Interest Rate Rise – the Implications

On 2nd November, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) took the decision to raise the official lending rate for the first time in a decade. The new rate has been set at 0.5%.

For many years, the country had operated at historically low rates of interest and August last year saw the base rate reach a record 0.25%. However as the Bank itself had recently been anxious to signal, this wasn’t a rate that could last.

The new increase is only small, and that’s an important point. The BoE has stated that further rises will come, but that they will be slow and incremental. This reflects the considerable economic uncertainty that remains within the British economy, and an awareness that any big rise could constrain growth at a time when growth is badly needed.

The economic balance:

In economic terms, the justification for a rate rise is that it should help to control rising inflation. In essence, raising the cost of borrowing limits the supply of money within the economy and this has a braking effect on prices overall. When shoppers and businesses feel a financial squeeze, their spending tends to fall and so, in the face of greater price sensitivity, it becomes harder for vendors to raise the price of their goods and services.

Lately, inflation has been rising at over 3% – well ahead of the Bank’s 2% target – and the MPC has an obligation to control it. Currently, however, it’s being driven by an unusual force. Since the Brexit vote, Sterling has lost considerable value against other currencies, largely because foreign buyers believe that  a departure from Europe will have an adverse effect on the country’s economy. The falling value of the Pound makes it more expensive to buy from overseas suppliers and thus, the cost of everything from basic foodstuffs to industrial components has risen markedly.

In part, the rate rise is a response to this inflation problem, but there are those who argue that it can only ever be a blunt tool. Interest rate controls might be effective when inflation is the result of an overheating economy – when growth and rising incomes encourage excessive spending – but in this case, the pressure is external; the result of poor exchange rates and the low value of the Pound. In reality, say the critics, economic growth is very slow – Britain is now the worst-performing member of the G7 – and average real incomes have actually been falling. (Average annual wage growth currently stands at 2.1%, while the cost of living has risen by 3.2%.)

The Monetary Policy Committee has previously conceded that interest rate changes can only have a limited effect on inflation and, even in this latest MPC vote, two of the nine members voted against the increase. A possible reason for their reluctance is that raising the cost of borrowing could discourage businesses from investing in growth, so it could have a damaging effect on an already shaky economy.

As ever, the Bank of England is having to walk a difficult tightrope. However, with such a balancing act to perform, it will be unwilling to take risks. As the MPC has stated, investors can expect any further  movements to be slow and small. To put that in more concrete terms, many financial analysts expect the Bank to make  two additional quarter percent adjustments over the next three years, taking the base rate to 1%.

The investor perspective:

A higher base rate will affect different groups in different ways. For example, the UK’s 45 million savers should benefit if banks and building societies pass on the increase in the form of better returns on savings accounts. Those buying pension annuities also stand to gain.

However, for those who rely on borrowing – be they individuals or businesses – there will be added costs to face. Businesses that absorb these costs may see their profits fall. Alternatively, they may simply pass them on – raising their own prices and thereby contributing to further inflationary pressure.

The group most obviously impacted by the decision will be householders with a mortgage. A little over 8 million UK residents currently have a mortgage but, of these, more than half have taken advantage of fixed rate offers. They, of course, will not see any immediate change in costs. For the remaining 46%, the new rate will raise average mortgage repayment costs by an estimated £12 per month.

Landlords with a BTL mortgage will be similarly affected. Those with fixed-rate deals will see no cost increase until such time as the fixed rate period expires. For some, that might be a matter of months; for others, it could be a year or more.

Eventually, however, investors can expect mortgage costs to rise. These are often passed on in the form of higher rentals so it is ultimately the tenant who pays. Of course, landlords must judge whether the market will support a rise in prices. Market demand will depend partly on how the same economic changes affect ordinary paying tenants.

Those who rent rather than buy a home will not be worrying about the rising cost of mortgages, and those with savings in the bank might welcome a small hike in the interest they earn. In these respects, a higher base rate will have a negligible effect on tenants. However, those who borrow in other ways – via credit cards, store credit, car loans and so on – will undoubtedly see their costs rise. How that affects their ability to maintain rental payments will vary from one individual to the next, so it pays for landlords to understand their tenants and maintain effective dialogue.

A sense of perspective:

The bottom line for investors is that a higher base rate means higher costs, at least in the long term, but those costs needn’t necessarily translate into poorer annual returns. Moreover, the base rate is only rising by a quarter of one percent, so this isn’t a change that should shake the BTL sector to its core. It’s a modest change, carefully weighted to address certain inflationary pressures without doing undue damage to a faltering economy.

