• History of Canal Street, Manchester – The home of the world famous Gay Village….
    14/02/2018 - Danielle Smith 0 Comments
    History of Canal Street, Manchester – The home of the world famous Gay Village….

    Canal street was first developed in 1804 when the Rochdale Canal was first constructed, it was a major motorway of it’s time. This was the first canal to run right from the Pennines bringing raw materials into the city for them to be turned into final products ready for carrying to Liverpool, from there they would be distributed to all corners of the British Isles. This was quite the industrial area until the cotton trade saw a decline in the early 20th century, as the industry took a downfall the warehouses fell silent and empty. The area then at the time became a very dark and unvisited place, this then drew in gay men. With street lights unlit and narrow back streets men could meet to have relations in a time when it was frowned upon.

    In the 1980’s Canal Street found itself fighting some tough relations with the police, even after the 1967 legislation of homosexuality. Still only people over the age of 21 were legally allowed to express emotions and only in private. The police would trawl the canals and the streets with flash lights looking for gay men, if they were discovered they would be exposed. The gay community were forced to go to bars where you could not see out and neither could anybody see in, they would be kept hidden away from the public eye.

    The 1990’s brought a shed of light and hope for the gay community, following the council working toward lesbian and gay rights in the late 1980’s. Sackville Street Gardens were purchased, and Manchester became the first UK council to support civil partnerships. These were huge progressions to lead Canal Street into the 90’s. Manto opened in 1991, a proud gay bar. A gay bar that refused to hide anyone or for anyone to feel hidden anymore, they had large front windows so passers by could see in, no longer would they be invisible.

    Over the next decade, more bars began to open along the Canal, each time the bar getting bigger and filled with even more pride. The street then gradually became the most successful gay village in Europe. Canal Street was home to TV shows such as Bob and Rose and Queer as Folk. The gay community began to thrive, and many visitors came to Canal Street.

    As you walk the surrounding streets that lead to Canal Street you will see the trail of colorful flag stones beneath your feet, upon the walls of the street you will see big, bright statement wall art. To just alone walk the streets, you can gain a sense of the history and the passion that the community has put into the gay village. The community protect their environment as it is home to many businesses, residents and punters that have strived to make the street the vibrant gay village it is today.

    The Gay Village is in the heart of Manchester City Centre and a stone’s throw from Manchester Piccadilly train station. It’s a vibrant street which is fully pedestrianized and is lined with bars and restaurants, attracting gay, lesbian, trans, bisexual and heterosexual’s. The gay village is an area full of pride, over years status has been fought for and has been deservedly awarded. This is celebrated annually with Manchester Pride, Sparkle Weekend, Bear Bash, just to name a few. The street is lit up and on weekends and weekdays of summer months the streets are lined with people, relaxing, celebrating and embracing life as themselves.

    Canal Street, the Gay Village, a passionate community.

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  • ​Brexit and the Property Market - Part 2
    08/02/2018 - Robin Gregson 0 Comments
    ​Brexit and the Property Market - Part 2

    In the first part of this article, we gave some economists' views of the impacts of Brexit to date. In this second and concluding part, we look at some of the economic factors that will affect prospects for investors, and at recent figures that suggest a fast-improving global picture.

    Brexit and Consumer Confidence

    Feeling financially comfortable is important. The extent to which people feel secure can have a marked bearing on property price trends, and that's one of the reasons why Brexit's effects are so important to investors. However, there are many different factors at work here, and not all of them are pushing the same way.

    It would be hard to argue that Brexit hasn't had a damaging effect on most people's real-terms wealth. Some estimates suggest that it has already cost the average worker the equivalent of a week's wages. Partly, this has come from rising inflation, much of which is directly attributable to the post-referendum fall in the value of Sterling. As the Pound lost value against foreign currencies, so imports became more expensive for British businesses and thus, average prices rose. Moreover, prices have tended to rise faster than the average rate of wage growth so, typically, workers and families are feeling poorer.

    The FT reports recent findings by the London School of Economics that "with the pound falling about 10% following the June 2016 result, inflation has risen more in Britain than in other advanced economies... The LSE study estimates that the Brexit vote directly increased inflation by 1.7 percentage points of the 2.7% rise in the 12 months after the referendum. And with wage inflation stuck at just over 2%, the increase in inflation caused by the Leave vote has already hurt UK households."

    Exchange Rates - Pros and Cons

    However, the exchange rate is an ever-changing figure and one cannot suppose that the Pound's value will stay low forever. True, it collapsed dramatically after the referendum, but it has been on an upward trend since the first quarter of 2017.  It might be reasonable to suppose that it will climb further once the uncertainty of Brexit negotiations has passed.

    For now, no one is expecting Sterling to follow a smooth or predictable path. At the time of writing, the Pound had made impressive gains in recent weeks, but it fell sharply on 31st January. This was the result of a report published by Reuters, saying that the European Commission had rejected a proposal from the City of London regarding a free trade deal on financial services. The prospect of trade barriers in a sector so critical to Britain's economy led to a fall in values against both the Euro and the Dollar.

    We can expect some degree of volatility in values between now and March next year but it's important to remember that the world economy is recovering strongly. This is tending to buoy up the British economy, which is now faring better than many economists feared. Against this background, trade is likely to pick up and there is no reason why the Pound shouldn't make a gradual recovery.

    In the meantime, there are some advantages to a poor exchange rate. Firstly, British exporters are benefiting because their goods and services are now effectively cheaper to overseas buyers. Secondly, the same is true of those selling or renting British property to foreign nationals. In the wake of the Brexit vote and the consequent fall in Sterling, many foreign investors were quick to invest in British property. Since then, investors with interests in student property have also seen rising demand on the part of overseas students, for whom an education in Britain suddenly became much more financially attractive.

    Inflation and Interest Rates

    The value of Sterling, and the consequent rate of inflation are important to investors. Firstly, as noted earlier, inflation has an effect on consumer sentiment. Secondly, the Bank of England has a remit to keep inflation in check and one of its principal tools is the ability to manipulate interest rates.

    If inflation rises too quickly - which is a threat here as it is in many other countries - then the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee will feel increasing pressure to raise interest rates again. It has previously signalled that interest rates will rise, albeit at a slow and gradual pace, but higher rates of inflation, and/or unexpectedly strong economic growth could see these rises materialising sooner rather than later. Higher interest rates would have an inevitable knock-on effect on the cost of BTL mortgages and, potentially, the profitability of certain property investments.

    However, the current signs aren't especially worrying. Inflation reached a six-year high in November 2017 but the rate has fallen since then. According to a BBC report on 16th January, "The Bank of England has said it thinks inflation peaked at the end of 2017 and will fall back to its target of 2% this year."  Moreover, the British economy is certainly in no imminent danger ofoverheating. Taking both those factors into account, it's probably fair to say that investors need not worry about any large or sudden hike in interest rates.


