How property investment ‘alternative’ became ‘core’ in

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), has warned investors not to forget the hard lessons of the financial crisis with the ultra-loose monetary policy and the near zero interest rates have had a ‘profound’ effect on commercial property investment.

While commercial property transaction volumes were subdued in the years following the credit crunch, the turnaround was so great that by 2015 the global level of activity had climbed back to ‘within a whisker of its pre-global financial crisis high’, said Rics chief economist Simon Rubinsohn.

With investors understandably being attracted by the property recovery and rental income in a low-yield world with demand outstripping supply in prime locations.‘Property in many major markets is now trading at yields well below historical averages and in some cases, close to all-time lows,’ said Rubinsohn.

Rics said in a report of real estate investment managers, investors placing more money into international real estate markets and domestic markets have become global, As the confidence in the property market grows, As a result, there has been a shift in what are considered to be ‘core’ property investments. ‘Beyond returns, property use classes are also changing, and with it the definitions of what is ‘core’,’ it said. One interviewee noted that student housing used to be seen as an ‘alternative’ investment a few years ago but is now being treated as a traditional property investment. Global investment in student housing has more than doubled from $3 billion in 2007 to $7 billion in 2015. ‘Investment managers are seeing stronger demand from their investors to move into these alternative assets,’ said the report.

While new alternative property investments, such as data centers and hotels, provide new opportunities for investors the fast pace of change in the global real estate market is also presenting risks.Of most concern to investment managers were changing occupier habits, with the introduction of co-working, flexible spaces, and the rise of Airbnb-style models. ‘As a result, leases are becoming shorter and more flexible, with covenant strength being tested in new ways,’ said the report. ‘For investors, the opportunity to acquire assets with long-term tenants in place is becoming less prevalent.’ It is not only the types of the lease that are changing but also where businesses are renting office space. Corporate occupiers are increasingly moving outside of central business districts in order to lease space that offers more flexibility and local amenities and leisure facilities for staff.

This is having an impact on the risk profile of some older, built-up central business districts,’ said the report.

While there are a number of new challenges for property investors, there is also the long-standing one of getting accurate valuations of properties both in rising and in falling markets, because of the time lag between transactions being agreed and completed.‘This can be particularly challenging for investors looking for exits during times of volatility,’ said the report.

The Rics report encourages a great focus on risk management, including benchmarking data, consistent bases for property market data, and sharing of best practice within the industry and with younger employees to ensure the mistakes of the past do not happen again.

The real estate investment management business has been accused in the past of making long-term investments with short-term memories. The increased focus on risk management…will hopefully be the start of addressing this criticism,’ commented Philip Barrett, global chief investment risk officer at PGIM Real Estate, in the report.

 

3 THINGS ESTATE AGENTS DO IN YOUR INTEREST THAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW OF

There has always been speculation and negative talk on Estate Agents, but we’re here to turn that around as we work closely with the agents on our portal. We’ve now curated a list of 5 things Estate Agents do in your interest that you may not be aware of:

TIP #1: Area Research

Estate Agents make sure that they have an in-depth understanding and appreciation for the community they are serving, as this will better their chances in assisting you in either selling your property or buying one. Either way, them having a closer understanding of the area benefits you in general.

TIP #2: Market Research

Estate Agents strive to be on top of the property market as this will aid them in negotiating prices with Landlords or vendors as well as helping you to understand when is the best time to make an investment in regards to anything property related.

TIP #3: Support other local businesses

Agents are always getting involved in local community events or supporting other local businesses in the area via sponsorships, campaigns and etc. Doing this allows Agents to have a close tie with the community and also, in turn, become your tour guide into the community.

So these are just things that Agents do in your interest!

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Also if you have any tips that you could recommend to us, share them in the comments and we’ll be highlighting them in our upcoming articles on Estate Agents and their services.

 

WHAT BREXIT MEANS FOR THE PROPERTY MARKET

19 June was an important day for the history and future of the UK, as that is when the Brexit negotiations are to commence. One question that has been buzzing among the property sector and its followers is, ‘How will Brexit affect the housing prices and property market in the UK?’, and that is more than understandable.

So we’ve curated a short list of things that we are currently seeing and that we at Property Property Property believe we’ll be seeing soon, within the market:

Negotiations

As mentioned above, negotiations have taken place from Monday 19 June 2017 for the after-effects of the Brexit vote. These negotiations between the UK and EU will determine the state of the economy, which will also then determine the outcome of the housing market. However, we also believe there will be talk on trading, which may also affect the number of houses and flats springing from the ground in places such as London.