What’s more, lenders are still enormously keen to support the BTL sector, which represents one of their largest and most reliable markets. To that end, they continue to offer very attractive, fixed rate mortgages that enable investors to know exactly what their repayments will be for a defined period. There is therefore very little uncertainty to be faced, and while further base rate rises are forecast, the MPC is keen to emphasise that they will be increased at “a gradual pace and to a limited extent”.

Looking ahead:

Much of the current economic uncertainty relates to Brexit. The Bank of England reports that it is having a “noticeable impact” on the country’s economic performance and its immediate prospects for growth. It is the associated uncertainty that is weighing down the value of sterling, and thus fuelling higher prices across the country. Lacklustre business investment can be attributed to much the same cause. However, it’s important to recognise that the UK is in the very midst of that uncertainty; in other words, we are now seeing the problem at its worst.

Sooner or later, issues will be resolved, policies will be formulated, new trading terms will be established and, inevitably, that uncertainty will diminish. The country will find a new equilibrium and it will move on. When that happens, external inflationary pressures should ease, reducing the need for further rate rises, and there is every reason to believe that economic performance will revive.

While explaining its rationale for the base rate rise, the BoE pointed (guardedly) to certain grounds for optimism. Unemployment is low, it expects real wages to rise “gradually” over the course of next year, and it also expects to see stronger economic growth than previously predicted. In its announcement, it raised its 2017 growth forecast from 1.3% to 1.5% and said that it expected to see growth of around 1.7% in every successive year to 2020.

Summary:

This was a modest change to the base rate and the Bank of England had been careful to signal it in advance. It took no one by surprise and its effects should be relatively modest. For investors with BTL mortgages, it will inevitably see costs rise but its significance should not be overestimated. There are still many excellent mortgage deals on offer – still at exceptionally low fixed rates – and despite today’s change, Britain looks set to remain a low-interest economy for many years to come.

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If you’d like any advice about property investment or managing your existing portfolio, please contact one of our advisers today. 01244 343 355

Focus on…… Manchester

In this weeks article we focus on Manchester and the reasons why Residential Estates considers it to be one of the best places to invest, visit & study.

Focus on Manchester

It’s no secret that Manchester has developed into a property investment hotspot over the last few years. No visitor to the city could fail to notice the forests of cranes that have grown upon its skyline as foreign investors pour money into the development of new commercial and residential premises.

The city’s buoyant economy has been part of the reason that so many have come to regard Manchester as the UK’s number one choice for property investment and relocation. Worth almost £60 billion per annum, the local economy is larger than that of either Wales or Northern Ireland. It increased by 42% in the 10 years to 2012, and between 2009 and 2014, it grew by over 15%. This represents the fastest rate of sustained economic growth anywhere outside London.

Since then, the news for investors has only got better. In July 2017, a report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) found that Manchester’s economic growth was outpacing even London’s. Since 2014, Greater Manchester has seen its economy expand by 7.5% – more than the 6.9% witnessed in the capital – and Manchester city itself has seen growth of 9.1%.

In tandem with this has come a rise in jobs (up 3.4% since 2010; twice the regional rate) and the fastest rising population in the UK, according to the most recent national census.

The list of superlatives goes on. Home to 2.8 million residents, Manchester is part of the largest city region outside London, and international think-tanks such as Oxford Economics have predicted that between now and 2020, job creation will expand at a faster rate than in Paris, Berlin or Tokyo. Between January and December 2017, the city is expected to add £634 million to its GVA and to create 22,258 jobs. According to CEBR, its economy as a whole is expected to rise by a further 14.8% between 2020 and 2030.

High value industries:

Much of the city’s success is due to its knowledge-driven economy. Its universities are a vital part of this, as are its many clusters of tech businesses, which are generating growth at twice the national average for other sectors. Other organisations and partnerships are playing an important role, too. For example, Manchester Science Partnerships is the UK’s largest science park operator, and the country’s leading provider of growth support to science and technology companies. Its Central Campus supports over 170 companies working in such high value sectors such as life sciences, health technology, biotech, ICT and the digital and creative industries.

In March this year, Tech Nation reported that Manchesters digital sector was worth £2.9 billion to the local economy and found that the city supported 62,653 digital industries professionals, making it the largest cluster outside London. This has important consequences for property investors, because it helps to underpin demand for high quality rentals. High value industries sustain high-earning employees and they, in turn, demand properties of appropriate quality. According to Tech Nation, the average annual salary in the digital/technology sector now stands at £50,663, compared to an all-sector average of just £35,155.

