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Liverpool leads the way as regional cities buck the trend

Liverpool leads the way as regional cities buck the trend

The latest Hometrack UK Cities House Price Index has reconfirmed the strength of regional property markets, with Liverpool leading the pack. The March 2019 figures reveal a year-on-year price increase of 5.7% for the average Liverpool home, which is now priced at £122,100.

Regional cities are also leading the way when it comes to sales volumes, with Liverpool once more showing the rest how it’s done. While sales volumes in southern cities are languishing some 13% lower than in 2015, sales in Liverpool, conversely, are 19% higher than they were four years ago.

“Liverpool is the shining star when it comes to regional city performance right now. It’s enjoying a busy property market, which high sales volumes and rapidly rising prices – a great backdrop for investing in properties in sought-after locations.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
Nestled in the L3 postcode district, The Tannery is just such a property. The striking building’s architecture was inspired by the former leatherworks that gave the site its name. Available from £85,000, the contemporary apartments have been designed to capitalise on their prime location, with stylish interiors and high quality specifications due to attract professional tenants looking to be at the heart of the action in Liverpool.
This resurgence of city centre living has seen many regional cities enjoy rapid growth in recent years. Both Manchester and Birmingham continue to perform well, according to the Hometrack data. Manchester’s property prices increased by 5.1% in the year to March 2019, while Birmingham’s went up by 4.2%.

“While we’re seeing a slowing down of the housing market in some southern areas, the Midlands and regions further north continue to enjoy healthy property price growth and sustained demand from both buyers and renters. Many of our property investment UK opportunities in recent years have focused on these key regional markets, which have consistently delivered excellent results for those who have invested in them.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest

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

Liverpool to London in just 85 minutes

Liverpool to London in just 85 minutes

The omission of Liverpool from the original plans for the HS2 high speed rail network was a major blow to the city. However, Liverpudlians didn’t give up on the potential for their home to benefit from the new network. Instead, they focused on ways to turn it to their advantage.

The Linking Liverpool campaign called for a high speed rail link between Liverpool and Manchester, effectively allowing Liverpudlians to tap into the HS2 network via the link. Transport for the North, whose remit includes the improvement of transport across the North of England, has backed the plan as part of its £70 billion, 30-year northern transport plan.

“It makes absolute sense that as many northern cities as possible should benefit from HS2, so the proposed Northern Powerhouse Rail link between Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds is a key project for the area. It’s also one that has the potential to impact on property prices and yields, for those looking for buy to let property UK opportunities in the right locations.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
The L3 postcode district is one such location. A sought after area of central Liverpool, it provides easy access to the best that the city has to offer, both in employment terms and for entertainment purposes. The area is home to The Tannery – a collection of elegant new homes in a striking building that reflects the city’s industrial past, paying homage to the leather works that formerly occupied the site and from which the new building takes its name. The buy to let apartments already hold strong appeal to local professionals, boasting a communal courtyard, roof garden and concierge service.
Adding a reduced Liverpool to London journey time of around 85 minutes into the mix will certainly give the development a boost – along with the wider economic prospects of Liverpool city centre. The Liverpool to Manchester leg of the journey will take approximately 22 minutes if the Northern Powerhouse Rail link goes ahead as planned. The onward journey from Manchester to London would then take around one hour and 25 minutes on the HS2 network.

“Keeping abreast of local transport and regeneration initiatives is an important part of identifying current and future buy to let opportunities that have the potential to positively impact investors. Coupled with the fact that northern cities are outstripping the UK average when it comes to property price growth, Liverpool has an incredibly strong investment case right now.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest

To keep track of the latest developments impacting the buy to let sector in Liverpool and other UK regional cities, follow Surrenden Invest on social media.

Northern cities stand out from the crowd

Northern cities stand out from the crowd

Property investment companies with a nose for good opportunities have been focusing on the potential of the North England for some time. Cities such as Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle have much to offer those looking to profit from property. Now, JLL’s latest Northern England Residential Forecasts report has confirmed the wisdom of looking to the North.