    Thus far, the prospect of Brexit has had some damaging effects upon the UK economy, perhaps to the tune of around 1% of GDP. It has also pushed up prices, so consumers and house-buyers are feeling the pinch. A poorer exchange rate has led to higher inflation, which has added to the pressure on interest rates. However, none of these effects are devastating, and nor will they last forever. Whatever one's views on Brexit, Britain's departure from Europe is unquestionably coming, and the roles of government and business leaders are now to make the most of the opportunities ahead. As negotiations progress, so we will see an end to much of the recent economic uncertainty and, in that respect, the conditions for investment must improve.

    In any event, one must also take account of a strongly recovering global economy. In January 2018, the World Bank revised it growth forecast upwards, saying it expects: "global economic growth to edge up to 3.1% in 2018 after a much stronger-than-expected 2017, as the recovery in investment, manufacturing, and trade continues."

    In November, Goldman Sachs had expressed a similar sentiment, saying: "For the first time since 2010, the world economy is outperforming most predictions." It predicted "4% GDP growth next year, supported by still-easy financial conditions and fiscal policy.... The strength in global growth is broad-based across most advanced and emerging economies." In January, the IMF projected a similar figure, saying: "Global growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019 have been revised upward by 0.2 percentage point to 3.9%. The revision reflects increased global growth momentum."

    Whether or not it's true that British GDP has dropped 0.9% as a result of Brexit, this figure could be more than counteracted by natural economic growth. In or out of the EU, Britain will remain a part of the world community. Trade will continue and the rising fortunes of other countries should soon percolate down to our own economy. In other words, there are credible grounds for optimism.

    And besides all that course, there are the domestic forces that, regardless of Brexit, will continue to provide property investors with a firm foundation. Demand for housing still far exceeds supply, employment rates are high and yields remain broadly good, provided that one makes sensible choices about property type and location. What's more, properties remain unaffordable for many buyers, so the private rental sector still stands as the only practical option for millions.

    For all these reasons and more, UK property looks set to remain a robust and resilient vehicle for investors during the years ahead. Intelligent, informed choices will be required in order to earn the best returns but in certain parts of the North West, the Midlands and elsewhere, there will continue to be some excellent opportunities.

    * *

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  • Travelling Away on Business?.....thought about Serviced Accommodation?... Travelling Away on Business?.....thought about Serviced Accommodation?...
    06/02/2018 - Danielle Smith 0 Comments
    Travelling Away on Business?.....thought about Serviced Accommodation?...

    Serviced Accommodation, Perfect for Business Travel….

    For an outsider looking in, business travel sounds luxurious and exciting, until you actually find yourself in that situation. Business travelers find themselves living out of suitcases, living in impersonal hotels and feeling lonely. The hotel will never meet their needs as there is always something to pick at, simply because it is not home, and they do not feel that sense of settled.

    Business travelers are constantly having to compromise on the luxury of home and it then quickly takes its toll. This is where serviced accommodation comes in, the travel and place to stay needn’t become the lesser of two evils and the burden to the job. Having a great serviced apartment to stay in then becomes something to look forward to at the end of a busy day, their own home from home in the heart of a great location.

    I’m sure every business traveler has been in these frustrating situations, they have had work to continue with and they try and assume that awkward position, knees bent sat on their bed as they precariously  balance the lap top on them. Deciding whether to go it alone in the hotel restaurant or to spend another night in their room with room service, this then sending the thoughts back to what you would have eaten if you’d have been at home. Trapped in the same small space where the bedroom becomes the living room, the kitchen and the study, with no option to switch off, in a short time the hotel business traveler is  frustrated and stressed.

    Instead, a serviced apartment offers a whole world of space for the same or less of the price tag of a stay per night. An apartment allows the business traveler to complete their work with high speed internet at a desk, once complete they can move into the lounge and relax whilst watching the television. Serviced apartments leave the city at their fingertips during the evening, so meal time becomes an enjoyable part of the
    day. Now there is the choice of a stroll out, cook one of their home favorites or just simply beans on toast after an exhausting day, the apartments fully equipped kitchen can cater for every need. All before retreating to a home from home bedroom where they can relax in comfort ready for the next day.

    Serviced apartments are crucial for creating a perfect work life balance, to find yourself living, breathing and working in the same environment can be very counterproductive to your work performance with negative impacts on the business and will also have a detrimental impact on your wellbeing. Serviced accommodation allows the space to be able to segregate work and play. When you can relax around your own
    apartment listening to your favorite music, watching your favorite films, unwinding with a glass of wine whilst dinner cooks, business travel appears more sustainable and a lot less like a chore.

    Serviced accommodation, not only more cost effective for the business traveler but a home from home.

    To find out more please visit our Serviced Accommodation page here, or call our experienced team on 01244 343 355.

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  • Brexit and the Property Market - Part 1 Brexit and the Property Market - Part 1
    02/02/2018 - Robin Gregson 0 Comments
    Brexit and the Property Market - Part 1

    Brexit is a fraught political issue and it's difficult to make statements about its impact without them being interpreted as some kind of political statement. Nevertheless, Brexit is undoubtedly the single biggest issue affecting the near-term economic future of Britain and, as such, it is bound to have a significant impact on the private property/rental/investment sector. It is not an issue that can sensibly be ignored.

    In this two-part article, we'll therefore try to separate the economic data from the political spin by examining views and research published by various independent bodies.  In this way, we'll try to give some sense of what it all means in practice for investors.

    Property and the Economy

    As a broad rule of thumb, property prices in recent decades have tended to rise in parallel with average earnings. When ordinary Britons feel financially secure, consumer confidence rises, people feel more ready to buy new homes, and tenants feel more able to pay higher rentals. In short, a growing economy is good news for property investors.

    Of course, the usual caveats apply: a healthy economy will not affect all regions equally.  Capital values and rental growth will always vary between counties, towns and neighbourhoods. But this is not to dismiss the importance of the prevailing economic climate; it does inevitably affect consumer sentiment and this, in turn, can have a significant effect on market conditions in general.

    Brexit is Coming

    According to Theresa May's current plan, Britain will leave the EU on 29th March 2019. Negotiations are still in progress but the latest feedback from Westminster, the media and the continent appears to suggest that the country will then enter a transitional period, during which it will continue to abide by EU rules (including those relating to market access.) The length of this transition under a 'Norway-style' arrangement has not been determined but many commentators are expecting it to last around two years.
    It is, of course, impossible to predict what will happen at this point, and at any future point that Britain leaves the EU entirely. However, there should be at least one undeniably positive outcome, which will be a  eduction in economic uncertainty.

    At present, business investment is being hit hard by the uncertainty surrounding Britain's future relationship with the EU and trade with the rest of the world. Economists can argue the current and future impacts of that, but as negotiations progress, so that uncertainty must lessen. That will give businesses a firmer foundation for their plans and that, in turn, should see renewed investment to fuel growth and new employment.

