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How Currency Can Increase Returns from Australia & UK Property Investment

Foreign Currency Can Be Your Aide with UK Property Investment

Hedge foreign currency wisely and make more returns on your investment, not just in stocks, but also in property such as Australia and UK property investment.

With 2019’s mediocre outlook for the local property market, Malaysian investors are turning to other avenues for growth. One area that has come to the forefront is the international property market.

Institutional investors are typically the biggest players in the international property investment space. Of late, however, more individual investors looking for rewarding returns, have been buying into foreign real estate.

As an investor, the key to making a profit is to understand your investments.

International investments differ in some ways from domestic investments. An important thing to note in international investments is that one of the largest impacts on your returns will be from currency fluctuation.

Investing internationally also means that you are actually making two separate investments —  you are not only investing in the currency, but also the investment itself.

Example 1

Let’s say you bought RM1,000 worth of Apple shares in the US last year. This turned out to be a bad move, as Apple’s new phone sales were disappointing and the stock price dropped by 10%. You might think that your investment is only worth RM900 now.

You have an urgent need for cash and decide to sell your shares, even though the stock price went down. Strangely enough, you get back RM1,000, instead of the RM900 you were expecting to receive.

It turns out that the reason you were able to recoup your RM1,000 was because the US dollar appreciated against the ringgit by 10% over the period of your investment.

From the American investors’ point of view, this would have been a bad investment, as they would only have received 90% of what they put in. But, as a Malaysian investor, you benefited from the currency which hedged your investment.

Where currency hedges a poor investment
Where currency hedges a poor investment

Example 2

You also bought RM1,000 worth of Amazon shares in the US, which was a better investment because their stock price increased by 10%. Now, since the US dollar appreciated against the ringgit by 10% during the same period, you made a total gain of 20%, making your investment now worth RM1,200.

Where currency multiplies your returns
Where currency multiplies your returns

The above example illustrates how currency effects help in portfolio diversification. Foreign exchange rate exposure doesn’t necessarily lead to higher risk.

Hedging the Currency & UK Property Investment: When & How

Stronger and more mature economies like the US and the UK tend to bounce back quickly after a recession. Developing countries, however, are more likely to take longer to recover economically from risks such as ongoing political instability.

It’s a good time to invest while your target currency is low because appreciation will multiply your returns. The following chart illustrates how the British pound and the US and Australian dollars performed against the ringgit over the past 24 years:

Yearly averages of GBP, USD & AUD against MYR (1995-2019). If you had placed your money into UK property investment, imagine the returns on your investment today when you combine capital growth and currency growth.
Yearly averages of GBP, USD & AUD against MYR (1995-2019). If you had placed your money into UK property investment, imagine the returns on your investment today when you combine capital growth and currency growth.

In the above chart you will see that these currencies achieved a similar peak growth historically, with the British pound having a poorer showing right now due to Brexit, as in the table below:

The UK Pound is at a low right now.
The UK Pound is at a low right now.

An analysis of the pound sterling shows a large drop after 2007, correlating with the 2007 global financial crisis (which wiped out the infamous Lehman Brothers). The pound went on to recover after 2013, but declined again after the Brexit announcement in 2016.

Watch the Pound for UK Property Investment

Presently, the pound remains weak due to the uncertainty of the UK’s future relationship with the EU. However, experts predict the pound will rise significantly following the confirmation of a trade deal.

Going back to our earlier examples of how currency exchange affects investments, this is a great opportunity for investors to take advantage of the pound’s weak state. If you buy UK property investment now when the pound is low, the subsequent rise in the value of the sterling can increase your returns greatly.

The fundamentals of the UK residential property market are strong — due to the critical shortage of housing supply in the face of rapidly rising demand — which will ensure continued steady capital and rental growth.

As an example, let’s consider a £240,000 house in Manchester, which achieves a conservative 5% rental yield and 5% capital growth per year. In 5 years’ time, the house would be worth £306,308 and you, as a landlord, would have collected £69,623 in rents. This gives an impressive 57% ROI, without taking into account currency fluctuations. If the pound rises by 10% during that period, your total ROI would shoot up to an amazing 72% after conversion.

A £240,000 property after 5 years
A £240,000 property after 5 years

We urge budding UK property investors to look at developing cities, especially those in the Northern Powerhouse region where large amounts of Government money has been invested into infrastructure and commercial development. These regional cities have showed strong growth recently, with room to move upwards. This means UK property investment provides good potential for high yields with lower risk.