“In recent years Northern England’s major cities have established themselves as stand out performers in terms of residential investment and development.”

JLL Northern England Residential Forecasts, February 2019
The key to the success of property investments in these northern cities is the imbalance between the increased demand for centrally located homes and the supply thereof. The JLL report urges investors to ‘find the gap’ when it comes to these markets, which is precisely where property investment companies come in.

“The vast size of cities such as Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester means that no two investment opportunities are equal. A few hundred metres can make all the difference when it comes to the yield that a property can deliver. That’s why it’s so important for investors to work with a property company with local knowledge when they’re seeking buy to let property UK opportunities.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
The North is outstripping the national average considerably when it comes to house prices. UK house prices rose by an average of 2.7% in the year to Q3 2018, according to JLL, while in the North West that figure stood at 4.9%. Yorkshire and The Humber saw growth of 4.4%.
Both the North West and Yorkshire and The Humber offer an excellent entry point for investors, thanks to their average home values being below the national average. In the North West, the average home costs £165,000, while in Yorkshire it costs £164,000. The average UK home price is £231,000 (all figures as at Q3 2018).
The Tannery in Liverpool is as shining example of why investment in the right northern hotspots is so attractive. The stylish homes enjoy a superb central location, while investment starts from just £85,000, with net yields of 6%. Premium specifications and a concierge service mean that the homes hold strong appeal to professional tenants, while the provision of luxury furniture packs makes life easier for tenants and investors alike.
JLL’s forecasts for Liverpool project a continuation of the city’s success over the year ahead. The firm believes the city will achieve 2.4% growth in new development prices, against a UK average of 2.2%, and an increase of 3.0% in city centre rents (UK average: 2.4%). All at a time when buy to let landlords are enjoying greater returns.

“By delivering specialist, localised knowledge about the cities in which it offers investments, Surrenden Invest will remain at the forefront of the UK buy to let sector over the years ahead, finding the gaps that deliver the best results for all those interested in investing in UK buy to let opportunities.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest

For regular updates on investing in northern cities such as Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle, be sure to follow the Surrenden Invest team on social media.

Housing market latest – wage growth enhances buyer affordability

Housing market latest – wage growth enhances buyer affordability

Wage growth in the UK is outstripping house price growth at its fastest rate since 2011, enhancing buyer affordability. This is contributing to both mortgage approvals and housing transactions holding up well, despite the ongoing political uncertainty related to Brexit. Indeed, the February 2019 Zoopla/Hometrack UK Cities House Price Index states that, “Data on transactions remains resilient with no obvious Brexit impact at a national level.”

According to the report, there was no material drop in mortgage approval activity or transaction volumes during the latter half of 2018, when compared with the five-year average. Furthermore, HMRC figures show that transaction volumes actually increased slightly during the first two months of 2019.

“The latest figures are further evidence of the UK housing market’s resilience in the face of the Brexit debacle. Improving buyer affordability enhances that resilience even more, with strong transaction levels supporting a buoyant market for both owner occupiers and investors.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
Annual wage growth stands at 3.4% according to Rightmove’s latest House Price Index. That compares to an average annual rate of house price growth of 2.0%.
Annual wage growth stands at 3.4% according to Rightmove’s latest House Price Index. That compares to an average annual rate of house price growth of 2.0%. Not only that, but the National Living Wage in the UK has just risen by 4.9%. As of 1 April 2019, the national minimum wage rose from £7.83 per hour to £8.21 for those aged 25+. Workers aged 21-24 also saw an increase, from £7.38 per hour to £7.70, while those aged 18-20 saw a rise from £5.90 to £6.15.
The impact of this can best be seen at a local level. In three out of four southern regions, for example, Rightmove reports that new sellers’ asking prices are cheaper than they were a year ago, giving buyers a distinct advantage when considered in light of their increased purchasing power.
Further north, many regional cities have been outstripping the price growth of their southern counterparts over the past three years, thanks to rising employment levels, as well as enhanced affordability. Two cities – Leicester and Manchester – have even achieved price growth of 17% since the Brexit vote, creating fantastic capital growth for those who timed their purchases right around the time of the referendum.
Manchester remains high on many investors’ priority list – and for good reason. The city is home to an impressive array of redevelopment projects, the largest of which is the NOMA development. The 20-acre, mixed use site is being regenerated at a cost of £800 million, making it the largest development project in North West England, eclipsing even MediaCityUK (also in Manchester). Such vast developments bring a wealth of opportunities, both for those who live in the city and for those looking to invest there.
Just 300 metres from NOMA, Ancoats Gardens provides an exciting residential property investment UK opportunity, offering net yields of 6.0%. Available from £229,714 and already under construction, the one, two and three-bedroom apartments offer bright, spacious homes backed by cutting edge facilities in a top location. Residents will benefit from an on-site coffee lounge for relaxing or working from home, a large, private gym that’s spread across two levels and a truly stunning rooftop garden providing views across the city.

