The Opulent Blog.

The UK Property Market and General Elections: What to Expect over the next few months

  The UK property market is a vital component of the nation's economy, influencing everything from individual wealth to broader economic stability. In the run-up to a general election, this market often experiences notable shifts due to the anticipation of potential policy changes and the uncertainty that accompanies political transitions. Understanding these dynamics is crucial for buyers, sellers, and investors alike.   Historical Trends: Property Market in the Run-Up to Elections   Market Uncertainty and Buyer Hesitation   Political uncertainty typically heightens as a general election approaches, leading to hesitation among potential property buyers. The uncertainty about the future government’s policies can make buyers wary of committing to large financial decisions. Historical data shows that during the months leading up to the 2010, 2015, 2017, and 2019 elections, there was a discernible dip in market activity, reflecting widespread caution.   Impact on House Prices and Sales Volumes   House prices and sales volumes often experience fluctuations during the pre-election period. In the run-up to the 2015 election, for instance, house prices grew at a slower pace compared to non-election years. Similarly, the number of property transactions usually drops as both buyers and sellers adopt a wait-and-see approach. This trend underscores the impact of political events on market dynamics, with participants preferring to delay transactions until after the election results.   Investor Behavior and Market Speculation   Shifts in Investor Sentiment   Investor sentiment can shift significantly during the lead-up to an election. Domestic and international investors often become more cautious, closely monitoring political developments and adjusting their strategies accordingly. This cautious approach is driven by the potential for significant policy shifts that could impact property values and investment returns.   Speculative Buying and Selling   The property market also sees an increase in speculative activity during this period. Investors might engage in speculative buying or selling, trying to anticipate market movements based on potential election outcomes. For example, some may buy properties in anticipation of favourable policy changes, while others might sell to avoid potential losses if the expected policies are unfavourable.   Government Policies and Market Expectations   General elections bring the prospect of new government policies, which can have profound impacts on the property market. Major political parties often propose significant changes to housing policy, taxation, and market regulation. These proposals can influence market behaviour as participants try to predict and prepare for the outcomes. Anticipated changes in taxation, such as adjustments to stamp duty or capital gains tax, are of particular concern to property investors. Regulatory shifts, including changes to rental market regulations or housing supply initiatives, also play a critical role. The potential for these changes can lead to market volatility as participants attempt to position themselves advantageously.   The Role of Media and Public Perception   Media coverage during the pre-election period significantly influences market sentiment. The way in which media outlets report on potential policy changes, economic forecasts, and political developments can shape public perception and behaviour. Positive coverage can boost confidence, while negative narratives can exacerbate uncertainty. There is a strong correlation between public confidence and market activity. Surveys and anecdotal evidence suggest that when public confidence is high, market activity tends to remain robust despite the impending election. Conversely, low confidence can lead to a slowdown in transactions and price growth.   Strategies for Buyers, Sellers, and Investors   For those looking to buy or sell property during an election period, timing is crucial. Buyers might find opportunities in a quieter market, while sellers should be prepared for potential delays in transactions. It is advisable to stay informed about political developments and be ready to act quickly once the election results are clear. In our experience there are often some nice opportunities around and the potential to achieve price reductions on property in the run up to a general election. Investors should focus on risk management during the run-up to a general election. Diversifying their property portfolio and maintaining liquidity can help mitigate potential losses. Staying informed about policy proposals and market trends will also enable investors to make more strategic decisions. In summary, the period leading up to a general election in the UK is characterised by heightened uncertainty and cautious market behaviour. Historical trends indicate that both house prices and sales volumes tend to fluctuate, influenced by shifts in buyer confidence and investor sentiment. By understanding these dynamics and adopting strategic approaches, buyers, sellers, and investors can better navigate the complexities of the property market during this politically charged time.
Sanjit Dhanjal
7th June 2024

Spring Budget 2024: What it means for property investors

The Spring Budget 2024 delivered by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was highly anticipated, especially within the realm of housing and property. Investors and industry stakeholders were eager to see what measures would be introduced to address the challenges facing homeowners, renters, and first-time buyers. Let's delve deeper into the key announcements and their implications for the property sector.   Reduction in Capital Gains Tax The reduction of the higher rate of property Capital Gains Tax from 28% to 24% was one of the positive highlights for investors. This decision aims to stimulate property transactions by providing an incentive for investors to engage in sales. While some stakeholders welcome this tax cut as a means of boosting market activity, others question its effectiveness in influencing landlord behaviour, particularly in light of other regulatory challenges faced by property investors.   Furnished Holiday Let Changes The Budget addressed concerns about the proliferation of short-term rentals by abolishing the Furnished Holiday Lettings tax regime. This decision reflects the government's efforts to rebalance the housing market in favour of long-term rental availability for local residents. However, there are lingering concerns about potential loopholes and unintended consequences, particularly regarding the impact on short-term rental operators and the broader hospitality sector. This is not an additional tax on income fir furnished holiday lets, but simply brings the tax liability proportionally in line with income from other property assets.   Multiple Dwelling Stamp Duty Relief Expectations were high for new schemes aimed at assisting first-time buyers and providing tax relief. However, the Budget surprised many by announcing the abolition of stamp duty relief, including Multiple Dwellings Relief. While the move was intended to curb abuses in the private rented sector, it left property industry members disappointed, as they had hoped for more targeted measures to stimulate housing market activity. The decision to remove these reliefs could potentially impact the decision-making process for both buyers and sellers, particularly in transactions involving multiple properties.   Non-Dom Tax Status Abolished One of the most significant announcements was the abolition of the non-domiciled tax regime, signalling a shift towards a residency-based system. This move carries implications for the prime property sector, which often relies on overseas investment. While the Chancellor touted the economic benefits of this change, concerns remain about its potential impact on international investor sentiment.   Regeneration Schemes The Budget highlighted significant investments in regeneration projects across London and other key cities, including Barking Riverside and Canary Wharf. These initiatives aim to address housing shortages and revitalise urban areas, offering opportunities for property developers and investors alike. The introduction of a £20 million Community Led Housing scheme underscores the government's commitment to supporting grassroots initiatives and empowering local communities in shaping their living environments.   No Change to Lifetime ISA Cap Despite speculation, there were no adjustments made to the Lifetime ISA cap for first-time buyers. Chancellor Hunt emphasised the need for prudence in housing policy adjustments, indicating a desire for comprehensive reforms rather than piecemeal changes.   No 99% Mortgage Scheme Leaked proposals for a government-backed 99% mortgage scheme failed to materialise in the Budget. The idea, which aimed to assist first-time buyers by reducing deposit requirements, faced criticism and ultimately was not pursued further. In conclusion, the Spring Budget 2024 delivered a mix of surprises and disappointments for property investors and stakeholders. While some measures aim to stimulate market activity and address housing shortages, others fall short of expectations or raise concerns about their potential impact. However, overall it is doubtful this will have a major impact on the property market and with many of the changes not being implemented until 2025, there may still time to capitalise on multiple dwelling relief and capital allowances for furnished holiday lets before the changes comes in.
Sanjit Dhanjal
7th March 2024

