#PROPERTYOFTHEDAY #37: 3-bedroom penthouse – London

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On propertypropertyproperty.co.uk/blog we are introducing the #PropertyofTheDay segment, which will highlight properties across the UK that are currently available for sale or rent on the portal. Today we are highlighting Xavi & Co in London and their lovely 3-bedroom penthouse … Continue reading

#PROPERTYOFTHEDAY #36: 3-bedroom apartment – Brentfordshire, London

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On propertypropertyproperty.co.uk/blog we are introducing the #PropertyofTheDay segment, which will highlight properties across the UK that are currently available for sale or rent on the portal. Today we are highlighting Xavi & Co in Brentfordshire, London and their lovely 3-bedroom … Continue reading

#PROPERTYOFTHEDAY #25: 2 Bedroom Apartment – Mayfair, London

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On propertypropertyproperty.co.uk/blog we are introducing the #PropertyofTheDay segment, which will highlight properties across the UK that are currently available for sale or rent on the portal. Today we are highlighting Conquest Property Company in London and their lovely 2-bedroom apartment, … Continue reading

#PROPERTYOFTHEDAY #24: 3 Bedroom House – London

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On propertypropertyproperty.co.uk/blog we are introducing the #PropertyofTheDay segment, which will highlight properties across the UK that are currently available for sale or rent on the portal. Today we are highlighting Conquest Property Company in London and their lovely 3-bedroom house … Continue reading

#PROPERTYOFTHEDAY #22: 3 Bedroom Apartment – Knightsbridge, London

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On propertypropertyproperty.co.uk/blog we are introducing the #PropertyofTheDay segment, which will highlight properties across the UK that are currently available for sale or rent on the portal. Today we are highlighting Harrods Estates in Knightsbridge, London and their lovely 3-bedroom detached … Continue reading

#PROPERTYOFTHEDAY #7: 2 Bedroom Flat – Sutton

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On propertypropertyproperty.co.uk/blog we are introducing the #PropertyofTheDay segment, which will highlight properties across the UK that are currently available for sale or rent on the portal. Today we are highlighting LetMyRoof in London and their lovely 3-bedroom, flat property which … Continue reading

Student digs at up 19K A year- Chandeliers, cinema and 24/7 gym.

The brand new Eclipse building in Cardiff offers students an on-site nightclub, private cinema, dinner party function room complete with chandeliers, fitness suite, 24/7 concierge, games room, courtyard with ping-pong tables and, last but not least, dedicated study rooms.

That’s because only students live here. It is a prime example of the sort of luxury student accommodation springing up all over the country. The building’s management company, Collegiate AC, describes the property as a place where “lucky residents see their lives enhanced by a stylish, ultimate living experience”. That “enhancement” has a price tag, not all Cardiff students will be able to afford: up to £1,222 a month (£14,664 a year) to rent a one-bed flat.

The amount of luxury private accommodation on offer to students has grown rapidly in recent years, with the rents charged for purpose-built student accommodation increasing by 80% over the past 10 years, the latest research from the National Union of Students (NUS) shows. The union believes a twentyfold increase in the number of studio apartments available for students to rent privately lies at the heart of this trend, with the average weekly cost of this sort of accommodation hitting £193.76 in 2016, compared with £106.63 for a bedroom in a private house.

Yet some students are prepared to pay. Those who rent a “superior studio”, consisting of an en-suite bedroom with a study area and kitchen, at the London Liberty Plaza, pay at least £380 a week, 51 weeks of the year – more than £19,000 annually. The developers say every studio in the building, near the London School of Economics and King’s College London, was sold out a month before the start of the 2017-18 academic year.

It was the same in Manchester and Bristol, where Liberty charges £296 and £266 a week respectively for luxury studio flats. “Our superior rooms offer premium space and great views across the city with individual amenities, meaning no fridge-fighting, no arguments over cleaning, plus your own space to relax,” a spokesperson says.

Simon Thompson, director of the student accommodation portal AccommodationForStudents.com, thinks the demand for luxury student accommodation is being fuelled by peer pressure and students’ complacency about leaving university with a large debt. “Taking on a high level of debt is now part and parcel of going to university, and students are not frightened of carrying extra debt to get better quality accommodation,” he says. “They see other students living somewhere nicer … and they want to live there, too. They will also put pressure their parents to contribute.”

Lawrence Bowles, a researcher for Savills, says demand for luxury student accommodation also comes from parents. “It’s the parents who typically pay the rent. They want their children to live in a secure and supportive environment that is stress-free and optimised for student life. Particularly if they live overseas, they find it reassuring to send their child to live in a building run by a reputable management company, where there is a 24/7 concierge, high-speed internet … and space to work in their bedroom.”

Typically these companies invest more effort in maintaining and furnishing their student lets than do traditional landlords. In a 2014 NUS survey, more than three-quarters of students had experienced at least one problem with their property, with almost a quarter (24%) reporting slugs, mice or another infestation in their home.

Students who can afford to live in stress-free, luxury accommodation, which includes a quiet place to study, could enjoy an academic and psychological advantage over their peers, research suggests. In its annual report on student academic experiences, the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) found a link between students’ perceptions of their well-being and their ability to learn. Those scoring highly for life satisfaction and happiness were likely to feel they had learned more from their course.

Worrying about things like accommodation is a major stress and distraction for students, while our research has shown that good wellbeing leads to more exam success, a happier student experience and a perception that the university is better value for money,” says Dr. Diana Beech, HEPI director of policy and advocacy. She would like to see universities invest more in housing support services. “It would be nice to see dedicated support officers within universities who can help students with problem landlords, visit them in their homes, write letters of support and help students to find alternative accommodation within their means.”

