No Comments

UK Housing and the Brexit Effect

The clock is ticking to the deadline for Britain’s forthcoming exit from the European Union on March 29 next year.

Prime Minister Theresa May has been able to negotiate with European leaders a draft agreement for Brexit. But, she now faces the challenge of getting it through Parliament. Not all of Britain is happy with the terms proposed, and some are campaigning for the Prime Minister to push for better terms. However, senior figures in Brussels have expressed that it is unlikely that the UK will get a better deal than the one currently on the table.

Britain’s leaders race against time to determine whether the UK leaves the Union with or without a deal. What does a deal, or no-deal mean for the future of property investment in the UK?

 

Strong fundamentals keep the market afloat

Right after the referendum results came out, many had predicted a downturn in the market with all the uncertainty about Britain’s future. Even so, we held fast to a positive outlook for the market due to the sector’s strong fundamentals. That there will be challenges, we have no doubt, but we remain steadfast in our belief that  the UK will recover. More of that here.

The UK property market reacted adversely to the EU Referendum, but its rebound defied expectations. Data from market analyst Hometrack show that the market had experienced an overall period of growth after the referendum, with the cities of Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool registering 9.7%, 9.6% and 8.3%, respectively, since March 2017. 

As a whole, the UK gained 5.3% during the same time period, with London’s 0.2% an unsurprising drag on average growth.

What’s worth reiterating is that the UK property market continues to grow despite concerns about Brexit. That, amid the negativity and naysaying that has been circulating around the impending Brexit, is a growing number of experts that understand that the UK housing market is not propped solely by UK’s exit from the European Union.

Real estate firm Colliers International identifies the main drivers of UK residential property as long-term demographic pressure, household formation rates and government housing policy. The firm pointed out that house demand and prices are not so much affected by Brexit as they are by stamp duty, help-to-buy and other domestic policy changes.

David Hollingworth, of brokers L&C, said that any impact from Brexit will be short-lived. “The fundamentals that have driven house price growth remain the same, namely the limited supply of property and low interest rates,” he said.

These two factors are unlikely to change anytime soon.

Industry analyst Ray Boulger, from broker Jon Charcol added that “the vast majority of people move for reasons completely unrelated to Brexit and so transactions won’t fall much.”

 

Property in the capital

London may have experienced a slowdown since the referendum, but property firm JLL expects a bounce-back after Brexit. The firm predicts that the average price of a new-build home in Zones 1 and 2 is expected to jump 17.6% between Brexit and 2023.

Adam Challis, head of residential research at JLL, says that values will nudge up next year before accelerating faster with a greater sense of job security.

“Once we have confirmation of a deal and a reasonable transition period, people will start to feel more confident and this will encourage homeowners and investors to buy again.”

House price growth is also being driven by the escalating supply crisis within the capital. Housing starts will remain around 20,000 units a year over the next three years, and begin to rise towards 25,000 a year by 2023, the study predicts. This falls a long way short of the Mayor of London’s target of 66,000 new homes per year.

 

UK’s economy to rebound

Positive economic indicators underpin the optimistic housing outlook. Advisory firm Ernst and Young forecasts an upwards trend for GDP, to grow by 1.4% next year, followed by 1.7% in 2020, 1.8% in 2021 and 2.0% in 2022. Next year, spending power will also start to increase as earnings are expected to rise by as much as 3.0% while inflation is predicted to drop to 2.0%.

Predictions for future earnings and inflation in the UK (Ernst & Young)

Once a deal is set in stone, we should see a partial recovery in the value of the British pound. Colliers predicts a 5% to 10% appreciation in value, affirming that now is the right time to get in to the market while the pound is still weak.

Recovery of the pound will slow inflation and lead to stronger income growth that will support prices. The high-end residential sector will benefit from greater certainty by foreign expats working in London and the preservation of the UK’s financial services sector.

 

A worst-case scenario: Hard Brexit

Even in the event that a deadlock happens and no trade deal is reached, the weakening of the pound will lead to greater interest in the high-end residential sector by overseas investors looking for safe haven investments despite less accommodating tax and regulatory relief.

Mortgage rates could stay low for longer if that happens. Previously the Bank of England cut interest rates to support the economy after the referendum. Mr Hollingworth says that this would mean “an even more prolonged period of low interest rates which should help to maintain affordability for mortgage borrowers.”

There is increasing domestic pressure for tax and regulatory reform to support the housing market given the role that housing and the ‘wealth effect’ plays in supporting household spending – a mainstay of the UK economy.

A new round of housing policies and tax adjustments would be expected after the next general election post-Brexit. In the long run, the economic weakness resulting from a hard Brexit will be compensated by new reforms targeting the housing market in general.

 

Conclusion

The strong fundamentals of the UK property market will prove its resilience to Brexit. In the long term, investors can bank on the market to continue to provide good returns. Weakness in the British pound right now confirms a window of opportunity for investors to get in before the value of sterling starts to rise again.