Why Investing in Commuter Belt Towns is a Winning Strategy for UK Property Investors

For savvy property investors in the UK, finding the sweet spot between affordability, growth potential, and rental demand is the key to success. In this pursuit, commuter belt towns have emerged as hidden gems, offering a winning combination of value and opportunity. Let's delve into why investing in commuter belt towns can unlock significant value for property investors in the UK.   Affordability Commuter belt towns offer property investors a more affordable entry point into the market compared to major cities. The lower property prices in these areas enable investors to acquire properties at a fraction of the cost of urban properties. This affordability not only reduces the initial investment required but also enhances the potential for higher returns on investment (ROI) as property values appreciate over time. Investing in commuter belt towns allows investors to stretch their investment capital further, potentially acquiring multiple properties for the same investment amount compared to investing in a single property in a major city. This diversification of investment across multiple properties spreads risk and increases the potential for stable long-term returns.   Proximity to Major Cities The strategic location of commuter belt towns, situated within easy commuting distance of major cities, makes them highly desirable for both residents and tenants. Commuters benefit from convenient access to employment opportunities, amenities, and cultural attractions in nearby cities while enjoying the tranquillity and lower living costs associated with suburban living. This proximity to major cities enhances the attractiveness of commuter belt towns as rental destinations, driving demand from tenants seeking a compromise between city living and suburban tranquillity. The availability of reliable transportation options, including trains, buses, and motorways, further enhances the accessibility and appeal of commuter belt towns to residents and tenants alike.   Strong Rental Demand Commuter belt towns experience strong rental demand due to their appeal to various tenant demographics, including commuters, young professionals, families, and downsizers. The affordability of rental properties in these areas compared to major cities makes them particularly attractive to tenants seeking quality accommodation at a lower cost. Moreover, the availability of good schools, recreational facilities, and community amenities in commuter belt towns enhances their appeal to families and individuals looking for a high quality of life outside the city. This diverse tenant pool ensures a steady demand for rental properties, reducing vacancy rates and providing investors with a reliable stream of rental income.   Growth Potential Despite their suburban location, commuter belt towns offer significant growth potential for property investors. Many of these towns are undergoing development and regeneration projects aimed at enhancing infrastructure, amenities, and economic opportunities. This ongoing investment in the local area stimulates demand for property and supports capital appreciation over time. Furthermore, as major cities continue to expand and property prices soar, commuter belt towns become increasingly attractive to homebuyers and tenants seeking more affordable housing options within a commutable distance of urban centres. This growing demand drives up property values in commuter belt towns, providing investors with opportunities for capital appreciation and wealth accumulation.   Diversification of Investment Portfolio Investing in commuter belt towns allows property investors to diversify their investment portfolios beyond the confines of major cities. Diversification is a key strategy for mitigating risk and safeguarding against market downturns or fluctuations in specific geographic areas or property sectors. By spreading investments across different locations and property types, investors can reduce their exposure to localised risks and capitalise on varying market conditions. Commuter belt towns offer a complementary investment opportunity to urban properties, providing a balanced portfolio that can withstand market volatility and economic uncertainties.   In summary, each of these points underscores the attractiveness and potential of investing in commuter belt towns for property investors in the UK. From affordability and strong rental demand to proximity to major cities, growth potential, and portfolio diversification benefits, commuter belt towns offer a compelling investment proposition that should not be overlooked. Investing in commuter belt towns offers a winning strategy for property investors in the UK. With their affordability, proximity to major cities, strong rental demand, growth potential, and diversification benefits, commuter belt towns represent a lucrative opportunity for investors seeking value and long-term growth in the property market.   For UK property investors looking to maximise their returns and build a resilient investment portfolio, commuter belt towns present an attractive proposition that should not be overlooked. By leveraging the value and opportunities offered by these dynamic areas, investors can unlock the full potential of the UK property market and achieve success in their investment journey. If you would like to talk to us about our latest commuter belt investments give us a call on +44 (0)20 7205 4345
Sanjit Dhanjal
9th February 2024

The UK Property Hotspots in 2024: Where Investors Should Be Looking

In 2024, the UK property market continues to offer a variety of opportunities for investors seeking to capitalise on emerging trends and lucrative investment prospects. With diverse regions and cities experiencing varying degrees of growth and development, it's crucial for property investors to stay informed about the hottest property hotspots across the country. In this article, we'll explore the top UK property hotspots for 2024, highlighting key factors driving their growth and investment potential. London The People’s Favourite London remains a perennial favourite among property investors, thanks to its status as a global financial hub and cultural epicentre. Despite fluctuations in the market, London continues to attract investors seeking premium residential and commercial properties. Areas such as Canary Wharf, Battersea, and Nine Elms are witnessing significant development projects, offering opportunities for high returns on investment. With world-class amenities, excellent transport links, and a diverse population, London remains a top choice for property investment in 2024. We are also starting to see population growth in the London commuter belt area as the necessity to be in the office each day gradually decreases. People who once lived in central London are selling up and moving to areas just outside of London in favour of more value for money. Areas such as Windsor, Uxbridge, and Slough are prime examples of this. Manchester The Northern Powerhouse As one of the fastest-growing cities in the UK, Manchester has established itself as a thriving property hotspot in recent years. With a booming economy, vibrant cultural scene, and excellent connectivity, Manchester offers investors a compelling combination of affordability and potential for growth. Areas like Salford Quays, MediaCityUK, and Ancoats are experiencing rapid development, attracting both domestic and international investors. With ongoing infrastructure projects and a strong rental market, Manchester continues to be a top contender for property investment in 2024. Birmingham The Rising Star Birmingham's transformation into a dynamic business and cultural hub has placed it firmly on the radar of property investors in 2024. With major infrastructure projects such as HS2 driving growth, Birmingham offers investors a range of exciting opportunities. Areas like Digbeth, Jewellery Quarter, and Eastside are witnessing rejuvenation and redevelopment, making them prime targets for property investment. With affordable property prices, strong rental demand, and a diverse economy, Birmingham is poised for continued growth and investment success. Bristol The Silicon Valley of the UK Bristol's reputation as a hub for technology and innovation has catapulted it into the spotlight as a top property hotspot in 2024. With a thriving tech sector, vibrant arts scene, and picturesque waterfront, Bristol offers investors a unique blend of lifestyle and investment opportunities. Areas such as Temple Quarter, Finzels Reach, and Harbourside are experiencing rapid growth, attracting young professionals and families alike. With a shortage of housing supply and strong demand from tenants, Bristol presents promising prospects for property investors looking to capitalise on the city's burgeoning tech scene. Edinburgh The Jewel of Scotland Edinburgh's historic charm, cultural richness, and strong economy make it an attractive destination for property investment in 2024. With a growing population and limited housing supply, Edinburgh offers investors the potential for capital appreciation and high rental yields. Areas such as Leith, New Town, and Fountainbridge are experiencing revitalisation and regeneration, drawing interest from investors seeking prime real estate opportunities. With a thriving tourism industry, world-class universities, and a burgeoning tech sector, Edinburgh continues to shine as a top property hotspot in Scotland and the UK as a whole. Stafford The Hidden Gem of the Midlands Stafford, nestled in the heart of the Midlands, is emerging as a hidden gem for property investors in 2024. With its strategic location, excellent transport links, and picturesque surroundings, Stafford offers investors a unique blend of rural charm and urban convenience. The town's proximity to major cities like Birmingham and Manchester, coupled with its affordable property prices, makes it an attractive destination for investors seeking value and growth potential. Stafford is experiencing steady population growth, driven by its strong local economy and employment opportunities in sectors such as healthcare, education, and manufacturing. This influx of residents has created a demand for housing, with both buyers and renters seeking quality properties in the area. Areas such as Stafford Town Centre, Wildwood, and Baswich are witnessing revitalisation and development, attracting interest from investors looking to capitalise on the town's growth trajectory. With ongoing infrastructure projects and plans for regeneration, Stafford presents promising opportunities for property investors seeking to diversify their portfolios and tap into the Midlands property market. In conclusion, the UK property market in 2024 offers a wealth of opportunities for investors seeking to capitalise on emerging trends and lucrative investment prospects. From the bustling streets of London to the vibrant cities of Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, and Stafford, the UK property market is teeming with potential hotspots ripe for investment. By staying informed about market dynamics, leveraging local insights, and conducting thorough due diligence, investors can seize the opportunities available and build a successful property investment portfolio in 2024 and beyond.
Sanjit Dhanjal
8th February 2024

