Unlocking Manchester’s property potential – Trend towards conversions for city living

Unlocking Manchester’s property potential – Trend towards conversions for city living

United Kingdom

The undeniable centre of the Northern Powerhouse effect, Manchester is witnessing a huge influx of businesses moving into the city from southern climes, creating an evolving marketplace. The recent Savills ‘Spotlight: The Future of Manchester’ report has revealed that the city has seen the creation of 57,000 jobs in the city centre since 2011, a figure that is greater than twice the growth seen across the UK as an entirety.

And this is just the beginning for Manchester’s business growth. The report also predicts that the city will need to house an additional 36,000 office workers in the next ten years which, given the current average annual property shortfall of around 5,100 homes and the expanding population as a whole, will be quite some feat.

With brand new developments appearing both in the city centre and edging further towards the outskirts to fulfil this blossoming need, there is a growing demand for a different type of property emerging.

Jonathan Stephens, Managing Director of Surrenden Invest, explains,

“A growing number of large corporations have moved – or are planning to move – their operations to northern centres of business, with Manchester leading the way as a far cheaper alternative to London in many ways. Savills has predicted that this will result in the need for nearly 100,000 new properties in the next ten years and therefore the question has been posed to Manchester as to how they will meet this explosive demand.

“Though a large part of this demand is being answered by the myriad of new builds under construction, since the extension of the Permitted Development Rights (PDR) there has been an emerging trend within Manchester of conversions of former industrial or office spaces, unlocking previously hidden potential in the market – and providing exciting new properties in turn.”

Appealing to the growing professional population themselves and investors alike, such developments boast all the benefits of centre city living and modern amenities, alongside character features and the high quality of an original, traditional building.

One such project that is gaining attention is Surrenden Invest’s One Cross Street. Situated in the very centre of the city, just five minutes’ walk from Manchester’s prime business and exclusive leisure district, Spinningfields, as well as from the luxury shopping district of New Cathedral Street, One Cross Street is ideally located for the new growing professional sector.

Redeveloped from the stunning structure of a former cotton mill, the original building of One Cross Street was built circa 1907 and is one of the last properties of its kind to be developed. The property is formed of 34 luxury apartments within a high-quality conversion of the original building, featuring elements of the existing structure left exposed, such as exposed brick and beams, as well as a creation of a modern new-build extension which will include two new penthouse floors featuring floor to ceiling glass walls.

Modern low-carbon technology means that the building will be one of the city’s most energy efficient, making this a future-proof investment. The passive heating environment that is created, where the building’s ambient temperature is maintained through air source heat pumps and heat recovery systems, means that running costs are incredibly low.

As part of the sense of community that is central to the project, One Cross Street boasts laundry rooms and a beautiful roof terrace, available to all residents. Properties also come fully furnished, with high quality furniture packs, as well as high end fixtures and fittings.

Studios are priced from £130,323, two-beds from £224,355, and a three and four duplex from £286,613.

Offering an unrivalled 6.2% net rental guarantee for 4 years, there is a projected 5 year return on investment of 45%.

For more information, visit www.surrendeninvest.com or contact Surrenden Invest on 0203 3726 499.

Great Expectations! New study reveals UK offers the best quality accommodation, according to students

Great Expectations! New study reveals UK offers the best quality accommodation, according to students

United Kingdom
  • UK offers a more satisfying university experience than anywhere else in the world – 91% of students overall satisfied (UK Higher Education International Unit)
  • Quality of student accommodation in the UK rated better than anywhere else (UK Higher Education International Unit)
  • Annie McConnell, University of Reading student, discovered Collegiate AC accommodation far exceeded expectations with additional facilities

The UK university experience has undeniably huge appeal, seen in the growing numbers of students studying in the country with each passing year, but whilst it is easy to look at the figures of those choosing a UK study set-up, once here, does the experience meet their great expectations?

A new study commissioned by the UK Higher Education International Unit using data from i-graduate’s International Student Barometer (ISB), has revealed that satisfaction with the UK study experience has in fact improved in recent years, with latest statistics from 2014 showing that 91% are satisfied overall, compared to 90% in 2008.

Alongside this, the UK university experience comes highly recommended: the number of those who would recommend the experience to someone else has grown by 2% in the last six years, placing the UK – the country with the greatest international student intake – firmly on the world stage as the leading higher education destination for student satisfaction.

An important aspect of this appeal is the living experience provided by student accommodation, the quality of which has been shown by the study to have improved by a percentage point to a level of 84% of students satisfied today. This places the quality of UK student properties ahead of its rivals around the world when students were asked to rate out of 4, with the UK’s satisfaction score of 3.07 ahead of Australia at 3.05 and Canada, New Zealand and the US all rating 3.01.

