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London Falling

Not all about London anymore. The London housing market is struggling with prices falling for the first time in 8 years. At a record drop of 0.6% in September this year, London is the weakest performing region in the UK for the first time since 2005. Image credit: http://bit.ly/2gcAlkU

Increasingly, statistics reveal that growth is expanding outside London. The focus — be it for housing, jobs, resources, or investment — has moved to buzzing regional cities where business is booming on the back of lower costs and a higher quality of living.

The London housing market is struggling. Nationwide reports that London house prices have fallen for the first time in 8 years, and, at a record drop of 0.6% in September this year, London is the weakest performing region in the UK for the first time since 2005.

Outside London and across the UK, however — despite Brexit and concerns about the economy — prices are still rising, albeit at a slower pace than in recent years. And yet, while London’s house prices may have dropped, they remain unapproachable compared to the cities beyond.

To date, house prices charting the most significant increases in England and Wales are the Midlands* and Northwestern cities of Manchester and Liverpool, as well as in some pockets off central London like Luton and Guildford, and Northern Ireland.

A chart published recently in the Financial Times shows house prices falling in London and the South East but growing elsewhere. Image credit: Financial Times; source: RICS

Greener Investment Pastures Beyond London

Years of rapid price increases have made London and the south unaffordable to many buyers, prompting them to buy further away and commute. After all, it takes less than an hour to travel from Bedford or Luton  to central London by train, while cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool have a buzzing business scene.

The signs have been there for a while now, says Virata Thaivasigamony of CSI Properties (Cornerstone International), an active property investment consultancy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia that promotes investments in UK and Australian property.

“The writing has been on the wall for some time and we’ve said that prices in London will flatline this year. London has always been regarded as the business capital and startup central of the UK, but the fact is that businesses and investments are moving outside of London and into the regional cities. It would be remiss of us to ignore that the best places to invest in are now in those cities,” he elaborates.

What’s Trending

Manchester, popularly assumed as UK’s second city and the Silicon Valley of Britain, is fast earning a reputation as the hotbed of tech and startup talent in the UK, thus pushing property prices up. The city is also a recipient of billions in investment dollars, thanks, in part, to the government’s push for the Northern Powerhouse, propelling the rise in investment returns across central and Greater Manchester, including Salford as well as other Northern Powerhouse core cities like Liverpool.

Prices of property have been rising in Northwestern cities such as Manchester, as more corporations move from London to this city to set up headquarters and make use of its resources and talent pool. Image credit: http://bit.ly/2hEX3Um

Corporations are decentralising from London to the regional cities, too. BBC, ITV and HSBC come to mind, having set up home in Greater Manchester; airlines such as Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific have since 2014 provided direct flights between Manchester and Hong Kong, while China’s Hainan Airlines launched a direct flight service in 2016, making Manchester Airport the only British hub outside London to have non-stop flights to Beijing.

Meanwhile, Berkeley, one of Britain’s best-known luxury housebuilders has broken out of London to build a business in Birmingham to cater to housing demand in the city.

Javad Marandi, a British businessman with investments in commercial and residential real estate says, “Regional markets including the North East, the South West and Yorkshire and Humber have shown growth in commercial property activity, a sure sign of a growing business environment with an increasingly positive outlook, making them one of the best regions to invest in. Building a workforce, free of soaring London living costs, will in turn be cheaper to employ – and no doubt happier with the favourable cost of living outside the capital.”

That Britain is plagued by a serious undersupply in housing is an understatement. Opportunities in these cities have expanded the population, further underscoring the acute demand and need for housing. From a property investment standpoint, this is a good thing.

Meanwhile, a number of university cities are showing a spike in house prices. Towns that are home to a large student population such as Guildford and Liverpool, are seeing a surge in prices. The biggest 3-year percentage house price rise was near the University of Bedfordshire, which has its main campus in Luton, charting a 42% increase in prices over the period of an undergraduate degree.

“The best regions to invest in lie outside the capital – it’s no longer all about London,” Marandi concludes.