Article by Ian Choong
Edits by Vivienne Pal & Jagdeep Kaur

The British pound is set to rise quickly, which means property investors can get better returns by buying now. Don’t miss out! If you are looking for UK property investment in the cities of London, Manchester, Birmingham and more — give us a call at (+65) 3163 8343 (Singapore), 03-2162 2260 (Malaysia), or email us at info@csiprop.com!

If you would like to read more on UK property investment, check out our Investment Guide here.

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What’s in store for Melbourne after the elections?

In the recent Victorian State Election, the Labor government led by Premier Daniel Andrews won a second four-year term, defeating the Liberal opposition by an increased majority of 52 seats. To be sure, Labor has grand plans for Victoria lining up to be executed, but investors will be more concerned about what’s in store for the property market. In their election manifesto, Labor had major plans for housing as well as transport and infrastructure. Let’s take a look.

Housing and Planning

Apartments in Melbourne set to reach the next level. Source: Financial Review
Apartments in Melbourne set to reach the next level. Source: Financial Review

Labor plans to improve the housing market in Victoria generally and to also put it on par with the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET), the party’s primary focus for the environment. These efforts are to advance the quality and sustainability of the residential property in Victoria and forge a better standard of living.

Labor has promised that apartment buildings will be subject to a range of tougher standards such as mandatory green space, installation of sun protection and safe cladding. This is particularly important in consideration of the property boom in Melbourne’s inner city, with its rapid growth of high rise apartments. This suggests that there may be increased costs for future developments, in order to comply with these standards.

There also will be subsidies for rooftop solar panels on 700,000 homes, including a plan to allow the government to share costs with tenants and landlords for solar panel installation on rental properties. This will make buildings more energy efficient.

Transport and Infrastructure

Transport links in Victoria is in for a huge transformation. Source: Herald Sun
Transport links in Victoria are in for a huge transformation. Source: Herald Sun

Labor has a solid record for transport and infrastructure projects. Having already more than $60bn of rail and road projects in the pipeline, the party has further pledged to provide “the biggest transformation of public transport in Australian history”, which is to complete a $50bn suburban underground rail loop including 12 new underground stations.  This is set to complete in 2050.

Additionally, Labor has fulfilled their previous promise to remove 50 of the most dangerous level crossings over eight years, improving safety and efficiency. The revised promise is for 75 to be gone by 2025, and the good news is that they are ahead of schedule, having already removed a total of 29 this term.

Many of Labor’s big projects are either already underway or have start dates including the $11bn Metro Tunnel project, the North East Link and the West Gate tunnel. Work on the long-awaited rail link to the airport will begin by 2022, and $100m has been allocated for planning towards fast trains to Geelong and Ballarat. Upgrades for the arterial roads and country rail lines are also part of Labor’s manifesto.

What’s in it for Investors?

The re-election of Labor is great news for the property investment in Victoria, especially urban Melbourne. The party’s housing and planning manifesto gives good sustainability that would catalyze the housing market.

The transport and infrastructure manifesto has high potentials to increase job demand. Melbourne has overtaken Sydney as the best place to find a job in Australia according to the Commsec’s quarterly State of the States report, which would only fortify its population growth. Added to this is the increased accessibility for residents living in the suburbs to work in the city, making Melbourne a top choice for anyone looking for a home.

This gives investors promising opportunities with good potential for capital growth and good rental yields, both of which is the highlight of any investment prospect.

Interested in getting in to the Melbourne property market and benefitting from its low vacancy rate and future development plans? Give us a call at (+65) 3163 8343 (Singapore), 03-2162 2260 (Malaysia), or email us at info@csiprop.com!

Article by Lydia Devadas; Edited by Ian Choong

Sources:

  • https://www.news.com.au/national/politics/australian-politics-live-tuesday-november-27/news-story/9bd4e3ca763cb24fc3c83e0b9eaea33f
  • https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/nov/24/labor-secures-stunning-victory-in-victorian-election-as-voters-reject-fear
  • https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/nov/20/victorian-election-what-the-parties-are-promising
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Victorian_state_election
  • Image Credit: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/victorian-state-election-2018-live-coverage-daniel-andrews-pleads-for-stable-majority/news-story/bd299031c2325f4401a499ff14a33c1f

 

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Victoria Smashes NSW for the Second Time in a Row

Once again, Victoria has overtaken New South Wales (NSW) as the state with the strongest overall economic performance rankings in Australia.

Margin lender CommSec’s latest quarterly (Oct 2018) State of the States report has revealed that Victoria has come out top in several key indicators, namely economic growth, employment, construction activity and population growth. This is the first time that Melbourne has beaten Sydney as the best place to find a job in Australia, with trend unemployment rate at its lowest in a decade.

