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Newcastle’s tallest ever crane heralds new era for city’s property market

The installation of a 110m tall loughing crane over the August bank holiday weekend will mark a new era for Newcastle’s residential accommodation, according to leading property investment agency Surrenden Invest. The crane is being installed to enable the next phase in the erection of Hadrian’s Tower, a residential development that will become the city’s tallest building.

At 27-storeys tall, Hadrian’s Tower will be an exciting new addition to the Newcastle skyline. The apartment block is set to usher in a new style of chic, urban homes, with residents benefitting from a range of on-site amenities. These will include a 24/7 hotel-style concierge service, a café and touchdown meeting points. The crowning glory will be the stunning sky lounge, which will offer unsurpassed views across Newcastle.

“Hadrian’s Tower is an incredibly exciting development to bring to Newcastle, as it will mark the start of a new phase for the city’s property market. We’re seeking to raise expectations with accommodation of this standard and to inspire the future of residential accommodation in the city as a result. Using the tallest crane that the city has ever seen plays a big role in that, not just from the physical build perspective but also from the psychological point of marking the start of a new era.” 

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
With an eight-tonne load capacity, the 110 metre loughing crane, which has a reach of 127 metres, will be used to lift everything from concrete slabs to plasterboard to cladding materials.

“This is a complex operation, due to the size of the crane. Even the mobile crane that is used to install it is enormous. Depending on the weather, we’ll be looking to have the Hadrian’s Tower crane in place by the end of Sunday 26 August. It will then remain on site for a year and the development will be visible from most entry points into the city during that time.

“We believe this will be the tallest crane that has ever been used in Newcastle. The angle of the loughing jib means that the whole structure will reach a height of 130 metres. I can’t see any reason why any of the city’s current buildings would have required a crane of this scale.” 

Keith McDougall, Operations Director, High Street Residential Ltd
The crane’s installation marks an exciting stage in the building’s progression and is expected to generate considerable local interest. According to Surrenden Invest, it also signifies the city’s arrival on the global investment map.

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“There’s no doubt that Newcastle has ‘arrived’ in terms of its investment credentials. We’re talking to a lot of investors who are keen to be part of the city’s future. There’s already plenty of regeneration work underway in Newcastle and some really exciting schemes, but nothing of this height. That’s why we’re so excited to be part of this step-change for the city’s property market.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest

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Manchester beats London to be crowned UK’s most liveable city

Having been active in the Manchester property market since 2015, Surrenden Invest has seen the city flourishing as a result of an influx of both modern renters and residential property investors. Now, it seems that we are not alone in recognising Manchester’s excellent potential. According to the Economic Intelligence Unit’s 2018 Global Liveability Index, Manchester has become the UK’s most liveable city.

Rising 16 places up the index to 35th, and leap-frogging London on the way, Manchester has ensured that the North of England is firmly on the map when it comes to global living standards. Along with Paris, Manchester was highlighted as recording the biggest improvement over the past year, both in terms of its overall score and its stability rating.
As a global business centre, Manchester offers myriad employment opportunities, both to workers and to entrepreneurs looking to launch their own start-up ventures. The city also has a rich cultural offering, from the Royal Exchange Theatre’s Hamlet and the country’s top arts centre to the “most intriguing art gallery” (the Whitworth Gallery) and some of the best libraries in England. Rough Guides highlighted all of these factors and more in June 2018 when it flagged up Manchester as the UK’s new cultural hotspot. Of course, there is also a rich musical heritage in Manchester, with contemporary residents enjoying a huge variety of live music.
For property investors, the city’s economic opportunities are too exciting to ignore. Regeneration work is delivering a booming city centre lifestyle, with well-located residential properties much in demand by private renters. The buy to let sector is responding, with developments such as Middlewood Plaza capturing investors’ imaginations.
In the heart of the £1 billion Middlewood Locks regeneration corridor, just 10 minutes from the city centre, the apartments, townhouses and duplexes offer stylish living with superb facilities, from the inclusion of smart technology as standard to the luxurious private roof terrace. In-vestment in the capital quality residences starts from £153,000, with 5.0% net yield.
Offering the ‘big city buzz’ but with a friendly atmosphere and superb transport connections, Manchester’s rise to glory in the Global Liveability Index is easy to comprehend. With property price rises of 30.25% over the past five years (according to Zoopla), so too is its attraction to investors with a keen eye for profitability.

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Why is it that prime property buyers just can’t get enough of Birmingham?

  • Prime Birmingham residential values to hit £500 PSF by 2020 (Knight Frank)

  • West Midlands property prices rising at fastest rate in UK (Halifax)

  • Birmingham’s innovation and dynamism, along with HS2, capture attention of overseas investors (Surrenden Invest)

It wasn’t too long ago that those with a passion for property almost took pride in never looking further than the prime London property market. Now, however, it is Birmingham that has cap-tured investors’ imaginations – and for more than purely financial reasons.

Property investment is fundamentally about making money, but as the buy-to-let market has matured, we’ve seen a shift in investors’ outlook. There’s something compelling about own-ing a property in Birmingham and investors are keen to be part of the action. It’s a city with a real buzz about it, so while London stagnates, investors are seeking to be a part of the action in Birmingham.”

