The launch of the exciting new Kinetic development in Manchester’s Old Trafford area is drawing attention from investors around the world. Recognised across the globe as the home of one of England’s most respected football clubs, Old Trafford has a strong sporting heritage. However, there’s much more to the area than its athletic credentials alone.
This bustling part of Manchester is home to a highly educated urban population that is looking to get the best out of life in the city. 48% of adult residents in the area hold a degree or equivalent qualification (compared with 33% across the North West on average) and it is home to 13,000 businesses. Entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, and is backed up by a fantastically modern infrastructure, with 99.9% superfast broadband coverage.
The new Kinetic development is no exception, providing residents with hyperoptic fibre for superfast connectivity. The 48 one and two-bedroom apartments exude contemporary urban style. They have been developed with professional tenants in mind, as well as providing a convenient accommodation option for the 6,500-strong student campus being opened just a stone’s throw from Kinetic in 2019.
The area is well connected, offering access to Manchester city centre, Media City, the University Quarter and White City Retail Park. Old Trafford Tram and Trafford Bar Tram are less than 10 minutes’ walk away, while Piccadilly Station can be reached by car in 12 minutes. Manchester Airport is a 14-minute drive.
In terms of the wider city, pwc’s just-published Emerging Trends in Real Estate Europe 2018 report has highlighted Manchester as the UK’s top city investment prospect. The recognition is great news for investors looking at being a part of the city’s future. Many are particularly interested in the Trafford area as a result of its mixed offering of residential, commercial and leisure opportunities.
In addition, the latest figures from Zoopla show that the M16 postcode area, in which Kinetic is based, is ahead of the rest of the city in terms of its rising property values. Over the past five years, properties in the M16 area have increased in value by 31.56%, pushing ahead of the city-wide average of 30.64%.
With well-established investment credentials, Manchester has long been a favourite with both domestic and international property investors. Now, Kinetic has become the latest exciting development to provide investors with the chance to be part of the city’s bright future.
Liverpool is one of the UK’s most enticing cities from a cultural, architectural and historical perspective. It’s also drawing in investors from around the world thanks to its dynamic business and property sectors. The rush to invest in Liverpool doesn’t look ready to abate any time soon. Here are five reasons why.
1. Extensive regeneration
Liverpool’s skyline has been awash with cranes for years as the city pours money into developing ever bigger and better attractions. These range from stunning new tourist attractions to ultra-contemporary commercial and residential offerings.
One of the most exciting current projects is the Ten Streets regeneration, which is part of a 15-20 year strategic overhaul focusing on building a new ‘creativity district’ that will bring with it lasting, long-term benefits to the city as a whole. One thing Liverpool certainly doesn’t shy away from is long-term plans!
2. Tourism potential
Liverpool’s tourism sector is worth some £3.8 billion. The city is one of the most visited places in the UK, attracting in excess of 54 million visitors each year. Just under 50,000 jobs in the city are supported by the tourism industry.
Liverpool’s tourist attractions are extremely wide-ranging. The Beatles Story and Cavern Club are must-visits for music fans, while the bustling Albert Dock leisure complex and UNESCO World Heritage waterfront also attract hordes of visitors. All this is backed by a dozen Michelin starred restaurants and enough other excellent dining options to satisfy even the most demanding gourmand.
3. Housing undersupply
From April 2009 to March 2016, Liverpool built homes at an average rate of 713 per year. This was against a Home Builders Federation estimate that the city needs to build 3,000 homes per year to keep up with demand. This mismatch between supply and demand has made for an interesting investment scenario.
Demand for housing is growing, with Liverpool’s population rising from 435,500 in 2001 to 466,400 in 2011, according to Census data – an increase of 5.5% in a single decade. This has pushed up both housing prices and rents in the city, as well as the wider region. Rents rose by 4.4% across the North West in 2016. Longer-term, it is property price rises that impress – home values rose by 22.7% over the past five years, with apartments rising at the even faster rate of 25.2%.
4. Youthful population
Liverpool is attracting a range of young talent, with professionals drawn to the city thanks to its economic potential. Those aged 22-29 in the city centre increased fourfold in the ten years to 2011. This has served to create a dynamic, enthusiastic workforce that is well positioned to provide Liverpool with a bright economic future.