Market Fluctuation

As many people are wary about the value of their home or purchasing a property post-Brexit as they’re not too confident in what the market will hold, and neither are we as we are yet to see any significant difference in the market. However, reports have shown that the number of house purchases since the Brexit vote has dipped and we believe we’ll continue to see fluctuations in the market for the next few months until the economy has been stabilised.

Speculations

There has been some speculation within the property industry on what Brexit will actually mean and how it’ll affect us. However, a survey of forecasts was taken by the Investment Property Forum in the latter part of 2016, have shown that the capitals value in commercial real estate is predicted/expected to fall by 3.6 percent in 2017. On the country to that, rents have been predicted to remain high.

Nevertheless, these are all speculations and predictions based on the small changes that may have occurred the weeks leading to the Brexit vote and the weeks’ post-Brexit vote. What we are most concerned about is the future of our property market.

So at Property Property Property, we’ll like to know what your comments and thoughts are on Brexit and how it may change out property market.

Manchester Property Prices Rising

Manchester has seen property values in the city have risen by 6.92 percent in the last 12 months, with the average home now worth around £162,000. However, across the whole of the UK, house prices rose by 5.14 pc in the year to July seeing the average move up to £226,185. According to the report, the total value of all homes in the UK is £3 trillion, with two-thirds of the total in the capital.

According to a new study, Manchester’s property market is the third most valuable in the country. Hometrack research found that houses in the city are worth a total of £133bn, behind London and Birmingham, which with housing markets worth £1.99 trillion and £152bn respectively.

Estate agent Ged McPartlin, from Ascend Properties, says news of Manchester’s housing boom comes as no surprise.He said: “The north is certainly booming as the latest Hometrack report has revealed that Manchester is the best city for growth – experiencing a strong increase in house prices.This, along with the total value of homes being worth a huge £133bn creates a truly thriving property market which is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.From an agent’s point of view, these figures truly reflect what we’re seeing in the marketplace.Buyers understand that the market is moving fast, competition is rife and it’s generally fastest fingers first. The demand has continued to push prices up and the lack of stock has created marketplace urgency.There’s also been an increase in landlords snapping properties up in the city, particularly throughout June, July and August, as the new university year creates a rush of tenants desperate to secure a decent property before the term starts.It’s been a very busy summer and the growth reported today clearly reflects this.”

The study also showed that mortgage debt in Manchester came to a total of £32bn, while housing equity – the difference between the home’s market value and the outstanding balance of mortgage payments – came to £100bn.

Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Hometrack, said: “House prices continue to rise on the back of sustained price inflation in large regional cities as unemployment falls and mortgage rates remain low.”

 

New research – shortage of homes in England set to reach a million by 2022

New research shows England is set to reach more than a million by 2022 in a shortfall in new homes in as the gulf between building houses and demand from a growing population widens.

England has seen a cumulative shortfall of more than 530,000 new homes since 2005. With a projection for the next five years suggests that the situation is not going to get any better.

Search provider Search Acumen analysis from conveyancing using official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests that there is enough brownfield land to provide the space to meet housing demand. They compared the volume of new homes completed in England each year since 1976 with new dwellings needed to accommodate the growing number of households over the same period.

With an estimation household growth by assessing annual ONS birth, death and migration data, and used the ONS’ average annual number of people deemed a household to determine how many new homes would meet the extra demand.

Taking a closer look at the gap that developed after 2005, the data can estimate the shortfall in supply created by the slowdown in new house builds. Between 2005 and 2016, more than 530,000 too few homes were built to meet the growing demand.

Search Acumen’s research also projected how many homes would be completed each year and how many more households would be created. If trends do continue, England will need an additional 510,000 homes to meet demand. This, on top of the current shortfall, means England could have more one million too few homes by 2022.

More than one million homes additional homes may sound like a daunting proposal in a relatively small country and to illustrate the amount of space needed Search Acumen theoretically speculated as to the amount of potentially available land for housing development in England by assessing only available brownfield and green belt land.

Finally, Search Acumen estimated how much green belt land could be theoretically affected. The research found that if housebuilders continued to build 14 domiciles per hectare on the more than 1.1 million hectares of green belt land in England, only 14% of all greenbelt would have to be turned over to developers to meet cumulative demand into 2047.

The housing market in all corners of England has ground to a halt as people struggle to find a home that fits their needs and their budgets. Our research suggests that, even with housing supposedly higher up the political agenda, the pledges made at the last election won’t do the job of keeping up with demand in the long-term after years of under-investment into new housing,’ said Andrew Lloyd, managing director of Search Acumen.