Statistics by RICS indicate that house prices are set to rise across England next year except for London. Image credit: Financial Times; source: RICS

Growth Outside London  

The UK is still seen as a good and safe place to invest your money due to a weakened pound, and, in spite of uncertainties arising from Brexit.

House prices will continue to rise as demand increases and Britain grapples with a chronic housing undersupply, but it appears — for now — that the best investment opportunities lie in regional cities like Manchester and Liverpool, and the outer boroughs of London.

That said, it is crucial to note that London is a market within a market, with characteristics of its own, and that it will bounce back — just as the housing market in the Midlands* bounced back from a low in 2015 to become one of Britain’s fast-growing housing markets today. On a positive note, it is during these low-market times that savvy investors invest in order to reap the most luscious of fruits when the market bounces back.

Article by Vivienne Pal

CSI Properties (Cornerstone International) proudly markets international investment property with high yields at low risk. Our portfolio comprises residential and purpose-built student property in cities across the United Kingdom (London, Luton, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, York, Glasgow, Scotland; Sheffield, etc); Australia (Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane) and Thailand (Bangkok). Our projects are concentrated in high-growth areas with great educational, infrastructural and job growth potentials. We aspire to make a difference in the lives of our clients by helping them achieve their investment goals through strong market research backed by third party experts and due diligence. 

Disclaimer: CSI Properties does not provide tax & legal advice and accepts no liability. Readers are encouraged to consult a qualified tax or legal advisor for a thorough review.

Need advice or clarification? Call us for more information and/or to find out about our projects! Hotline: 03-2162 2260

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UK Property Outlook 2017

Housing Shortage Continues to Drive UK Property Market Growth in 2017

Summary

Lack of housing in the UK remains the top driver of housing market growth in the UK
Property markets in regional cities like Manchester have surpassed London
UK student property remains resilient to Brexit, growth predicted to hit £45.8bn by Sept 2017
Brexit effects still muted, international investors have greater appetite for UK real estate

Image credit: http://bit.ly/2hNtoqD

The year 2016 was an eventful one for the UK property market, influenced significantly by changes to the stamp duty and Brexit. While these events will continue to underpin market growth in 2017, the critical lack of housing remains the market’s main driver, supporting property prices. This article highlights the various issues that will dominate the UK property landscape in 2017.

Brexit Aftershock – A Final Window of Opportunity

The market calmed down fairly quickly following the results of the EU Referendum. Fears of an immediate house price crash after Brexit have abated with overseas investors particularly gaining a strong appetite for UK real estate, fuelled by the drop in the pound. As 2017 reopens with the spectre of Article 50, we foresee the same uncertainty surrounding the property market following Brexit in 2016, remaining in 2017. PM Theresa May received landslide votes in Parliament on Feb 8 to trigger Article 50, yet this will not change the fact that Brexit shall be a long-drawn affair.

Appetite for UK property stands to remain strong among overseas investors during this window of uncertainty when the sterling remains at its lowest levels since 1985. The Bank of America has advised its clients that it expects the sterling to suffer one last plunge — its lowest — when Article 50 is invoked (expected end March) and that this will be the best time to buy the sterling as the currency will strengthen after official Brexit negotiations get underway. The bank believes the sterling will recover in a V-shape rebound and that currency markets will no longer react to Brexit following this.

We have always believed that London and the UK are resilient and will remain an important global landmark; the market shall right itself around and the pound will rise again once the chaos calms and uncertainty reduces. We anticipate that investment volumes will recover next year, but until then, now is a good time to invest in UK property while the pound is at its weakest.

 

UK Student Property Remains Top Investment Asset

Just as it did during the economic downturn, UK student accommodation is proving resilient to concerns about Brexit. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) reports that the number of students for 16/17 is set to exceed the previous year. While it may be that the weaker pound is more attractive to overseas students, it also proves the ongoing demand for UK higher education. JLL released research showing that at the start of the 2016/17 academic year, almost 522,000 students were enrolled on undergraduate courses at UK universities, an increase of more than 7,000 on 2015 while the number of acceptances of EU students rose by 8% y-o-y.