    In January, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond expressed a similar sentiment, saying: "Because of the negotiations that are going on, there's a degree of uncertainty about our future direction and our future arrangements for trading with our European partners... That's bound to have an impact on thinking about the economy. The sooner we can generate certainty, the better, and that's why we are keen to build on the momentum that we generated in December; to get the negotiations moving forward in a steady way so that we can see real progress over the course of the coming months."

    In some respects, it's arguable that Britain is at its lowest point in terms of uncertainty. It has, beyond any doubt, damaged growth and investment, and it has seen some important employers take flight to France, Germany and other faster-growing economies. But this situation will not last indefinitely; over the coming months, trading terms will be agreed and - for better or for worse - businesses will have a much clearer idea of where they stand.

    The Economic Impact to Date

    The future will always remain unclear but now, one and a half years after the Brexit vote, we can begin to see what the impact has already been. To do that, let's consider some independent views and reports.

    The International Monetary Fund regards the prospect of Brexit as a force that, on balance, will tend to slow Britain's economic growth. On 22nd January, it reduced the UK's growth forecast for 2019 from 1.6% to 1.5%. This prediction comes at a time when the global economy is widely regarded to be recovering well. The intergovernmental organisation OECD has a similar outlook, referring to "the ongoing slowdown in the economy induced by Brexit."

    In December 2017, the FT published a lengthy report on the impacts of Brexit, noting that "with 15 months of detailed UK data, it is now possible to begin to answer that important question... Economists for Brexit, a forecasting group, predicted that, after a 'leave' vote, growth in GDP would expand 2.7% in 2017. The Treasury expected a mild recession. Neither proved correct. The 2017 growth rate appears likely to slow to 1.5% at a time when the global economy is strengthening."

    The report goes on to estimate, based on figures from various sources, that Britain's economy is now 0.9% worse off than it would have been had the country chosen to stay in the EU. Referring to the infamous campaign claim that a 'leave' vote could free funds to better fund the NHS, the FT adds: "That (0.9% reduction) equates to almost exactly £350 million a week lost to the British economy; an irony that will not be lost on those who may have backed Leave because of the claim made on the side of the bus."

    This estimate is echoed by Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at King's College London. In December 2017, he said: "The conclusion - that, very roughly, Brexit has already reduced UK growth by 1% or slightly less - seems clear."

    It isn't hard to find evidence to support these views, but as Julian Jessop, Head of the Brexit Unit at the Institute of Economic Affairs explains, the more important question is not how things currently stand but where they are going. Speaking in December, he said: "Lots of sensible Brexiters accept there will be a short-term hit, and it is unarguable that the economy is weaker than it would have been... between 0.5% and 1% weaker. As for the longer term, it’s all to play for. Brexit creates lots of opportunities; it is for the government to make the most of them."

    In our next post, we'll look in more detail at some of the key economic factors affected by Brexit - exchange rates, inflation, interest rates etc.- and, with the world economy recovering strongly, we'll consider some important new grounds for optimism.

    If you have any concerns over Brexit and the future for investing please feel free to contact one of our consultants on 01244 343 355 or email

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  • Serviced apartments, ideal for travel loving families…the stress free solution to trips away
    01/02/2018 - Danielle Smith 0 Comments
    Serviced apartments, ideal for travel loving families…the stress free solution to trips away

    No sooner is one school holiday out of the way and the next one is already on the horizon.  As parents search the web for the perfect mini break for them and their little ones, taking a city break is sometimes overlooked.  Not entirely surprising with all the outgoings of parents – booking hotel rooms can be expensive for everyone, then there is finding a room big enough to squeeze in the whole brood. B&B’s then appeal as more affordable, but then tying you down to those set breakfast times when your 4-year-old is shouting for breakfast at 6am, but your teenager is still comatosed in bed!  Whilst trying to please all ages in the family the restaurant bills are piling up and for you, the parent, this relaxing break is becoming more of a stress haven by the minute!

    However, fear not travel loving parents as serviced accommodation is here to give all your family the relaxing break you need.

    Serviced apartments come in a range of shapes and sizes, one, two even three bedrooms.  Meaning each member of the family has their own area, then the open space lounges and kitchens offer a homely
    space where you can all relax together. 

    Unlike hotel rooms where you are all on top of each other using the bed as a seat or as a get out the way escape gap so your youngest can hurtle past whilst mums trying to dry her hair in front of the mirror and dads trying to see the football score on the telly!  Serviced apartments come with TV, open spaces, fully equipped kitchens, hairdryers, WIFI and much much more but also most importantly enough space for everyone.  With children loving their familiarities of life having this in an unfamiliar place is ticking off a huge bonus box when choosing where to book. In serviced accommodation this box can be ticked, you can cook their favorite breakfast at the time they want it and after a busy day bath and bed time can be kept the same, so you can finally sit back and relax and have your time. Costs don’t need to soar through the roof when you have your own fully fitted and equipped kitchen throughout your stay.

    Now many of you are thinking but hold on a minute we love the perks of a hotel, rest assured perks still come all singing and dancing with serviced apartments too. Tea and coffee are provided, linen and towels, check in service and the apartments are serviced by a cleaner on a weekly basis for you. Not bad at all for all the money saved and the amazing amount of gained space.

    You’ll find serviced apartments in the heart of the city centres nestled between all those hotels you trawled through to see which had the best sized rooms. So, you are still right on the door step of all the attractions the city has to offer, yet only a stone’s throw from your apartment so you can always nip back if needed. You will also find you are near all the best transport links so it’s never far to get the bags to when you arrive and depart, no more are we nearly there yet or how much further my legs are tired. Another bonus to the great transport links of the city is you can always head out of town a little to explore even further. A city break really is the perfect getaway for the diverse family who are trying to please everyone, from city to rural to relaxed in minutes.

    Serviced accommodation offers a home from home, familiarity in an unfamiliar place.  For more details on our range of serviced apartments in the Chester and Manchester areas please contact Natalie or Danielle on 01244 343 355 option 3 or visit our Serviced Accommodation area of the website HERE

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  • Why Stoke-on-Trent is a Thriving Property Investment Opportunity
    19/01/2018 - Claire Nield 0 Comments
    Why Stoke-on-Trent is a Thriving Property Investment Opportunity

    Stoke-on-Trent, up until now, has not necessarily been seen as the most glamorous of locations for those looking to invest in property despite the historical connections as the heart of The Potteries. Things are rapidly changing though, with strong growth predicted in the coming years, a popular and growing University on the doorstep and a Premier League football club to its name. Residential Estates believe now is the time to invest in Stoke-on-Trent.

    There are a number of very good reasons why you should seriously consider investing in property in the Stoke area.

    Fantastic Transport Links

    For those looking to escape the big city crush but still requiring transportation links that allow them to commute on a daily basis, Stoke-on-Trent is in a special location. From Stoke-On-Trent you can reach the major cities of Liverpool, Birmingham and Nottingham within an hour by road or
    rail, Manchester is only a little further though on-going developments to the M6 will cut that journey time soon too. Even London is accessible by train within two hours from Stoke-On-Trent. This access to fast transport links across England and into Wales, just over the border, ensures that Stoke-On-Trent is an enticing prospect for commuters and young families who may be looking for potential day trips away from the area should they choose to live in Stoke.

