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The Singapore Resident’s Guide to Investing in UK Property

A Guide for Singapore Residents to Invest in UK Property

Are there restrictions for Singapore residents who want to invest in UK property? 

Singapore citizens face no restrictions when it comes to investing in UK property and do not require approval from the UK government to do so. However, Singaporeans will need to have residential status if they want to buy property to live in the UK.  Get information on UK visa and immigration requirements here.

If you are purchasing a property as an investment, always ensure that you choose a location that has good demand for rental property. Remove emotion from your purchase. Low vacancy rates will ensure that there is good demand for rental property, thus ensuring good returns on your investment.

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2021 London Property Outlook – A Mid-Year View

Following our mid-2021 UK Property Outlook, here is our mid 2021 London Property Outlook.

A key contributor of the UK economy, London has held the pole position of #1 City in the World’s Best Cities 2021 rankings for 5 consecutive years based on a number of criteria including human capital, infrastructure and culture, experience and prosperity. It has also held on to its title as the overall European City of the Future in the Financial Times’ fDI rankings for 2020/21. London is the best city in the world for property investment, second only to Los Angeles in the Global Cities 30 Index rankings

How will London negotiate the challenges of COVID-19 and the uncharted terrain of a post-Brexit world? Will the UK’s main city, continue to be known as the “capital of capitals”?

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Can Property Investment Withstand the Coronavirus Outbreak?

The recent Covid-19 pandemic has sent stock markets across the world reeling. US futures and Asian stocks tanked as policymakers worldwide took dramatic steps to cushion the economic blow caused by the outbreak.

The US Federal Reserve and Bank of England slashed interest rates to a historic low of near-zero, with the former launching a massive $700 billion quantitative easing program to shelter the economy from the effects of the virus.

Investors are having concerns over the volatility of the property markets, as many countries go into full or partial lockdown to deal with the spread of the coronavirus.

But how much of an impact could current health fears actually have on house prices? The stock markets have fallen dramatically, but compared to property, stocks are largely driven by sentiment.

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What’s the Outlook for the UK in 2020?

What to look out for when you invest in UK property this year.

Brexit has happened. How rosy — or bleak — is the outlook for the UK in 2020? As the UK braces itself for change, we take a look at several fundamentals: population, the economy, and the housing market. 

UPDATED 12 MARCH 2020

The UK has had quite an eventful start to the year. Fresh out of a General Election that saw the Conservatives’ win by a clear majority in Dec 2019 (its second in 2.5 years!), the country finally saw Brexit “get done” once and for all — at least, somewhat**

After three years of Brexit-related hubbub, the crossover from Brexit Day on 31 Jan to 1 Feb was, paradoxically, quite undramatic. Henceforth, what’s left is for the UK to chart new territories while transitioning out of the EU.

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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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Construction Update – The Residence (Jan 2019)

On behalf of the developer, we provide you with the latest images and information as of January 2019 from The Residence construction site in Manchester, a UK property investment opportunity. Kindly click on the image below to access and flip through the update.

FLASHBACK: The Residence – UK Property Investment Opportunity

The Residence is only a few minutes’ walk from Manchester City Centre. It sits at the doorstep of Spinningfields (The Canary Wharf of the North), Manchester’s main shopping and commercial district and Deansgate, the financial district of the city. The Residence occupies a prominent position within the stunning new £400 million Greengate Masterplan Project and, upon completion, will be one of the tallest residential buildings in the city, making it highly desirable for tenants. The regeneration of Greengate is expected to unlock £400 million of investment over the next 15 years.


CSI Prop proudly promotes international investment property with high yields at low risk. Our portfolio comprises residential 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. 

Disclaimer: CSI Prop 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 / UK Property Investment Opportunities! Hotline: 03-2162 2260 (MY); +65 3163 8343 (SG)

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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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Billion Dollar Whale

One billion dollars.

Few can truly grasp the magnitude of that sum of money. But we could try and give you a rough idea in property terms!

With $1 billion, you can get 4585 homes in Manchester at a cost of £166,000* per home. With a rental yield of 5.90% p.a.** and annual capital growth of 7.4% p.a.*, that $1 billion can get you total returns of £2 billion*** in 7.5 years!

*Hometrack, June 2018
**Private Finance
***Total value of asset + 7.4% capital growth + 5.90% annual rental yields over 7.5 years.

Now that’s a whale of an investment! Why just blow it all away when you can put it into a growth asset and double your investment!

Got $1 billion to spare and fancy blowing it on some property? Give us a shout! Or let us know in the comment box below what you would spend your money on! 

By Vivienne Pal

Sources

  • https://www.hometrack.com/uk/insight/uk-cities-house-price-index/june-2018-cities-index/
  • https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/buytolet/article-5315623/Where-invest-buy-let-2018.html

 

 

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Investment Vehicles: Disposing Of Your UK Property

Investors have the option of purchasing property as an individual or via an investment vehicle, such as through a company. Different taxes apply at different stages of owning a property — when you buy it, whilst you own it, and when you dispose of it.

