84,000. In Liverpool, which had the lowest required household income before tax of the 30 cities surveyed, it was just £26,000.
Current house prices are encouraging huge rental demand in the UK’s busiest cities with young professionals flocking to areas like Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Liverpool. Purchasing a one or two bedroom apartments as a Buy to Let in these locations is a shrewd investment for those priced out of their home town or city.

“The world as we knew it has changed when it comes to property ownership. We’re seeing more people renting and for longer periods, but that doesn’t mean that they need be denied the opportunity to profit from property. It’s just that doing so may look different in the future. Property investment companies need to work with Millennials to encourage that to happen.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
While Liverpool was named the most affordable market for first-time buyers, it was also the city with the highest house price growth, with values rising 5% over the 12 months April to April.
The Tannery is one of Liverpool’s most iconic residences. The elegant exterior sets the tone for the graceful, stylish homes inside, bringing capital-quality residences to Liverpool’s renters. The low entry price of just £85,000, coupled with 6% NET yields and long term capital growth projections make The Tannery highly appealing to investors looking to either bolster or begin their portfolios with one of the most exciting new opportunities of 2019.

For regular updates on investing in Liverpool and other key UK regional cities, follow the Surrenden Invest team on social media.

The investment case for Luton

The investment case for Luton

Luton is a growing town that is known for being one of London’s most sought-after commuter locations. Indeed, Jackson-Stops has just flagged it up as the top commuter hotspot for 2019 and the town is fast becoming a favourite with property investment companies. Here’s why.

Luton is located 30 miles north west of central London. Direct trains run into London St Pancras International in as little as 22 minutes. 167 trains per day provide an almost round-the-clock service. Rents, meanwhile are around 1/3 of the cost that they are in London. For renters, it is the ideal combination.
Not only that, but London Luton Airport (the fifth largest in the UK and the fastest-growing major London airport) provides the town with easy, fast access to a wide range of European destinations, as well as select locations in Africa and the Middle East.

“Life in Luton means easy access to the best that London has to offer but without the capital’s extortionate housing costs. The town has excellent amenities with a lively local culture that appeals to those looking to balance access to London with a realistic lifestyle. This is one of the reasons that Luton exhibits such excellent growth potential.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
Luton’s population is increasingly rapidly. Between 2018 and 2041, the Office for National Statistics projects that the town’s population will grow by 12.9%, to 248,500. At the same time, it is in the grips of a serious housing shortage, as is the case with many towns and cities in the UK. However, Luton’s housing shortage is worse than most, with Project Etopia projecting that it will be 22.1 years behind where it needs to be in terms of housebuilding by 2026, if the current rate of development continues. At present, Luton is building 430 new homes per year – it needs to be building 1,417 to meet demand.
This housing shortage spells good news for buy to let investors, as it points to a long-term, sustained level of demand for private rented accommodation in Luton, as tenants seek to snap up those homes that are available. It also has the potential to drive up house prices (as well as rents and yields). Luton is already bucking the trend in terms of house price rises. While many southern locations are seeing a market correction at present, with falling prices or nil growth, Luton’s prices rose by 1.6% in the year to April 2019. Savills, meanwhile, projects growth of 9.3% in the five years to 2023 for the South East region.
In terms of its rental market, Luton enjoys an average rent of £632 pcm for a one-bedroom apartment and £828 pcm for a two-bedroom one, according to Zoopla – significantly less than equivalent homes in London.

“It is Luton’s combination of capital growth potential and pent-up demand for private rented sector homes that has caused the town to top LendInvest’s UK buy to let index for so much of the past three- or four-year period. This is a town with outstanding growth potential. Watch this town and watch this space to take full advantage of what Luton has to offer in the very near future!”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest

For regular updates on investing in UK buy to let hotspots such as Luton, follow Surrenden Invest on social media.

Is property investment the key to retirement for Millennials?

Is property investment the key to retirement for Millennials?

It’s fair to say that Millennials have had something of a raw deal when it comes to their finances. According to Brookings, median household wealth for Millennials in 2016 was 25% below that of those who were a similar age back in 2007. The global financial crisis has held them back in terms of salary growth, but it’s far from the only factor. Growing levels of student debt have played a large role, as has an inability to climb onto the housing ladder.

The result is that Millennials are facing a number of issues, both in terms of current wealth creation and future prospects. Not owning property means no capital growth. The increasing prevalence of self-employment more often than not means a lack of savings for retirement. Interestingly, though, this doesn’t mean that Millennials are unable to use the property market to their advantage.

“Millennials face a number of economic hurdles, but property investment doesn’t have to be one of them. The average UK property costs eight times the average salary, according to the ONS, but the right buy to let home in the right area can cost considerably less. It can also generate a healthy income, as well as the potential for capital growth.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
The Tannery, in Liverpool, is a key example of the potential that property investment holds for Millennials. The apartments are available from just £85,000 – far below the UK average property price of £226,798 (Land Registry figures, March 2019). With a turnkey management solution in place, there is no burden placed on investors in terms of time, meaning that Millennials looking for an alternative to traditional pension arrangements would do well to consider such a property’s potential.
Buy to let mortgages are subject to affordability checks, just as mortgages for first time buyers are. They also consider the potential rental income of the property in question. Surrenden Invest’s mortgage calculator is a great place to start for those just looking into this (whether Millennials or not).

“The world as we knew it has changed when it comes to property ownership. We’re seeing more people renting and for longer periods, but that doesn’t mean that they need be denied the opportunity to profit from property. It’s just that doing so may look different in the future. Property investment companies need to work with Millennials to encourage that to happen.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest

For regular updates on investing in property UK regional cities, be sure to follow the Surrenden Invest team on social media.