Victoria has a promising employment market
Victoria has a promising employment market

The unemployment rate in Victoria stands at 4.7%, approximately 17.4% lower than the decade average. Victoria’s employment rate, however, is well above (13%) the decade average, making it the best state to secure a job across Australia.

Apart from the employment rate, Victoria was also ranked first in construction activity. This is the second time that Melbourne has beaten Sydney to the top spot in this sector.

The increasing construction activity gives good investment prospect
The increasing construction activity gives a good investment prospect. Image Credit: Mail Online

Victoria retained top spot with construction work done almost 39% above its decade average.

NSW construction was next strongest at 31.4% followed by South Australia, up 25.3%. Construction work done in these states were at record highs in the June quarter.

Victoria also topped the ranking for the second consecutive time as the state with the highest economic growth. Last quarter, it knocked NSW off its perch for the first time in a decade.

Victoria leads the way in economic growth.
Victoria leads the way in economic growth.

Economic activity in Victoria in the June quarter was 26.7% above the decade average level, ahead of NSW at 25.7%.

Victoria the clear winner
Victoria emerged the clear winner in CommSec’s latest quarterly economic rankings. Image Credit: CommSec State of the States Report (Oct 2018)

When looking across growth rates for the states and territories, it is clear that Victoria had exceeded the national average in all of the eight indicators measured, albeit by a narrow margin.

Last quarter, Victoria remained just ahead of NSW with strong economic strength, population growth, construction and investment activity.

Investment Prospect

The strong quarterly performance augurs well for Victoria.

Investors can look forward to leveraging upon these promising aspects of Melbourne, using it as a guide to future investments that could result in good rental yield and capital appreciation.  

By Lydia Devadas
Edited by Vivienne Pal

Source:

 

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What Does the UK Budget Have in Store for Property Investors?

The UK Autumn Budget proved that despite the government’s latest initiatives in addressing housing affordability for first home buyers, landlords remain pivotal to the supply of housing in the UK.

At a glance, the Autumn Budget (Oct 29) had good news for first-time house buyers in the reduction of stamp duty on jointly-owned property. The relief applies to homes of up to £500,000 and is in addition to the first-time buyer stamp duty exemption announced last year.

The Chancellor also declared that the government would allocate £500m for the Housing Infrastructure Fund to enable a further 650,000 homes to be built. This is on top of the previous pledge of 300,000 homes per year, on average, to raise housing supply by the mid-2020s.

Alongside the newly announced stamp duty relief for first home buyers, this is a laudable measure to alleviate housing unaffordability, yet there remains a lack in optimism where the issue of housing supply is concerned.

Landlords & Private Rental Sector: A Necessity to Solve UK Housing Woes

Historically, the UK has been plagued by a chronic shortage of housing. Not only had the government failed to meet its previous target of building 240,000 homes by 2016 (a target set in 2007), it had also changed Housing Ministers 16 times — more than 20 times faster than the average UK homeowner moves houses!

A research by Heriot-Watt University shows that the undersupply has become even more critical: England alone faces a backlog of 4 million houses.

UK house price and rental forecast 2018-2021 (CBRE)
UK house price and rental forecast 2018-2021 (CBRE)

More houses are needed to address homelessness as well as skyrocketing house prices and rents. And this is where the private rental sector comes in. Not only are landlords pivotal in ensuring the supply of rental housing for the growing number of young people unable to afford their own homes, they also provide flexibility for millennials who prefer to rent.

New research has shown that UK property remains a lucrative investment with 88% of landlords able to gain a profit, as the imbalance in supply and demand continue to drive rental prices.

Updated Incentives/Exemptions for Landlords

Investors and landlords can look forward to the following updates moving forward:

(a) PERSONAL ALLOWANCE

Landlords can claim an increased personal allowance amount of £12,500 off their taxes in 2019/20. The personal allowance is currently at £11,850.

(b) CGT ANNUAL EXEMPTION

The Capital Gains Tax (CGT) annual exemption will be increased from £11,700 in 2018/19 to £12,000 in 2019/20.

Potential SDLT surcharge

Some weeks ago, Prime Minister Theresa May announced the possibility of a Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) surcharge of 1% – 3% to be imposed on overseas landlords/ property buyers from Jan 2019.

The government has now revealed that it will propose a surcharge amounting to only 1% during the Budget, and that a consultation on the surcharge will be published in January. Stay tuned as we continue to monitor the news and provide updates in due course.

Interested to invest in UK property and be a landlord? Invest before the foreigner SDLT surcharge kicks in in 2019! Call us and make that smart choice today at (+65) 3163 8343 (Singapore), 03-2162 2260 (Malaysia). Or, email us at info@csiprop.com!