We strongly foresee that UK student accommodation is set to remain popular due to its recession-proof qualities, alongside supply still unable to keep up with demand across the UK. There will be growth in overseas investors due to the favourable exchange rate. Knight Frank predicts that UK’s purpose built student accommodation sector is set to reach a total value of £45.8bn by September 2017 while rental growth of 2.5% is expected. The sector has grown by 37% since 2014, from £30.9bn to £42.5bn, making it one of the fastest growing asset classes in the UK property market.

 

House Prices Continue to Increase

The UK housing market is a tough cookie, staying resilient in the toughest of times.

Figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for October 2016 showed that house prices across the UK grew 6.9% y-o-y. While this may be the lowest growth figures recorded since end 2015 (the market slowed mostly due to stamp duty and other tax changes), this is still strong growth nonetheless, driven by the general undersupply of housing across the UK. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) predicts that UK house price growth will slow down in 2017, but that the legacy of insufficient housing will see demand continue to outstrip supply, leading to a 3% rise over the year. The weaker pound will prove favourable to international investors.

 

Britain’s Crisis: Housing Remains Critically Undersupplied

Some 250,000 – 300,000 houses need to be built every single year to tackle soaring house prices and home shortage in England. The latest figures show that only 190,000 homes were added to England’s stock last year — the highest number since the financial crisis. With the current uncertain climate, there are fears that fewer homes will be built in 2017, with Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL) suggesting that the number of housing starts (ie start building) could fall to 134,000 (from 147,880 in 2016).


Rents Continue Rising

Data from Savills shows house prices vs rental. Image credit: BBC

Despite the change in stamp duty affecting landlords, there remains a significant community of renters in the UK, due to the critical undersupply of housing and prices at inaccessible levels. Commentators predict rent rises of 2%-3% across the UK; Savills has forecast a rise of 2.5% in 2017, while in London the increase will be at 3% as more people share homes to split the cost. In fact, Savills has predicted that rents would rise faster than house prices i.e. at 19% between now and 2021 while house prices only rise by 13%. Rics suggests that rents will rise by about 5% p.a. for the next five years because of strong demand and shortage of properties.

PwC’s research into housing affordability for generation rent shows that buyers may now have to save for 19 years in order to buy their first home (assuming deposit is raised entirely from their own savings without family assistance). In 2000, the same group would have been able to buy after saving for just 6 years, and in 1990 it took only around 2 years.  PwC estimates a generation renter starting to save in 2016 can now buy in 2035. See our article: Britain, A Nation of Renters?

Manchester Knocks London Out in Price Growth

For the first time in 7 years, London is no longer within the top three growth regions in the UK as the effect of Brexit is more keenly felt in London. Regional cities like Manchester and Birmingham are in the spotlight due to better public realm improvements and more students choosing to stay and work in these cities. Manchester is leading the price growth among key cities in the UK, recording rises of 8.9% y-o-y as demand exceeds supply and unemployment falls. The outer boroughs of London are posting faster growth rates than the inner boroughs and this trend is looking to stay this year.

House price growth rates: inner vs outer London boroughs. Source & credit: CBRE

Rightmove’s most recent report, based on asking prices of properties for sale, shows a steady start to 2017’s housing market, with annual growth in the East and South-East regions of England significantly outpacing London and the South-West. Again, prices are being bolstered by a lack of housing, meaning that demand continues to outstrip supply.

Conclusion

There is strong potential in the UK real estate market as it is not as affected by Brexit as many think. UK student accommodation is a good investment asset as we see increased interest and investments into the sector, even from among our own clients. Key to strong returns is to buy in cities with  good universities and accommodation undersupply. For residential property, we have always maintained that Manchester is the city to focus on while outer boroughs of London, particularly East London (especially areas with Crossrail accessibility) will bring better returns than inner London.