Investing in Affordable UK Properties for High ROI in 2024

In the dynamic landscape of UK real estate, 2024 unfolds as a pivotal year for property investors. This feature aims to dissect the strategic underpinnings of prioritising affordable properties, unravelling the potential for high return-on-investment (ROI) amid emergent market trends.   The Shifting Paradigm Towards Affordability In stark contrast to traditional notions, 2024 signals an industry-wide pivot towards budget-friendly real estate, capturing the attention of both seasoned investors and newcomers. Beyond a mere entry point, this transition represents a calculated strategy for those seeking undervalued opportunities and substantial returns in the ever-evolving property market.   Market Dynamics and Economic Forces A nuanced understanding of the current shift towards affordability necessitates a deep dive into prevailing market dynamics and the economic forces steering this transformation. Influential factors such as interest rates, government policies, and socio-economic shifts are moulding a landscape where undervalued properties emerge as lucrative prospects. Against this backdrop, policies bolstering affordable housing and economic recovery measures form a compelling environment for cost-effective investments.   The Art of Identifying High ROI Properties Amidst a myriad of investment options, investors must deploy a discerning eye to identify properties with the highest ROI potential. This involves a strategic consideration of bargain property deals in emerging neighbourhoods, underpinned by meticulous analyses of growth potential, local infrastructure, and socio-economic indicators. Notable regions, including [mention identified areas], are showcasing promise for budget property investments, promising substantial returns in the foreseeable future.   Strategic Portfolio Construction Crafting a resilient property portfolio demands a nuanced approach. While affordable properties provide stability, diversification is the linchpin. Balancing high and low-cost investments strategically serves to mitigate risks and capitalise on varied market conditions. This article offers insights into the meticulous craft of strategic portfolio construction, guiding investors to strike the right balance for sustained success.   Emerging Hotspots Delving into emerging neighbourhoods often proves to be a strategic move. This piece illuminates up-and-coming areas exhibiting significant appreciation potential. These hotspots, characterised by improving infrastructure, urban development projects, and surging housing demand, present investors with a competitive edge in tapping into budget-friendly real estate boasting substantial growth potential.   Seizing Opportunities in a Shifting Landscape The current economic climate, marked by recovery endeavours and governmental initiatives, provides a backdrop for investors to seize opportunities in a shifting landscape. Government-backed schemes fostering affordable housing inject vitality into previously overlooked areas. Aligning investment strategies with these initiatives positions investors not only as contributors to societal development but also as early adopters in burgeoning markets.   Navigating Regulatory Support In 2024, government support through regulatory measures is pivotal for the allure of affordable property investments. A keen understanding of policies surrounding property development, tax incentives, and planning permissions is indispensable. Investors adept at navigating the regulatory landscape can unlock additional value, capitalising on incentives designed to encourage development in economically strategic regions.   Diversification Strategies for Resilience While the focus remains on affordable properties, diversification remains paramount. A mix of residential and commercial properties, balancing risk and reward, is crucial. Diversifying across different geographic locations adds a layer of protection against localised market fluctuations, enhancing the overall resilience of the investment portfolio.   Staying Informed and Agile In the dynamic property market, staying informed and agile is imperative. Regular monitoring of market trends, economic indicators, and policy updates is essential. Flexibility in adapting investment strategies to evolving conditions ensures investors are well-positioned to capitalise on emerging opportunities and effectively mitigate risks.   In the landscape of UK property investment in 2024, the decision to focus on affordable properties transcends mere financial prudence; it represents a strategic move. As investors navigate through market trends, regulatory support, technological advancements, and sustainability factors, they position themselves not only for immediate returns but also for sustained success in the years to come. Embracing the shifts, staying informed, and navigating this journey with foresight and agility is paramount, as the realm of affordable UK properties unveils its potential for those poised to seize it.  
Sanjit Dhanjal
24th January 2024

Unlocking Investment Potential: Wellingborough in Northamptonshire – A Prime Commuter Town

