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First Time Buyers, Brexit and Boris Johnson

First Time Buyers, Brexit and Boris Johnson

An influx of deals agreed over the last several months will cause a substantial rise in House prices over the summer – according to new data from property experts Reallymoving and Rightmove.

Fuelled by past frustrations of political indecision, home buyers see the nearing deadline of Brexit as an essential milestone for establishing stability and future prosperity in the market. Investors encouraged by the light at the end of the tunnel now also see an opportunity to capitalise on exceptional value through buying in the last remaining months ahead of Brexit.
House pricing indexes forecast growth of upwards of 1.2% in August, followed by growth of 3.8% in September – marking a crucial turning point in the recovery of what has otherwise been a tough couple of years in the property market. (Reallymoving)
This Summer is also set to see renewed interest and appetite from overseas buyers with the promise of lower stamp duty and purchasing costs for home buyers and investors alike. The introduction of increased Stamp Duty in 2014 was arguably the leading driver in the 20% decline in property prices in areas of Central London in the following year; questions now linger as to whether the introduction of lower Stamp Duty will spark an immediate correction in house values and send prices soaring.
With the prospect of Boris Johnson in No.10 looking more likely than ever, Johnson’s condemnation of high taxation appears to be well received with investors drawn to the Country who have in the past been unmotivated by unattractive costs associated with investment.

“The spring market was more robust than expected and this has prompted positive growth through the summer, particularly for deals agreed in May which are translating to sales in July.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest
A plan to cut stamp duty on home purchases in Britain may just be the boost needed by the slumping London property market and give first time buyers the opportunity to get on the property ladder across the UK.

“We have seen a spike in interest in commuter belt locations around the UK’s largest cities, London, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle. With high sales in growth location sites such as Gerrards Cross, Luton and Digbeth. There is huge pent-up demand in the UK property market amidst the political unrest if the UK is able to agree a deal with the EU we could see a rush of properties hitting the market in the late autumn along with a surge in buyer demand..”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest


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Regional property markets race to catch the capital

The latest Hometrack UK Cities House Price Index projects a narrowing of the property price gap between London and the UK’s other cities over the next year or two. For investors, the choice is clear – regional cities are the place to be if they wish to profit from property. But are we at risk of completing the same cycle as we saw just over a decade ago, or has the market learned from its previous mistakes?

While many factors mirror the housing market’s performance back in the early 2000s, there are some substantial differences that look set to bring about different outcomes from this state in the cycle. Tax changes are playing a key role in this, as are the rising quality and security standards of regional city developments.”

Jonathan Stephens, Managing Director, Surrenden Invest
At present, house price inflation stands at 4.3% for the UK as a whole over the past year. For London, the figure drops to just 0.4% over the same period. Edinburgh has seen the highest increase in values, at 7.1% over the year to April 2018, closely followed by Manchester, at 7.0%. Birmingham also fared far better than average, at 6.5%, as did Liverpool, at 5.9%.
The regional success stories stand in stark contrast to the price falls seen in 20 of London’s 33 local authorities. Developments such as Westminster Works in Birmingham are thus offering investors far more potential for capital growth, as well as healthy yields. Ideally positioned to benefit from the HS2 Curzon Street station scheme, as well as the redevelopment taking place as part of the Smithfield masterplan, the premium apartments are raising the bar for rental accommodation in Birmingham. The luxurious apartments come with a range of top facilities, including a concierge service, secure on-site parking and smart home, eco-friendly technology in every home.
The same trend of the regions racing to catch up with London’s prices occurred between 2002 and 2005, when London saw weak growth after a period of strong performance from 1996 to 2000. Regional markets had lagged behind, but began reporting strong performance from 2001 onwards, thus narrowing the price gap.
However, leading property investment agency Surrenden Invest is quick to point out that the current market has a number of significant differences to that of the early to mid 2000s. While the cycle appears similar, secondary cities may actually stand a more realistic chance of catching up to London’s prices than they did previously.

People have been saying that London is too expensive since before Black Monday in 1987, yet over the last 30 years property prices there have grown enormously. Still, there comes a point when a market becomes too expensive to bounce back quickly, even when there are chronic underlying supply issues, as is the case with London. The city remains one of the world’s most significant and sophisticated property markets, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t suffer a sharp, swift price correction – or that it could quickly recover from such an occurrence.”

Jonathan Stephens, Managing Director, Surrenden Invest
In previous property market cycles, the regions have narrowed the price gap between their cities and London, only for London’s prices to race ahead once more. This time, though, the quality, security and corporate governance of nationwide developers are far stronger than they were even ten years ago. Previously a concern for risk-averse buyers, these strong credentials – and the attractive yields on offer – mean that regional cities stand a good chance of catching up to London’s prices outside of the standard cycles that we’ve seen over the past 20 years.
Another contributing factor is the new Stamp Duty regime. Many of London’s properties are located in prime and super prime locations, costing upwards of £1 million. The sale of those properties has been significantly hampered by the higher tax rates, as well as the additional 3% charge on second homes. With regional properties available for significantly less money, the tax burden is reduced sufficiently to make regional property purchases more attractive than London ones in the eyes of many investors.

Are we likely to see the regions catch up relative to London in terms of their property prices? Probably not, as London remains a uniquely appealing market. However, what we are likely to see is a sustained and significant narrowing of the price gap, as regional cities hold fast in the wake of London’s price correction.”

Jonathan Stephens, Managing Director, Surrenden Invest

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Apartment prices rising faster than any other property type, new data reveals

Newly released data from Halifax has shown that the average UK apartment has increased in value by £1,251 per month over the past five years, rising by £75,074 over the period.