In Part 1, we covered the taxes that are applicable at the purchase stage of the investment. Part 2 covered the next stage of investment, ie when you have already taken possession of the property. Here in Part 3, we talk about what entails when you dispose of your UK property.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

When you sell your home, you may need to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on any gains you make when you dispose of your property.

CGT is currently only applicable to residential property. Commercial property such as student property and care homes will be subject to CGT from April 2019.

Your taxable gain is the difference in price between the purchase and sale of your property, after taking away any allowable expenses and your personal allowance (if selling as an individual).

SELLING AS AN INDIVIDUAL

All non-UK residents get an annual personal allowance of £11,700 for CGT.

Allowable expenses include the stamp duty paid upon the purchase of the property, agent fees and legal fees incurred during the purchase or sale, and payments for valuations made on the property.

CGT is taxed at 18% if your taxable gain is £46,350 or less, or 28% if more:

UK Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Rate
UK Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Rate

Example:

Jason sold his apartment for £275,000. He had previously bought it for £200,000, giving him a total cash gain of £75,000.

Jason must report the sale to HMRC, complete a full CGT computation and pay any CGT within 30 days of transfer.

Jason’s expenses come up to £30,400, and after deducting his personal allowance, he has a total taxable gain of £32,900.

Jason’s taxable gain is less than £46,350, so his CGT rate is 18%, and this will come up to a tax of £5,922, or 2.15% of the apartment’s sale price.

Example 1: Calculation of CGT
Example 1: Calculation of CGT

 

SELLING THROUGH A COMPANY

CGT for Companies
CGT for Companies

 

INHERITANCE TAX
Leaving your property to your heirs

If you are leaving your house to your heirs, you may want to take note of the taxes involved in bequeathing it.

Inheritance Tax will need to be paid on any UK assets you pass on. Currently the tax is at 40% for any amount above £325,000 per individual (what is called the ‘nil-band’ allowance).

UK Inheritance Tax (IHT) Rates
UK Inheritance Tax (IHT) Rates

Example:

Andrew owns a house worth £350,000, which is his only UK asset. He leaves the house to his son.

The house’s value exceeds the allowance threshold by £25,000, and the Inheritance Tax on that amount would be £10,000.

The tax is paid by Andrew’s son who inherits the house.

Example 1 of IHT Calculation
Example 1 of IHT Calculation

You can put estate-planning in place to significantly reduce the tax your heirs will need to pay.

This could be something simple like bringing on a spouse or re-mortgaging your house.

Spouses can inherit their partner’s allowance, effectively doubling their tax-free allowance to £650,000.

Example:

Barry owns a house worth £500,000, which is his only UK asset. He leaves the house to his wife.

There is no IHT for passing on the house to a spouse, so Barry’s wife will not pay any tax. However, Barry’s wife also inherits Barry’s allowance.

When Barry’s wife dies, the son inherits the house. Barry and his wife’s joint allowance is £650,000, which is more than the value of the house, and the son will not need to pay any IHT.

Example 2 of IHT Calculation
Example 2 of IHT Calculation

An outstanding mortgage can also be tax-deductible against your estate, and will lower the amount of Inheritance Tax charged.

Here are some other ways of estate planning:

  • Using a trust
  • Using a UK company
  • Taking out a life assurance policy not based in the UK

A good tax planner will advise you on your best options, ensuring that your heirs will get the maximum benefit out of what you leave to them.

Click here for more guides on property investment, and please subscribe to our website notifications to get the latest updates! Do leave us a comment below if you have any thoughts on our article.

If you are interested to explore UK Property’s potential for high returns, or if you need us to refer you to a good tax firm in the UK, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 3163 8343 (Singapore), 03-2162 2260 (Malaysia), or email us at info@csiprop.com!

Disclaimer: This article serves as a guide to investors. Kindly note that CSI Prop is not a licensed tax advisor. Accordingly, you should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from independent advisors and planners.

By Ian Choong

Sources:

  • Adams & Moore Ltd
  • Featured image: YourNewHouse.co.uk
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Cryptocurrency: Hottest Investment of the Decade?

CRYPTOCURRENCY: BANE OR BOON? Despite being declared legal tender in many countries across the globe, cryptocurrency continues to draw an equal measure of flak and fealty. 

BREAKING NEWS: Yesterday, Bithumb, a South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange announced the suspension of its deposit and withdrawal services after $35m worth of cryptocurrencies were stolen by hackers.

Bithumb is one of the busiest exchanges for virtual coins in the world and the second local exchange targeted by hackers in just over a week. The news sent ripples through the market with Bitcoin and Ethereum recording price falls, according to CoinDesk, a news site specialising in digital currencies.

Cryptocurrency: A Precarious Medium

This is not the first nosedive in the cryptocurrency world. Digital currencies — like the stock market — are highly reactive, recording multiple tumbles in recent history.

The price of Bitcoin, the world’s best known digital currency, has been tracking a downward spiral since the start of 2018, plummeting heavily from the Dec 2017 price of $18,960 to $6,762 at time of publication.