    Quirky Town Configuration

    In terms of the layout of Stoke-on-Trent, it is unique amongst modern cities in that it isn’t made up of different areas in the same way as other cities. Stoke-On-Trent comprises of a selection of different small towns, each with their own character and identity. Investing in property in Stoke-on-Trent provides you with the perfect chance to find the right location for your potential future tenants.

    Hanley for example is full of quirky shops, independent bars, cafes and restaurants and a great location for shopping. Newcastle-under-Lyme is another strong location close to Keele University and the Royal Stoke University Hospital, with Penkhill and Hartsill both benefiting from recent development that has helped to increase the capacity for students and professionals working in the hospital. This is a residential market that is
    sure to remain buoyant.

    Growing University and Good Education Provision

    There are a number of high quality schools within the Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle under Lyme areas, but what we feel attracts property investment in the area is the fact that both Keele University and Staffordshire University are right on the doorstep.  In terms of a growing number of students and young professionals looking to learn, teach and work at both the universities and the hospital, Stoke is a city with great growth potential for property investors.  There is already a large population of students and professionals looking for long-term accommodation, and that figure continues to rise with the on-going development of Keele University campus; a £160m project that is due for completion in 2020.

    Royal Stoke University Hospital Investment

    It isn’t just the University that has seen significant investment in recent years. A £2 million NHS investment into the Royal Stoke University Hospital has been issued last year in order to provide 45 extra beds, cutting down waiting times and hoping to improve the service for an extra 5,000 patients. A large number of medical professionals, as well as professional administrative staff are required to work within a busy hospital such as this one, and with affordable property in the immediate vicinity it adds to the attractiveness of Stoke as a property investment location.

    When compared with other areas of the country, the Stoke-on-Trent area continues to see a steady rise in property value from an attractive starting position. For those interested in investing in property for a solid future profit, either from selling property or leasing it, Stoke is certainly an interesting place to consider as there is plenty of upwards movement anticipated in the market.

    At Residential Estates we have a wide and varied team of experts that are in a position to offer invaluable advice and guidance on your situation and financial goals. We have also launched an exciting new student property investment opportunity in the Stoke-On-Trent area so we are keen to
    speak to investors that share our excitement in this area. At Residential Estates we can help you make the right decision with up-to-date information on the economic climate and the residential market.

    If you would like to find out more information regarding our service as property investment experts, contact our office today on 01244 343 355 option 4 or email us  and our experienced investment consultants will be happy to assist.

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  • Are YOU interested in 67% and upwards NET Cash return on your investment in 5 years? on..
    17/01/2018 - Paul Winder 0 Comments
    Are YOU interested in 67% and upwards NET Cash return on your investment in 5 years? on..
    As a company we deal with all aspects of property investment, but the trend for our clients right now, and over the last 6 months has not been
    leveraging (maybe to do with economic uncertainties such as Interest rates or Brexit) but to put the same amount of deposit into a cash investment with no debts attached to it and the fact it offers all the key criteria of a solid investment, namely:
    • High Net returns.
    • Fully managed so no upkeep, tenant sourcing, management or day to day issues.
    • Proven and documented demand outstripping supply.
    • Excellent resale and exit options if required.

    We, of course, still have a great selection of leverageable options and would not deter anyone from this method with some very exciting upcoming launches, but this email is designed to highlight why cash investments work for some and dispel some myths.When talking cash investments we are mainly talking about PBSA (Purpose Built Student Accommodation), the main fact is simple – the student population is growing at about 6% per year and there is not enough accommodation to cater for them near the Universities they want to be, whichmeans they have to live further away, which increases their costs and ultimately affects their education. This fact is undisputed and information iseasily accessible on the internet – just search “student accommodation shortage” so this is your DEMAND, and this is one of the key areas of anyinvestment, and demand in certain locations will take an eternity to satisfy.

    One area we are very keen to focus on is Newcastle Under Lyme near Stoke On Trent which house 3 Universities but has two very strong plus factors you have to focus on. Firstly the fact that the University campus accommodation at Keele university can only hold 3,000 students, yet theirforecast is to have 12,000 and this is just the one University, this is not taking into account Staffs University and then you have the Royal Stoke Medical University so you have a critical demand for accommodation to attract students. Secondly and more importantly is that there are very few other options, the town is small and does not have the private housing sector to fall back on, places like Manchester and Liverpool have large catchment areas that can offer students choice, hence depleting the number of students looking for YOUR bed, this is not an issue in this area, students do not have the choice here so demand will always be high, please see the link below:

    As for returns, who can complain at 10% Net after all deductions and with no risk of void periods for 5 years – if you offered that on any other property your hand would be bit off – so after all service charges are deducted, all tenant sourcing and admin, all upkeep and maintenance and fully furnished, you are also currently exempt from Stamp Duty.Then it comes to the ease of resale and how it would work, it really is not as hard as you think or may have been led to believe, the one downside is you cannot “release” funds from the property, this is true but if you needed to exit then your options are limitless and in brief this is how itworks:

    • You pay £65,000
    • Over 5 years you are guaranteed £32,500
    • Your costs are £1,750 for 5 years ground rent

    Net return £30,750

    You want to sell in 5 years:The rent for the student which includes everything and all bills is £150 per week over 51 weeks – total £7,650 per

    *Service charges which includes all management, letting, upkeep and utilities is £1,350 per year.
    Rents increase by an average of 3.5% per year
    This means the rent will be £178 per week = £9,078 per annum
    Minus the £1,350 equates to a £7,728 net return and based on your purchase price is a 11.88% Net return.

    *Service charges may also increase in line with inflation but this is a minimal amount over 5 yearsIf you sold your property offering it on the market with the following returns, this is how much your property would be worth:

    • 8% Net return = £96,000 and a £31k profit
    • 9% Net return = £86,000 and a £21k profit
    • 10% Net return = £78,000 and a £13k profit

    So offering your property on the market at £78,000 in 5 years with a “REAL” 10% NET return is highly desirable and not hard to see how it would be attractive.

    Based on this it means you would have achieved a CASH return in 5 years of £43,750 or a 67% return on your money, and this is why we see this as such a good investment plan.

    Any questions please call on 01244 343 355 or email
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  • Spotlight: Old Trafford, Manchester
    12/01/2018 - Jason Guest / Robin Gregson 0 Comments
    Spotlight: Old Trafford, Manchester

    In previous posts, we've made the case for Manchester as an attractive property investment destination. It consistently ranks highly in terms of yields and capital appreciation, and increasing numbers of talented young workers are migrating here in preference to London and its over-heated property market.