Heriberto Cuanalo, CEO of the leading provider of luxury student accommodation in the UK, Collegiate AC, comments on the findings,

“We are very proud to be at the leading edge of the excellent, and internationally recognised, student accommodation sector in the UK and it is fantastic to see that students are overall extremely satisfied with their university living experience. At Collegiate AC we strive to be the very best we can be and our motto ‘Student living. Just better’ is at the core of everything we do. It is heartening that this is recognised in our consistently high levels of student satisfaction both those overseas students arriving in the UK to study and with our home-grown students that choose to live at a Collegiate AC property.”

One such happy student is Annie McConnell, 18 from Glastonbury, a first-year student at the University of Reading and a resident of Collegiate AC’s Saxon Court. Annie explains how her living experience compares to her previous expectations,

“When choosing my university accommodation, I knew that I wanted to be in a halls environment so that I could make new friends, but also have my own privacy and space, and this is exactly what the individual studio setup at Saxon Court seemed to provide. After looking at the website and visiting the showroom I had an idea of what the rooms looked like, but didn’t think that my studio would be the same. I assumed that the company would have made some things look better than they are in reality – I genuinely thought what I’d seen was far too good to be true – but it turned out that this wasn’t the case at all!

“Saxon Court has exceeded my expectations, when I saw my room I was so happy. I would have just been happy with my studio let alone the gym, cinema room and dinner party room! I also didn’t expect the lounge to be so nice, it really does look like something off of a movie set, it’s incredible!”

Interestingly, although the cost of living in the UK for students has increased in recent years, student satisfaction has also increased over and above this. Further revealed by the ‘International Undergraduate Students: The UK’s Competitive Advantage’ report, the most significant study of undergraduate experience ever undertaken, there has been an increase of 7% in living cost satisfaction levels from 2008 to 2014.

As the report indicates, the ‘key here is ‘positive expectation management’’ and this is where inclusive billing by companies like Collegiate AC comes in. The leading provider ensures that energy and internet bills, for example, are part of the single fee charged, ensuring that student budgeting for cost of living is made simple and painless. Not only this but the on-site facilities offered by Collegiate AC properties, such as on-site gyms and private cinemas at no extra cost, means that, again, budgets are far more manageable.

For more information, visit www.collegiate-ac.com or contact Collegiate AC on 01235 250 140.

Taylor Wimpey España confirms ‘meaningful improvement in Spanish market’

Taylor Wimpey España confirms ‘meaningful improvement in Spanish market’


Leading Spanish homebuilder, Taylor Wimpey España, has today announced continued growth in the business due to a ‘meaningful improvement in the Spanish market in 2015’.

The company, which has been building homes in Spain for over 50 years, released figures that show an increase in the total order book, as at 31 December 2015, of 15.9% to 270 homes at the close of the year.

Alongside this, and as part of their commitment to delivering quality developments as the trusted name in Spain, Taylor Wimpey España revealed an increase in completions of 53% in 2015 compared to 2014 (from 164 homes in 2014 to 251 homes in 2015).

Highlighting the improving Spanish market, the leading developer also confirmed an increase in average selling prices compared to a year ago. The average selling price of a Taylor Wimpey España property in 2014 was €250,000, by 2015 this had increased by 26% to €315,000. The increasing average amount spent on a Spanish holiday home indicates the growing trust in a Spanish market that is going from strength to strength. This trust is being restored as the market continues to gain and increasing numbers of buyers look again at this popular second home market. This has been shown in the recent General Council of Notaries figures which showed an increase of 8.7% in sales of Spanish properties in September.

Javier Ballester, Managing Director for Taylor Wimpey España comments on the successful end of year figures:

“We are extremely proud of the fantastic results Taylor Wimpey España has seen in 2015, figures which have confirmed our position as the leading homebuilder in the Spanish property market. The fact that increasing numbers of buyers are purchasing properties at higher prices, indicates the fantastic news that the Spanish market is on an upward trajectory.

“As more and more people look to buy a home in this wonderful country, we will continue to deliver properties of the highest quality and with accompanying services that provide the very best for our loyal and increasing client base. We look forward to an even more successful 2016, for both Taylor Wimpey España and the Spanish market.”

With properties across the Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol, Mallorca and Ibiza, Taylor Wimpey España is the name that has become synonymous with new homes in the key tourist and second home locations in Spain. Having been building award-winning homes that complement the natural beauty of the regions in which they’re prevalent since 1958, the company prides itself on exceeding customers’ expectations.

With an improved operating profit for 2015, reflecting the significant contribution of newly acquired sites, today’s announcement by Taylor Wimpey España is part of a successful year for parent company Taylor Wimpey plc, which saw the  FTSE 100 company deliver a record operating profit margin of over 20%.

For more information, please contact Taylor Wimpey España today on 08000 121 020 or visit www.taylorwimpeyspain.com. Those residing outside of the UK should call 0034 971 70 69 72.

