High Stamp Duty Rates Push London’s Investors North

London-based landlords are increasingly purchasing properties in the North and Midlands to boost their buy-to-let returns.

According to Hamptons International, buy-to-let investors that live in London historically invest in properties in the capital.

However, the proportion of those living in the capital purchasing buy-to-lets in London has fallen by 17% since 2015, prior to the introduction of the Stamp Duty surcharge on additional property purchases.

Over the last 12 months, more than half (59%) of London-based landlords purchased outside the capital, 34% fewer than in 2010.

Stamp Duty bills for London properties costed landlords on average over the last year, compared to just beyond the capital; a 78% increase, with the data suggesting many of London’s investors are buying beyond the capital to avoid the higher rates.

According to the data, the Midlands and North are the most popular destination for London-based investors, with 34% purchasing a buy-to-let in these regions in the last 12 months, some 20% more than prior to the Stamp Duty surcharge.

Additionally, the Hamptons International data shows that rents in Great Britain increased by the year to March by an average of 1.9%, driven by a 3.7% surge across London, with every region except for Scotland recording positive rental growth.

Commenting on the figures, Aneisha Beveridge, Head of Research at Hamptons International, said:

“April marks the three-year anniversary of the stamp duty surcharge introduction for second homeowners. Following the tax hike, landlords have been adapting their strategy to find new ways to make their returns.

“Lower entry costs and higher yields outside of the capital are enticing investors to look further afield than they have previously.


Space for 1 million new homes on derelict ‘brownfield’ land, analysis reveals

‘Building on brownfield land presents a fantastic opportunity to simultaneously remove local eyesores and breathe new life into areas crying out for regeneration.’

More than a million new homes could be built on land currently sitting unused across England, according to new analysis.

Brownfield land”, which has previously been built on but is now derelict, could be transformed into vast swathes of housing within the next few years.

The (CPRE) said such measures would regenerate run-down areas without destroying precious stretches of countryside to meet the UK’s housing needs.

As it stands, the government is committed to building 300,000 new homes each year in England to meet demand, and there have been warnings of severe backlogs.

Meanwhile, local groups and green campaigners are concerned about the impact projects such as the massive Oxford-Cambridge development will have on nature and communities. Analysis performed by CPRE using data from Brownfield Land Registers identified over 18,000 sites on which new houses could be built with minimal impact on the environment.

It said two-thirds of this land was ready to be transformed and could begin contributing to the country’s unmet housing needs within just five years.

However, the campaigners said they were concerned with current definitions of “previously developed land” were not comprehensive enough, meaning there could still be a large number of sites being overlooked.

“Building on brownfield land presents a fantastic opportunity to simultaneously remove local eyesores and breathe new life into areas crying out for regeneration,” said Rebecca Pullinger, planning campaigner at the CPRE.

“Councils have worked hard to identify space suitable for more than 1 million new homes.

“But until we have a brownfield-first approach to development, and all types of previously developed land are considered, a large number of sites that could be transformed into desperately needed new homes will continue to be overlooked.”

Research by the group in Enfield identified space for 37,000 homes on sites they identified as a brownfield, 17 times more than official estimates.

CPRE suggested areas including supermarket carparks and “poorly-used industrial or commercial sites” could be regenerated into housing areas with few repercussions.

“The government, local councils and housebuilders, must work hard to bring these sites forward for development and get building,” said Ms Pullinger.

Local Government Association housing spokesperson Martin Tett said: “Councils are committed to bringing forward appropriate sites and ensuring homes are built where they are needed, are affordable, of high quality and supported by adequate infrastructure and services.

“This timely report highlights the availability of sites across the country to deliver enough homes and infrastructure to begin to address the national housing shortage we face.”

Mr Tett said the government must provide councils with the power to speed up developments and set planning fees locally to ensure they are adequately resourced.

Responding to the new analysis, housing minister Kit Malthouse said: “This government is committed to building the homes our country needs while still leaving the environment in a better state than we found it.

“We’re encouraging planners to prioritise building on brownfield land and working with local authorities to ensure sensible decisions are made on where homes get built.”

 