What’s more, the city also hosts one of the country’s foremost financial sectors, which accounts for more than 16% of all jobs in the area. Financial and insurance companies employ around 96,000 workers, many of them centred around Spinningfields – a recently established £1.5 billion development that many now regard as the Canary Wharf of the North.

According to the Greater Manchester Inward Investment Guide for 2017, the value of the city’s professional, technical and scientific industries rose by 46.4% between 2005 and 2015. Its financial and insurance businesses saw GVA rise by over 16%, manufacturing was up 8.5% and the information and communication industries achieved growth of more than 30%.

Affordability and population:

Given the city’s undoubted economic success, it’s no surprise that droves of young professionals are heading for Manchester. Demand for university places is exceptionally high and the student body is vast – over 100,000 graduates and undergraduates spread across five universities. Moreover, increasing numbers of graduates are now choosing to stay in Manchester – partly due to the exceptional job prospects and partly because the excessively high costs of property in the South East have priced them out of the  capital.

Recent figures from Hometrack illustrate the difference. According to its UK Cities House Price Index for September 2017, the average property price in Manchester was £156,700 whereas in London, the figure was a substantially less comfortable £493,700. Rental costs are likewise split: Rightmove’s Rental Price Tracker notes that average rents in the North West stood at £660 pcm, while in Greater London, tenants would have to pay, on average, £1,920 every month.

Standards of living are also a factor. Not only is it easier to afford to buy or rent a property in Manchester, but once settled, the city is a much more reasonably priced place to live. On average, costs of living are 42% cheaper than in London. For all these reasons and more, the traditional exodus of talent from North to South has declined in recent years and many of the country’s best and brightest are now choosing to make Manchester their home.

This influx of new blood is clearly good news for property investors. The success of the academic sector translates into a steadily rising population of students to support the lucrative student-let market, and the growth in the high-value job market means a similar rise in the number of well paid professionals who need conveniently located accommodation.

Rental returns:

The affordability of property in Manchester is also an important reason why property investors are so enthusiastic about the city. According to LendInvest’s Buy-to-Let Index Quarterly Report for September 2017, Manchester now delivers yields of over 6% – easily the highest yields in the country. What’s more, the city has seen average rents rise by 6.26% year on year, and capital values rise by 7.39%.

In short, Manchester has clearly established a position for itself as both a preeminent investment destination and an economic powerhouse in its own right. A growing economy and a steadily expanding workforce provide the ideal foundation for successful property investment, and all the latest housing market figures agree that landlords can expect outstanding financial returns.

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Residential Estates manages luxury serviced accommodation in Manchester city centre on Canal Street from £80 per night* (check rates as they change daily) and have also recently released POPWORKS, an off plan development within walking distance to Manchester’s city centre with a pre-market discount!

To find out more about investment opportunities in Manchester, please call our advisory team on 01244 343 355.

Investing in the North

There was a time that London and the South East of England were the obvious choices for property investors; capital values rose more quickly, rental demand was dependably high and rental values always looked impressive. The region’s prices led the UK property market by such a margin that many indices featured data for “UK markets excluding London” in order to avoid skewing the nationwide averages.

Today, things have changed. Fuelled by waves of overseas investment, London saw a rapid recovery from the global financial crisis and, for a long time, property prices remained buoyant. However, that same, seemingly inexorable rise in capital values led, inevitably, to a problem of affordability. While the super-rich and big institutional fund-holders could still afford to invest in London with the expectation of solid capital gains, ordinary people could not. Prices had simply run too high, and something had to give.

The resulting slide has been apparent in recent market data. For example, the most recent house price index from Rightmove found that average prices in Greater London had fallen by 3.2% in the 12 months from September 2016. By contrast, Yorkshire & Humber rose by 3.1% over the same period, and the North West property market saw an annual rise of 3.4%. With respect to capital appreciation, that represents a straight reversal of the long-standing North-South divide.

A similar pattern is evident when we look at rental values. Rightmove’s Rental Price Tracker, published in September 2017, found that average UK rents outside Greater London had risen by 1.2% in the 12 months from the third quarter of 2016. Over the same period, values in the capital actually fell by 3.3%.