Rugby Ranking: New data reveals the property winners and losers of the 2015 Rugby World Cup

Rugby Ranking: New data reveals the property winners and losers of the 2015 Rugby World Cup

United Kingdom
  • 13 locations across England and Wales will play host to the 2015 Rugby World Cup
  • co.uk releases new ‘Rugby Ranking’ revealing which venues have registered greatest property price growth in last 5 years
  • The Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford takes top spot with 35.6% increase, followed by Twickenham Stadium with 28.6%

The 2015 Rugby World Cup kicks off on Friday 18th September at Twickenham, with home nation England taking on Fiji in the first head-to-head of the tournament that will run for the next six weeks.

Yet it is not just the rugby that is drawing the crowds to these 13 key sporting locations around England and Wales. New ‘Rugby Ranking’ data released by Urban.co.uk, the UK’s original online estate agent, reveals how each location rates in terms of its property price growth in recent years – and the results certainly make for interesting reading.

Whilst Twickenham Stadium will be the venue for the exciting climax of the sporting tournament on 31st October, it is not the location that takes the trophy for the greatest price growth in the last five years. The ultimate prize is awarded to The Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford which has seen outstanding property value growth of 35.6%, taking 2010’s average value of £310,863 to £421,542 today.

England’s home ground of Twickenham Stadium is however home to the most expensive property, with today’s average value standing at £557,305, an impressive 28.6% higher than five years previous and ensuring the location takes 2nd place in the Urban.co.uk Rugby Ranking.

Following very closely behind with an average 28.3% growth in property prices and taking 3rd place is the area directly around Wembley Stadium, whose average house price in 2010 stood at £324,921, whereas today it is a massive £417,013.

Another location with over 20% growth is that within the near vicinity of Brighton Community Centre in Sussex, where today’s average property price stands at £386,296, 22.3% up on 2010’s £315,948. Taking 5th place in the Rugby Ranking is Stadium MK (Milton Keynes), the top rugby location outside of the south-east for property price growth, witnessing a 19.1% increase in the past five years, taking 2010’s average of £177,143 to £210,936 today.

Next in line is Leicester City Stadium, the venue that will play host to Argentina versus Tonga on 4th October. Here house prices have grown by 12.6% in the past five years (from £182,911 to £206,042), ensuring that the location stands at 6th place. Following this venue in the location listing is Manchester City Stadium at 7th place, whose average house prices have increased by 11.8% (from £101,079 to £112,966).

The only Welsh location playing host to the Rugby World Cup is the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff and it is this stadium that takes 8th place in the Rugby Ranking. Here, 11.2% property price growth has been seen over the past five years, with 2010’s £160,133 standing at £178,144 today.

Following closely behind is the only south-west 2015 World Cup venue, Exeter’s Sandy Park, having registered 11.1% price growth since 2010’s £225,325. Today’s average value of £250,273 places Devon’s key stadium in 9th place.

Standing at 10th place in the Rugby Ranking is the north-east’s St James’ Park, situated in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and registering 9.7% growth from 2010 to 2015. Five years ago the average property in the vicinity was priced at £145,899, whereas today it is an impressive £160,077. Falling behind this location is Kings Holm Stadium, Gloucester, where the second match of the 2015 tournament will take place. Here average property prices, according to Urban.co.uk, stand at £148,287, 9.5% up on 2010’s £135,395.

Whilst all of the locations have seen property price growth in the past five years, the final two stadium locations of the 2015 Rugby World Cup have done less well. In 12th place, Leeds’ Elland Road saw an average property value of £86,626 in 2010, with today’s average of £94,742 totting up a 9.4% growth.

Taking the final place is the Urban.co.uk Rugby Ranking is Birmingham’s Villa Park, with the lowest property price growth off all Rugby World Cup venues over the last five years, with just 8.3% growth, taking average prices from £96,493 in 2010 to £104,518 today.

Commenting on this enlightening new data, Adam Male, Founder of Urban.co.uk an online estate agent with 10-years’ experience in both lettings and sales, gives his take on their Rugby Ranking,

“It is clear that being close to a UK rugby venue can have an effect on house prices but it is interesting to see how much this can vary across the country. Whilst the affluent south-east is known to have seen rapid property price growth in recent times, other areas across the UK, such as Milton Keynes and Leicester, appear to have also witnessed impressive increases in the past five years when you look close to the key stadium locations.

“With the 2015 Rugby World Cup on the doorstep of these locations, this will ensure that these 13 important sporting locations are the focus of attention worldwide. It remains to be seen what further effect this will have on their house prices of the future and we will watch with interest.”

For more information, visit Urban.co.uk or call 0800 6899955. 

Alpaca it all in for a new life on the farm!

Alpaca it all in for a new life on the farm!