To find out more about investing in one of England’s best-performing regional cities, follow the Surrenden Invest team on social media.

London property market snapshot – buyers hold their breath

London property market snapshot – buyers hold their breath

It seems that prime central London property buyers are collectively pausing as they wait to see what the future holds in store. Figures from the LonRes research firm show a 14% drop in the number of prime housing transactions in the capital in 2018 compared to 2017. The steep fall means that transactions in prime London are now at their lowest level since 2008.

“Property buyers are holding their breath to see how Brexit unfolds, at least so far as central London is concerned. However, London is a vast city and not all areas are experiencing the same dip in transaction levels. With choice outlying areas offering good value for money, there are still benefits to buying property in London at the moment, despite the UK’s political upheaval.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
Indeed, Foxtons reports that one result of the drop in transactions (and therefore new rental instructions) is that demand for private rented homes is outstripping supply at record levels, with nearly nine registered tenants for every new rental property.
The pace at which London house prices have outstripped salaries also comes into play, with the average deposit now 1.3 times higher than the average salary. Savills calculates that the average Zone 1 property costs £1.4 million. To secure a 75% mortgage, the buyer would need a household income of £247,484 per annum, along with a cash deposit in the region of £371,227. All of which explains why many of those who live in central London rent their homes instead of buying them.
Further out, however, London becomes much more affordable. The average property price in Zone 5 is £452,186, meaning that an annual salary of £75,364 and a deposit of £113,046 would be sufficient to fund the purchase of a home.
A number of commuter towns around the capital offer even better value for money, while direct rail connections make travelling into London perfectly achievable on a daily basis. It is areas such as these that are still generating a high level of interest from investors, according to the Surrenden Invest team.

“The commuter belt is big business right now. Buy to let property UK opportunities are alive and well in many parts of the capital and investors are continuing to seek out below market valuation properties that carry strong potential for capital growth. The high level of demand from renters means that the market still has much to offer to buyers who are careful about the locations in which they invest.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest

To find out more about investing in and around London, as well as in other UK regional cities, follow the Surrenden Invest team on social media.

Free resources for property investors

Free resources for property investors

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of households who rent privately has risen by 61% in a single decade. The ONS data shows 2.8 million households renting privately in 2008, compared to 4.5 million in 2017.

Figures from Foxtons, meanwhile, show that intense demand from private tenants has carried on into 2018. The firm reported an average of just under nine registered tenants for every new rental listing – its highest ever level. 2018 renter registrations increased by 8% over the course of the year, when compared to 2017 levels.
With demand outstripping supply, there’s a strong case for investing in buy to let property in sought after areas – provided the sums stack up.