In today's competitive world of property investment, seasoned investors are increasingly turning their attention to commuter towns within the London commuter belt. These areas offer an enticing blend of affordability, convenience, and growth potential, making them highly attractive destinations for both seasoned investors and those just starting their property investment journey. One such town is Wellingborough in Northamptonshire a mere 45 minutes from London by train but a town offering investors good properties at a fraction of the price of London. The Commuter Town Advantage Proximity to London Wellingborough, located just 50 miles north of the capital, benefits from its close proximity to London. This geographical advantage makes it an appealing destination for London-bound commuters looking for an escape from the city's high property prices and a chance to invest in more affordable properties. This is only going to increase in line with the growing trend of employees not required to be in the office since COVID-19 searching for cheaper properties in commuter areas like Wellingborough. Affordability While London's property market remains notoriously expensive, commuter towns like Wellingborough offer a cost-effective alternative for property investors. Investors can acquire diverse property types, from modest flats to spacious family homes, at a fraction of the cost of properties within the city centre. Strong Rental Demand Commuter towns are in high demand among renters seeking a quieter lifestyle while benefiting from easy access to London. Wellingborough's excellent transportation links to London St Pancras International ensure a steady influx of tenants, resulting in a robust rental market. Savvy investors can leverage this demand to achieve competitive rental yields. Infrastructure and Transportation Transportation infrastructure is a key driver of commuter town appeal, and Wellingborough boasts a well-connected railway station with direct trains to London. The town's proximity to major road networks, including the A45 and M1 motorway, further enhances its accessibility. These factors facilitate daily commuting and elevate Wellingborough's attractiveness to businesses looking to establish themselves in an accessible location. Growth Prospects Property investors are always on the lookout for areas with growth potential, and Wellingborough doesn't disappoint. The town is poised for expansion, with several major development projects in the pipeline. These initiatives include new housing developments, infrastructure improvements, and investments in local amenities, all of which have the potential to boost property values and rental income in the long term. Quality of Life Commuter towns provide residents and tenants with a superior quality of life compared to bustling city centres. Nestled within the scenic Northamptonshire countryside, Wellingborough offers picturesque landscapes, parks, and green spaces. It's an ideal place to enjoy a quieter and more relaxed lifestyle while still being within reach of London's vibrant amenities during the workweek. Why Wellingborough in Northamptonshire? Regeneration and Investment Wellingborough is currently undergoing significant regeneration efforts, with substantial investments being made in infrastructure, housing, and commercial developments. These efforts are set to revitalise the town, making it an even more attractive destination for property investors looking for a place with growth potential. Strong Employment Opportunities The town's strategic location provides residents with access to a wide range of employment opportunities across various sectors, including healthcare, education, logistics, and manufacturing. This diverse job market is a boon for investors seeking stable rental income from a pool of prospective tenants. Diverse Property Market Wellingborough boasts a diverse property market, catering to different investment strategies. Whether you're interested in buy-to-let properties, short-term vacation rentals, or property development, you'll find suitable opportunities that align with your investment goals. Educational and Cultural Amenities The town offers access to quality educational institutions, including schools and colleges, making it an attractive choice for families. Additionally, Wellingborough's cultural attractions, local festivals, and recreational activities ensure that there's always something to do, further enhancing its appeal to tenants. In conclusion, commuter towns like Wellingborough in Northamptonshire present property investors with a golden opportunity to diversify their portfolios and achieve attractive returns on their investments. With affordability, strong rental demand, infrastructure improvements, and a promising growth outlook, these areas provide a compelling case for those seeking to invest outside the bustling London property market. As Wellingborough continues to evolve and expand, investors are well-positioned to reap the rewards of their property investments in this promising commuter town.
Sanjit Dhanjal
15th September 2023

Why Interest Rate Fluctuations Shouldn’t Deter Property Investors

With yesterday’s announcement from the Bank of England increasing interest rates to 5%, we wanted to provide some reassurance to investors and explain why such hikes in interest rates are not the be-all and end-all for property investors. It’s easy to get lost amongst all of the adverse press from the media so some clarity around the facts is required. While interest rate hikes may have an impact on borrowing costs, there are several reasons why property investors can still find success in a rising interest rate environment. The prospect of interest rate hikes can often send ripples of concern through the real estate market, particularly among property investors. However, it's important to remember that interest rate adjustments should not necessarily deter savvy investors from pursuing property investments. In this article, we will look at a few of the reasons why. Long-term Investment Strategy Property investment is generally a long-term game, and investors should focus on the broader economic landscape rather than short-term interest rate fluctuations. Over time, real estate has proven to be a reliable asset class that can generate steady returns and act as a hedge against inflation. By adopting a long-term investment strategy, property investors can ride out short-term interest rate hikes and benefit from the long-term appreciation of their properties. Strong Rental Demand Diversification is a fundamental principle in investment, and property investors can employ this strategy to minimize the impact of interest rate hikes. By spreading investments across various property types, locations, and financing structures, investors can reduce their exposure to interest rate fluctuations. For example, investing in both residential and commercial properties, or opting for fixed-rate mortgages, can provide stability and mitigate the risks associated with rising interest rates. At Opulent we are seeing a sharp increase in the number of commercial student accommodation units that are being sold simply because savvy investors are buying those with cash to generate an above-average income that in turn is used to subsidise some of the increased monthly mortgage payments caused by interest rate hikes. Negotiating Power When interest rates rise, the property market may experience a slowdown, creating a buyer's market. This situation can present unique opportunities for property investors to negotiate favourable purchase prices. Sellers may be more motivated to sell, and investors who have done their due diligence and have the necessary financial stability can seize the opportunity to acquire properties at attractive prices. By capitalising on market conditions, investors can enhance their long-term returns. Moreover, the city’s property market has exhibited impressive capital appreciation over the years, providing investors with the prospect of attractive returns on their investments. Inflation Hedge Interest rate hikes are often implemented by central banks as a response to inflationary pressures in the economy. Real estate has historically been considered a reliable hedge against inflation. As prices rise across various sectors, property values and rental income tend to follow suit. Property investors can benefit from the appreciation of their assets and the preservation of their purchasing power in the face of inflation. Supply v Demand It’s important that amidst all of the press around interest rates, investors do not lose sight of the fundamental fact that in the UK demand for property far outstrips supply and that housebuilding in the UK currently is at its lowest level since 1920. There is an ever-widening gap between supply and demand which means irrespective of a recession or irrespective of interest rate fluctuations, property prices in the UK will always rebound and increase in value. The gains to be made from capital appreciation will be more significant than the losses caused by interest rate fluctuations thus shouldn’t put off investors from purchasing. While interest rate hikes may initially raise concerns among property investors, a holistic perspective reveals that they should not be a deterrent to pursuing real estate investments. By adopting a long-term investment strategy, diversifying their portfolio, taking advantage of strong rental demand, leveraging negotiating power, using real estate as an inflation hedge, and understanding the supply v demand of new properties, investors can navigate a rising interest rate environment successfully. As with any investment, thorough research, careful planning, and financial prudence remain crucial to achieving long-term success in the property market.
Sanjit Dhanjal
22nd June 2023