United Kingdom
  • Howard and Tracy Simpson use money saved from selling home online to buy herd of alpacas
  • Original online estate agent Urban.co.uk provides flexible service, far cheaper than ‘traditional’ high street agent
  • Apple Tree Farm Alpacas established, offering alpaca trekking in the South Pennines and Calder Valley

There are many reasons that people use an online estate agent: convenience, efficiency, a DIY attitude, affordability… but to save on estate agent fees in order to buy a herd of alpacas? In the case of one couple from Yorkshire, yes!

Howard Simpson (50) and his wife Tracy (51) from Hebden Bridge had always dreamed of escaping suburbia, with husband Howard having previously worked on a farm and Tracy, as a true ‘animal person’, having always loved the idea of having a smallholding of their very own. Whenever the couple discussed what this would consist of, all they knew was that it had to be “animal-friendly”, insisting that nothing could “go for the chop”.

It was following a visit to St Davids in Pembrokeshire that the couple were inspired to get their very own herd of the typically Peruvian alpacas, falling in love with what they describe as the “big cuddly teddy bears” straight away. Yet the question then arose as to how to make this dream a reality? With somewhat unusual dreams, Howard explains that they wanted to take the non-traditional route to selling their home ahead of buying a farm,

“The cost of selling a large house in the area we live using a high street estate agent was going to be around £6,000 which we felt was a disproportionate cost in relation to what service was offered. We also wanted to have full control over the selling process as a whole to make sure we were indeed maximizing the potential of the property. This is why we chose online estate agent Urban.co.uk to sell our property.”

The original online estate agents, established ten years ago, Urban.co.uk offer a full estate agency service, backed by five star customer service and professionally qualified staff. Properties are advertised via sites such as Rightmove, Zoopla and Primelocation, as with a standard agent, yet with the service being internet-based, it is far cheaper than selling the ‘traditional’ way.

Howard explains how this savvy move meant that their smallholding dream could finally become a reality,

“I was 50 this year and in one of my birthday cards from my brother in law was a cutting out of the Yorkshire Post indicating 16 Alpacas for sale. We drove down to Carmarthen in South Wales and spoke to the owner Paul who was selling his herd. We bought the boys, 8 of them, which for us was ideal, collected them at the end of June and they have settled in great: Hero, Centurion, Praetorian, Hercules, Forester, Falcon, Emissary, and Bertty (Berttram).

“The cost of the Alpacas was £6,000 and that is just about what we saved from paying a ‘normal’ estate agent which we think is a much better way to spend our money!”

Having previously used a high street agent, Howard and Tracy are now converts to the online means of property selling, thoroughly recommending Urban.co.uk. Howard says,

“Using an online agent gives you the flexibility to manage all stages yourself. The whole process was very simple and the customer service people were a great help. You can tailor the service to your own competency level and do as much, or as little, as you want.

“I wanted to be in control and show people around to ensure that all the best aspects were shown and this is exactly what we did. Then, during negotiations, I could refer back to the points which I knew the buyers were interested in, in our case the large garden and large reception rooms.”

Completing the successful sale of their property and settling into their new home at Apple Tree Farm in Hebden Bridge with their alpaca herd, the couple have now established their new business venture – alpaca trekking.

Taking small groups for walks in the stunning countryside of the South Pennines and Calder Valley, Howard, Tracy and the alpacas have the chance to meet new people, share their love for the friendly creatures and enjoy their new beautiful surroundings, none of which would have been possible if it hadn’t been for the money the couple saved selling their property online with Urban.co.uk.

For more information about selling or buying a property online, visit Urban.co.uk or call 0800 6899955. 

For more about Apple Tree Farm Alpacas, visit www.appletreefarmalpacas.com

Turkey takes a bite out of the Big Apple’s tourism sector!

Turkey takes a bite out of the Big Apple’s tourism sector!

  • Istanbul to welcome more visitors than New York in 2015 (Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index)
  • 1% increase in house sales in Turkey in June 2015; 19.7% growth in number of house sales to foreigners in Istanbul (Turkstat)
  • Istanbul tourism also outpaces Singapore’s; on track to overtake Paris to become second in Europe in next four years (Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index)

Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and cultural melting pot of East-meets-West, has been revealed as on track to overtake New York City with record tourist numbers this year for the very first time.

This eye-opening news came with the release of Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index, an annual travel study that rates worldwide cites for their international overnight visitor arrivals as well as cross-border spending.

A huge revelation given NYC’s seemingly steadfast standing that has had it on the tips of people’s tongues around the world for many years as a must-visit location, Istanbul is instead today drawing increasing attention. Predicted to see an impressive 12.56 million international visitors tread its streets in 2015 (ahead of New York’s 12.27 million) Istanbul now ranks 5th in the world in the new Index and its move up from 7th place over the last year signifies a growth of 11.4%, higher than any of the other 132 destination cities considered.

Further confirmation that the city has solidified its place on the global stage as an internationally-renowned tourist destination, this is excellent news for the growing regional property market. The latest figures released by Turkey’s statistical institute, Turkstat, show a 19.1% increase in house sales in Turkey in June 2015, compared to the same period the previous year, with Istanbul taking the lion’s share (some 19.5%).