Spring is in the air for the buy to let market in the UK

Spring is definitely in the air for the buy to let market in the UK with some new found optimism after a long period of backlash against Government tax and regulatory changes.
It seems as if many landlords are embracing a business like attitude and getting on with making their portfolios work for them. Indeed, London, Manchester and Liverpool are the most popular cities for buy to let investment in the UK going into 2019, according to new research.
And most landlords are planning to increase their portfolio, the survey commissioned by Experience Invest has found while Nottingham, Leeds, Birmingham and Newcastle are also regarded as good bets for buy to let going forward.
When looking at the types of property that investors were considering investing in this year, the survey also found that houses were top at 67%, followed by flats at 54%, new build residential for 39% and 24% student accommodation.
Overall, just 11% of those surveyed said that they plan to reduce their portfolios in 2019. Some 39% are planning on increasing the size of their portfolio over the coming 12 months, while 35% have no intention of buying or selling any property in 2019 and 15% will be selling some assets to then reinvest in new properties.
It comes at a time when rents are steady. Official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that in the private rented sector rents increased by 1.1% in the 12 months to February 2019, up from 1% in January.
In England and Wales rents were up 1.1%, while in Scotland they increased by 0.7% and in London by 0.2%. But, overall, rental growth has generally slowed since the beginning of 2016, driven mainly by a slowdown in London over the same period.
Pressure will continue on landlords to raise rents in 2019, according to Kate Davies, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA). She believes that after filing their 2017/2018 tax returns at the end of January, landlords will be more aware that ongoing changes to mortgage interest tax relief are increasing the financial challenges ahead.
It may mean becoming more business-like or adopting new models. The industry is aware that this could mean offering longer tenancies or even shorter tenancies. In this respect a new study has found that short term rents could be worth considering.
The research from short term letting agency Portico Host found that short term let properties in Walton, Liverpool, are achieving the best yields in the North West at 30.68%, compared to landlords of longer term rentals, who can achieve a yield of 7.88%. The Airbnb yield figure is based on an occupancy rate of 60% of the year, which is typical for these types of properties due to seasonal demand.
While this is not the answer for every landlord it is a model that they might want to look at as they seek to improve and grow their business. They should also be buoyed by research showing that buy to let is still a good investment option beating investing in gold, cash and fine art in the last decade in terms of returns.
Investing in the FTSE 100 would have brought the biggest return when considering the annual capital gain and the percentage yield with an increase of 119%, whilst the value of classic cars is up 94% during the same time period.
However, for those that aren’t professional investors a buy to let property is a very good option, according to the research from lettings inventory and property compliance specialists VeriSmart.
The report says that when considering the annual gain in house prices along with the increase in rental yields, an investment in the sector a decade ago would have brought a 92% return today. This is much higher than the 60% return that investing in gold would have brought and a world away from the 16% increase in cash or the 4% drop in fine art.
It also says that the growth in the property market has been by far the most reliable option with the FTSE 100, gold or cash providing a far more volatile option that is also open to a larger degree of impact from political and economic factors as well as influence from other foreign countries.

New £1 billion fund announced for building new homes in England

The Government and Barclays have announced a £1 billion housing development fund to help deliver thousands of new homes across England.

Under the agreement loans ranging from £5 million to £100 million, which will be competitively priced, will be available for developers and house builders who are able to demonstrate the necessary experience and track record to undertake and complete their proposed project.

Funding is open to new clients as well as existing Barclays clients, and will put greater emphasis on diversifying the housing market, as at present almost two thirds of homes are built by just 10 companies.

A key priority of The Housing Delivery Fund is to support small and medium sized businesses to develop homes for rent or sale including social housing, retirement living and the private rented sector, whilst also supporting innovation in the model of delivery such as brownfield land and urban regeneration projects.

‘There is a vital need to build more good quality homes across the country. This £1 billion fund is about helping to do exactly that by showing firms in the business of house building that the right finance is available for projects that help meet this urgent need,’ said John McFarlane, Barclays’ chairman.

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said that it will see Barclays in partnership with Homes England also help to see more design and innovation introduced to new home building.

‘It is a further important step by giving smaller builders access to the finance they need to get housing developments off the ground. This is a fantastic opportunity to not only get more homes built but also promote new and innovative approaches to construction and design that exist across the housing market,’ he added.

According to Sir E Lister, chairman of Homes England, the organisation will play a more active role in the housing market and do things differently to increase the pace, scale and quality of delivering new homes.

‘The Housing Delivery Fund demonstrates Barclays’ commitment to the residential sector and will provide a new funding stream for SME developers to help progress sites and deliver more affordable homes across England,’ he said.

Brokenshire added that it will move towards the target of 300,000 new homes being built a year by the mid-2020s and that with 217,000 homes built last year, England has seen the biggest increase in housing supply for almost a decade.


More Londoners Buying Property in the North and Midlands

The number of homeowners from London buying properties outside the capital has increased, according to new research from Hamptons International.

Just over 30,000 of Londoners looking to buy a new property left the capital in the first half of 2018, some 16% more than H1 2017 and an increase of 61% over the last decade.

The majority of homeowners moving, around 38%, moved to the South East, a modest 3% fewer than the first half of 2017, followed by 30% moving to the East of England.

However, the number of movers leaving London and buying property in the North and Midlands has more than tripled in the last decade, with over a fifth (21%) moving to these regions compared to just 6% ten years earlier.

First-time buyers are also buying outside of London, with around 31% buying their first home beyond the capital. Whilst this is nearly double the number recorded five years ago, it is a 2% decline on last year’s figures, due to savings from stamp duty relief and the Help-to-Buy scheme.

Although the vast majority of first-time buyers, some 85%, moved to East of England or South East, Hamptons notes this is 10% fewer than four years ago. On the other hand, more than one in ten (12%) buying their first property in the North or Midlands, four times the number recorded in 2010.

“With affordability stretched, more Londoners are moving out of the capital to find their new home,” said Aneisha Beveridge, research analyst at Hamptons International.

“More people are making a bigger move and buying a larger home sooner to avoid having to pay stamp duty on additional moves as they trade up. But for many, this means heading further North.”

Beveridge goes on to note that despite more first-time buyers staying in the capital, “raising a deposit remains a hurdle for many, which helps explain why increasing numbers of first time buyers who leave London are heading North.”