The affordability question

For investors, affordability has become a big issue. In order to maintain anything approaching a worthwhile yield, landlords in the South East have had to demand excessively high rents. Rightmove puts the current average asking rent in Greater London at £1,920, compared to the UK average of just £789 elsewhere. At a time when the real value of wages is falling – due to a mix of austerity, business uncertainty and rising inflation – such rental payments must look increasingly daunting in the eyes of ordinary families.

This would certainly explain what appears to be the beginning of a northward migration. More university students are staying in northern towns and cities after graduation, and more southern-based residents are moving outwards in search of more affordable housing. Faced with a shifting pattern of regional demand, many London-based landlords have been faced with a difficult choice: if they keep rental prices high, they could become uncompetitive, risking longer void periods and late payments by tenants. On the other hand, if they drop prices, they will inevitably see a further reduction in yields that are already sometimes tenuous.

To judge by recent data, increasing numbers of landlords across Greater London are now taking the latter option: setting lower prices and effectively sacrificing yields for steady occupancy.

The appeal of the North

Elsewhere, the picture is rosier, and affordability is a key reason for that. Some of the best yields in Britain are to be found in the regions that recovered most slowly from the global financial crisis. In some parts of the North West and the North East, for example, average values are still below their peak 2008 values. Consequently, investors can acquire highly marketable properties for considerably less than they might have to pay in the South East, and yet they can count on robust rental demand and healthy profits. Absolute rental values might be considerably less than they are in London, but as a proportion of the total investment cost, they are much higher, hence the better yields.

According to LendInvest’s Buy-to-Let Index Quarterly Report for September 2017, Manchester now delivers the highest yields in the country. Its 6.04% returns are comfortably ahead of its nearest competitors and these are coupled with rental price growth of 6.25% – a figure which was beaten only by Luton (6.81% this year, with yields of 4.51%.)

Commenting on the figures, LendInvest observes “Manchester was considered one of the markets to watch in the last Index, leading the charge for Northern markets in the UK. Manchester’s market continues to make great headway … The city’s residential property market boasts the most lucrative average yields thanks in no small part to a thriving rental market.

Capital gains have been strong in Manchester – averaging around 7.39% according to LendInvest’s figures.  However, Manchester is not the only success story in the North. Hull has fared very well – producing capital returns of over 11% and yields of 4.65% – but other northern regions are also seeing a surge in their fortunes.

Sheffield City Region is one such market, which is being buoyed by substantial inward investment. Last year, planners launched a £28 billion economic development strategy which aims to create 70,000 new jobs and 6,000 new businesses over the course of the next ten years. Doncaster Sheffield Airport has already undergone a major overhaul and new road connections, while the £500 million iPort project is establishing one of the UK’s foremost warehouse and logistics centres. Major improvements in infrastructure, together with rising commercial investment should see a marked rise in both rental demand and living standards across the area. Such outcomes would naturally be welcomed by local landlords.

The Northern Powerhouse

Sheffield is one of the regions expected to benefit from the Northern Powerhouse initiative and the multi-billion pound HS2 rail link. In January 2017, it secured £38 million from Northern Powerhouse Fund. The city region will also have a station on the new high speed rail network.

Other northern cities will also benefit from the Northern Powerhouse scheme, which includes a reported £13 billion for regional transport improvements, over £3 billion for local enterprise partnerships and £60 million for Northern Powerhouse Rail. £400 million will also be earmarked for small business support and investment schemes.

Another big beneficiary will be Liverpool, although in the light of recent private sector announcements, it might be argued that the city is looking after itself very well already. The Liverpool City Region currently accounts for a full 17% of the North West’s economic output, but this contribution is likely to grow very dramatically in the next few years. The city plans to deliver some of the country’s largest and most ambitious infrastructure schemes, which began with Liverpool2, a £400 million deep-water container terminal at the Port of Liverpool.

More significant still will be a proposed 30-year waterfront redevelopment scheme called Liverpool Waters, for which planning consent has now been granted. This £5.5 billion scheme aims to create up to 20,000 new jobs, and to secure inward investment amounting to £30 billion. If successful, it will represent one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in the whole history of Britain. This should utterly transform the city’s economy and, with it, the local employment and property markets.

Student populations

Another important feature of many northern markets is a high student population. Liverpool, for example, is home to four universities and 90,000 students, and it produces upwards of 30,000 graduates every year. Increasingly, as the city establishes itself as a centre of excellence for growth industries such as IT, finance and renewable energy, those graduates are choosing to stay in Merseyside. The same is true of other major cities such as Sheffield and Manchester. Around 100,000 students live in Greater Manchester and the area accommodates more 25 to 29 year olds than anywhere else in Britain.