Adil Yaman, Director of Universal21, the leading property agency in South-West Istanbul, gives his take on the emerging positive news,

“It really is incredible news that Istanbul is outpacing New York for tourism this year, marking 2015 out as an amazing year for the city and its bright future as a global destination. Compounding this fact is the additional news that yet again, the property market of Turkey’s largest city is flourishing as more and more people recognise the untapped potential in the growing sector, especially from overseas. Investment opportunities therefore abound as growing numbers respond to the positive reverberations.”

As Yaman indicates, in line with the growing tourism sector, Istanbul registered a show-stopping growth of 19.7% in the number of house sales to foreigners in June this year compared to 2014 figures, as increasing numbers either purchase their own holiday homes or recognise the potential of the buy-to-let market.

Not only proud to overtake New York, Istanbul is also outpacing Singapore (7th in the ranking) in the Global Destination Cities Index. This is especially interesting given that the Index highlights that visitors to Istanbul are the most diverse, with the largest mix of nationalities (an indication of resilience) yet Singapore’s lack in this regard. It is also on track to register visitor spending of $9.37 billion this year, an increase of an impressive 7.3% on 2014 figures, and a figure that places it 10th in the world.

In line with Yaman’s allusion to Istanbul’s “bright future”, the Index clarifies that Istanbul is Europe’s fastest growing destination city, going on to state that,

“Istanbul has a much higher growth rate than Paris. If these two cities continue to grow their international visitors’ numbers at the current rates, in four years, Istanbul will overtake Paris to become second-ranked in Europe after London.”

One project that is witnessing increased attention in this regard, especially from overseas buyers, is Diamond Residence from Universal21. This impressive project, formed of 148 beautifully-designed residences, is situated in a quiet, relaxed area of Istanbul’s upmarket Old Beylikdüzü, whilst still being in close proximity to all amenities and restaurants. Just a 20 minute drive from the main Ataturk airport, the property is also a short drive from the beach and a 10 minute walk from the area’s major shopping centre, Marmara Park.

One and two bedroom apartments are available, alongside an array of excellent facilities that include: 24 hour security, a Vitamin Bar, fitness centre, indoor swimming pool, children’s games room, Turkish bath, 5-a-side football pitch, gym, sauna and massage room and cinema room.

One bed apartments are priced from £57,000 / €78,000 and two bed from £98,000 / €132,000.

For more information about Universal21, visit www.universal21.com or call 0203 287 8700. 

House prices rise like a phoenix from The Ashes

House prices rise like a phoenix from The Ashes

United Kingdom
  • The Ashes start in the UK on 8th July, pitting England against Australia for the 69th time
  • co.uk releases new data that shows the rise in property prices close to famous cricket grounds since the last time The Ashes were in the UK
  • Lords is top cricket location, with 18.57% growth in 2 years; Trent Bridge top outside of London, with 8.9% price rise

With temperatures rising and the sound of leather on willow filling the air, the cricket season is in full swing, heralding British summertime. And nothing marks the season more decidedly than the start of The Ashes. With England pitted against the Australians for the 69th series since the very first in 1883, this year’s Tests which will take place on English soil, will prove particularly eye-opening, with the home nation just one series behind Australia’s 32 victories.

Yet, this year, it is not just for the sport that eyes will be turning to the famous grounds that will play host to the Tests, up and down the country, savvy buyers are looking to these locations for shrewd property purchases.

Urban.co.uk, the UK’s original online estate agent, has released new data that reveals the impressive rises in house prices of properties in close proximity to the country’s famous cricket grounds, registering striking growth since the last time The Ashes were in the UK.

For those with cash to splash, ‘unbeaten’ Lords is the top location in which to buy property for price growth, according to Urban.co.uk, with an 18.57% growth in average house prices in the vicinity since July 2013. An average house in this part of London’s St John’s Wood was then £1,145,449, whilst today it registers at a heady £1,358,096.

Coming in a close second, as another location having had ‘a good innings’ in the past two years is South London’s Kennington, home to the Oval where the final Test of the series is traditionally played. Here, average property prices have risen some 17.22%, from a figure of £471,449 in July 2013 to £552,628 in July 2015.

A true phoenix rising from The Ashes, Trent Bridge is the top cricket location outside of the capital in terms of recent house price growth, with properties today on average £221,216, compared to £203,131, an increase of 8.9% since the last time series was played on British soil.

Another location that has not been ‘run out’ of the rankings is that surrounding Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens, where today’s average property is 8.34% higher than in 2013, a still-affordable £189,335 compared to £174,759 two years previous.

Not one to be ‘stumped’, properties in the vicinity of Headingly in Leeds, West Yorkshire are still ‘bowling over’ buyers looking for a smart property move. Here when The Ashes were last on home turf, an average property was priced at £191,611 and today the same is revealed as £206,127, a growth of 7.58%.