CSI Prop recommends investment in the regional cities, where rapid expansion and development spurs a strong growth in the property markets.

By Ian Choong
Edited by Vivienne Pal

Sources:

No Comments

Are British Accents A Reflection of the UK Housing Market?

How do the Brits rate the many different accents in the British Isles and are they a reflection of the British property market?

There is a sort of ‘pecking order’ to the accents found in the British Isles. But here’s the question: is this pecking order a reflection of the performance of the property market in the different cities in the UK?

There is a common fallacy that surrounds the British accent, the misconception being that there’s only one. Well, there isn’t.

If you were to do a quick analysis of English dialects, you will find that there are roughly as many accents in the British Isles as there are in the whole of North America – including Canada, Bermuda and Native American dialects. Drill deeper and you will find that there is one dialect per every 1.3 million people in the British Isles (vs. a rather unimpressive one in 10m people in North America)!

This is a fact known to few, with many not even realising the huge variety in British accents, let alone the hilariously painful hierarchy associated with it.

Thanks to YouGov, an international Internet-based market research and data analytics firm headquartered in the UK, the mystery to this social pecking order has been  has unravelled.

There is a hierarchy associated with all the accents in the British Isles. Which do you prefer? Image credit: YouGov

YouGov conducted a research based on the public’s ratings of the attractiveness of the 12 main British accents in the UK and found that the public has deemed the Birmingham ‘Brummie’ accent the most unattractive. A study by psychologists from Bath Spa University expressed the reason behind this prejudice: apparently, people with Brummie accents sound like crooks, and are viewed as less intelligent and less imaginative.  Of course, these stereotypes are not rooted in science, and should not be treated as a true measure of intelligence.

Interestingly, the Liverpool ‘Scouse’ and Manchester ‘Mancunian’ accents were the second and third worst, respectively.  A good thing, then, that accents are neutralised in song, for Liverpool-born Paul McCartney and John Lennon of The Beatles, along with Mancunian Liam Gallagher of English rock band Oasis, might have had a harder time topping the charts!

 

So, Which British Accent Won the Linguistic Battle of Appeal?

Taking the top spot in YouGov’s research is the Southern Irish accent. Those keeping up with news on entertainment may have come across the likes of Saoirse Ronan and Cillian Murphy, whose speeches and interviews alone may well prove the report true.

Quite surprisingly, though, Received Pronunciation (RP), the very accent of the Qqueen herself, came in second place with a considerable 11-point difference from the first spot. RP has quite the prestigious reputation with only 2% of the British population speaking it, all of whom are of high social standing.

Waltzing into third place is the Welsh accent. A separate study by The Language Gallery revealed that people who speak with the Welsh twang were perceived as sounding happier than those with other English accents. Robert Downey Jr. has taken up the challenge of learning this jolly accent for his upcoming film, and Welsh fans are ecstatic about it.  

 

All British Accents Retain Their Glory Outside the UK

In the end, regardless of what the Brits themselves think, it appears that the rest of the world continues to marvel at the sophistication of all British accents.

Lyndsey Reid, a Brummie-speaking writer at Business Insider in the US recounts that there really isn’t a “bad” British accent in America given the numerous compliments she has received since landing in New York.

Her accent, she says, is a novelty that sets her apart in a positive way. Since her move to America, she has been asked to do presentations at events and provide an insight into the British English language. And, it is her voice that has been used in voice-overs for internal corporate videos.

“You guys think I sound like Emma Watson,” says the wordsmith, “and even though that couldn’t be further from the truth, I’ll take it.” 

 

British Accents Are Not A Reflection of the Housing Market 

While their accents don’t quite meet the mark (at least among the Brits), Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester have something else going on for them — their property market.

Those keeping up with the news must be aware of the regional city rise, whereby house prices in cities outside London are experiencing greater growth than in the capital. Shrewd investors would know that these three cities, while home to the UK’s bottom three accents, are actually subject to  have some of the best house price growth rates in the UK.

And, as such, we conclude that the scales have tipped in favor of the flourishing cities of Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.

At CSI Prop, while we cannot offer lessons on the British accent, we can help you invest in some of the best properties the UK has to offer! Contact us at +603 2162 2260 to invest in properties Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.

By Nimue Wafiya

Sources:


 

No Comments

Generation Rent & The Property Ladder

Does getting on the property ladder exist merely as an idea in the UK now, especially for young people such as the Gen-Y-ers or the Millenials? CSI Prop explores the notion of Generation Rent and how this is an opportunity for the rental market in Britain.

What most call the property “ladder” is the idea that homeowners will own different homes according to their needs during their lifetime.