Investing In Nottingham, A Great Opportunity For Property Investors in the UK

Nottingham has rapidly emerged as one of the premier destinations for property investors in the United Kingdom, offering a plethora of enticing opportunities. In this comprehensive article, we delve into the key reasons why investing in Nottingham is a smart move. It features strategic location and connectivity to its vibrant economy, affordable property prices, strong rental market, infrastructure development, and supportive investment environment. We uncover the compelling factors that make Nottingham the top choice for property investors across the UK. For a number of years Nottingham has often kept off the radar of the mainstream property investor with them favouring better-known cities such as London, Manchester, and Liverpool. However, behind the scenes, Nottingham has built a solid reputation for property investment built on several factors which are described below: STRATEGIC LOCATION AND EXCELLENT CONNECTIVITY Situated at the heart of England, Nottingham boasts a strategic location that provides investors with unrivalled connectivity. The city enjoys seamless access through an extensive network of well-developed roads, efficient rail links, and convenient air transportation options. This outstanding connectivity ensures ease of travel and efficient logistics, making Nottingham an ideal hub for property investors looking to maximise their investment portfolios and capitalise on diverse opportunities. VIBRANT ECONOMY AND REMARKABLE GROWTH POTENTIAL Nottingham’s economy is characterised by its vibrancy and resilience. The city has successfully diversified its economic sectors, with thriving industries including finance, healthcare, creative arts, and digital innovation. This diverse economy, combined with a highly skilled workforce, positions Nottingham as a hub of growth and innovation. Furthermore, economic indicators and forecasts consistently project promising growth potential, making the city an attractive destination for property investors seeking long-term returns and stability. As a result of this demand for property in Nottingham has shot up and forced property prices upwards. Rental’s have also increase rapidly with many plaudits indicating double digit growth in the cost of rents in the area. AFFORDABLE PROPERTY PRICES AND ATTRACTIVE RETURNS   Investing in Nottingham offers a unique advantage with its comparatively affordable property prices. As property prices in major UK cities soar, Nottingham provides an opportunity for investors to enter the market at a more accessible cost. This affordability allows investors to build a diverse property portfolio without compromising on potential returns. Moreover, the city’s property market has exhibited impressive capital appreciation over the years, providing investors with the prospect of attractive returns on their investments. STRONG RENTAL MARKET AND SUSTAINABLE INCOME Nottingham's rental market is thriving, offering a lucrative opportunity for property investors. The city's vibrant student population, coupled with a growing number of young professionals and migrants, ensures a sustained demand for rental properties. This high demand translates into a robust rental income stream and consistent cash flow for investors. Rental yields and occupancy rates remain promising, making Nottingham an excellent choice for those seeking stable and reliable rental returns with minimal void periods. INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT AND URBAN REGENERATION Nottingham is witnessing remarkable infrastructure development and urban regeneration projects, further enhancing its appeal to property investors. The city's commitment to improving transportation networks, investing in urban regeneration initiatives, and creating modern living spaces contributes to its long-term growth potential. Such developments not only increase the value of properties but also attract tenants and buyers, ensuring a solid foundation for sustainable property investment in Nottingham. SUPPORTIVE INVESTMENT ENVIRONMENT AND INCENTIVES Investing in Nottingham is bolstered by a supportive investment environment. The local government is committed to fostering growth and encouraging property investment through various initiatives and incentives. These measures include streamlined planning processes, tax incentives, and funding opportunities. Additionally, Nottingham offers a range of professional services, including reliable property management and real estate professionals, ensuring investors receive the necessary support and guidance throughout their investment journey. As property investors seek to expand their portfolios, Nottingham stands tall as on of the premier destinations in the United Kingdom. With its strategic location, vibrant economy, affordable property prices, strong rental market, infrastructure development, supportive investment environment, and real-life success stories, Nottingham offers an unparalleled investment landscape. Delve into thorough research and exploration to capitalize on the city's remarkable growth trajectory. Also, unlock the benefits of investing in this emerging property hotspot in the United Kingdom. Nottingham awaits astute investors ready to seize the wealth of opportunities it has to offer. SUMMING UP Delve into thorough research and exploration to capitalize on the city’s remarkable growth trajectory and unlock the benefits of investing in this emerging property hotspot in the United Kingdom. Nottingham awaits astute investors ready to seize the wealth of opportunities it has to offer. Get in touch with our team of consultants to get started.
Sanjit Dhanjal
8th June 2023

The UK Property Market: Thriving Beyond Brexit

The United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union has been a topic of much discussion particularly around the time leading up to Brexit and for several months after. Many investors were and still are concerned about the impact it will have on the UK property market. While there have been some short-term effects, such as uncertainty and a drop in property prices, the UK property market has shown remarkable resilience and adaptability in the face of change. In this article, we will explore how the UK property market is navigating Brexit and beyond and provide some guidance for investors looking to capitalise on the current market trends. UK PROPERTY MARKETWhilst there is no doubt that Brexit has had a considerable effect on the UK and the UK property market, it has also presented new opportunities, and savvy investors are looking to take advantage of these opportunities. As the UK redefines its place in the world, there is potential for the property market to thrive and evolve in exciting new ways. The UK has a long history of stable and resilient property markets, and there is no reason to believe this won't continue as the country adjusts to its new status outside of the EU.In the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum, there was some uncertainty and volatility in the UK property market. This was largely a short-term effect, and the market has since stabilised with record growth in many areas of the UK. While there was a slight decrease in property prices in some areas, this has been largely offset by increases in other regions of the UK. Overall, the UK property market has shown remarkable resilience in the face of change and has weathered the initial storm very well. In fact this is seemingly a reoccurring trend where any major event or threat to the UK property market that’s expected to have a negative impact, doesn’t materialise, there are a few reasons why this is but we believe the main reason for this is the distinct undersupply of property hitting the UK market each year.The UK government has set targets for housebuilding in order to address the country's housing shortage and increase affordable housing options for citizens. The current target is to build 300,000 new homes per year by the mid-2020s.However, the government has struggled to meet this target in recent years. (Source: Property Reporter) In 2020, only 244,000 new homes were built, which was an improvement from the previous year but still fell short of the target. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions have slowed down construction projects and further impacted the government's ability to meet their housebuilding goals.Despite these challenges, the government has continued to prioritise housebuilding and has implemented various initiatives to encourage and support the construction of new homes. These initiatives include measures to incentivise developers to build more affordable housing, streamline planning processes, and provide funding for infrastructure improvements to support new developments, yet the level of new homes is still not sufficient enough to cope with demand.It's this widening gap between supply and demand that will always lead to resilient and robust responses to turbulent conditions from the UK property market and Brexit is no exception to this. Whilst prices will drop in the short term, due to the above, the property prices will always rise again not too long after due to the supply vs demand gap.Looking to the future, there are many reasons for optimism in the UK property market. The country's departure from the EU could lead to new trade deals and relationships with other countries, which could create new opportunities for investors in the property market. There is also the potential for the UK property market to evolve in exciting new ways, as the country adapts to its changing status in the world.It's important to note that the impact of Brexit on the UK property market will vary depending on location. While London may have seen a slight decrease in demand in the short-term, other regions of the UK have seen a rise in demand for properties. For example, the North of England has seen significant investment in recent years, which has led to an increase in demand for properties and a rise in property prices. Investors should consider the regional differences in the UK property market when making investment decisions.For investors looking to capitalise on the current market trends, there are several strategies to consider. One approach amongst others is to invest in new and innovative property developments, such as student green buildings or co-living spaces, which are becoming increasingly popular with younger generations. Investors should also consider the long-term potential of their investments and focus on properties that are likely to appreciate in value over time.Below are a few other strategies investors could employ to make the most of the post-Brexit market conditions: Short-term rentalsWith the rise of platforms such as Airbnb, short-term rentals have become increasingly popular among travellers. This presents an opportunity for investors to purchase properties in popular tourist destinations, such as London or Edinburgh, and rent them out on a short-term basis. By doing so, investors can generate a higher return on investment than they would with a traditional long-term rental. Student accommodationThe UK has a large student population, which presents an opportunity for investors to capitalise on the demand for student housing. Investing in student housing can provide a stable source of income, as students typically rent for the duration of their studies. Void periods are also low as most students will pay for 51 weeks of the year, often in advance at the start of the year. Additionally, investing in student accommodation in university towns or cities can provide a steady stream of tenants. Yields tend to be higher than traditional buy to let with student accommodation also. Commercial propertyIn addition to residential property, commercial property can also provide an opportunity for investors to profit from the UK property market. Investing in commercial property, such as office buildings or retail spaces, can provide a reliable source of rental income and appreciation in value over time.In conclusion, the UK property market is thriving beyond Brexit, with new opportunities and exciting possibilities for investors. While there may be some short-term uncertainty and volatility, the UK property market has historically been stable and resilient, and there is no reason to believe this won't continue in the future. By focusing on the opportunities presented by Brexit and being strategic in their investments, investors can navigate the changing landscape of the UK property market with confidence. The UK property market is an excellent choice for savvy investors looking to capitalise on the current market trends and build long-term wealth. 
Sanjit Dhanjal
19th April 2023