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    08/01/2018 0 Comments

    We've all settled into the New Year, 2018, now, however a small mention must be made for the Residential Estates 2017 Christmas Party at Chester Racecourse.  A lovely meal, drinks and and merry time was had by all.  A Big thanks must go to Steve (P) for the do, which everyone enjoyed.....some more than others ;)

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  • Property Investment Review For 2017 and Beyond...
    18/12/2017 - Jason Guest 0 Comments
    Property Investment Review For 2017 and Beyond...

    For property investors, 2017 was a challenging year that saw a marked change in investment patterns. A proportion of small-scale landlords left the market in response to a number of 'anti-investor' tax changes which began to have an effect this year. Conversely, many professional and institutional investors now report growing optimism.

    A few short years ago, property investment was widely regarded as a sure-fire win. Across the country, thousands of new investors jumped at the opportunity to make quick and substantial profits. Many, of course, did just that; the UK property market certainly produced a good number of winners in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. However, government policy turned increasingly against landlords last year and, weighing the likely impact of measures such as increased stamp duty, reduced mortgage interest relief and the scrapping of the wear and tear allowance, some investors chose to sell up. In June this year, the Council of Mortgage Lenders reported that the number of properties bought by landlords had almost halved in a year - a trend it attributed to the new taxes and regulations.

    There is no doubt that government policy has at least partly succeeded in eroding profits in the private rental sector, but recent measures have not produced any mass exodus from the market. Indeed, some big institutional investors see important opportunities ahead.

    Given the uncertainties surrounding Brexit and its consequent dampening effect on the British economy, it might seem strange to be talking in terms of rising optimism. However, there are solid reasons for regarding property as a reliable and attractive investment vehicle. To explain this, let's look at some of the key factors affecting the sector.


    One of the best reasons to stay serious about property investment is the absence of better alternatives. Buy-to-let continues to outperform the majority of asset classes, and with inflation now outpacing savings rates, money in the bank is losing value all the time. The stock markets are volatile - particularly while Britain's relationship with Europe is still in doubt - so property looks to be a decidedly more reliable option than most. It has delivered respectable capital growth this year, and average rental values continue to rise.

    According to the Halifax, Britain's largest mortgage lender, average residential values rose by 3.9% in the year to the end of November. That alone is comfortably ahead of the rate of inflation and, on top of that, most landlords have also enjoyed a regular monthly rental income.

    According to the ONS Rental Index, average rents have risen across all the UK regions - most notably in the East Midlands, which saw values rise by 2.9%. According to Landbay’s National Rent Review, the average monthly rent now stands at a record £1,196.

    What's more, rental demand is still strong across the UK and, with no signs of a major house-building boom, renting property will continue to be the only viable option for millions. Demand will therefore remain very healthy, despite forthcoming cost pressures that may force landlords to raise their prices. That being so, Knight Frank forecasts that rents will rise by a total of 14% over the next five years.

    Market Size

    Although some landlords left the market earlier this year, rental demand stayed strong and, of course, someone had to take up the slack. In many cases, this fell to the larger, more experienced investors who, quite rightly, continue to regard BTL as a long term venture.  As a result, the market as a whole has by no means contracted. According to the latest edition of Kent Reliance’s Buy to Let Britain report, the value of the sector increased by 6.4% year on year, reaching a total figure of £1.4 trillion. Over the same period, it records that average rentals rose by 4.2%.  In other words, the market is not dwindling but rather re-shaping itself. The phenomenon was explained recently by Andy Golding, chief executive of OneSavings Bank, who said: "A fundamental shift in the landlord population is now underway, as buy-to-let moves from being a popular pastime for hundreds of thousands of amateur landlords, to the preserve of committed long-term investors with experience and expertise."

    A viable investment?

    The readiness of experienced investors to remain in the market suggests a strong faith that, as a long term proposition, BTL still offers exceptional value.  Looking at market forecasts, key commentators expect that buoyant housing demand and continuing affordability pressures will underpin BTL returns for many years to come. In addition to predicting continuing rental growth, Knight Frank also expects to see average property values rising across most regions. After constrained growth in 2017 and 2018 (1.5% and 1% respectively), the company is forecasting average price growth as follows:
    2019: 2%

    2020: 3%

    2021: 3.5%
    2022: 4%

    Over the 5 year period, that equates to cumulative price growth of 14.2%. Importantly, however, it does not expect that pattern to be evenly distributed. Some regions are expected to fare considerably better than others.

    Regional variations

    Knight Frank forecasts that, over the next five years, the leading regions will be the Midlands, the East of England and the North West.

    London has endured a rather woeful time in 2017 as average property values began their return to more sensible territory. New buyers and young professionals in particular had seen that at least half their average incomes were destined to be spent on accommodation if they remained in the capital, and so large numbers of them left the city in favour of destinations offering better standards of living.  Manchester, Sheffield, Bristol and other growth areas were some of the biggest beneficiaries.

    Due to its size, London understandably remains in the top charts for rental demand, but it is seeing increased competition. In December 2017, property marketplace, published a list of the top five UK cities for tenant demand. After London, the other sought-after rental locations included Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester. Amongst these, Bristol attracted the highest number of millennials, Manchester saw greatest demand amongst the 35-50 demographic, and Birmingham attracted greatest interest on the part of those aged 51 to 69.

    The falling popularity of central London can quickly be appreciated when one considers the cost of making a home there. According to a recent National Rental Survey by Landbay, "41% of millennials do not expect to ever own a home of their own."Those that rent up to to the average life expectancy of 82 will pay an estimated "£1.1m on rent if they live outside of London, and a staggering £2.6m on lifetime rent if they live in the capital."  These figures may seem daunting, but there is similar price disparity when it comes to buying a property. According to the ONS, the average house price in England was 5.11 times average earnings, and by 2008, the ratio had risen to 7.14. In 2016, it reached 7.72. However, affordability was considerably worse in London, where the price to earnings ratio rose to 12.88.

    In London, the result of this overheating market has been a rebalancing of prices - in other words, a drop in average rentals. According to the Mortgage Industry Advisory Corporation, rents fell by an average of 0.83% in London, while outside the capital, landlords did rather better. Overall, according to MIAC figures, rents rose by an average of 1.27% over the course of 2017. This figure is less than the 4.2% cited by Kent reliance, but all reliable sources agree at least that rental values are continuing to rise.

    What seems unarguable is that some of the best property investment opportunities are now to be found well outside the South East. In December, Knight Frank published its Private Rented Sector Update, which stated: "Whilst much of the regional PRS appetite to date has focussed on ‘best in class’ city centre assets in key cities, an increasing number of institutional investors are now looking beyond these, to more secondary cities and to well-connected satellite towns... where superior affordability ratios offer greater potential for rental growth, whilst still providing secure income with strong rental demand."

    In November, Savills expressed a similar sentiment with respect to capital growth, stating: "Price growth will be most sluggish in areas where affordability is most stretched; particularly London and the commuter belt. Affordability in the capital is already more stretched than the rest of the UK, putting a brake on growth. But areas beyond the Home Counties have potential for growth: incomes have grown more in line with house prices, aiding affordability. That’s why we expect the North to outperform London and the rest of the country. The North West, in particular, has a robust economic outlook and strong employment growth. And house prices sit at a modest multiple of average incomes: 5.6 times in the North West, compared with 12.9 times in London."