A young couple early on in their careers would ideally buy a “starter home” and move on to a larger (and more expensive) property when they plan to have children. This has been possible in the past, because their household income would have increased through salary growth and career progression.

However, with wage stagnation, rising house prices and the squeeze on the cost of living today, this may be quite impossible for them, and many others like them.

The average UK house price is, at just over £200,000, almost 10 times the average wage, compared to just under four times the average wage at £31,000 in 1985. Home ownership in the UK has fallen to 63.8% (from 70.8% in 2003).

According to research by PwC, almost 60% of 20- to 39- year- olds in England will rent their homes by 2025, while just 26% will have got on the housing ladder.

 

Renting: the new normal?

Renting has become the new normal for millions of people in the UK. Rising house prices and a lack of new homes for first-time buyers takes home ownership out of reach of millennials, particularly in the southeast of England, where house prices have far outstripped salaries. And with the burden of debt from student loans (the an average debt is £32,220 for graduates in England), it’s easy to see why many think twice about taking on a mortgage.

A survey indicated that over three-quarters of British adults aged 18 to 30 don’t believe they will ever be able to afford to buy a home even though they have full-time jobs.

Philip, 26, from Yorkshire, said this of his experience so far: “By the time you have saved up an extra £1000 towards a deposit, the house values have gone up by £2k, £5k, £10k. It’s impossible.”

“It’s embarrassing to still live at home with your parents, even though I know increasing numbers of people in their 20s are doing so. It’s annoying that my life in that respect hasn’t turned out how it planned. I left uni at 23 telling myself that my move home would be for a few weeks at most, and I’m still there 3 years later,” he says.

Some, like Jamie, a Business Manager for a Health GP Company in Northumberland, have a slightly different view.

“I have no issues with (renting). There is, to a degree, temporised value; you can often live in a nicer area, nicer street etc. for a cheaper monthly payment than a mortgage payment. Some see renting as ‘throwing money down the drain’ but I see it differently. Renting allows you to become, in some odd regard, a more static member of the travelling community.” he says.

Other countries across the Channel don’t look as highly towards house ownership like the British. In France, just over 50% of the population live in their own properties. And in Paris, the figure is less than one in three. In Germany, house ownership is even more scarce. Only 39% of Germans own the homes that they live in, and in Berlin this figure dwindles down to just a mere 13% of the population owning their own home!

Could this be the future of house owners in the UK?

The decline of the “property ladder”, or house ownership means a large potential market for the buy-to-let investor in the UK. Even as the introduction of the stamp duty surcharge on additional property and changes to tax relief have eaten into landlords’ profits, the market continues to grow amid the high demand and low supply.

We see regional markets as the best option for investors looking to make high returns with low capital in the UK. The Government’s ongoing push for the Northern Powerhouse, which includes Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield, is a good indicator of the potential for future property price growth and solid returns.

Liverpool postcodes dominate the top 25 areas of the buy-to-let yield list, with L7 – which covers the city centre, Edge Hill, Fairfield and Kensington – taking the top position with a huge average yield of 12.63%. This is based on a median rental value of £1,224, and a median asking price of £116,259. There is high rental demand in Liverpool as the city is home to three universities as well as a growing number of young professionals.

Other top performing Liverpool postcodes are L6 in second place with a 10.57% average yield, L15 in third place with a 10.29% yield, L1 in 10th place with an 8.61% yield, and L3 in 11th place with an 8.47% yield.

Manchester also makes a couple of appearances in the top 25, with M6 – which encompasses increasingly popular Salford – in 14th position with an average yield of 8.25%. The rental market in Manchester has been growing in strength in recent years, and its four universities provide ample opportunities for landlords who are willing to invest in student accommodation. Sheffield makes the cut for the top 25 as well, with its S2 postcode at 16th place, giving an average yield of 8.07%.

The Northern Powerhouse, ie, the British government’s attempt to rebalance the UK economy by pushing development upwards into the regions to bring it on par with that of the capital and southeast, can only be a good thing.

Article by Ian Choong

CSI Prop proudly promotes international investment property with high yields at low risk. Our portfolio comprises residential and commercial property including student accommodation and carehomes, in cities across the United Kingdom (London, Luton, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, York, Glasgow, Scotland; Sheffield, etc) and Australia (Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane). 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 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! Hotline: 03-2162 2260

 

No Comments

Property Investors Benefit from UK Stamp Duty Cut

The abolishment of the stamp duty for property up to £300,000 in the recently announced UK Budget will largely benefit first-time house buyers as well as investors/ current owners.

The UK Budget, announced just a few days ago, was billed the ‘Housing Budget’, with housing placed at the heart of the British government’s spending plans.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that more money will be poured into housing over the next five years to ensure that land is available, that homes, including affordable homes, and supporting infrastructure will be built where needed.

But the real headline-grabber was the abolishment of the Stamp Duty and Land Tax for first-time buyers, which is effective immediately.