“It’s important to understand the full financial commitment of investing in a buy to let property. In addition to the cost of the home itself, investors need to factor in outgoings such as stamp duty and mortgage interest, as these will have a bearing on the overall yield.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
As a property investment company that is keen to support investors to profit from their property decisions, the Surrenden Invest team has created two new calculators as part of the company’s revamped website.
The mortgage calculator uses monthly mortgage payments based on currently available buy to let mortgage products to indicate how much an investor’s mortgage repayments are likely to be. Surrenden Invest provides it as a free-to-use resource for anyone considering investing in a buy to let property.
Surrenden Invest’s other free resource is its stamp duty calculator. Stamp duty is payable to HMRC within 14 days of the purchase of a residential property, including an investment property. The amount due depends on whether it is your first or second (or subsequent) property and on the value of the property. With different rates of stamp duty applied based on different price bands, working out what you will owe can involve several sums. The Surrenden Invest calculator performs all of these in under a second, providing an instant indication of how much stamp duty a particular buy to let investment will require an investor to pay.

“We would encourage all those who are considering investing in residential property, whether for the first time or the tenth, to use our mortgage and stamp duty calculators. It takes less than a minute to use both calculators, thus providing investors with a fast, accurate indication of what the buy to let property they are considering is really going to cost them.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest

For regular updates on investing and additional free resources, keep in touch with the Surrenden Invest team on social media.

Will Brexit break the 18-year house price boom cycle?

Will Brexit break the 18-year house price boom cycle?

According to Fred Harrison, the property market operates in an 18-year cycle. Prices grow steadily for six to seven years, correct a little, then increase for another five to six years. A crash then brings prices down, with a four to five year recovery period preceding the next steady growth phase.

Harrison’s theory has proven to be correct over the past 70 years or so. Prices crashed, or at least slumped significantly, in 1953-54, 1971-72, 1989-90 and 2007-08. Based on this cycle, we’re currently due a correction, then another period of strong growth. Prices in London and the South East certainly seem to be correcting at present, which indicates the period to around 2025-26 should bring growth, but could the UK’s departure from the EU finally break the cycle, triggering an earlier crash? Surrenden Invest’s MD, Jonathan Stephens, thinks not.

“The 18-year property cycle theory is one that has played out repeatedly over the last several decades. This has been despite changing political and economic circumstances both within the UK and more widely around the world. Brexit, while a significant upheaval for the UK, is more likely to impact on the value of stocks and shares and on sterling than it is on the housing market. Property prices aren’t so fast to react to politics and so provide greater stability.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
Savills, too, believes that Brexit won’t be enough to break the cycle. That company’s Autumn 2018 Residential Property Forecasts report paints a positive picture of house price growth over the five years to 2023, with compound growth of 14.8% nationally. The report also supports the correction part of the 18-year cycle theory, showing a 2.0% drop in London prices for 2019 followed by a year of nil growth in 2020, before prices rise again in 2021. The South East and East of England, meanwhile, show as prices flatlining over the course of this year, before rising again in 2020.

“The correction in London and the South looks to be localised to just those regions, with central and northern parts of England enjoying impressive growth over the coming years. From a buy to let property UK perspective, regional cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle therefore present some of the most exciting investment opportunities in the country.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
Developments such as No. 76 in Birmingham deliver just the right sort of attractive opportunity for investors with a regional focus. The ultra-prime location of the apartments means that they are ideally placed to benefit from the huge inner city regeneration projects taking place in and around Birmingham’s B1 postcode area. From a price perspective, the potential for growth is therefore huge.
Brexit aside, if the 18-year house price cycle proves correct once again, property owners can look forward to at least another six or seven years of booming prices before they have to worry about an impending crash!

For the latest news on investing in regional UK cities, follow the Surrenden Invest team on social media.

Welcome to the brand new Surrenden Invest website

Welcome to the brand new Surrenden Invest website

The team here at Surrenden Invest are delighted to announce the launch of our brand new website! We’ve been working day and night to create a finely tuned site that brings you not only a selection of carefully chosen property investment opportunities, but also a vast range of additional resources.