    Looking ahead

    Forecasting prices, rental growth and economic performance is notoriously difficult, particularly at a time when Brexit is casting such a long shadow. However, many commentators seem to feel that once some kind of exit arrangement has been reached with Europe, Britain will begin a process of recovery.

    Supply and demand are key to the way that prices will change next year, and several important factors will affect this.

    On the supply side of things, house-building is not expected to see a major surge. Indeed, a recent survey of house-builders showed a marked fall in the rate of construction since June 2016. Most believed that the industry would fall well short of the targets set by government - i.e. one million new homes by 2020. If that trend continues, then the private rental sector will remain the only logical alternative provider of  accommodation for the foreseeable future and, accordingly, rental demand should hold strong.

    The departure of some landlords earlier in the year will have released a certain amount of stock into the housing market but much of this is likely to have been acquired by other, larger, more experienced investors. Likewise, there is a possibility that new minimum energy efficiency standards in 2018 will see a number of BTL properties being sold off by cash-strapped landlords who cannot afford the costs of refurbishment. Again, however, many of these will be bought back into the private rental sector. In any event, the number of such newly marketed properties is unlikely to make a big dent in the UK market as a whole.

    For the moment, the biggest constraint on market growth is regarded by many to be Brexit. In November, Savills wrote that the main thing holding back growth was uncertainty. " With the UK’s future relationship with the EU up in the air, we’ve seen the UK’s credit rating downgraded, the pound weakened, and the economy subdued. Inflation has cut into people’s earnings, with the ONS reporting that incomes fell by 0.4% last year in real terms. Against this economic backdrop, there are no strong drivers for house price growth over inflation next year." However, once the dust settles, Savills expects successive years to offer better prospects, saying: " We expect the market to return to growth in 2019-20, as employment growth, wage growth, and GDP growth swing back towards trend levels."

    In short, the Brexit question may cause some short term turbulence, but strong demand and a shortage of new housing continue to provide firm foundations for the BTL market as a whole.

    Interest rates

    2017 saw the first interest rate rise in a decade as the Bank of England finally chose to push up the cost of borrowing. However, just as it had signalled, the rate rise was very small - a minimal 0.25% - and the Monetary Policy Committee has said that any future rises will be small and incremental. The Bank is wary of making sudden changes, so the market is unlikely to face any big shocks, and the base
    rate itself is expected to remain well within a historically acceptable range.  As Knight Frank reported: "The UK may now be entering a period of interest rate rises but, even so, we expect rates to be low compared to long term norms."


    2017 has seen a shift in the structure of the private rental sector. Some landlords operating at very narrow margins have left the market but the shortfall has largely been made up by professional investors who remain committed to the BTL sector and the impressive returns it still promises.  The sector has taken a number of knocks this year but the market fundamentals remain strong and promising. Demand is healthy; supply is short. That's invariably a recipe for sustainable prices.

    2018 will inevitably see further uncertainty, but this should diminish as the country gains more clarity on how its relationship with Europe will evolve. With greater clarity should come greater market confidence and an improvement in economic performance. Once average wages recover lost ground against inflation, this should provide fuel for price growth in the housing market, whilst also alleviating cost pressures on paying tenants.

    Forecasts are generally promising, but they vary considerably by region. The North West and the Midlands are widely regarded as offering some of the greatest potential for investors. These are markets that we ourselves have been looking at very closely and we'll be featuring them in some of our blog posts in the coming year.

    Until then, have a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year from all of us at Residential Estates

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  • Manchester and Tourism
    11/12/2017 0 Comments
    Manchester and Tourism

    In this article, with the Christmas season fast approaching, we're looking at the city from the visitor's perspectiv

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  • Investing in the North of England
    04/12/2017 0 Comments
    Investing in the North of England

    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. Manchesters market continues to make great headway ... The citys 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.

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  • The Changing Pattern of Investment
    20/11/2017 0 Comments
    The 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.

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  • The STUDENT Investment Checklist
    02/10/2017 0 Comments
    The STUDENT Investment Checklist

    It’s long been one of the UK’s strongest asset class, a great investment and not likely to change for the foreseeable future. Below we are looking at what makes a decent student investment, are all student properties good to invest in. Our Student Investment Checklist below covers the major questions you will need to ask.....

    Area - When looking for your next student investment you have to consider the North / South divide. In England the further south you go property prices increase considerably, certainly the closer you are to London, BUT you will also find student rental figures do not change dramatically. So with similar rental figures, but lower prices in the northern university cities, the student accommodation 'up north' will give you much higher NET returns.

    Location - As is constantly banded about, Location, Location, Location, is an important factor. Don't be fooled into thinking that the closer your accommodation is to the city centre the better. Our experience has found that when it comes to specific student property the rents will increase the closer they are to the campus, and the easier they are to fill.

    Cost - Student accommodation can vary in cost, but cheap does not necessarily mean bad. In many cases you will find good quality lower cost accommodation providing all the requirements needed for the students of today! Quite obviously a good quality lower cost property with decent facilities and solid rental demand and figures will provide a higher return on investment. Also in many cases developers will offer incentives to investors looking to secure property early on in the development stage, meaning the quicker you make a decision on a particular development the better the deal.

    Rental Guarantee - Look for a 2+ year rental guarantee. Just a year! In this case the developer has likely built your alleged ‘return’ (guarantee) into the sales price. Student Apartments that are sure to generate strong rental returns will have at least 2+ years rental guarantees, because the developer is confident the properties will rent out. Anything less than 2 years will have a developer who is not willing to take the risk of assuring the returns.

    What is the type of Accommodation? - Is it self contained, a student pod? Do you expect any capital appreciation at all? Student pods (non-self contained apartments) are not considered to be individual properties but depending on size can be purchased using a mortgage, but many student properties attract cash investors looking for strong low risk high returns. Speak to an investment consultant before making a decision so they can advise on exit strategy and expectations. Here at Residential Estates we offer an investment re-sale service providing a strong solution for our clients looking to consolidate and re-invest.

    Is it fully Managed? - Who will be managing your property? Ensure your student property investment is managed by a credible company as opposed to just a non accredited company. You will find a good quality rental agent will only rent out accommodation they consider to be decent so they can be sure to attract consistent traffic/demand/good quality tenants and peak rental figures, ensuring you receive the best NET returns.

    What does your potential accommodation offer? - Although the word 'student' carries a certain stereotype there are a number of factors it is wise to consider. For example foreign student numbers in the UK have been growing for sometime. Generally the standard of accommodation on offer has got significantly better year on year and that added to higher budgets means students will look to live in the better quality properties. Look for fully furnished accommodation, check the quality of furnishings and what comes as standard in the purchase, an investment consultant can advise on what is needed, provided and necessary to maximise your return and chance of high occupancy levels.