The Legal and Financial considerations of investing into UK property

Investing in property can be an exciting and lucrative opportunity, but it also comes with important legal and financial considerations that must be taken into account prior to investing into UK property investments. At Opulent we are intent on arming property investors with all the key information they need to stay prepared and avoid unnecessary surprises or penalties. In this article, we will explore the key legal and financial considerations for property investment in the UK, incorporating topics such as tax implications, financing options, and regulations around property ownership and management. Tax ImplicationsOne of the most important legal considerations for property investors is the tax implications of owning and renting out property. Investors must be aware of the taxes that apply to rental income, such as income tax and capital gains tax, as well as the various deductions and allowances that may be available. For example, investors may be able to deduct certain expenses such as mortgage interest, repairs, and maintenance costs from their rental income for tax purposes. The tax implications of UK property investment are an important consideration for any investor, whether they are looking to buy-to-let or develop property. Here are some key tax considerations to keep in mind:Income Tax: If you receive rental income from your property, you will be subject to income tax on that income. The amount of tax you pay will depend on your total income and the amount of allowable expenses you can deduct from your rental income.Capital Gains Tax: When you sell a property, you may be subject to capital gains tax on the profit you make from the sale. The amount of tax you pay will depend on various factors, such as the length of time you owned the property and the amount of profit you made. Whether you decide to purchase a property in your own name or via a company will also affect the level of tax you pay when exiting property investments.Stamp Duty Land Tax: When you buy a property in the UK, you may be subject to stamp duty land tax (SDLT). The amount of tax you pay will depend on the purchase price of the property, and the rules around SDLT are subject to frequent changes. For more information on this visit here Stamp Duty ratesInheritance Tax: If you own property in the UK, it may be subject to inheritance tax when you pass away. The amount of tax you pay will depend on various factors, such as the value of your estate and whether you leave your property to a spouse or charity.VAT: In some cases, property development may be subject to VAT. If you are planning to undertake a property development project, it is important to consider the VAT implications and seek professional advice if necessary.Allowable Expenses: There are various expenses that you can deduct from your rental income when calculating your income tax liability, such as mortgage interest, repairs, and maintenance costs. It is important to keep accurate records of all allowable expenses to ensure you pay the correct amount of tax.In summary, UK property investment can be subject to a range of taxes, and it is important to consider these implications when making investment decisions. It is always a good idea to seek professional advice to ensure you are complying with all relevant tax regulations and paying the correct amount of tax. Financing OptionsAnother key financial consideration for property investment is financing. Investors may need to consider options such as mortgage financing, equity financing, or crowdfunding to fund their investments. Each financing option has its own pros and cons, and investors should carefully evaluate their options to determine the best approach for their investment goals. Below is a list of the different methods to raise finance together with the pros and cons of each: Mortgage Financing PROS:Lower interest rates compared to other types of financingLong repayment terms, typically up to 25 yearsPotential for capital appreciation in the property value over timeCONS:Large deposit required, typically 25% or moreStrict eligibility criteria, including a credit check and proof of incomeLimited flexibility in terms of repayment and other conditions Equity Financing PROS:No repayments required, as investors receive a share of the rental income and/or capital gainsNo credit checks or other eligibility criteriaPotential for high returns if the property appreciates in valueCONS:Loss of control over the property, as investors share ownership with other partiesNo guaranteed returns, as the value of the property can decrease as well as increaseLimited liquidity, as it may be difficult to sell shares in the property quickly Crowdfunding PROS:Low minimum investment amounts, often as little as £10Diversification across multiple properties and/or projectsPotential for high returns if the property/project is successfulCONS:Limited control over the investment, as decisions are made by the crowdfunding platformLimited transparency and information about the investmentPotential for high fees and charges, reducing the overall return on investment Bridging Loans PROS:Quick access to funds, often within daysFlexible repayment terms, typically between 3 and 24 monthsNo restrictions on how funds can be usedCONS:High interest rates, typically around 1% per monthShort repayment terms, leading to higher overall borrowing costsHigher risk compared to other types of financing, as the property may not be sold or refinanced within the term of the loan The best financing option for property investment depends on the investor's individual circumstances, investment goals, and risk tolerance. It is important to evaluate the pros and cons of each option carefully and seek professional advice if necessary to make an informed decision. REGULATIONSProperty investors in the UK must also comply with a range of legal regulations at both the national and local levels. Here are some key legal considerations for UK property investors:Planning Permission: Before making any changes to a property, investors must obtain planning permission from the relevant local authority. Failure to obtain planning permission can result in fines and legal action.Building Regulations: Investors must also comply with building regulations, which set out minimum standards for health and safety, energy efficiency, and other aspects of building design and construction. Failure to comply with building regulations can result in fines and legal action.Health and Safety: Investors have a duty of care to ensure that their properties are safe and free from hazards. This includes complying with regulations around gas safety, electrical safety, fire safety, and other aspects of health and safety.Tenancy Agreements: Investors must ensure that any tenancy agreements they enter into are compliant with UK law, including regulations around deposits, rent increases, eviction, and other aspects of tenancy management.Licensing: Some types of property, such as HMOs (houses in multiple occupation), require a license from the local authority. Investors must ensure that they obtain any necessary licenses before renting out their property.Consumer Protection: Investors must comply with consumer protection regulations, including regulations around advertising, marketing, and selling property.UK property investors must comply with all of the above depending on their investment strategy, failure to do so could result in hefty fines and so it’s important to consider each and every one of the points mentioned above. PROPERTY MANAGEMENTFinally, investors must consider the management of their rental properties, which can be a complex and time-consuming task. Investors may choose to manage their properties themselves often taking up lots of time out of their already busy schedules, or hire a property management company to handle the day-to-day responsibilities of managing tenants, repairs, and maintenance. Investors should carefully evaluate the costs and benefits of each approach to determine the best strategy for their needs. Here are some key legal and financial considerations for property managers:Contracts and Agreements: Property managers must ensure that all contracts and agreements with tenants, contractors, and service providers are legally compliant and enforceable. This includes tenancy agreements, service contracts, and agreements with suppliers.Health and Safety: Property managers have a duty of care to ensure that their properties are safe and free from hazards. This includes complying with regulations around gas safety, electrical safety, fire safety, and other aspects of health and safety.Insurance: Property managers must ensure that they have adequate insurance coverage to protect against risks such as damage to the property, liability claims, and loss of rental income.Maintenance and Repairs: Property managers are responsible for ensuring that the property is well-maintained and in good repair. This includes scheduling regular maintenance and repairs, responding to tenant requests in a timely manner, and complying with health and safety regulations.Rent Collection and Financial Management: Property managers must ensure that rent is collected on time and that all financial records are accurate and up-to-date. This includes keeping track of expenses, maintaining records of income and expenditures, and preparing financial reports for property owners.Tenant Management: Property managers must ensure that tenants are selected carefully and that their rights and responsibilities are clearly defined in the tenancy agreement. This includes conducting background checks, managing security deposits, and addressing any issues or disputes that arise.Legal Compliance: Property managers must comply with a range of legal regulations, including health and safety regulations, data protection regulations, and consumer protection regulations.Property management requires a lot of time and patience as well as keeping abreast of all of the constantly evolving legislation. This is perhaps the area within most property investors get caught out. Experience tells us that it is much easier to entrust the services of a fully qualified letting / managing agent who can take care of all of this for you. Click here for more.In conclusion, property investment in the UK requires careful consideration of a range of legal and financial considerations. Investors must be aware of the tax implications of owning and renting out property, evaluate their financing options, comply with regulations around property ownership and management, and carefully manage their rental properties. By taking these considerations into account, investors can make informed decisions and manage their investments effectively, helping to ensure long-term success in the UK property market.
Sanjit Dhanjal
16th March 2023