Jonathan Stephens, Managing Director, Surrenden Invest
The UK’s second city certainly has the right credentials in terms of its numbers. The West Mid-lands housing market saw annual house price growth of 7% during Q2 2018, according to Hali-fax, meaning that prices there are rising significantly faster than anywhere else in the UK (the next highest house price increases were in Wales and Scotland, which both recorded growth of 3.7%). Within Birmingham itself, the pace of increase appears to be even faster, with Hometrack’s UK Cities House Price Index reporting a rise of 2.9% in the past year alone.
But price rises are only half of the story when it comes to Birmingham. The city also provides exceptional value in terms of its asking prices. The average Birmingham property costs just £161,100. That’s cheaper than the average for Manchester, Leicester, Leeds and a wide range of other regional cities. It’s also well below the UK average of £218,600, according to Hometrack’s figures.
The story so far as prime city centre property is concerned is even more compelling. In London, prime sales volumes have plummeted by 16.9% over the past year, according to the Q2 2018 Coutts London Prime Property Index, while prices have fallen by 1.7%. This is in stark contrast to Birmingham, where Knight Frank has projected that prime residential values will continue rising, hitting £500 per square foot by 2020.

The numbers stack up so well in Birmingham that it’s easy to see why the city’s prime resi-dential market has captured such attention both within the UK and overseas. A range of other factors come into play too. Birmingham is known for its striking, modern architecture and has an outstanding reputation as a shopping and leisure destination. Cultural pursuits and eco-nomic opportunities abound and the city has become a magnet for big businesses looking to relocate away from the expense and congestion of London.”

Jonathan Stephens, Managing Director, Surrenden Invest
HSBC, Barclays, Deutsche Bank and HMRC are among those to have been drawn to Birmingham in recent years. Now, the city is also among the top three options for the location of Channel 4’s new headquarters. And still property prices remain well below the UK average.
HS2 has played an important role in elevating Birmingham in the eyes of investors in recent years. The high speed network has pushed forward a number of regeneration schemes within the city, with enhanced connectivity to London and Europe seen as a key driver for Birmingham’s rising reputation overseas. Regeneration work is widespread, with areas such as Digbeth and Smithfield benefiting particularly.

One of the most notable things we’re seeing about the investment that is pouring into Bir-mingham is the focus on city centre living. Residences in the vicinity of iconic buildings, such as the Bullring or the Mailbox, are commanding attention from investors looking for premium properties in top locations.”

Jonathan Stephens, Managing Director, Surrenden Invest
Interest in the city is so strong that leading property investment agency Surrenden Invest has been taken aback at the speed with which homes at its Westminster Worksdevelopment are selling. Priced from £165,000, the properties provide investors with a 5% NET yield and plenty of scope for capital growth. The Surrenden Invest team is now poised to unveil a further Bir-mingham development, in close proximity to the Mailbox, although further details of this are currently being kept under wraps. One thing is for certain though – in this dynamic and fast-paced city, the next innovation is just around the corner.

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Brentwood – the ideal suburban investment prospect

Brentwood in Essex lies close to the M25, some 20 miles east-north-east of London’s Charing Cross. The thriving town saw a 10% jump in population between the 2001 and 2011 censuses, taking its total number of residents up to 52,586.

Brentwood presents a uniquely appealing opportunity for property investors. The town is a success in its own right. It also offers an ideal location for those looking to work in London but live further out, thanks to the newly operating Crossrail service between Brentwood and a range of central London stations.
In a nod to its rural past, Brentwood still has plenty of green spaces and parkland, as well as a good selection of schools and local amenities. It has all the attractions needed for contemporary family life. Plentiful local employment opportunities have resulted in the town enjoying an unemployment rate that is much lower than the national average – 1.9% compared to the UK average of 4.5%.
Brentwood’s economic success means that is has no areas that are considered deprived. The town also enjoys a crime rate that is lower than the average, along with a higher than average rate of adult wellbeing. Essex Insight also reports that Brentwood has the highest proportion of jobs to population of anywhere in the county.
Already an attractive place to live in its own right, Brentwood also benefits from the newly launched Elizabeth line trains that are reducing journey times into central London as part of the £14.8 billion Crossrail infrastructure project. By cutting rail travel times into the capital significantly from June 2017, Crossrail has suddenly opened Brentwood up to a vast swathe of renters who previously viewed the town as just a little too far outside of London.
The initial announcement of Crossrail led to an influx of house buyers in Brentwood. It’s opening is now doing the same for renters, making the town an exciting prospect for buy-to-let property investors. Prices in Brentwood have risen by 31.5% in the past five years, in reflection of the town’s potential. The average apartment there sells for £287,677 according to Zoopla data from August 2017, while the average asking rent is £1,197 per month.
When it comes to Brentwood, everything stacks up. The town offers a safe, family-orientated place to live with decent education and employment options, all within easy reach of the plentiful employment opportunities of central London. It’s growing population is putting pressure on housing, making it the ideal suburban location in which to invest in residential property.

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