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CSI Properties (Cornerstone International) proudly markets international investment property with high yields at low risk. Our portfolio comprises residential and purpose-built student property in cities across the United Kingdom (London, Luton, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, York, Glasgow, Scotland; Sheffield, etc); Australia (Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane) and Thailand (Bangkok). Our projects are concentrated in high-growth areas with great educational, infrastructural and job growth potentials. We aspire to make a difference in the lives of our clients by helping them achieve their investment goals through strong market research backed by third party experts and due diligence. 

Disclaimer: CSI Properties does not provide tax & legal advice and accepts no liability. Readers are encouraged to consult a qualified tax or legal advisor for a thorough review.

Need advice or clarification? Call us for more information and/or to find out about our projects! Hotline: 03-2162 2260

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Gen-Y: The Future of the UK Property Market

Part 1 of our Manchester series underscores research highlighting Manchester as the UK’s no. 1 property investment hotspot in the next 10 years. In Part 2, we discuss why Manchester is poised to have the strongest rental market in the UK.


Video credit: Select Property Group

According to Savills, demand for rented accommodation has increased by 17,500 households per month over the past decade to 2014. This demand for rented homes is set to rise by more than 1 million households over the next 5 years.

The private rented sector in Manchester is slated to boom with over 10,000 new build-to-rent units are due to be built over the next few years. This is due largely to the Mancunian city’s largest concentration of young working adults, i.e. the Generation Y.

7 Reasons Why Generation Y is the Future of the UK’s Property Market – Select Property Group

  • They do not want to be tied down with long-term mortgages
  • Career-focused; they stay in roles for shorter lengths of time as they progress later in life
  • Prefer to live in dense, diverse urban villages
  • Demand ceaseless access to technology and fast-paced information
  • Professional and educated with a good work-life balance
  • Value practical amenities that make living easier
  • No expectation to own a property – success is defined in other ways

#DidYouKnow that Manchester is home to over 60% more 25- to 29-year-olds than the national average? (source: Manchester Property Guide 2015)

Manchester has the youngest working demographic in the whole of the UK.

Why is Manchester the Fasting Growing Generation Y City

  • The city’s population is rising quicker than any city outside of London and 2.85 million people will live there by 2025 – 89% of this new population is Generation Y.
  • It means over 60% more 25 to 29-year-olds live in Manchester than the UK average. This Generation Y market accounts for 22% of Manchester’s overall total population, almost 4 times the national average
  • A huge 85% of people living in Manchester city centre now privately rent and 70% of the population is classed as BINKY – Big Income, No Kids Yet
  • 58% of graduates from the Greater Manchester universities enter employment in the local area. That’s almost 20,000 new workers a year. Every year.
  • Aspirational and career-focused young people are naturally drawn 70,000 new jobs will be available to them over the next decade.
  • City targets state Manchester needs 4,000 new units a year to house its rapidly growing Generation Y market. Only 1,417 annual units are set for delivery over the next eight years. Two-thirds of this supply is still subject to planning.

This post is originally published by Select Property Group.

CSI Properties (Cornerstone International) proudly promotes international investment property with high yields at low risk. Our portfolio comprises residential and purpose-built student property in cities across the United Kingdom (London, Luton, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, York, Glasgow, Scotland; Sheffield, etc); Australia (Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane) and Thailand (Bangkok). Our projects are concentrated in high-growth areas with great educational, infrastructural and job growth potentials. We aspire to make a difference in the lives of our clients by helping them achieve their investment goals through strong market research backed by third party experts and due diligence. 

Disclaimer: CSI Properties (Cornerstone International) does not provide tax & legal advice and accepts no liability. Readers are encouraged to consult a qualified tax or legal advisor for a thorough review.

Need advice or clarification? Call us for more information and/or to find out about our projects! Hotline: 03-2162 2260

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UK Student Property in 2016

Phase II of London Spring Place which launches in Kuala Lumpur end of February. Phase 1 sold out within the year of launch!