Adam Male, Founder of Urban.co.uk who have released the findings, an online estate agent with 10-years’ experience in both lettings and sales, explains more about the reasons behind these impressive price hikes,

“Cricket is undeniably the quintessentially British sport, with its long tradition, historic significance and rich terminology appealing to our eccentricity and sporting prowess. Yet it is now also clear that the sport, and key ground locations especially, are today also appealing to savvy property buyers.

Recent years have shown that being in close proximity to cricket grounds can boost property values and rental prices. Whether it is purchasing a property that is perfectly situated for a home-grown cricket fan, others are cleverly buying to rent out their properties to such sport lovers instead. Some astute buyers are capitalising on short-term rentals aimed at avid fans when large tournaments are running, by moving out and cashing in. Recent figures confirm this, showing a healthy and steady growth across such locations throughout the UK, with even more extreme price increases in central London cricketing areas, since The Ashes were last here. It looks like we are the nation to back this summer – in more ways than one!”

For more information, visit www.urban.co.uk or call 0800 6899955.

What Students Want: High-speed internet, inclusive bills and double beds

What Students Want: High-speed internet, inclusive bills and double beds

United Kingdom
  • Student top priorities revealed as fast internet, inclusive bills and double beds (Glide Utilities)
  • The continued ‘flight to quality’ is set to continue (Savills)
  • Collegiate AC provides all of aspects highlighted by report and undertake own tenant surveys

Mel Gibson’s classic film ‘What Women Want’ famously shone a light on the supposed truth of the inner thoughts and needs of the female of species, purportedly revealing their secret ‘wants’ and allowing men to learn some very enlightening aspects about the feminine psyche. Now, in a similar guise, the ‘What Students Seek’ report by Glide Utilities has revealed the hitherto unknown aspects that are key to modern students’ property needs.

The 2015 survey has revealed that the top priority by far for this year’s students is fast internet, with 83% of those asked placing this form of technological communication and online research tool above all other important aspects. Next in line was inclusive bills, with almost three-quarters, or 74%, of respondents saying that this was something they specifically looked for when choosing their accommodation, rating it as either ‘essential’ or ‘important’, revealing that today’s students like to know where they stand up-front with their student property, and in turn their finances.

The survey also showed that 61% required their rooms to have double beds and 59% needed their property to offer big, functional communal rooms, something that is often thought of as lacking in the stereotypically cramped student flats of old.

As the leading provider of luxury students properties in the UK, Collegiate AC pride themselves on knowing precisely what students seek, also undertaking regular surveys of their tenants to determine their priorities. Heriberto Cuanalo, CEO of Collegiate AC, explains more,

“The demands of today’s student is very different even to, say, a student of five years ago and keeping abreast of these evolving demands is key to providing the very best student accommodation. At Collegiate AC, we provide all of the aspects highlighted in the new ‘What Students Seek’ report, with our inclusive billing covering super-fast broadband and Wi-Fi in every room, fabulously comfy double beds, and a variety of common rooms, reading rooms and work rooms to provide our residents with the spaces they need to live and study in comfort.”

The ‘What Students Seek’ survey also found that respondents are looking for their property to have a top location (55%) and good transportation links (31%). Again, Collegiate AC opt for properties that are close to the city centre, so that residents can enjoy easy access to a wide variety of shops, restaurants and other facilities, also ensuring that they are well-located for access to university campuses, giving residents the convenience of having everything they need on their doorstep.

James Villarreal, CEO at Glide Utilities explains that the results of the ‘What Students Seek’ report provide an insight into the wider context of evolving student demands,

“The secret to gaining student appeal in 2015 is definitely ‘more is more’. While the majority of students are satisfied with their accommodation, we can’t ignore the fact that this figure is gradually falling. This isn’t because conditions are slipping, necessarily, but that student expectations are rising.”

These increasing expectations of the modern student reveal that university accommodation today is not just seen as a place merely to lay your head, with this also being highlighted by the newly released Savills Spotlight report on ‘UK Student Housing’ 2015. The report confirms that,

“The introduction of higher fees appears to have continued to drive a flight to quality… The attractiveness of universities in terms of the quality of the education they provide, their value for money, employment prospects and even the student lifestyle offered by the town or city will continue to play an important role in where prospective students choose to go…. We expect the ‘flight to quality’ to continue with higher ranking institutions benefiting most.”

As Savills indicates, the importance of additional aspects and facilities to enhance both study success and lifestyle experience are key, something which Collegiate AC is at the forefront of, through providing a wide range of student accommodation of the very highest standard in some of the UK’s very best university cities.

All properties are thoughtfully-designed and beautifully attired to meet the needs of the discerning modern student. Incorporating features such as on-site gyms, private cinemas, study spaces and luxury lounges, as well as concierge services, 24-hour security and even airport transfers, Collegiate AC properties are luxurious and hugely desirable.