As supply has weakened, demand continues unabated with more dispersed households, an increasing number of births, and net migration unlikely to be affected by Brexit and proposed changes to border controls,’ he explained.

We face a future where first-time buyers are further squeezed by rising prices, and where those already on the ladder looking for an affordable home simply cannot. To make up for years of undersupply, we need to embark on the greatest housing boom this country has seen in a century,’ he pointed out.

But it is possible. We have space, we have the desire and we have tens of thousands of housing professionals in the private and public sector ready to go. We just need our leaders to share our industry’s sense of urgency and begin laying foundations for economic success right away,’ he added.

New build vs. Second-hand homes in London: house price report reveals six-figure gap between new and resale flats

There’s a huge gulf between the average price of old and new-build flats in London. New builds can offer peace of mind while ex-councils flats are best for value so weigh up the pros and cons carefully before you buy.

Ex-council vs. new-build prices in every London borough

The six-figure price gulf between new and resale property, and between privately built and former council homes, is revealed in a new study focusing on London.

Research comparing the cost of one-bedroom flats in every borough shows pre-owned homes cost an average £542,715, while a new-build one-bedroom flat costs an average £679,671. That’s 22 percent — or almost £137,000 — more.

An ex-council one-bedroom flat is the best value of all at £396,317 on average, the Hamptons International study shows. This is more than £146,000 — or 31 percent — less than buying a privately built flat, and more than £283,000, or 52 percent, cheaper than a new-build flat.

New build is always the premium buy, for the peace of mind that comes with a modern, well-insulated home, often with such extras as communal gardens and sports facilities. In today’s tricky market some developers are offering good deals such as paying buyers’ stamp duty to stimulate sales, but the property will always come out more expensive with annual service charges on top.

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New — what £350,000 buys you: a flat at Leven Wharf, Poplar, with a terrace and city views but only one bedroom. For sale with My London Home (020 8012 5708)

Not long ago you could have said a new-build flat, bought off-plan, would make you a profit by the time you moved in. The direction of the current market is anybody’s guess because of stamp duty hikes and the fallout from the Brexit vote.

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Adrian Plant, director and head of new homes at estate agents Currell, says: “With the new build, you hope you know that for the first 10 years there will not be any major costs. You won’t need to pay for builders and plumbers, and many developments now come with a concierge to handle maintenance and sort out issues like arranging for parcel delivery or laundry, at a cost of service charges.”

Buyers of older homes pay less to purchase, but often then stump up for renovations and/or extensions. Of course, an older home may bring the bonus of period features such as cornicing, wide staircases, stained glass and Victorian tiled floors.

WITH GREAT VALUE COMES GREATER RISK

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Old — what £329,999 buys you: a second-floor ex-council flat with two double bedrooms in Clapton E5. Former council homes can be great value, but ask locals what life on the estate is like before you commit to buying

Ex-local authority homes are fantastic value but this is the riskiest sector to buy into. Generally, those built before the Sixties and Seventies are higher quality and larger than a more modern home. But on estates blighted by years of underinvestment, flats can be shabby, common areas depressing and getting a mortgage can be a pain.

However, Stephen Lovelady, sales manager at Foxtons’ Pimlico and Westminster branch, says ex-council homes on his patch are often well built, with good security and sometimes well managed. He says most lenders will offer mortgages on ex-local authority homes in central London, although some will not lend on buildings above six storeys, or of poor construction standards.

READ MORE

Beyond Zone 1, broadly speaking, lenders are happy with ex-council homes in desirable areas and less keen on run-down locations. Buyers must research whether there are any major repairs planned for the block or estate because they, unlike the council tenants, will have to pay a share of the cost. Request a work plan from the local council which will give a five-year list of any projects plus an estimated cost. Your solicitor should investigate any major works when conveyancing your sale.

Communal halls, lifts and walkways are often grim. Bad management, crime, drugs and gangs of teenagers making life a misery are all possibilities on a big estate. A safer bet is a small, low-rise block that’s well integrated into local streets, although this might be more expensive than average.

So before you buy, contact the tenants and residents association to discuss any major problems, knock on doors and chat with residents, talk to the local paper, study police crime statistics and visit the flat during the day and at night.

 

Prices for London Luxury homes predicted to stay flat until after Brexit…

According to Savills, Brexit uncertainty and tax changes weigh on the market. With central London luxury homes are forecast to fall 4% this year and will flatline for nearly two more years.