UK student property is the strongest investment platform today, surpassing other traditional real estate classes. In 2015, the UK student property sector saw investments to the tune of £6 billion – twice the amount invested in the sector in 2013 and 2014 combined. Experts say the sector is likely to see more investment in the years ahead.

UK Student Property

Formerly reserved for institutional investors, UK student property has become one of the most popular investment vehicles to date in the world of property investment. From a mere £500 million in 2010, direct investments in the sector reached £6 billion in 2015, surpassing the £3 billion in 2013 and 2014 combined. More significantly, this marks an increase of more than 300% over the £1.7 billion invested in 2014 alone.

Is Growth in the Sector Set to Continue?

The answer is yes.

The fact remains that there is still an acute under supply of purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) in the UK due to restrictions in building permissions, a challenging planning environment and the government’s support for housing development. Meanwhile, the number of foreign students continues to rise due to recently abolished restrictions in foreign student numbers, which comprise the traditional mix of new first year students and second- and third-year returners.

To illustrate, the number of foreign students at Britain’s top universities doubled between the 2005/2006 and 2013/2014 academic years. These students tend to come from wealthy families who are able to afford the soaring cost of tuition for non-European Union residents and demand a high-class standard of living. The Higher Education Statistics Agency reported that the number of residents living in private halls more than doubled between 2007 and 2014—from 46,000 to 102,000—a trend predicted to continue. The dramatic upswing has been fuelled by the inability of university-managed accommodation to keep pace with student numbers.

London’s full time student population alone is expected to rise by 50% in the next 10 years, whilst student cities, particularly where there is a Russell Group university, is expected to see dramatic increases in student numbers. EU and non-EU students are the fastest growing segment, bringing a net benefit of £2.3 billion per annum to London’s economy supporting 60,000 jobs in the capital.

But, beyond the fundamentally undersupplied market, one reason for the success of PBSAs is that students have become more discerning, especially in light of increased tuition fees. Unite Group reports that 85 per cent of second year undergraduates are now looking for quality, purpose-built student homes that fulfill all their needs (including peace and quiet and access to night life), and with the CBRE statistics showing that student accommodation generally has occupancy rates of some 99%, it’s easy to see why people put their money into this area of the market.

Conclusion

The structural undersupply in purpose built UK student property has caused prices to skyrocket. Student housing charity Unipol, for example, reported a rent rise of 25% in purpose-built student accommodation between 2010 and 2013 – nearly double the rise in the rental sector as a whole in that period (13%).

Experts predict that student housing will experience a continued strong demand but with significant supply side challenges in London and key student towns. With this demand from students for more luxurious space, coupled with rising student numbers and strained supply, there is certainly potential for all sorts of investors to get top marks for their shareholders and earn strong income and profits from the sector.

Global investment into UK student housing. Source & credit: Savills Research file:///C:/Users/Marketing/Downloads/spotlight–uk-student-housing-2015.pdf

Ultimately it’s not just about what you invest in; it’s also where you invest in. In a recent report in the Property Wire, several student cities were highlighted as the next investment hotspot including Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Brighton. Looking ahead, it is also likely that London will continue to be an attractive city for students from across the UK and around the world. However, there is the risk that prospective students will be put off by the cost of living in the capital (house prices have risen by 46% and private sector rents by 19% over the last five years according to the ONS).

‘So long as demand outstrips supply, upward pressure on both rents and capital values will continue to make the market an attractive proposition for investors, and we don’t expect the market to come off the boil for some time,’ says CBRE head of student housing advisory Jo Winchester.

CSI Properties (Cornerstone International) proudly markets international investment property with high yields at low risk. Our portfolio comprises residential and purpose-built student property in cities across the United Kingdom (London, Luton, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, York, Glasgow, Scotland; Sheffield, etc); Australia (Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane) and Thailand (Bangkok). Our projects are concentrated in high-growth areas with great educational, infrastructural and job growth potentials. We aspire to make a difference in the lives of our clients by helping them achieve their investment goals through strong market research backed by third party experts and due diligence. 