Cuanalo concludes, “We work hard to make sure that our accommodation is perfectly suited to students’ needs to ensure that we get it spot on, every time. This is something that is at the very centre of our ethos to provide ‘Student living. Just better’. We know what students want.”

For more information, visit www.collegiate-ac.com or contact Collegiate AC on 01235 250 140.

Game of Thrones fans flock to Andalucía, while movie stars make a beeline for Mallorca

Game of Thrones fans flock to Andalucía, while movie stars make a beeline for Mallorca

  • Seville’s popularity up 107% thanks to Game of Thrones (Skyscanner)
  • Mallorca filmings up 11% in 2014 (Mallorca Spotlight)
  • Mallorca Film Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary

Spain has long been the darling of movie and TV location specialists. With reliably fabulous weather, stunning open countryside and a plethora of ancient castles, crumbling fortifications and winding streets, it is the perfect place to shoot anything from blockbusters to hit TV series.

Game of Thrones, much of the current season of which has been filmed in and around Seville, is the latest high profile TV series to shoot on location in Spain, following in the footsteps of TV series Mad Dogs, which was filmed on the Balearic Island of Mallorca and biblical epic Clavius, also filmed in Andalucía.

Seville’s Alcázar Palace and the bullring in the nearby town of Osuna have featured prominently in the fifth season of hit show Game of Thrones and have led to a considerable boost in tourism in the region. Figures from Skyscanner reveal a 107% increase in searches for Seville by foreign tourists following the airing of the first episodes of the fifth season, compared with figures for the previous year.

Overall, tourism figures in Andalucía are up 9.6% during Q1 2015 compare with the same period in 2014, with the Andalucían Tourism Situation Survey recording a total of 4.27 million visitors during the quarter.

Nor is it just Andalucía that is enjoying the benefits of its blockbuster credentials. The Marbella International Film Festival, which is renowned for attracting a glitzy, star-studded crowd, this year celebrates its tenth year. Meanwhile the Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival attracts a younger, hipper and more daring following and though only started in 2012 has already garnered an impressive reputation among the world’s international filmmakers.

Mallorca is enjoying a significant boom in its filming industry at present, with Mallorca Spotlight reporting an 11% increase in the number of films in 2014, compared with the previous year, with 137 filmings accounting for a total of 469 filming days on the island. The Palma Film Office can take some credit for the increase, having been set up to enable production companies to more easily obtain permits, close streets and use public buildings, with location scouts able to search its gallery of images in much the same way that a holidaymaker might browse a travel portal.

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of leading Spanish homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España and Mallorca resident, comments,

“It’s fantastic that Mallorca is enjoying such a boom in its reputation as a filming location. The fantastic weather and range of stunning locations provide an ideal environment for shooting everything from adverts to films and the island is fast becoming one of the movie industry’s favourite locales.”

Movie stars who enjoy their time on the island so much that they don’t want to leave can enjoy superior second homes at the stunning Cala Anguila II development, where beautiful apartments with direct access to the beach are available from €245,000. Owners of the high spec properties can enjoy spacious private gardens or roof terraces, as well as a delightful pool and peaceful grounds.

Those looking for a more affordable alternative need look no further than the selection of exclusive apartments and townhouses at Costa Beach, where prices start from as little as €240,000 for a two bedroom apartment. Direct beach access, lush gardens, a sizeable pool and fabulous sea views are just some of the development’s top features, while the local area also offers four excellent golf courses and a number of white, sandy beaches.

Homeowners on Mallorca can look forward to rubbing shoulders with a wide range of celebrities, either visiting the island to film their latest hit movie or simply enjoying Mallorca as an idyllic holiday destination. According to EuroTravel Magazine, Goldie Hawn, Eva Longoria, Sting, Joan Collins, Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffiths have all been spotted on the island recently, while Shane Ritchie likes to head there after filming finishes in the UK on a Friday, to spend the weekend in the sunshine before returning to England to continue filming the following week.

For more information, please contact Taylor Wimpey España today on 08000 121 020 or visit www.taylorwimpeyspain.com. Those residing outside of the UK should call 0034 971 70 69 72.

Summer holiday heaven – look no further, Europe has it all!

Summer holiday heaven – look no further, Europe has it all!

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  • 76% of UK parents let their kids have a say about where to go on holiday (HomeAway)
  • Beachfront apartments near Spain’s top theme park from €560 per week (Kyero)
  • Average UK child costs £35k by age 5 (Aviva)

When it comes to summer holidays, it seems we want it all – pristine beaches, high-octane theme parks and water parks, first-rate golf courses, rural activities like horse riding – and all set against a backdrop of good weather and great food. It might seem like a lot to ask, but there’s no need to book that round the world ticket, as it turns out that Europe has it all this summer!