Businesses are working to ensure that they harness the power of this youthful population. Santander’s first business incubator was set up in Liverpool. The city was also the location of Launch22’s first incubator outside of London. When it comes to future-proofing its business environment and economy, Liverpool is light years ahead of many UK cities.
5. Economic strength
Liverpool isn’t just a promising location for UK businesses and investors – it’s one of the most appealing cities in the UK for multinational companies. Its mix of business sectors and income streams has allowed the city to build up strong economic credentials. Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Interim Chair, Asif Hamid, sums it up well:
“Liverpool City Region has recorded a strong economic performance over recent years and these figures clearly underline the progress being made to deliver sustainable economic growth across the city region. This is an attractive location for businesses to invest and they are doing so in significant numbers.”
Liverpool was ranked joint second in the top ten mid-sized European cities of the future 2016/17 by Financial Times company fDi Magazine. Its connectivity and business friendliness were noted as being among the city’s best credentials.
The Surrenden Invest team has been working in the Liverpool area for years and has been impressed by the city’s potential. So much so, in fact, that we’ve just opened our newest office there. The move is reflective of the long-term potential that we see in Liverpool for our investors to grow their portfolios and take advantage of the regeneration and gentrification that is taking place across the city. It’s a city that’s bursting with opportunity.
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.
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.
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.
New builds are an increasingly attractive option for those who are looking to relocate or invest in their first property. To help you prepare for this important purchase, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the terminology that you’re likely to come across when buying a new build home.
Often used as a more formal alternative to ‘seller’ to describe the individual who has put the property up for sale.
A legal document that will set out the main terms of agreement between the vendor and the purchaser. It will typically contain details such as the names and addresses of each party, and the price of the transaction. Both the vendor and the purchaser will be required to sign their own copy of the contract ready for exchange.
This refers to a new build property that has not been built yet.
An abbreviation used to describe an Independent Financial Advisor.
This refers to an independent professional body (or bodies) who are tasked with investigating grievances on behalf of customers. They may take on cases involving estate agents, solicitors or insurance companies.
This is a payment that is made at the point that the property is taken off the market. It will then be deducted from the exchange balance.
This is the part of the purchase price – the lump sum – that is paid by the buyer on exchange of contracts.
Memorandum of Sale/Sales Letters
Sometimes referred to as a Notification of Sale, this is a document which records the transaction between the buyer and the vendor. It will contain information on the price of the property, the personal details of both parties, and contact details for their separate lawyers. It may also specify any special conditions of sale which have been negotiated – for example, some buyers or vendors may request that they are ready to exchange by a certain date). The Memorandum of Sale is not a legally-binding agreement.
This refers to the process whereby checks will be carried out on local council records to obtain information on any relevant planning applications and restrictions that may affect the property.
Subject to Contract
This term is often used to suggest that the property is in the process of being sold, but agreements are not yet legally binding.
Exchange of Contracts
This refers to the point at which copies of signed contracts from both parties are swapped by solicitors. The buyer’s deposit will also be handed over. Once the vendor and the buyer have exchanged, the contract is binding by law and neither of these individuals can back out of the agreement without facing financial consequences.
On this day, the legal transaction will be finalised and all documents and funds will have been distributed. Normally, the vendor’s solicitor will ask the estate agent to release the keys to the buyer at this time, too. In the case of new builds, ‘short stop’ and ‘long stop’ dates may also be specified; the developer will expect to have finished all building works by the short stop date, but MUST have completed the build by the long stop date.
Requisition on Title
This refers to any enquiry that relates to the completion agreements.
This refers to the government department which records ownership of the land and any conditions pertaining to it.
This is an initial inspection of the property that is carried out by a professional, qualified surveyor. Depending on the type and condition of the property, the buyer may instruct the surveyor to carry out either:
A valuation report – this is mainly completed for the benefit of the mortgage company.
A Homebuyers’ report – this provides the buyer with important information on the overall condition of the property.
A full structural survey – this is a more in-depth report that examines structural detail and provides more comprehensive recommendations.
Property Information Form/Fixtures, Fittings and Contents Form
Both forms need to be completed by the seller to determine what will be left behind in the property at the point of sale. They will also include details on guarantees.