Sellers in London are being forced to lower their prices: the number of properties worth £1m or more where the asking price has been cut nearly doubled in the first half of 2017 from a year ago. With a 3.2% in the first nine months of this year, and are 15.2% below their peak three years ago. Savills is forecasting 20% growth in central London luxury house prices over the next five years, which is less than half the 52% long-term average seen between 1979 and 2014.

The City to lose about 20,000 jobs from its 350,000 workforces in coming years espects Savills, but believes London will remain a key global financial center and develop as one of the several European hubs for the growing tech sector. They also estimate there were 394,000 properties worth £1m or more across the UK in 2016, down 3.4% from the year before, although the number has more than doubled in the past decade. Almost two-thirds of those homes are in London and a further 21% in the south-east. In Kensington and Chelsea in west London, almost half of all privately owned homes exceed the £1m mark.

Looking beyond the price declines at the top of the market, bloated London property prices have been fuelling an exodus from the capital. The number of people in their 30s who are moving out to the commuter belt or further afield in search of more affordable homes rose 27% in the five years to the end of June 2016, according to official figures. 

Mortgage lending in August hit a one-and-a-half-year high, according to figures from UK Finance, the new trade body for the banking industry. Gross lending rose to £24.2bn, the highest since March 2016 when buy-to-let buyers rushed to complete before a hike on stamp duty, taking lending to £26.3bn. Before that, mortgage lending was last higher in April 2008.

 

This is set to be positive year for Aberdeen’s commercial market

The political landscape and predictions are widespread over how the snap general election could affect the markets. With Scotland dealing with the negative impact on property investment and market confidence amongst some investors and developers because of the prospect of a second independence referendum.

However, in Aberdeen, the atmosphere has largely driven by the fortunes of the oil and gas industry for the past two years, with the sector now showing largely positive signs. But not to say the wider political backdrop is of no concern, the UK’s vote to leave the EU immediately benefited Aberdeen’s oil and gas economy. The North Sea producers have profited from production costs being incurred in a depreciated sterling relative to a product sold in US dollars, as have local service companies pitching for business around the world conducted in a largely dollar-denominated market. With a growing confidence in the local air which is now impacting itself in our property market.

The office sector was a most impacted sector by the energy industries. The fortunes between 2013 and 2015 fluctuating and with the best quality space have maintained headline rents and interest from occupiers despite carrying a record level of voids. However, it must be said that much of the remaining stock has seen its day, being functionally or economically challenged or located on peripheral estates which have long been a unique feature of Aberdeen’s property supply.  

In comparison, Aberdeen’s industrial market has held up reasonably well. During 2016, take-up was in line with the 10-year average with rents generally remaining stable although the supply of second-hand stock has increased.

Investor appetite for Aberdeen is beginning to show signs of increasing. A North American investor, for example, acquired the Lloyd’s Register building in Prime Four Business Park for £41 million in February, pushing Q1 office investment levels to £49 million, more than the total volume recorded during 2016. Investors are seeking a ‘flight to quality’, looking for well let assets in the city, which may offer more attractive yields than elsewhere in the UK.

The good news is that office lettings in Q1 2017 were 181,000 sq ft (16,815 sq m), the highest quarterly take-up since Q3 2013. This clearly indicates that the local mood has moved up a gear, in part reflected by oil companies Total and Marathon committing to new leases and a number of large requirements circulating.

The further positive news comes with Hurricane Energy announcing a new find west of Shetland with estimated recoverable reserves of a billion barrels and small local independent Chrysoar announcing a $3 billion acquisition from Shell comprising 10 separate assets in the UK continental shelf with funding from US private equity firm EIG Partners.

The smart money is clearly backing a more positive future for Aberdeen and the property market is starting to reflect this.

 

Abbeywood where house prices are way below the London average and price growth is strong at the Crossrail hotspot!

Abbey Wood SE2 postcode has grown by an impressive 76 per cent in the last five years, but the average remains a relatively modest £309,560.

Buyers have been pouring into Abbey Wood in anticipation of next year’s launch of Crossrail — the Elizabeth line — which will cut journey times to central London by almost half an hour.

While the area is not a thing of beauty and boasts few amenities, it has streets of good-value period terraces where a three-bedroom house would cost £375,000 to £425,000. You could get a slightly dated purpose-built two-bedroom flat in Abbey Wood for about £250,000.

The research by Bairstow Eves, using Countrywide data, evaluated average prices in every postcode in London. Then, concentrating on the cheapest 25 per cent of postcodes, it analysed their one-, two-, and five-year price growth to establish the areas where prices are on the strongest upswing.