Lack of such support can drive some students towards luxury accommodation, she says. “I would like to see more diversity in the housing market for students – going basically shouldn’t mean going substandard.”

Bowles agrees: “The way forward is for developers to build affordably priced accommodation with high-quality service levels but less focus on luxury amenities. That will also mean former student housing can be converted back into family homes for local families.”

Cardiff University spokesperson said: “We’re certainly aware of an increase in the provision of private accommodation for students in Cardiff – some marketed as luxury accommodation – but we’re not aware of this causing any significant issues for students.

Home buyers willing to spend an hour travelling into central London can save up to £480,858 on the cost of buying a home.

Property prices are about 60 percent lower than London in towns such as CrawleyWindsorRochesterPeterborough, and Oxford, with average house prices of around £316,000.In comparison, the average cost of a home in London travel Zones 1 and 2 has reached almost  £800,000, according to the report by Lloyds Bank.

Wellingborough in Northamptonshire emerges from the study as the least expensive commuter town with an average property price of around £197,000, followed by Kettering, also in Northamptonshire and Peterborough in Cambridgeshire, a close third.

Of course, property prices can’t be the only financial consideration when considering a move outside of London. The current annual rail pass for commuters traveling for 60-minutes costs an eye-watering £5,169 on average, but if the sums stack up, you could buy 93 years worth of travel with the average savings made on the property.

THE CHEAPEST COMMUTER TOWNS WITHIN AN HOUR’S COMMUTE OF LONDON

Town County Average house price (July 2017) Fastest train to central London
Wellingborough Northamptonshire £197,743 51 minutes
Kettering Northamptonshire £206,873 59 minutes
Peterborough Cambridgeshire £207,458 53 minutes
Swindon Wiltshire £234,466 59 minutes
Chatham Kent £234,652 54 minutes
Rugby Warwickshire £237,263 50 minutes
Northampton Northamptonshire £238,306 48 minutes
Luton Bedfordshire £250,593 24 minutes
Sittingbourne Kent £254,457 60 minutes
Basildon Essex £259,176 38 minutes

Source: Lloyds Bank, Land Registry, ONS

 

TOWNS WITHIN A 40-MINUTE COMMUTE OF LONDON

If an hour-long commute sounds too much, there can also big savings to be made on 40 and 20-minute journeys, the research from Lloyds Bank reveals. 

Homes in towns such as HatfieldBillericayOrpington and Reading cost just under £425,000 on average, which is almost half the cost of central London prices. An annual rail pass costs around £3,615 for a 40-minute commute. Even traveling just 20-minutes can save homebuyers almost £300,000, with rail passes from towns such as Ilford and Elstree costing £2,481 a year.

The distance between a potential new home and the office is a key factor for many house hunters, but Andrew Mason, mortgage product director at Lloyds Bank, believes commuting is an option worthy of serious consideration.

Not only do you get more house for your buck outside of central London, but commuters living in the 10 most affordable commuter towns are earning over £9,000 more per year on average than they would be in their place of residence.

“Commuting to London is a smart move for those wishing to benefit from the higher wages on offer while buying a cheaper and typically larger home,” he said.

THE TOWNS WHERE IT DOESN’T PAY TO COMMUTE

There are, however, a handful of commuter towns that command higher house prices than central London. Homes in Beaconsfield, for example, cost an average of £1,054,000, with Gerrards Cross (£903,000), Ascot (£824,000) and Weybridge (£822,000) also more expensive.

Commuting to other major UK cities is unlikely to be cost-effective.

Homes in the second biggest city of Birmingham cost £182,000 on average, yet the towns of DerbyCoventryBurton on Trent and Leamington Spa - all roughly 40 minutes away by train – command significantly higher average house prices of £225,000.

The situation is similar in the third largest city of Manchester, where the average house costs £175,000. Go house hunting in the nearby towns of MacclesfieldChorleyWarrington, however, and you can expect to find higher average house prices of £216,000.

 

First-time buyers are priced out as number of flats sold in London tumbles

London’s flats have decreased in sales as the prices are out of reach for ordinary first-time buyers, according to new research.

According to figures from Home.co.uk, which analyses data from the Office for National Statistics and property portals, which the number of apartments sold in the capital fell by 47pc in July compared to 12 months previously.

The number of detached properties sold in London fell 5pc in 12 months to July this year, with sales of terraced houses down 8pc. This comes amid a general slowdown in the level of transactions across the country, and particularly in London.

According to the Land Registry, the average price of a flat in London increased by 3.9pc in the 12 months to July to £434,587. The price growth of flats is outstripping all other property types across the country, partly due to a lack of supply, being led by the rises in the capital.

With the slowdown in sales signals that affordability has been crunched and many first-time buyers, who would typically purchase these properties, are sitting on their hands and waiting for a correction in prices. 

While the Government’s Help to buy scheme has allowed many first-time buyers across the country to get on the property ladder with a 5pc deposit, the take-up in London has been far lower. The threshold of £600,000 means that many newbuild properties are too expensive to qualify and analysis by the BBC earlier in the year found that while Help to Buy is used to buy one in three new-build homes outside London, in the capital it is just one in 10.

Other natural buyers of these properties, buy-to-let landlords, have also been squeezed by changes to the tax regime and many are sitting out buying opportunities or selling up their portfolios.

Lucy Pendleton, the founder of estate agency James Pendleton, said: “Solid numbers of people are showing some reluctance at current prices and signaling to all the other market participants they can’t transact unless they come back down to earth.” 

A correction could soon be coming: data from Acadata and LSL property services found that prices in London have fallen the most since the financial crisis. Average property values have fallen 2.7pc in the year to September, the most since 2009.

 

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.