Find out more about Arden Gate, our latest Birmingham residential investment property in the Midlands. Birmingham has been voted the UK's fastest-growing city by PwC. Come meet our developer rep and learn about Birmingham's bullish property market.

Find out more about Arden Gate, our latest Birmingham residential investment property in the Midlands. Birmingham has been voted one of the UK’s fastest-growing city by PwC. Come meet our developer rep and learn about Birmingham’s bullish property market.

By Lydia Devadas
Edits & additions by Vivienne Pal

Source:

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Millennials Loss in Home Ownership A Landlord’s Gain?

Home ownership, especially among the young, in the UK has declined significantly compared to a decade ago. As the name suggests, Generation Rent is growing, now more than ever before.

Today, 40% of young adults are unable to afford one of the cheapest homes in their area even with a 10% deposit.

For 25- to 34-year-olds earning between £22,200 and £30,600 per year, home ownership fell to just 27% in 2016 from 65% two decades ago. This is an indication of home ownership collapse over the past 20 years especially among those from the middle-income range.

Back in 2016, data by the Office for National Statistics had highlighted that the number of homeowners in the 22- to 29-year-old age group stood at 37% in 2008 compared to just 27% over the last 10 years. This drop in homeownership among young adults has several contributing factors.

The drop in homeownership among young adults. Image credit: IFS
The drop in homeownership among young adults. Image credit: IFS

Disparity in House Price Growth vs Income Growth

Rising house prices relative to income growth has robbed the younger generation of the ability to buy their own home, while the increase in rental rates has made it almost impossible to save for a deposit.

House prices have risen around 7 times faster compared to wages over the last two decades. New research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) reveals that since 1997, the average property price has risen by 173% in England after adjusting for inflation, and by 253% in London. Meanwhile, rental cost has risen from an average of £140 a week to £200 a week in England.

The expanding disproportion between income rate and ever-growing house prices is resulting in a severe unaffordability crisis among young adults.

Income versus house price growth Source: IFS, Image Credit: The Sun
Income versus house price growth Source: IFS, Image Credit: The Sun

According to a report by the Sun, back in 1995/96, 2 in 3 (65%) of 25- to 34-year-olds from the middle-income bracket were homeowners.

But by 2015/16, the number plummeted to just 27% where only 1 out 4 of this group owned their own home.

At the time,  average house prices were a staggering 152% higher than they were 20 years earlier after adjusting for inflation. Meanwhile,  the nett family income of those aged 25-34 increased by only 22% over the same period, causing a relentless imbalance between household incomes and house price growth.

A Preference for Experience-focused Living

Another notable factor is the youngsters’ preference for an experience-focused living.

Millennials prefer living amongst a like-minded community. For many, renting a house enables them to live close to the city centre — which also happens to be where they prefer working — and be part of a community that possesses similar lifestyle practices. This aspect seems to have taken the priority seat compared to being able to buy a house.

Purchasing a property near the city centre is close to impossible due to exorbitant prices, hence, renting becomes the next best option.

An Opportunity for Investment

This drop in home ownership and high demand for rental properties amongst the millennials signifies a huge shift for the UK’s rental and investment sector, offering opportunities for investment returns. In Manchester alone, one of the fastest-growing cities in UK, an estimated 11,000 new jobs are forecasted to increase by 2022, yet only 4,000 new properties in the city centre are expected to be built by then.

The lack of supply in residential properties alongside growing job opportunities increases the demand for rental properties which, reciprocally, opens the gateway for investment. In September 2018, the UK government and Barclays Bank announced a new £1 billion loan fund to drive construction levels in the country’s property sector, with a focus on providing greater numbers of purpose-built rental property in key markets.

The ever-growing rental market promising capital growth and rental income clearly opens an array of investment opportunities for investors looking to spend their money wisely.

By Lydia Devadas 
Edited by Vivienne Pal

  • https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/bns/BN224.pdf
  • https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/housing/articles/homeownershipdownandrentingupforfirsttimeinacentury/2015-06-19
  • https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45776289
  • https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/apr/17/one-in-three-uk-millennials-will-never-own-a-home-report
  • csiprop.com/investors-can-look-forward-to-uk-rents-increase-of-15/
  • https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/5590859/one-in-four-middle-earners-own-home-ifs-report/
  • csiprop.com/manchester-top-10-in-the-world-for-fdi/
  • https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-housing-barclays/barclays-and-uk-government-launch-1-billion-pound-house-building-fund-idUKKCN1LR2P1
  • Image Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/05/01/shocking-uk-renting-facts_n_5246159.html