    The developer - Who are they? Who are the construction company? Have they built anything else, look for reviews. At Residential Estates we will only work with developers that are either known to us, or have a proven track record so we can assure our clients that the investment they are buying is the highest quality available. Much of our business is referral or repeat, and this can only be achieved by working with the best in the industry.

    Currently we have several student investments that we would consider to be strong investment developments providing 4+ years rental guarantees, high NET returns and buy back options:

    Royal Riverside, Priestly Street, Sheffield, S2 4DD
    Canterbury Halls, Garstang Road, Preston, PR1 1NA

    For more information and/or availability on either of these please contact our office on 01244 343 355, email

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  • Choosing Chester
    01/09/2017 0 Comments
    Choosing Chester

    As a Chester based property specialist, we naturally have a keen appreciation of the market conditions prevailing within one of Britain's most historic cities. In the course of our work, we routinely help clients to buy and sell homes here, to find quality rented accommodation and, of course, to make profitable, well informed investments.

    In this article, we thought we'd explain what makes Chester's property market so special.

    First, of course, there are the aesthetic considerations. Anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with the city will be familiar with its beauty, its character and its rich history. Just say the name and images of ancient walls and half-timbered buildings spring unbidden to mind. Visitors and residents alike will understand why it regularly makes the top listings of foreign visitors' favourite city destinations. Home to roman ruins and one of the country's best loved race courses, it has a thriving tourist economy that seems to grow stronger every year.
    But an extensive count of such familiar strengths is essentially unnecessary; as a gem of British heritage, as one of the region's leading tourist attractions, Chester is already widely renowned. Most readers won't require a long list of superlatives in order to appreciate that the city is a unique and bewitching place to live. Numerous surveys and 'quality of life' indices would certainly support that view.
    Looking beyond the immediate doorstep appeal of a typical city home, what else separates Chester properties from those in other regions? Beautiful and desirable the location may be, but does it make sound financial sense to relocate or invest here?

    The Economic Argument:

    In answering that question it is worth examining the economic health of the region. Any prospective homeowner or tenant will doubtless want to know how the city is likely to fare in the challenging years ahead; whether neighbourhoods will continue to prosper; whether Chester is capable of sustaining the same enviable quality of life it offers today.
    Happily, all the indications are good. Local business conditions are healthy, buoyed by a number of large, well established employers, and the region is attracting considerable volumes of new investment from both the public and private sectors.
    Despite its evident history, Chester is not a city wedded to the past. It is home to many forward-focused businesses and it affords a base for workers engaged in some of the UK's most advanced industries. It boasts a thriving financial sector - sustained by major players such as Bank of America, HBOS, Virgin Money and Marks & Spencer Money - and it has always benefited from its well established chemical, pharmaceutical, automotive and manufacturing sectors. This is an impressive feat for a moderately small city with only around 118,000 inhabitants.
    One particular growth sector is advanced manufacturing. A relatively recent development has been the creation of a large Airbus UK factory in Broughton. The facility is responsible for the production of Airbus A380 wings and now sustains around six thousand jobs. Its workforce continues to grow, boosting the local economy and fuelling healthy demand for property.
    Other large local employers include, which has its registered head office in nearby Ewloe. There is also the Countess of Chester Hospital, the frozen foods company Iceland and, of course, the tourism industry itself. Collectively, tourist businesses contribute £1.78 billion to the local economy each year and sustain approximately 27,000 jobs.
    Another significant employer is University of Chester, one of the oldest higher education institutions in the country. It has five campuses in the city alone, including a science park, a business school and sites teaching a variety of vocational courses.
    These organisations are all helping to ensure that prospects for employment remain excellent, that the property market remains buoyant, and that living conditions in and around Chester remain amongst the most appealing in all the country.

    Inward Investment

    Some of the most notable developments in the vicinity of Chester are being orchestrated by the Chester Renaissance Board as part of a 15-year regeneration programme. Called the One City Plan, it is designed to run from 2012 to 2027 over three phases. The first phase saw £37 million invested in a new 800-seat theatre, which economic development experts predict will support 400 jobs and attract an extra £17 million of visitor spending each year. Phase 1 also includes the construction of the £300 million Chester Northgate Scheme - a retail and leisure development that seeks to generate around £140 million of extra annual income and to deliver 1,000 permanent new jobs.
    Meanwhile, the city centre itself will be undergoing a £100 million facelift, through which planners seek to enhance the shopper/visitor experience, boost the retail sector and thereby support around 3,500 new jobs by 2028.
    Elsewhere, Chester's Cathedral Quarter will be the subject of regeneration work. The city will also benefit from a new waterfront development and a business improvement district. In subsequent phases, the One City Plan will also deliver improvements to the Castle Gateway, Chester's famous Roman amphitheatre, the racecourse and several other well known city districts.
    Further out, Chester Zoo will see a £225 million upgrade, which is part of a tourist strategy designed to produce a 100% increase in visitor numbers by the middle of the next decade. If successful, that strategy would swell the tourist revenue coffers by as much as £3 billion each year.
    Cheshire Science Corridor is yet another important development. In March 2017, growth director John Adlen noted its potential to energise the regions economy, explaining that the  250-acre enterprise zone was designed to attract international investment, to support 20,000 new jobs and 500 new businesses. He said: "We want to put Cheshire on the map with its outstanding science and technology assets. Our aspiration is to create a new golden triangle in the North." The site will focus on high value, knowledge-based sectors such as energy technologies and biotechnology.
    And so the list goes on. In the pipeline, there are also approved plans for new hotels and supermarkets, new office developments, and infrastructure improvements to support it all - including improved rail links to John Lennon Airport.

    In short, there is every reason to believe that Chester's fortunes are on an upward curve; that business will continue to thrive and that the city as whole will benefit from a steadily improving economy. Should that prove to be the case, then that will spell unequivocally good news for residents, home-buyers and anyone with a commercial stake in the city.

    Chester's Housing Market

    Despite all the activity now taking place in Chester, local property prices are still affordable, particularly when compared to the overheated markets of the South. Accordingly, those seeking attractive, high quality rented accommodation can still find reasonably priced apartments within easy commuting distance of all the major centres of employment. Likewise, investors will recognise that lower absolute prices often translate into very attractive yields.

    Chester - Key Facts

    According to the LendInvest Buy-to-Let Report for June 2017, the average Chester property rose in value by 3.8% over the last 12 months. Rental prices rose by 5% and average rental yields stood at 4.87%.
    For house buyers, the prospects are equally encouraging. Borrowing rates are currently at an all-time low, properties in Chester are still sensibly priced and the prospects for capital appreciation are extremely encouraging. Given the perennial shortage of good family homes on the market, prices were already destined to increase, but given the scale of inward investment, more jobs and more people with disposable incomes should see capital values rising steadily.

    Over the last year, affordability concerns have had a constraining effect on price growth at the national level but northern markets have been less affected than those in the South. Having risen at a slower rate, prices in the North now have greater room to move. For markets like Chester, where people are drawn by the promise of a better quality of life, the implications can only be positive.