For a whole host of reasons – affordability, yield, rental demand, strengthening economies and more – northern property markets are looking increasingly attractive to investors. Prices remain comparatively low and yet, having not experienced the ballooning effects of some southern cities, they still afford plenty of room for growth.

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If you’re considering an investment and you’d like more information about opportunities in the North, please call our advisory team on 01244 343 355.

The Impact of an Interest Rate Rise on Property Investment

Speculation continues to abound that, maybe as early as November, an interest rate rise from the Bank of England could take place. Property investors we talk to are naturally very interested in how this will have an impact on property investment in the UK.

A recent speech to economists in London by Gertjan Vlieghe, a member of the rate-setting committee at the Bank of England, stated that a rise in rates could be ‘as early as in the coming months’. What impact will this have on property ownership and mortgage rates, especially for those invested in multiple properties? Read on to hear our views.

The Predicament for Current Property Owners – For those already owning homes, the rise in interest rates will have a dramatic effect. For many it will mean that monthly bills will increase, especially for those who are working with variable rate and base rate tracker mortgages. For those people with fixed-rate mortgage deals, there will be no immediate increase, but that would only last for as long as the agreed fixed-term period so a sense of unease may well develop in the property ownership market.

For everyone, a rise in interest rates represents a shift, as the majority of property owners will not have seen an increase in the monthly outgoings linked to their mortgages for around ten years!

Increase in Mortgage Repayments – There is no catch-all answer as to how high household bills will increase. Each mortgage is different to the next, with variables including the specific terms of the mortgage, the length of the mortgage repayment terms and the rate attached to each specific mortgage. What we can say however, is that the average standard variable mortgage rate stands at 4.6%, so any increase in interest rates could have a significant impact on the amount of money being paid out on a mortgage each year. UK homeowners could be facing hundreds of pounds extra in mortgage repayments over the course of the mortgage term, should they have a variable rate mortgage in place on the property. This news is enough to unsettle many homeowners and encourage them to tighten their belts.

Choices for a Property Owner – If interest rates are to go up, those with variable mortgage rates have to be prepared for the consequences. Homeowners will need to do their best to have enough cash spare as a buffer in order to cope with the potential increase in repayments as a result of a rise in interest rates. Unfortunately, many UK homeowners are simply not in this position so there is likely to be a significant pinch to disposable income if and when interest rates rise and potentially short term stagnation in the housing market.

Perfect Time to Invest in Property – Every cloud has a silver lining however, and if you are in the property investment market for the medium to long term, this could be a golden opportunity to take advantage of a shift in the market due to a rise in interest rates. For serious property investors, adverse market conditions can reveal significant opportunities so at Residential Estates, we believe now is the perfect time to strike. Why do we believe this?

• Less experienced investors may have their eye taken off the ball by an interest rate rise therefore attractive investments will be available to be snapped up by more insightful investors.

• Fixed-rate mortgages are at the best value for money they have ever been in many cases. Acquiring a fixed-rate mortgage at this point in time provides you with a chance to continue building your property portfolio without having to worry about the potential increase in interest rates having an impact on your mortgage repayments over the course of a set period of time.

• Re-mortgaging is at its highest rate since 2009, and much of this is down to fixed-rate mortgages being such a desirable product at this moment in time. Uncertain financial times might be scary for many, but it is often a period that can be fruitful for more experienced property investors who understand the feeling behind making a move into the property market at exactly the right time.

• Doing the opposite to the direction of the market can be a fruitful way to invest. While inexperienced investors may be scared off by an increase to interest rates, rich pickings will be lying on the table for those who know how to navigate political and economic changes.

• Interest rates are likely to still be exceptionally low compared to rates 20+ years ago therefore the return on investment from property investment remains a proven and solid base for long term financial security.

At Residential Estates we have experts on our team who can help you make the right choices, whether the interest rates rise or not. Being aware of the economic climate and the property marketplace is what we do, so we know we can provide insightful advice to our clients, whatever happens to the wider economic issues.

For more information about the property investment advice and guidance we have to offer at Residential Estates, contact our office on 01244 343 355 or email info@residential-estates.co.uk. We also have a live chat function on this page and a simple-to-use contact form, where our friendly customer service team can return your call at your convenience.