How does the latest interest rate rise affect mortgages?

On the 2nd February 2023, the Bank of England raised the base rate of interest by 0.5% to a total of 4%. This is the latest of 10 rises in the last year and represents the Bank’s latest attempt to combat inflation in the UK. The base rate influences many other rates in the UK. Most importantly for the purposes of investors, it will affect the rate of interest charged for a mortgage. By raising the interest rate as a means to bring inflation down from its current level of 10%, the Bank has acknowledged that the mortgage and property markets will be affected in the short term, possibly in a negative way. However, the Bank believes that this is the best path for long-term, stable economic growth in the UK. It points to the fact that inflation has begun to edge downwards as proof that it is the right move. Current forecasts see inflation falling to 4% by the end of 2023 – much closer to the Bank’s target of 2%. How have interest rate rises affected the mortgage market? In the meantime, what effect has this had on the mortgage market? The short version is that the base rate determines the interest rate which the Bank of England pays to commercial banks, and in turn that influences the rates those banks charge people to borrow money or pay on their savings. Over 2022, mortgage rates increased rapidly and topped 7% in some cases as a consequence of the Bank raising interest rates again and again. As the cost for banks to borrow went up, they passed that onto borrowers. This hurt a lot of property investors. Firstly, those who were borrowing to buy a new property and expand their portfolio. Secondly, those who were remortgaging existing properties on variable rates which shot up unexpectedly. In both cases, these increased mortgage costs negatively affected property yields, especially in cases where the rises could not be passed on to tenants in the form of increased rents. For many, the question became one of whether they could afford to continue as a property investor or whether it was time to sell up. The latter became a difficult prospect in itself as house price growth stalled by the end of the year and in many cases the average property value even fell. What does the future hold for mortgage prices following the latest interest rate rise? Now, in 2023, the mortgage rate has risen again and it would be natural to fear further negative consequences as an investor. However, all might not quite be as it seems at first glance, and in fact there are indications that the worst may be over. Ordinarily, and based on last year’s evidence, we would expect a rate rise to lead to more expensive mortgage products once again. However, it appears that lenders had already priced the possibility of such a rise into their existing products and there has been no sign of increased rates as a result – this is great news for investors using a mortgage. Furthermore, after the latest Bank of England announcement, market expectations are that the likelihood of major rate rises again in the future has decreased. The Bank itself has indicated that rates have either peaked, or are close to doing so. Overall market sentiment shows that traders may be anticipating a further rise of 0.25% at the end of March, but following that a loosening of economic policy may be on the way by the end of the year. This change in expectations has led to a belief in the index swap market – which follows the Bank base rate decisions – that the average interest rate over the coming five-year period will decrease to 3.21%, down from the expected 3.93% which was predicted in January. When it comes to the immediate and long-term effects on mortgages, expert opinion is positive. Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “Should the Bank raise rates, base-rate-tracker mortgages will immediately adjust and variable rates are likely to follow. “However, fixed-rate mortgages have been gradually falling in recent weeks and we expect this trend to continue as the market has already priced in a base rate rise. “We expect five-year fixed-rate mortgages to fall below 4 per cent over the next few months and as inflation comes under control, expect a gradually reducing trend throughout the year with base rate reductions expected at the beginning of 2024.” This prediction has already been proven correct with the likes of HSBC and Virgin Money offering five- and 10-year fixed-rate mortgage products at under 4% again for the first time since last August. The rate for shorter-term, two-year products is also falling. Moneyfacts reports that the average rate on two-year fixed deals has dropped to 5.43%, from 5.77% at the start of the year. Simon Gammon, managing partner at broker Knight Frank Finance, said borrowers would welcome a significant drop in the cost of two-year fixed mortgages, and added that the decision on whether to take out a five-year fix had become more challenging as the two-year rates are also looking more favourable. “At the moment, five-year fixed rates are cheaper than two-year fixed rates,” said Gammon, “but a lot of people with uncertainty and those who don’t quite know when to fix are actually more interested in the shorter term deals.” When can we expect further drops in the interest rate? If rates peak at a maximum of 4.5% by the end of 2023 as expected by the markets, then the next phase will be a gradual fall and a period of stability as everything settles. The opinions of experts and indications from the Bank settle on this being around 3.25% for three years from the end of 2023. This will be enabled by a sharp fall in inflation by the end of 2023. The Bank believes there will be three factors behind this. Firstly, the price of energy will stop rising so quickly. Secondly, the prices of imported goods will therefore stop rising as fast as they have been. Thirdly, the Bank expects that this will equate to comparatively less demand for UK goods and services. It is likely that mortgage rates will continue to track downwards over this period of time along with inflation and the base rate. This is good news in general for property investors – and it also suggests a particularly effective strategy for investing which may give you the best results. By investing off-plan while a development is still in construction, it may be possible to secure a property for a 2023 price – at a time where property values have fallen slightly – and get a more favourable borrowing cost in the future. An off-plan investments means that you will be committing to pay the balance in the future and therefore could be able to access cheaper mortgage rates when the interest rates have fallen as anticipated by the market. Compare this to buying a completed property where you will be forced to accept a higher mortgage rate now, even with the knowledge that you will be paying over the odds in future. Another strategy to take advantage of the current and predicted mortgage rate situation is to buy cheaper properties in cash. By doing so, you can avoid high mortgage rates now and save money immediately when compared to investors who borrow to fund their purchase. Furthermore, it will also give you the opportunity to benefit a second time when the market returns to normal as predicted in the coming years. If you manage to buy more affordable properties in high growth potential areas, you can then remortgage them when rates have dropped from the end of 2023 onwards. Taking either of these approaches to investing offers you the best of both worlds and a potential path to earning more while spending less in 2023 and for years after that. Want to learn more about off-plan property and how it can help you get the most for your money? Get in touch with our team today by clicking here.
Sanjit Dhanjal
8th March 2023