“Across the team, Surrenden Invest has access to a vast range of knowledge about buy to let property UK investment opportunities. We focus deeply on every regional market in which we operate and its part of our ethos to share the knowledge that we glean with our investors.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
The new website achieves this in multiple ways. For those looking for regular updates on regional property markets, the Surrenden Invest blog is an invaluable resource. Articles cover everything from which areas are leading house price growth to which new infrastructure developments are creating opportunities for investors (did you know, for example, that Birmingham will be home to the UK’s only HS2-connected airport?).
We also look at wider market trends, considering the UK property market as a whole and looking at how the latest political and economic developments are likely to impact that market (if you’re interested in the relationship between Brexit and UK property, our regularly updated Brexit Guide is an absolute must).
Our guides and reports also include in-depth analyses of each of the areas in which we operate. If you want to know anything and everything about a particular regional property market, our Market Reports are the place to start. We pour our expertise into these reports in order to share our knowledge with our investors and allow them to invest with full confidence as to why we’ve chosen the areas we have, as well as the individual developments.
And, speaking of investing with confidence, we’re also thrilled to be launching two new calculator tools. The Mortgage Calculator allows you to quickly and easily work out how much your mortgage is likely to cost when you’re considering investing in a buy to let property. The Stamp Duty Calculator, meanwhile, can let you know how much stamp duty is payable on a particular residential property.

“As well as sharing information and useful tools, we wanted to ensure that the new Surrenden Invest website provided easier-than-ever access to the outstanding investment opportunities that we have sourced around the UK. As such, viewers can not only see which properties are available in which areas, but also enjoy quick access to our latest featured developments.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
No. 76 Holloway Head in central Birmingham is one such development. The ultra-desirable B1 location means that residents will be at the very heart of the action, less than a minute from the iconic Mailbox and two minutes from New Street Station, the Cube, Grand Central and the Bullring.
Finally, for our investors who like to keep an eye on the latest progress with the site they’ve invested in, we’ve included a videos page, so that we can share regular construction updates, as well as tantalising teasers for forthcoming projects.

We would love to hear what you think of the new Surrenden Invest website. Connect with us on social media to share your views!

Buy to let landlords enjoy 15% greater returns

Buy to let landlords enjoy 15% greater returns

New analysis of HMRC data by lettings agency Ludlow Thompson has revealed a 15% jump in buy to let landlords’ rental income in a single year. Rental income for 2016/17 (the latest year for which data is available) totalled £18.7 billion – up 15% from the £16.2 billion of rental income in 2015/16.

“We’ve seen a diminishing number of buy to let investors over recent years, in part as a result of the government’s tinkering with stamp duty land tax and mortgage interest relief rates. One notable outcome of this has been the increasing professionalisation of those who remain committed to buy to let – investors are looking for the very best that the market has to offer. Another impact, based on the latest figures, seems to be that those investors who have stuck with buy to let are now enjoying an even larger share of greater returns.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
Of those who remain within the buy to let sector, their investments can serve as both a means of current income and a nest egg for retirement. The stability of that monthly income is unlikely to waver much as a result of the Brexit process, given the UK’s large-scale inability to supply enough homes to meet the demands of its rapidly growing population.
Meanwhile, that same lack of supply is contributing to the long-term appreciation of their capital. Savills projects five-year compound property price growth of 14.8% for the UK as a whole, with many areas predicted to achieve price increases well in excess of this.
In the West Midlands, for example, Savills anticipates growth of 19.3% between now and 2023. This is good news for those investing in buy to let property UK opportunities in cities such as Birmingham.
A hub for regional redevelopment, Birmingham is home to some outstanding residential property investment opportunities. An example is No. 76 Holloway Head – a development of 34 apartments in an ultra-prime B1 location, directly opposite the city’s most expensive apartment and just a minute’s walk from the upscale Mailbox shopping and dining destination. Available from £197,625 and with yields of 6.0%, the apartments are precisely the kind of high-end buy to let opportunity that investors are keen to pursue.

“No. 76 is one of those property investment opportunities that is in the perfect place at the perfect time. The whole B1 postcode area is undergoing significant regeneration and those who have the vision to be part of its future right now look set to reap some impressive rewards in the future, both in terms of rental income and capital growth.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
As Ludlow Thompson points out, wages inflation is growing steadily, and rental increases tend to track wage rises. This is mirrored by the Savills’ Autumn 2018 Residential Property Forecasts, which projects family income growth of 16.1% and rental growth of 13.7% nationally over the five years to 2023. All things considered, the outlook for buy to let investors is an overwhelmingly positive one.