A Changing Pattern of Investment

National statistics can be a useful barometer of general market conditions but there’s a limit to how much weight should be attached to them. For example, average UK house-prices might make for attention-grabbing headlines, but as any serious investor will recognise, they are of very limited value when it comes to deciding where and whether to invest.

That’s because location makes such a tremendous difference to market conditions. Values and tenant demand will vary considerably between different suburbs and neighbourhoods – sometimes even between different ends of the same street. A country-wide average therefore reveals nothing at all about the appeal of a particular investment destination. When it comes to making a financial success of bricks and mortar, local knowledge is everything.

A Local View

At Residential Estates, our own home territory is the North West – a region that is home to enormous diversity. There are some great locations here, as well as some that should be avoided at all costs. A large part of our work is about steering clients towards the safer, more profitable investments and keeping a close eye on local market conditions.

To take our home town of Chester as an example, we’ve seen a gradual shift of emphasis on the part of private investors. This can probably be traced back to 2015, when the Government first mooted plans for new tax-based measures aimed at curbing the growth of the private rented sector. However, that shift became more pronounced after 1st April 2016 and the introduction of an extra 3% surcharge on Stamp Duty for anyone buying a second (or additional) residential property.

The newspaper headline-writers would have us believe that the extra Stamp Duty, together with this April’s reduction in BTL mortgage interest tax relief, has prompted landlords to sell up and leave the sector in droves. Back in November last year, the Residential Landlords Association published a press release stating that a quarter of respondents (in its survey of a thousand members) had either sold a property or were in the process of selling one. This month, the RLA issued another announcement, stating that  22% of the members participating in its latest survey planned to sell at least one of their properties over the next 12 months. However, a similar number – just under 20% – were planning to acquire more.

This second part of the statement is important. The headline-writers fixated on the 22% leaving the market but few picked up on the more nuanced view. The fact that almost as many were planning to expand their portfolios went almost unremarked. That’s possibly just because bad new sells papers, but it’s important not to be swayed by  that. The reality we see on the ground is very different.

A Changing Pattern

Looking across the UK as a whole, ignoring those all-important local market details, the RLA is no doubt right to point to the high rate of sales of BTL residential property. What is much more debatable is what that actually means.

In our experience, it certainly does not mean that landlords have stopped investing. If local activity can be taken as any indication, what it really means is that they are shifting their sights to alternative forms of property.

The rationale for that is simple: there are very few credible alternatives.

With considerable uncertainty still surrounding Britain’s future place in Europe, investors seem wary of investing in commercial property. The economy is languishing at the bottom of the G7 table and there are few signs of any immediate change in its status. For the time being, investing in the fortunes of British business would strike many as a brave bet, whether that’s in the form of commercial buildings or stocks and shares.

Likewise, there is nothing to be gained from ordinary high street savings accounts, which are currently producing sub-inflation returns. In real terms, money in the bank is losing value every day.

Investors know this, and they know from experience that property is a good long-term performer. Historically, it has always done well and – when viewed in the long term – it has been much less susceptible to volatility. Capital appreciation has generally been good and – importantly – property delivers the added bonus of a substantial monthly income. Rental returns remain healthy; indeed, the Homelet Rental Index found that they rose by 2.4% in August alone.

So if property remains an attractive option but the Government’s policies have made residential investment less attractive, where are all the landlords going?

To judge by the enquiries we’re seeing every week, a significant number of them are moving towards student accommodation. It’s a subject we’ve covered before, but the reliability and profitability of such properties continues to attract interest and generate sales.

In Chester and elsewhere, landlords appear to be acting on sound advice: not to sell a property until they know they can find a better home for their money. Shares are risky, and selling up and putting cash in the bank is a recipe for losing out. Given the history of property, a calm, analytical response makes sense. If you’re looking to achieve a better return on whatever assets you have, consider the options carefully. Do the research and look around for high-yielding properties; study the local conditions and satisfy yourself that there is proven and consistent demand for the kind of property you are considering.

In many cases, student accommodation might be the answer. Many North West investors have certainly arrived at the same one, but – as ever – local market conditions will determine the best opportunities. For some, that might be a new student flat; for others, an HMO, a family home or a high-spec residential apartment in a salubrious part of town.

Just as there’s no single set of national statistics that can identify a good investment opportunity,  so there’s no single answer to the question of which investment is right for you.

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If you’re considering an investment and you’d like some free, expert professional advice, please call our customer support team on 01244 343 355.