Is the UK property market still the best place to invest?

2022 was an interesting year for UK property and came with many challenges. A cost of living crisis and rising interest rates caused many to question whether moving home was the right idea, and house price growth slowed accordingly. As we begin 2023, it is a good time to ask: is the UK property market is still the best place to invest? Overall, there are potential issues, but the outlook is positive and it seems that better times are not far away. The big news in UK property is that house price growth slowed and possibly even stalled at the end of 2022. Data from Zoopla in January 2023 shows that most regions experienced small declines in house price value at the end of last year, and overall house price growth was just 6.5% in 2022 as a whole. This was understandably something of a shock after years of high percentage growth, it does not indicate the doom and gloom that you might think. While it is true that demand fell by as much as 50% towards the end of last year – as per the Zoopla research – it must be borne in mind that it was falling from historically high levels. Indeed, it has already recovered substantially this year and now sits at just 23% below the five-year average. This may sound negative, but in reality it is in line with the pre-pandemic average and is 10% higher than demand in 2019. Richard Donnell, executive director of research at Zoopla, commented on this, saying: “It’s going to be a slow start to 2023 but we expect demand to pick up in the coming months as the economic outlook becomes clearer and mortgage rates settle around 4% to 4.5%”. The fact is that the pandemic years 2020-2022 were exceptional and should not be viewed as the norm. This is also shown by the average house price growth of 23% over that time period. This means that even the slight in house prices puts property prices in the UK 19.4% above the pre-pandemic record according to Halifax data. To illustrate this point further, Andrew Asaam, Homes Director at Halifax, says: “We expect that UK house prices will decrease by around 8% [in 2023]. To put this into perspective, such a fall would place the average property price back at roughly the level it was in April 2021, reversing only some of the gains made during the pandemic. There is still uncertainty around this forecast, with the trajectory for Base Rate (now expected to peak at 4%) and unemployment levels key to determining any future changes.” So, does the future look brighter for UK property? The simple answer is yes. The aforementioned interest rate peak of 4% - a level confirmed by the Bank of England at the beginning of February – is likely to see increased confidence return to the market as mortgage rates fall. A reduction from the 2022 high of 6.65% to 5.79% has already caused a rise in demand of 55% this year according to Rightmove statistics. Tim Bannister, of Rightmove, said: “Activity has bounced back after Christmas and agents will now be busy trying to match the likely revised expectations of buyers and sellers as we move towards the important spring season. “We expect that the full effect of affordability constraints and last year’s mortgage rate rises will hold back some segments of the market in the first half of the year, but our leading market indicators may start to identify some green shoots of growth that will go on to strengthen in the second half of 2023.” In fact, the strengthening of the UK market is set to go on far beyond the end of 2023. Property investment is a long-term prospect, and the latest forecasts from Savills show this. The agency believes that the average house price in the UK will return to its peak by 2026 and be setting new records again by 2027 – equivalent to growth of 18% over the next four years. Some regions such as the North West (22.1%) and the West Midlands (19.7%) are likely to perform even better, making this a good time to invest in cities like Manchester and Birmingham. The other side of investing in UK property is rental income. In this area, there is nothing but good news for investors. HomeLet reported in January 2023 that the average rent rose by 10.8% in the UK across 2022 thanks to a hugely increased level of demand. The same forces which put people off buying – higher mortgage rates, cost of living crisis – kept more people than ever in the rental market and pushed prices up. All indications are that this will continue not just in 2023, but for years to come. Recent data from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed that rents could rise by as much as 15% again in 2023 on top of previous gains. Even more conservative estimates from Savills of 6.5% rental growth in 2023 and 18.3% by the end of 2027 offer great news for investors looking to maximise rental income in the short and long term. So, with the above in mind, should you invest in UK property in 2023? There is no hiding from the short-term uncertainty in the market, and it is understandable that the current conditions may lead to some caution. For example, predictions of lower mortgage rates opening up the market again are well and good, but they have not happened yet. Likewise, most analysis thinks it likely that interest rates will peak at 4%, but further developments in the cost of living crisis mean that we cannot say for certain that this will be the case – and this could have more unpredictable impact on house price and rental growth. However, indications are that 2023 could be a good year for property investors. When asking whether the UK property market is still the best place to invest, the strength of the rental market should be a big indication that the answer is yes. Similarly, the long-term nature of property investment means that the extremely positive future forecasts must also be taken into account. House price growth looks set to return sooner than expected, and the record highs set during the pandemic will be exceeded. This is particularly true for those investing in off-plan property which is still in construction and set to complete in the future. This tried and tested investment strategy arguably offers even more value than ever before in these economic circumstances. By purchasing off-plan now, you can secure a property at the lowest price it has been in years, and then take advantage of high future growth rates to maximise your capital appreciation. At the same time you will avoid the higher borrowing costs now and be able to complete on your purchase in the future when they have fallen once again. Buying off-plan has the potential to be the best of both worlds, and using this strategy gives you the best chance of success in the future. Want to learn more about the UK property market and the best places to invest? Get in touch with our team today by clicking here.
Sanjit Dhanjal
9th February 2023