The price of Bitcoin, the world’s best known digital currency, has been tracking a downward spiral since the start of 2018, plummeting heavily from the Dec 2017 price of $18,960 to $6,762 . Source: CoinDesk & South China Morning Post
The price of Bitcoin, the world’s best known digital currency, has been tracking a downward spiral since the start of 2018, plummeting heavily from the Dec 2017 price of $18,960 to $6,762 . Source: CoinDesk & South China Morning Post

Still, cryptocurrency has risen from obscurity and is now legal tender in many countries across the globe. And, it continues to draw flak and fealty in equal measure.

Good:

The inherent nature of cryptocurrency and the world of blockchain ensures no possibility of double-spend as the system is built to be irreversible and transparent to the peers within its ecosystem. Cryptocurrency has also been touted as the hottest investment opportunity currently available. The potential rewards (and risks) are huge; its value can fluctuate by as much as a few hundred dollars in a single day and, potentially, one can either make (or lose) a lot of money in a short period of time. One can also trade in it, purchase goods with it, earn money from it (through mining), and it is recognised as a form of payment in some jurisdictions.

 

How does cryptocurrency work? Image credit: Blockgeeks
Cryptocurrency: how does it work? Image credit: Blockgeeks

Bad:

Cryptocurrencies are high-risk investments and, as such, their market value is highly volatile, fluctuating like no other asset’s. It’s easy to lose (or make) a tremendous amount of money in a day. Cryptocurrencies are not backed by a central bank/organisation, and are therefore unregulated to a certain extent. It is subject to price manipulation. Its security is questionable, as clearly demonstrated in yesterday’s Bithumb heist, as well as incidences of hacking in the past. Perhaps the biggest theft in the short history of cryptocurrency happened in 2014, when more than $450m in bitcoins disappeared from customers’ accounts in the Mt Gox exchange in Tokyo.

Rat Poison Squared

This year, Google, Facebook and Twitter announced a crackdown on cryptocurrency ads on their sites in a move to protect investors from fraud.

Bank of England Governor Mike Carney has been highly critical of cryptocurrency while Bill Gates has gone on record about betting against cryptocurrency, describing it as a “kind of pure ‘greater fool theory’ type of investment.”

More famously, Warren Buffet, in yet another rail against digital currency, described Bitcoin as “rat poison squared” and that it’s “creating nothing”.

“When you’re buying non-productive assets, all you’re counting on is the next person is going to pay you more because they’re even more excited about another next person coming along,” Buffet said in an interview with CNBC.

BitMex CEO Arthur Hayes, however, is unfazed by Bitcoin’s volatility, predicting that the cryptocurrency will hit $50,000 by the end of the year.

Cryptocurrency may well be the investment of the decade with incredible returns, agrees Virata Thaivasigamony of CSI Prop, a property investment consultancy with offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

“But it needs to approached with a combination of care and sheer ballsiness,” he adds.

“Investment is a very personal matter. For me, cryptocurrency pales in comparison with something tangible like property investment.  Real estate has more stability, proving time and again to be a hedge against inflation and a great asset for diversification. Investing in real estate traditionally outperforms most asset classes in risk-adjusted returns. When compared to bitcoin, it is unequivocally the safer investment.”

As inflation rises, so, too, do rents and housing values. In an inflationary environment, real estate assets react proportionally to inflation. And real estate has incredible tax benefits and cash flow incentives.

Ultimately, investing in cryptocurrency — as with all other investments — is a gamble. A question to ask yourself before embarking on any investment is: how risk-averse are you?

We are colossal fans of property investment (duh!) and we make no apologies for it. Still, we remain curious about the many other types of investments out there and would love to hear your thoughts in the comment box below. If you’re a die-hard property investment fan like us, and are thinking of expanding your UK and Australia property portfolio, hit us up: we’ve got some good stuff for you.

By Vivienne Pal

Sources:

  • http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/business/article/2131758/us1-billion-down-why-japan-still-love-bitcoin
  • https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jun/20/south-korea-bithumb-loses-315m-in-cryptocurrency-heist
  • https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/19/south-korea-crypto-exchange-bithumb-says-it-was-hacked-coins-stolen.html
  • https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/26/bitcoin-falls-7-percent-to-below-8000-after-twitter-bans-cryptocurrency-ads.html
  • https://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/960363/Bitcoin-cryptocurrency-free-fall-price-value-plummets-24-hours-6-price-drop-money-finance
  • https://cryptoslate.com/cryptocurrency-exchanges-are-charging-more-than-nasdaq-for-listings-faking-volumes/
  • http://fortune.com/2018/01/10/bitcoin-warren-buffett-cryptocurrency/
  • http://fortune.com/2018/05/07/warren-buffett-bitcoin-rat-poison/
  • https://blockgeeks.com/guides/what-is-cryptocurrency/
  • https://cointelegraph.com/bitcoin-for-beginners/what-are-cryptocurrencies#buy-goods
  • https://csiprop.com/uk-property-outlook-2018/
  • https://csiprop.com/australia-property-outlook-2018/