Disclaimer: Cornerstone International does not provide tax & legal advice and accepts no liability. Readers are encouraged to consult a qualified tax or legal advisor for a thorough review.

Need advice or clarification? Call us for more information and/or to find out about our projects! Hotline: 03-2162 2260

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The Malaysian Investor & UK’s New Buy-to-Let Policies

Good news for Buy-to-let Investors

British housing prices have risen sharply in the last two years, thanks to record low interest rates, an under supply of property (vs. demand), and a strong employment market. Thus, annual rental returns are attractive, which bodes well for the buy-to-let investor.

There are nearly 2 million private landlords in Britain, owning almost 20% of homes, and the positive environment has only added to the appeal of buy-to-let property, also known as rental property.

However, the government is taking steps to cool the market in a bid to protect the interests of potential first-home buyers by introducing new tax rates on buy-to-let property. In a budget statement in November last year, Chancellor George Osborne announced that buy-to-let investors will have to pay a 3 percentage point higher rate of stamp duty than residential buyers due effective from April this year. Meanwhile, come 2017, landlords’ abilities to deduct mortgage interest from rental income before working out a tax liability, will be phased away. All this on top of a predicted rise in Bank rates.

Some doomsayers are anticipating an extreme downturn in the property market, suggesting that investors purchasing mortgaged rental properties today are set to lose money within 5 years. There are also suggestions that potential buyers could turn into sellers, flooding the market with additional supply and slamming the growth of the rental property sector into reverse.

What do these measures mean for the Malaysian Investor?

It appears that the new cooling measures will mainly affect UK residents, as the presumptions are that UK landlords fall within the 40%++ tax bracket.

Foreign investors, i.e. Malaysian investors do not earn salaries in the UK, which means they naturally fall within the lowest tax bracket to begin with, i.e 20% tax for income below £31,865 p.a. Additionally, Malaysian investors have an extra £10,000 as an annual tax-free exemption on rental income. This means that the Malaysian investor will hit the 40% tax bracket and therefore start experiencing some differences only upon earning £41,865 p.a. in rental income.

Assuming a nett yield (after deduction of all expenses) of 4% for rental properties, the Malaysian investor would need to own investment properties worth more than £1,000,000 before he/she hits the 40% bracket. Currently, as most London properties are only raking in 1% – 2% yield, the reality is that you would need to have £2,000,000 to £4,000,000 worth of properties before you hit the 40% tax bracket.

In other words, you won’t feel the pinch unless you are ultra-rich

Meanwhile, the removal of mortgage interest in tax deduction will affect investors buying rental properties in their personal names. In order to get around that, more individuals are resorting to buying rental property under a company structure.

Under the new measure, landlords will not be able to deduct mortgage interest from their rental income before it is assessed for tax but will instead get a flat-rate 20% tax credit. This means those paying higher-rate tax will lose half of their relief, while some others will be moved up into this bracket and so see their tax bill soar.

As such, using a company structure means interest, which is classed as a business expense, can still be deducted. Corporation tax would also apply which would reduce a higher-rate taxpayer’s rate from 40% to 20%.

(Remember, unless you own properties worth £2,000,000 – £4,000,000, you would be hard-pressed to hit the 40% income tax bracket. Mostly, Malaysian investors are within the 20% bracket which means the removal of mortgage interest in tax deduction will not apply, as they automatically get a 20% tax credit under the law. Again, only the ultra-rich are affected).

Student Property Investors

Student property investors are not affected as mortgages are typically not offered for that investment type.

According to CSI Properties (Cornerstone International) spokesperson Virata Thaivasigamony, these latest measures are part of a populist stance as Britain gears up for the elections.

“The biggest domestic issue is the affordability of housing in the UK and how it has affected first-time house buyers. Landlords, especially foreign landlords, are blamed for the hike in house prices. These housing measures seem like a political move,” says Virata, adding that heavier restrictions would have been imposed on the investor if the market were headed for a collapse.