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  • The Usual Investment Suspects
    20/08/2017 0 Comments
    The Usual Investment Suspects

    A promising time ahead for property investing........

    2017 / 18 is set to be an interesting time for property investors with the strengthening of rental demand due to the gap between wages, house shortages and house prices. Our investors are enjoying the benefits of dealing with a company that is able to obtain some fantastic developments in key investable areas, providing good room for growth in equity alongside guaranteed returns (with some developments)*

    Some cities are out performing others in terms of investing and Residential Estates always looks for investments that will make sure our clients will come back time and time again to re-invest.

    If your new to property investment there are normally lots of questions, some of the most common are:

    How do you get your developments/investments?
    Residential Estates has been established for many years and has built up a great relationship with many of the UKs leading developers. Occasionally developers need to sell property assets quickly, boosting liquidity and enabling them to move on to other projects. With our database of investor clients developers will come to us to achieve those sales and at the same time we help our investors to secure some great deals.

    How can you help me?
    Our expertise lies in the careful evaluation of investment opportunities and our ability to find each investor the property deals that most effectively meet his or her needs. Our team looks after their own portfolio of clients, and will establish which investment suits your needs, be it short term growth, longevity, or diversification of your portfolio.

    Where should I invest?
    We cant answer this without speaking to you, safe to say though that different areas of the UK provide different positives when it comes to investing, be it student property, residential, HMO's, there are some areas stronger that others, areas such as Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Derby, Sunderland, Stockton on Tees are all great investment areas for different reason.....speak to one of our consultants for more detail of our current opportunities.

    I don't know anything about managing a rental property?
    Many of our clients are busy, they work 24/7, and/or they don't live anywhere near to the best investable areas. We can deal with the whole investment process from the purchase to the ongoing letting, either via our lettings or serviced team, or via a third party agent, rest assured that Residential Estates will guide you through your investing journey.

    What type of returns can I expect?
    Each property investment provides different returns for different reasons. Obviously the amount you have to invest will dictate what you can invest in, but we will tend to deal with investments that provide returns from 3% - 15%*

    What's the next step?
    Contact one of our expert consultants now on 01244 343 355 or email or complete the form on our investments page HERE

    *guarantees (if any) & returns are subject to change from development to development, please speak to a consultant for the full details and current availability

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  • What Does Interest On Deposited Funds Mean?
    23/07/2017 - Michael Johns 0 Comments
    What Does Interest On Deposited Funds Mean?

    You will hear lots of common phrases in the property industry and one that has become widely used in recent years is interest on deposited funds. So what exactly does it mean?

    It certainly sounds good when you see it on an advert for investment property. You would be forgiven for thinking that interest on your deposited funds means a nice little bonus while you are waiting for completion. In some case this might be right and even better, if there is a short lead time from the start of construction to completion, you will benefit from some extra peace of mind.

    The reason you are seeing more and more deals offering interest on deposited funds is linked to the demand for investment property, which has seen a dramatic increase over the last 12 months – particularly in UK cities north of London.

    While this demand is certainly welcome, developers in some of the more popular locations are struggling to keep up and bring new products to the market fast enough while they are still building and completing existing projects.

    The situation has become so acute, we have seen even some of the larger developers hold off on new instructions in order to catch up.

    With many “London investors” now looking for value in the north, the construction companies covering northern cities don’t know what’s hit them and this has seen project lead times on major projects increase.
    In fact, most of the new products on offer have a minimum 18-24 month build time.

    OK, property investment has a lot to do with risk/reward but for me, projects with long build times present the highest risk of all and we try to avoid these unless they are particularly special and offer significant capital growth for low exchange deposits.

    Bank lending charges for developers are extremely high, so to make the investment more attractive to investors, developers have recently been offering investors interest payments on their money. This has been used to help them secure early sales and secure finance requirements to get developments “off-the-ground”.  Now this can be mutually beneficial, and in most cases it is but investors should also beware that this “return” will generally be factored into the sale price.  OK, its common sense as the money must come from somewhere and in the right area with the right property, the cost of this will be drowned out by good capital growth anyway.

    Unfortunately, when interest on deposited funds is payable on developments in areas where capital growth may not be as certain, I still see it as a trick of the trade.  In these cases it only assists in blinkering the investor and providing them with a “return” which they are effectively funding themselves.

    My advice here is to consider the reasons why the seller is offering interest on your deposit and calculate the risk against more important factors such as growth, developer reputation and their track-record.

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  • How To Calculate Net Rental Yield
    09/07/2017 0 Comments
    How To Calculate Net Rental Yield

    The most important thing to learn if you are hoping to achieve big things in buy to let investment is how to calculate net rental yield. After all, you are in it for the money and if the financial side doesn’t stack up, then you could be wasting your time and money.

    To help us understand how a net rental yield is calculated, let’s use the example of Richard:

    Richard is looking for property that will earn him a good return on his investment over time. He looks at all the available options and settles on two for comparison.

    • The first property is valued at £130,000 with a potential rental return of £600 a month
    • The second property is valued at £200,000 with a rental return of £850 a month

    Which property should he invest in? Should he invest in the first property which will have lower upfront costs and mortgage payments or should he go for option two, which offers £250 a month extra income?

    This is where calculating the yield from these buy to let properties will help Richard to decide which offers the best investment.

    The basic formula used for calculating the gross rental yield (this is an important distinction we will return to later) is as follows:

    MRR = monthly rental return
    I = investment
    Yield = MRR x12/I x100

    Richard's rental yield for the first property would be:

    Monthly rental return = £600
    Investment = £130,000
    £600 x 12 = £7,200
    £7,200 / £130,000 = 0.0553
    0.0553 x 100 = 5.54 % yield

    His rental yield for the second property would be:

    Monthly rental return = £850
    Investment = £200,000
    £600 * 12 = £10,200
    £10,200 / £200,000 = 0.051
    0.051 x 100 = 5.1 % yield

    So in this example and looking purely at a simple calculation of the yields on both properties, Richard would be better off investing in the cheaper property because the yield on that property is higher.
    Now this kind of yield is not far off the average in many UK cities, however this basic calculation still won’t give Richard enough information to make a final investment decision.

    To make that decision he will need to look at several variables and factor in costs such as:

    • - Advertising for Tenants
    • - House Insurance
    • - Mortgage costs
    • - Solicitor fees
    • - Survey fees
    • - Cost of redecorating/maintenance
    • - Running costs during void periods
    • - Costs of furniture and white goods

    Deducting these costs will give a truer picture of the actual return on investment from the property referred to as the ‘Net’ yield. If you can deduct these costs from your gross yield and still achieve a yield of more than 5%, this will be a good return on investment.

    Another point to consider is that rents will inevitably rise over time. This will only increase your likely yield and there is also capital growth to consider. The value of the property itself should also rise over time, assuming you invest well.
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