With a new study from Aviva revealing that the average UK child costs their parents £35,000 by the time they reach the age of five, many families will be looking for affordable holiday options, yet not wanting to compromise on the quality of the vacation experience.

At the same time, research from HomeAway and YouGov has shown that a significant majority of parents (ranging from 76% in the UK to 95% in Germany) allow their children to have a say in deciding on the holiday destination. With this in mind, here we look at five European options to suit every taste and budget this summer.

For beach lovers

Peter Walshe, Marketing Director of Lalzit Bay Resort & Spa, is an advocate of the Albanian coastline when it comes to pristine beaches. He comments,

“Albania offers both good value for money and the long, quiet stretches of sand that are perfect for family holidays. The kids can splash around in the shallows at hyper-speed, while mum and dad can relax and put their feet up just a few feet away, making places like Lalzit Bay ideal for families who want to enjoy the beach for a range of purposes.”

Those looking to invest in their own property by the beach can choose from a range of high quality apartments at Lalzit Bay Resort & Spa, where prices start from as little as €35,000 for an apartment. Those looking to splash the cash can opt for the ultimate in luxury property, with five and six bedroom beachfront villas offering unobstructed Mediterranean views from just €437,000.

For water park fanatics

Portugal also offers some stunning beachscapes, as well as a number of excellent water parks, dotted along the southern Algarve coastline. Chris White, founding director of boutique estate agency Ideal Homes Portugal, observes,

“One of the many great things about the Algarve is the number of holiday options that it provides. Golf lovers, beach bunnies, foodie travellers and water park fanatics are all perfectly at home here. Between the three main water parks – Slide & Splash, Aquashow and Aqualand – families have an incredible choice of H2O-based rides and activities. They offer something for everyone, from tiny children splashing in the warm waters of the children’s pool at Slide & Splash to serious adrenaline junkies rocketing down the White Fall at Aquashow. Aquashow even includes a sizeable theme park for those for whom the water rides aren’t quite enough!”

A three bedroom villa with its own pool close to Slide & Splash in Lagoa can be picked up for €350,000.

For theme park aficionados

Those who prefer to stay dry while satisfying their adrenaline craving should head to neighbouring Spain, where theme parks abound. One of the best is PortAventura Park in Salou, which was voted the number one amusement park in Spain in the 2014 TripAdvisor travellers’ choice awards. Martin Dell, Director of leading property portal Kyero.com, which offers property sales, holiday rentals and long-term rentals across Spain, comments,

“PortAventura is one of Spain’s best-loved theme parks and is packed with families seeking adventure during their summer holidays. From gentle rides for the littlest members to super-fast thrills for big kids (of all ages!), its six themed worlds offer a huge range of entertainment options. It has an aquatic park too with a vast array of slides and rides, packing in far more than can be done in a single day – it’s Spain’s equivalent to Florida.”

A frontline beach apartment with pool in Salou can be rented from €560 per week.

For golfers

Spain is also a wonderful destination for golfers, particularly those looking for island-based courses in the Balearics. Mallorca is a popular choice, as Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of prestigious Spanish homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España, points out,

“The views from some of Mallorca’s golf courses are simply stunning and the island welcomes golfers of all abilities, from pros to those just learning the ropes. The Mallorca Golf Academy operates across the island, for those looking to hone their skills in the sunshine, while the range of courses of the island mean that those who have come simply to play can always find a quiet time to enjoy golf here at its best.”

Costa Beach at Port Vell has four excellent golf courses within a ten minute drive, the nearest being just 900 meters away. The development also offers direct beach access and a fantastic pool, with prices for the apartments and townhouses starting at €240,000.

For nature lovers

If even golf sounds like too hectic an activity, Italy is the place to go, according to Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs founder of Le Marche-based luxury fractional ownership business Appassionata. Italy is one of Europe’s most popular rural tourism destinations and the Le Marche region offers the perfect blend of a small town base (for the convenience of restaurants, cafés and shops) with access to stunning countryside. Dawn comments,

“Le Marche is perfect for holidaymakers looking to escape it all. They can enjoy horse riding across miles of rolling countryside, picnic in solitude beneath the vast blue sky and refresh their spirits with the peace and fragrance of the open country, all before returning home at the end of the day to sink into a deep bath before a visit to the local pizzeria for a slice and a glass of locally produced wine.”

Fractional ownership options at Casa Tre Archi in Le Marche are available from £70,000 for five weeks’ use of the luxury holiday home per year.


For more information please contact:

Kyero: www.kyero.com

Taylor Wimpey España: +44 08000 121 020 or www.taylorwimpeyspain.com. Those residing outside of the UK should call 0034 971 70 69 72.

Appassionata: +39 33154 13225 or www.appassionata.com

Lalzit Bay Resort & Spa: +44 845 125 8600 or www.lalzitbay.com

Ideal Homes Portugal: 0800 133 7644, +351 289 513 434 or www.idealhomesportugal.com