Although apartments make up just 15% of all home sales, their relevance to urban labour markets is increasingly important. This is borne out by the Halifax data, which shows an increase of 48% in apartment values between 2013 and 2018, compared with an increase of just 42% for terraced houses and 27% for detached homes.

“The sustained level of demand for apartments in regional city centres has shown solid credentials, even in the wake of the Brexit referendum. With dynamic local economies and solid labour markets, regional cities are an enticing prospect for those looking to make capital gains, whether as owner-occupiers or investors. In fact, the majority of investors we work with now come to us with a regional city firmly in mind – London has lost its shine as a residential investment prospect as the UK’s other cities are producing better returns.”

Jonathan Stephens, Managing Director, Surrenden Invest
Liverpool is one city that has benefited from this new breed of regionally focused property investors. Developments such as The Tannery, which offers bright, contemporary residences with beautifully presented interiors, are drawing in both domestic and international investors. Hadrian’s Tower, in Newcastle, is another such example. Its blend of exceptional apartments and innovative social spaces is precisely what investors are looking for.
Halifax’s latest House Price Index shows a monthly rise in home values of 1.5% during May, following a brief wobble in April. The lender flags up the labour market’s performance, along with low interest rates, as two of the reasons behind this.

The continuing strength of the labour market is supporting house prices. In the three months to March the number of full-time employees increased by 202,000, the biggest rise in three years. We are also seeing pay growth edging up and consumer price inflation falling, and as a result the squeeze on real earnings has started to ease. With interest rates still very low we see mortgage affordability at very manageable levels providing a further underpinning to prices.”

Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax
With the UK population expected to pass 70 million by mid-2029, and urbanisation increasing steadily (from 80.2% in 2006 to 82.84% in 2016, according to Statista), demand for city centre apartments looks likely to remain strong over the years ahead. And with apartment prices increasing at a faster rate than any other kind of accommodation, they are sure to remain the property of choice for investors looking to make the most of their money.

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Don’t underestimate the importance of foreign exchange when buying property abroad

Foreign exchange rates play an important role in many people’s decision to buy a property abroad. Not only do buyers need to keep an eye on currency fluctuations in order the accurately gauge the cost of their property, but they also need to think about the method that they are going to use to make the deposit and the balance payments.

A proactive approach to foreign exchange is always best – don’t leave it until the last minute and then have to make a rushed decision! When it comes to currency fluctuations, try to think ahead. Are there any political events on the horizon that could cause your currency to strengthen or weaken significantly? Are you poised to take advantage of such events? Do they pose a particular risk? Thinking these things through can help you to plan the timing of your purchase in order to benefit from fluctuations in the value of your currency.
Planning ahead for the way you convert your currency is equally important. Many of those who haven’t previously transferred large sums of money overseas choose to use their bank, as the ‘easy’ option. However, this can be a costly approach depending on your bank’s charges and the exchange rate that it provides.
Using a foreign exchange company can provide you with significant savings. Here at Surrenden Invest we recommend our trusted partner, Monex Europe. Monex Europe is able to use its purchasing power to achieve competitive foreign exchange pricing from more than 30 counterparties. That means we know our clients can benefit from getting a good deal. Typically, clients using Monex Europe instead of their banks to convert their currency make an average saving of 2.5%.
Another of Monex Europe’s features that our clients seem to particularly appreciate are its domestic and international economic reports. The company undertakes forecasting and analysis in order to capitalise on currency movements throughout the day. Buying at the right time is crucial when it comes to getting the best rate. Many of our clients find that the detailed analysis they receive from Monex Europe helps them to make better decisions about when to purchase their desired currency.
As we are always keen to ensure our clients get a great deal, we also love that Monex Europe’s service is free to use – a great bonus when you consider that the company is consistently ranked as a top 10 global currency forecaster by Bloomberg.
Foreign exchange can seem daunting at first, due to the potential costliness of making the wrong decision. If you’ve not purchased property abroad before, or you’ve done so but only relied on your bank for currency exchange, it’s definitely worth speaking to an FX expert before you make any hasty decisions.

For further details email us at: or call us on: 0203 3726 499

Crossrail sees Woolwich come out on top

London’s Crossrail areas have long been excited about the new service’s potential to drive up house prices by providing enhance transport connections. Between Crossrail’s announcement and 2015, areas near Crossrail stations enjoyed a 31% uplift in house prices. Now, Woolwich has been identified as the area to come out on top as a result of Crossrail.

Nestled in the Royal Borough of Greenwich in south-east London, Woolwich has enjoyed significant investment in the form of urban renewal projects in recent years, having been identified in the London Plan as one of the capital’s opportunity areas. It is on track to progress from being one of Greater London’s ‘major centres’ to a ‘metropolitan centre’ over the coming decades, with Crossrail playing a significant role in that development.
According to JLL, Woolwich can look forward to house price growth of 39% between 2016 and 2020. That positions it at the very top of JLL’s list of House Price Growth Winners. In the year to August 2016 alone, average asking prices in Woolwich increased by 18%. With Woolwich Crossrail station due to open in December 2018 and urban regeneration continuing apace, prices are expected to continue rising steadily over the coming months and years.
Even aside from Crossrail, demand for homes is rising steeply across the UK and thus impacting on property prices. According to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) population data, the UK’s population is larger than it has ever been, at 65.6 million. The ONS projects that that figure will rise to more than 74 million by 2039, with an extra 8.4 million people creating unprecedented levels of demand for housing. And where demand goes up, prices follow!
With urban regeneration a key priority for the area and work underway to prepare Woolwich for Crossrail’s arrival late next year, the area is also attracting significant interest from property investors keen to take advantage of its potential for capital growth and solid rental yields. As Woolwich’s fortunes continue to rise, this trend is expected to continue.

For further details email us at: or call us on: 0203 3726 499