“In the Autumn Statement, George Osborne also announced a 40% interest-free help-to-buy loan for first-time house buyers. This shows that he isn’t really trying to cool down a market that is on the verge of a crash, rather, it gives mileage to his political cause by appealing to the interests of new British home buyers.

“If you look at the fundamentals, it is clear that the UK has a shortage of housing due to low levels of construction since the recession in 2008. This has choked housing supply, causing house prices to inflate. And while building of homes is picking up now, it takes time before that translates into sufficient homes.

“Overall, UK house prices won’t crash. The government will certainly be taking more measures like Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia to slow down the market to orchestrate a soft landing because if the markets crash, everyone is affected.”

What about the London property market, specifically?

“London has always been deemed as the international safe haven, which is why foreigners tend to diversify their wealth in London. Because of that, it’s hard for property in London to crash either. The prices have gone up steadily in the recent past, but I foresee a plateau (in prices) and, in the meantime, areas like East London — previously previously seen as undesirable — will experience major construction and subsequent price growth due to gentrification,” Virata adds.

“Ultimately, life goes on. Look at Australia: it got hit with 3% stamp duties last year, which hasn’t really slowed down the foreign purchaser. But it certainly has made the locals feel good that their government is doing something for them…”

CSI Properties (Cornerstone International) proudly markets international investment property with high yields at low risk. Our portfolio comprises residential and purpose-built student property in cities across the United Kingdom (London, Luton, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, York, Glasgow, Scotland; Sheffield, etc); Australia (Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane) and Thailand (Bangkok). Our projects are concentrated in high-growth areas with great educational, infrastructural and job growth potentials. We aspire to make a difference in the lives of our clients by helping them achieve their investment goals through strong market research backed by third party experts and due diligence. 

Disclaimer: Cornerstone International does not provide tax & legal advice and accepts no liability. Readers are encouraged to consult a qualified tax or legal advisor for a thorough review.

Need advice or clarification? Call us for more information and/or to find out about our projects! Hotline: 03-2162 2260

No Comments

UK Property Outlook 2016

UK property outlook 2016. London at sunset. Credit: wikipedia

Summary:

  • Overall positive outlook across the UK, but central London growth subdued.
  • Growth in the Northern cities due to governmental initiative and overall affordability amid high growth
  • Student property remains a good investment option given structural under-supply

The year started on a bleak note, no thanks to the current global economic climate. On the property front, the beginning of 2016 in the UK was headlined by policies to be imposed by the Chancellor on home-owners and landlords,such as future tax and stamp duty increases, and the abolition of mortgage income relief in 2017 – all this on top of predictions of a rise in Bank Rates, prompting doomsayers to predict an extreme downturn in the property market with projections stretching to 2021.

Read how the rates increase affects the Malaysian investor here

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Forecasts are essential in helping the investor strategize, but it is crucial to take a closer look and weigh the predictions against the facts and what we already know:

Raising taxes and other rates are usually measures used by the government to protect the welfare of its house-buying citizens by preventing skyrocketing property prices and overarching speculation resulting from uncontrolled property-buying by wealthy local and foreign investors. The CGT in Singapore and Hong Kong and the RPGT in Malaysia, as well as FIRB taxes and stamp duty hike in Australia are a good example. We’re not saying you should ignore it; we’re just saying it’s not a deal-breaker.

To illustrate, a survey by the Council of Mortgage Lenders found that despite the negative outlook, landlords are confident that they will be able to absorb the impact of tax changes while over 80% are confident they won’t have to raise rents in order to cope.

As for all that talk on Bank Rate increases: the trend for pushing forward forecasts for the rate rise into the future has been going on since rates were cut in 2009; the prediction keeps getting pushed back in the end.

Currently, Bank Rates stand at 0.5%; the prediction for a rise was set for Dec 2016 or Jan 2017 following the first rate rise in the US in 9 years, last December. But with the global economic gloom of 2016 and comments of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) along with dramatic market movements, money markets imply that the first increase is poised for Aug 2019. Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane said last year that the case for UK raising interest rates was “some way from being made” and that negative rates may still be needed.