Streetwise Property Alert 17th September 2013

We’ve had a good response to the German armchair  investment. I cannot say too much about it in public but I can confirm that we think it’s a great deal and you should ask for details so you can do your due diligence, use your own lawyer and see for yourself.

Euro Prices – At Last!

The latest global index from Knight Frank shows that European property prices are, all in all, up for the first time since 2010. Prices in Europe rose 0.7 per cent over the past 12 months. As you’d expect, there are wide variations. Remember my mantra to A Level students? If A goes up 10 per cent and B goes down 10 per cent, the average is not
representative of either.

The Knight Frank figures showcase this perfectly. Turkey was the strongest market performer, up by 12.2 per cent over the year. Greece was the weakest market performer, down by 11.5 per cent over the year. Bottom fishing? Prices in Greece, Spain and Italy are now 31 per cent, 29 per cent and 15 per cent off their market peaks. Tell us where you
are looking to buy in Europe; we’ll tell you what’s happening beyond the average.

London? Heads Up

We have a paid-for service at London Property Alerts and are looking to offer a free trial period for serious investors who will be buying in the next quarter. We run a paid-for service because, to be blunt, there are a lot of members who like a freebie and get into the system when they have no intention of buying. It can cause issues. If you are
serious and would like a free trial, send us your detailed requirements in the first instance.

We have, for paid-for members, sent up extensive links with developers to ensure that they can get the best, pre-market deals. That’s especially important these days as we note, from new Chesterton Humberts research, that overseas property buyers take some 70 per cent of new-build homes in prime London.

With demand for prime new-build properties set to remain robust and new supply struggling to keep up, we expect investment volumes will be higher this year than last. The relative weakness of sterling means that many overseas buyers can achieve effective discounts on purchase
price whilst acquiring an asset that will almost certainly appreciate considerably over time and which they will have little difficulty in selling when the time comes.’

More On Mexico

Remember the news from Mexico? In short, buyers from overseas are expected to be able to buy coastal properties for the first time? At present, we are told, foreigners have to partner with a local bank in an agreement called a fideicomiso to buy in these restricted zones but it is complicated and time-consuming which puts many people off,’

That’s set to change and, as a result of the news, it’s being reported that ‘searches for luxury coastal property in Mexico by overseas buyers have increased by 27 per cent…Cancun and Playa del Carmen are set to benefit most with 57 per cent of all property searches by UK residents centered on the state of Quintana Roo in which they are located.’

Without wishing to get too ahead of ourselves – I am the man, after all, who once wrote a report on The Effects On Property Of The 2012, er, Paris Olympics (to be offered in the national media on the day after the announcement) – we can do a report on request. Let us know?

Have you read the international property newsletter for September?

Please feel free to send it on to anyone who may be interested in overseas property.


Property Alert 11th June 2013

Welcome to today’s email of UK property news and views…

BTL ‘Extras’ – A Reminder

Charles Brittain of investment adviser Invest Connect is in the news talking about the importance of contingency funds. ‘Buy-to-let repossession orders are on the rise because of rising rent arrears and void periods. If investors and landlords do not have a contingency fund in place to cover unforeseen circumstances, then they could fall into financial difficulty and potentially lose their property.’

‘As a general guideline, 30 to 35 per cent of one year’s gross annual rental income should be put aside to cover rent arrears, void periods, maintenance, repairs and refurbishment, plus white and brown goods replacement and the ongoing rental costs, such as gas safety certificates and letting agent fees. This contingency may not be used and should not be seen as an additional annual cost, just part of the investment business plan from the outset for investment protection.’

‘Buy-to-let is very profitable in the long term but only if you do your sums properly and structure your investment wisely. A property investment is similar to running a business, so you need a business plan, cash-flow forecast, finance and funding. The maintenance costs for a new or recently refurbished property are likely to be minimal at first. But over time, those costs will grow, particularly when larger-scale refurbishment is required.’


BTL Costs

Charles offers a checklist of initial costs…

Energy Performance Certificate

Gas safety certificate

Letting agent’s fees

Tenancy Deposit Scheme fees

Assured Shorthold Tenancy fees

Landlord insurance

Council tax and ground rent

Service charge

Buildings insurance

Utility bills

White goods and furnishings

Other costs? We have a fuller checklist to follow shortly.


London – A Changing Market

A new report from Cluttons, ‘One Size Does Not Fit All: Diverse Opportunities in London’s Rental Market’ makes interesting reading for existing and would-be investors in London. Key points? The number of private tenancies has risen by 80 per cent over the last decade. That supply has increased to meet demand. About 50 per cent of Londoners rent; that compares with 30 per cent across the country.

Londoners aged 20 to 40 years are the main clients for property rental, according to the report and they rent for longer. ‘Younger people are choosing to rent for longer periods, especially if they plan to stay in the capital only for a few years, or wish to live centrally, thus avoiding long commutes from outside London’

‘There is a growing differentiation between those that put a high value on proximity and amenities when choosing where to live and those that react to rising housing costs with soul searching over lifestyles that are prepared to compromise on accommodation, in order to keep living costs down.’ More to come.