Bellingham and Catford (SE6), an area well-placed to link to Crossrail services via neighbouring Forest Hill, has performed almost as strongly, with prices up 71 per cent in the same period, to an average £380,641.

For buyers on really slim budgets the bargain basement postcodes are Thamesmead, just north of Abbey Wood, where average prices stand at £252,747, up 60 per cent in five years, and Dagenham (RM10) where prices have grown 66 per cent to an average of £270,878. The once-desolate Thamesmead Estate is currently the focus of a £1.5 billion regeneration. Housing association Peabody was granted planning permission for the first phase of its transformation of the area late last year. There are also plans to link it to the London Overground.

Predictably, none of today’s leading areas are in Travel Zones 1, 2 or 3, where  nothing qualifies as affordable. More than one in three are perched on the outer fringes of London – MitchamDagenhamHarold WoodWellingSuttonNortholtWest Drayton, and Uxbridge. Their low prices combined with good transport links have been tempting an increasing flow of buyers priced out of more central locations, pushing their prices upward.

NORTH LONDON
Nowhere in fully priced west London makes the good-value grade, but representing north London are 
Tottenham (N17), where prices have mushroomed 67 per cent to an average £347,486 — and where billions of pounds worth of regeneration money is being spent on new homes and facilities — and its near neighbour Upper Edmonton (N18) where prices stand at £316,045, up 66 per cent.

The location of London’s cheapest neighbourhoods is a bellwether for change in the capital,” said David Fell, research analyst at Countrywide, who believes that as these regeneration schemes take root further growth is likely.

Over the last 20 years the most affordable neighbourhoods in London have been pushed steadily outwards and eastwards as swathes of the inner city reinvented themselves. Some of the cheapest corners of the capital in the Nineties turned into the boom towns of the Noughties, changing beyond recognition in the course of two decades.

It’s likely to be a similar story for some of today’s cheapest neighbourhoods in London. The arrival of Crossrail and the extension of the Overground will soon plug swathes of south and east London into the rest of the capital. The prospect of these new links is already bringing a wave of new development to some of the furthest-flung corners of the city. Within a decade it’s conceivable that the capital’s cheapest neighbourhood could pop up in west London for the first time.”

 

Property Market Trends and Portents: What Should Home-owners Expect?

Property Market Trends and Portents: What Should Home-owners Expect?

After more than six months of concerted growth at the beginning of 2014, the housing market has cooled somewhat in recent times. After concerns that a new bubble may be about to form in the market, property prices have stagnated and even started to fall in the third financial quarter. This trend is set to continue for the last three months of the year at least, with the latest survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) showing a -18% balance in respondents reporting a rising demand for housing in the UK.

Although this sudden dip in growth has caused consternation among home-owners and potential buyers, it is unlikely that it will continue indefinitely. Even with the UK economy expected to grow at a consistent rate during 2015 and beyond, however, it is still worth considering the trends that will impact on the property market going forward.

 3 Property Market Trends to Consider

 With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the real estate trends that we are likely to encounter in the fourth financial quarter and 2015. These include: -

 1.1       A Rise in UK Construction Output

 There is a strong link between real estate growth and the construction sector, and both are considered as being key engines of economic expansion. Given the recent stagnation, it was therefore surprising that construction output rebounded in September, recording growth of 1.8% following a 3% contraction in August. Not only does this underline the value that public sector projects can add to the market, but also the fact that the property sector is built on solid foundations.

1.2      Growth in the Buy-to-let Marketplace

While the property market has shown excellent resilience in recent times, the slowdown in price hikes has also triggered growth in the lucrative buy-to-let market. As a growing number of individuals find themselves priced out of the UK market, many turn to rental properties as a way of sourcing accommodation. This has created rising demand and enabled landlords to raise their prices, with the cost of agreeing a new tenancy having soared by 3.7% during the last year alone. This trend is set to continue for the rest of the year at least, so aspiring landlords and realtors such as Featherstone Leigh may wish to capitalise on this.

 1.3.      London will Remain Decoupled from the UK Economy

 Throughout the course of the last property market boom, London prices and trends decoupled from the rest of the UK and this trend is likely to remain for the foreseeable future. One of the primary reasons for this is London’s emergence as a global icon in the real estate market, which means that it benefits from overseas investment in a way that other geographical regions do not. It is considered to be something of a safe-haven for international property investors, and while this is good news for the economy it means that the capital does not provide a true barometer for the real estate landscape as a whole.

 

From Vickie Harrison