Stamp duty and land tax is a lump sum payment imposed on purchases of property or land over £125,000. The tax rate varies depending on the value of the property.

The new Budget stipulates that stamp duty will not be imposed on purchases of property priced up to £300,000 outside London.  Meanwhile, in high priced areas like London, exemptions will be availablle on the first £300,000 of the purchase price of properties up to £500,000.

The Chancellor said that this is effectively a stamp duty cut for 95% of first time buyers and that going forward 80% of first time buyers will not pay the tax.

The changes in stamp duty announced in the UK Budget on 22 November, is effective immediately and will not just benefit first-time buyers, but also current property owners/investors. Image credit: http://bit.ly/2BkH1Is

The Chancellor introduced the policy after it was revealed that the number of people under 45 who own their own home has fallen by 20% since the Tories took power seven years ago.

While the new policy will largely benefit first-time house buyers, investors will benefit, too, as demand will push up property prices, which, together with the inherent lack of supply, will continue to drive people to rent. This will keep the rental market strong.

“The abolishment of stamp duty for property under £300,000 will fuel a spike in the prices of homes within this range due to increased demand and a rush to buy currently available property within this price range,” says CSI Prop spokesperson Virata Thaivasigamony.

“It’s a double-edged sword and boils down to housing availability. The reality is that there is a housing undersupply in the UK with little likelihood that supply will increase in such a short period,” he adds, alluding to the Chancellor’s pledge to increase construction of new homes to 300,000 a year on average by the mid-2020s (up from 217,000 last year).

The secretary of state responsible for housing, Sajid Javid, has said that up to 300,000 additional homes must be built in England annually, up from about 150,000 in 2015 and a little more than 220,000 over the past year. Some industry players say this looks increasingly unlikely given the significant national deficit and ongoing debates over green belt construction.

The Office for Budget Responsibility said that the tax break could push property prices up by approximately 0.3%, with most of the increase coming in 2018. It also said that it is the current property owners who would be the main gainers of the new policy.

HMRC has also confirmed in a statement that while the new stamp duty policy reduces the upfront cost of buying a home for first time buyers, it is also expected to lead to an increase in house prices in the first year after implementation.

Meanwhile, with the increase in prices and undersupply in housing comes a continued demand for the private rented sector. The Property Wire quotes Andrew Turner, chief executive of brokerage Commercial Trust Limited, as saying that there could be a higher demand for private sector homes in Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool where landlords are already enjoying higher yields than in London.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has predicted that 1.8 million more households would be looking to rent by 2025 as a result of increasingly unaffordable homes.

Dorian Gonsalves, chief executive officer of franchise lettings agency Belvoir, pointed out that demand for rental properties is set to remain high. 

He pointed out that many young people are actively choosing to rent rather than to become first time buyers and that is not necessarily going to change.

‘The reasons for renting are numerous, and many young people simply do not want the commitment of a 25 year loan,’ said Gonsalves.

What was rather unexpected in the Autumn Budget was the announcement that capital gains tax (CGT) will be imposed on all real estate types, to be effective likely by April 2019. Currently, CGT is only imposed on residential property.

This, however, is unlikely to affect investor appetite much, as many other jurisdictions already impose CGT on foreign property investors. Additionally, the robustness, transparency and resilience of the UK property market — on top of the weakened pound — continue to remain top criteria for foreign investors.

The Autumn Budget has also given local councils the authority to double taxes on empty properties. Under the new rules, local councils can charge up to an extra 100% of council tax if a home has been empty for two years or more, up from the current 50%.

Looking for projects below the £300,000 and  £500,000 (London) range? Contact us at 03-2162 2260.

Article by Vivienne Pal

CSI Prop 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 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! Hotline: 03-2162 2260

No Comments

Most Resilient Asset Class in the UK Property Market

The UK property market has been mentioned in the news quite a fair bit. One of the issues that has consistently been bandied about is the UK property market and how it will augur in the face of the political upheaval that the country is going through, namely Brexit and the UK snap elections.

Over the years, what’s clear is that the UK property market — which suffered at the global financial downturn — has become a tougher nut to crack. UK’s property market has remained resolute, with prices continuing to climb skyward.

Underpinning this spiraling price hike is the critical undersupply of housing — a condition that is not just prevalent within the residential real estate sector, but also the student accommodation sector.

One of the students we interviewed who is currently a VITA Student resident in Liverpool. Student property is currently the top investment asset within the UK property market.

Student property is now one of the most — if not the most — resilient asset class in the UK property market. Over the years, more investments have been made into this sector, making it a popular investment among astute investors. Institutional investors like Temasek & GIC have invested heavily into this sector. Watch this video  above to know why student property is now the UK’s Most Resilient Asset Class in the UK property market.


CSI Prop 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 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! Hotline: 03-2162 2260