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

East Asian investors snap up UK real estate

East Asian investors snap up UK real estate

It seems that the ongoing Brexit debacle has done little to deter Asian investors from snapping up real estate investment opportunities in the UK. In fact, the damage done to the pound’s value by Brexit has acted as an incentive for some investors, who have been able to get more for their money in the UK as a result of the country’s decision to leave the EU.

Within Europe, the UK remains the top target for Asian investment, according to 2017 figures. Meanwhile, a report by Intertrust has predicted positive news heading beyond the Brexit leave date of 29 March, in that 67% of real estate professionals expected the volume of Asian real estate investor capital to increase over the course of 2018 and 2019. The Intertrust report found that even the ongoing political uncertainty was unlikely to knock the UK off the European top spot so far as the flow of Asian capital into property was concerned. 56% of those surveyed believe that the UK was likely to see larger increases in Asian capital flows than any other European nation.

“Property investment UK opportunities continue to attract East Asian investors in high numbers for a range of reasons. For those in Hong Kong, for example, UK property offers excellent value for money. For Chinese investors, it’s a way of taking money out of the country, where capital controls are in place. The motivations are varied but the result is the same, so far as the UK is concerned – a thriving property investment market that enjoys a healthy flow of capital from Asia.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest

China and Hong Kong are the biggest fans of UK property

2018 figures certainly reflect this, with the Far East behind the lion’s share of overseas investment during the last quarter of 2018 – accounting for £4.8 billion of the quarter’s total of £8.1 billion worth of overseas investment. That £8.1 billion is 16% higher than the five-year quarterly average, while investment from overseas over the whole of 2018 stood at £27.9 billion – 33% above the 10-year annual average.
Surrenden Invest East Asian Investors
Investors from China and Hong Kong are the biggest fans of UK property, so far as total amounts invested are concerned, though Singaporeans, South Koreans and Malaysians are also keen to enjoy all the benefits of working with UK property investment companies. When it comes to buy to let accommodation, those benefits include stead, solid returns and superb capital growth potential. That real estate “has provided more stable returns over the past decade while also being less volatile, which is strengthening investor appetite” is a key reason for the sustained level of interest, according to Rob Blain, executive chairman of CBRE Asia Pacific.
London, of course, is popular with overseas investors. It is the UK’s most well-known city and a capital that carries a certain amount of prestige as a place to own property. As a result, it has been the UK’s top city for cross-border investment for all but one of the past ten years, with Asian capital playing an essential role in it maintaining this position. However, it is far from the only urban centre in the UK that is attracting attention. Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle have all come increasingly under overseas investors’ radar over the past few years.

“The conversation used to start and end with London, just a few years ago, when it came to overseas investors considering where to buy property. Now, regional cities are big news with East Asian investors, as they usually offer better value for money and healthier returns than property investment opportunities in London.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest

Key hub for regeneration activity

The UK’s second city, Birmingham, certainly has much to appeal to Asian investors. It is known for its outstanding shopping and dining scene, with centres such as the Bullring, Grand Central, the Cube and the Mailbox all making names for themselves. It is also a dynamic business centre and a key hub for regeneration activity, with all the associated benefits that such work can provide to those who invest in the right areas.
The B1 postcode zone is just such an area. Apartments at No. 76 Holloway Head, B1, for example, are surrounded by those iconic retail and gastronomic destinations, as well as being just a two-minute walk from New Street Station – the UK’s busiest railway station outside of London. They are at the heart of the city centre, with regeneration work underway all around them, which is set to impact positively on the inner city zone for years to come.
Such long-term credentials mean that Birmingham, along with other UK cities, will remain firmly in Asian investors’ sights over at least the next five to ten years, irrespective of the UK’s political and economic wrangling with the EU.

For regular updates on investing in top UK regional cities, follow the Surrenden Invest team on social media.