This is typically made up of a Property Information Form and a Fixtures, Fittings and Contents Form, along with the title deeds and a copy of the draft contract.
This involves the developer touching up paintwork, adjusting appliances and making good any other minor issues within the property prior to the buyer entering the property.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
This important document will contain comprehensive information on energy use and performance at the property, along with its estimated carbon dioxide emissions and fuel costs.
A formal written offer made by a bank or building society to lend an approved amount to purchase a property.
Mortgage Redemption Figure
The amount required to repay the outstanding capital/interest of a mortgage.
Your monthly repayment includes part interest and part capital repayment. So long as you meet all of the payments required by the lender on time, your mortgage will gradually reduce until it is repaid in full.
Ownership and Charges
Legal documents that prove ownership of land/buildings and the terms on which they are owned.
Transfer of Title
This is the document that effectively passes ownership of the property from the vendor to the buyer.
Stamp Duty or LBTT (Scotland)
This tax, which is paid by the buyer, is calculated by analysing the percentage rate that is applicable to each portion of the property’s sale price.
This will grant the buyer with ownership of the property itself, but not the land it is built on. If a property is leasehold, the owner will normally need to pay ground rent to whoever owns the freehold. Please note that leasehold terms are offered on terms of between 125-999 years.
The annual fee which the leaseholder will pay to the freeholder.
A charge paid towards a freehold or leasehold property. It normally applies to apartments/flats.
This is a charge which is made the upkeep of the overall site.
Traditionally, tenants start to think about renewing their agreement around three months before it is due to expire. This always used to provide the tenant with plenty of time to find alternative accommodation if their landlord wanted to increase their rent. However, the due to the current market, which has a surplus of rental properties, some tenants are now planning their exit up to 12 months in advance. If you have long-term tenants who appear to be satisfied with their living arrangements, do not get complacent – they may be on the lookout for their next great home.
Most tenants move to get better value, and this is especially true when they have been living in the same place for around three to five years. Many will closely follow the rate of rental inflation, and keep an eye on prices. In the least competitive areas, for every tenant looking for a new apartment or house, there are 10 to 15 suitable properties on the market. The combination of increasingly savvy tenants and a more competitive market makes it challenging for landlord agents to keep their best customers. Here are some tips to help you ensure that your tenants renew their contract with you.
Never Neglect Your Tenants
Throughout the tenancy, be sure to reply to every concern. Most tenants leave a property because simple maintenance issues are not resolved by their landlord or agent. If they always wait four weeks to get a tap fixed, or a boiler repaired, they will soon start to look for a modern property with new fixtures and fittings. This is why a good property manager is essential for busy landlords – they’ll be able to deal with these day-to-day queries much faster.
Be Ready to Negotiate on Price
If a tenant asks for a lower rent before renewal time, think carefully before rejecting it. The chances are they have either seen something better for the same price, or something similar for less. People only move if they have good reason to, and it’s usually either down to money or the quality of the accommodation. Dropping the rent for 12 months is less costly than risking a void period.
Keep a Close Eye on the Local Market
Monitor all new properties coming to the market and consider how your tenants will view them. Invest in your property every couple of years to match current trends – be sure to update fixtures and fittings, replace flooring and ensure everything is maintained to a high standard. Because tenants rarely have permission to change anything within an apartment, many resort to moving to a new build when their accommodation gets a little tired, rather than approaching the landlord and asking them to update the property.
Trust Professional Guidance and Discuss Feedback
Market conditions can change rapidly, so always trust the advice given by your agency. Sometimes an agent will tell you to drop your rental price to attract new tenants. As mentioned already, in some areas there are more properties on the market than tenants, so competition amongst property investors is high. Agents and landlords should discuss market conditions on a regular basis to ensure there are no surprises.
Constant Property Research
Before making any decisions, carry out extensive research so that you are fully aware of market conditions. Property investors hire agents for their knowledge of market conditions, as well as their marketing expertise. Ultimately, the key to retaining the best tenants is to ensure that the property is always offered at a fair price for its age and condition. If you decide not to update it every few years, be prepared to freeze or even drop your price if you wish to avoid that dreaded void period.
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