Universities reach out to rental guarantor services as in-person learning resumes

Universities reach out to rental guarantor services as in-person learning resumes

United Kingdom
  • Housing Hand sees increase in universities exploring commercial arrangements
  • Universities being asked to do more with less, creating financial pressure points
  • Imbalance between returning students booking accommodation and first-years hesitating

UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has reported an increase in the number of universities enquiring about commercial arrangements, as Covid-related pressures continue to impact the UK’s higher education sector. The increase speaks to the difficulties that universities are facing as they seek to do more with less, welcoming all students back to in-person learning from 17 May.

Universities have spent the last year in crisis mode. They have had to deal with multiple lockdowns, set up widescale home/virtual learning and manage the impact of students who have tested positive for Covid. All while dealing with the economic fallout of a lower intake of students for the 2021/22 academic year as Covid fears persist (mainly fewer EU and other international students, but also those from the UK).

Universities being overworked and under-resourced is nothing new. Budget cuts were already biting, even before the pandemic. However, Covid has exacerbated the financial difficulties that universities and their students face. Increasing rent relief bills are taking their toll and many universities are now seeking alternative ways to support their students to remain in their accommodation should they experience financial hardship.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

 
Many students struggle to provide a qualifying UK rent guarantor when renting in the private sector. Housing Hand partners with universities in order to help alleviate this issue for their students. The award-winning company acts as a rental guarantor service for students from the UK and overseas, covering rent, damages and dilapidations.

The university model enables higher education institutions to partner with Housing Hand as a white label service. The university promotes the service to its students, while Housing Hand provides integration, co-branded application pages with an affiliate link and marketing materials. Students pay a reduced fee for the Housing Hand service, while the university doesn’t need to worry about the admin side of the process.

“The way we work with universities provides a win-win. Students can access the rental guarantor service they need at a lower cost, while the university takes on no financial risk. The risk sits with Housing Hand, and is backed by quality and financially rated insurance products. With some unusual fluctuations in the usual student rental patterns due to Covid, this no-risk approach is inspiring increasing numbers of universities to investigate the role of rental guarantor services.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

Although UK universities expect to re-open for in-house lessons this month, many students are hesitant to enrol for the 2021/22 academic year while Covid remains a threat. This is compounded for European students by Brexit for all international students by the current difficulties in moving between countries.

We can see this playing out across houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), where returning students have provided a steady stream of bookings. However, the purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) sector has been a very low uptake of rooms by its traditional cohort of first years.

“As the UK’s vaccination programme progresses and confidence improves, it’s likely that there will be a last-minute dash for places. This will create a flurry of activity in the accommodation sector, as students rush to secure rooms with far less planning than would usually occur. With costs spiralling and high levels of debt, UK universities are already under significant pressure. They need to do all they can to accommodate a rush of last-minute enrolments, including helping students to find the accommodation they need.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

75% of property investors are focusing on lower value properties

75% of property investors are focusing on lower value properties

United Kingdom
  • Fabrik Invest finds 3 in 4 buyers are seeking properties below £160k
  • Suburbs and tertiary cities are the big winners
  • Investors also looking for lower deposits

The property investment specialists at Fabrik Invest have highlighted another pandemic-driven change to the UK property market. Conscious of the wider economic backdrop, property investors are increasingly seeking out properties that offer both lower entry points and lower deposits.

“We’re seeing a growing trend towards properties priced between £80,000 and £160,000, with 75% of our investors now seeking out these homes. This is driving a shift in the locations being sought, with tertiary cities and suburbs of larger cities attracting particular interest.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

Fabrik Invest’s Dale Anderson cites Preston in Lancashire as a case in point. Apartments there at Bishopgate Gardens, priced from £120,000, have seen strong, sustained demand from both UK investors and those from overseas. Dudley in the West Midlands is another example, with investors being drawn away from higher priced Birmingham city centre properties in favour of commutable homes in Dudley, some 17km away.

Nor is it just property prices that investors are scrutinising so carefully. Many are also being drawn towards investment properties with lower deposits. While a 25% deposit is fairly standard across the buy-to-let property market, investors are increasingly searching for properties with deposits as low as 10%.

“The buy-to-let market is still very busy, but we’re definitely seeing signs of the longer-term influence of the pandemic on investor behaviour now. Lower value homes with lower deposits and those nearing completion are selling very well.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

Bishopgate Gardens completes later this year, in September. The site is currently a hive of activity, with kitchens going in and plasterers and plumbers hard at work. The finished apartments will be complemented by shared social spaces and retail units on the ground floor, all designed to offer an exceptional living experience. The 24/7 concierge will deliver drinks to residents enjoying the roof gardens on the eighth and eleventh floors, while a stylish lounge area, coffee pod café and shared working space cater to residents’ various needs.

Fabrik Invest is working closely with clients to provide opportunities such as this, with the right entry point to suit buyers’ changing requirements. The company is also running a monthly educational webinar, looking at market trends, specific locations and property investment more broadly.

For more information, please contact Fabrik Invest on 020 8175 9891 or enquiries@fabrikinvest.com, or visit www.fabrikinvest.com

Covid crisis highlights value of rental guarantor services

Covid crisis highlights value of rental guarantor services

United Kingdom
  • Rental guarantor services address key concerns for tenants, landlords and letting agents
  • Eviction ban end to result in further pain for landlords and tenants alike
  • Using personal guarantors now seen as even riskier than previously

The pandemic has seen tenants, landlords and letting agents all suffer in different ways as a result of Covid’s economic fallout. When the eviction ban ends on 31 May, that situation is likely to get worse – and not just for those tenants who have been unable to pay their rent. Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director of UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand, explains:

The delays in the courts for landlords looking to evict non-paying tenants are likely to be unprecedented, with the backlog of evictions having built up since the government first put the ban in place. This piles even more stress onto landlords who are already having to cover mortgages on properties that aren’t providing any income. It also means letting agents going without their cut of the rent for many more months while courts process the backlog. And for tenants, there’s the additional stress of falling even further behind with their rent while waiting to be taken to court. Everybody loses.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

While nobody saw the pandemic coming, there are plenty of lessons to be learned about risk avoidance for future major crises. One is the value of rental guarantor services. These are services that the tenant pays for to ensure that, should they become unable to pay their rent, it will still be paid: the guarantor company steps in and pays 100% of it for them. The tenant gets to keep their home, the landlord continues to receive an income and the lettings agency continues to receive its share.

The pandemic has also highlighted the value of rental guarantor services when compared with personal guarantors. Personal guarantors who were in a position to act as such at the outset of the pandemic may now be in very different financial situations. Relying on a personal guarantor for rent payments now carries much the same risk as relying on the tenant.

There are two other options available to landlords looking to ensure that non-payment of rent doesn’t lead to non-payment of their mortgage. One is rental insurance, where the landlord simply buys a policy, then makes a claim in the event of rent not being paid. The other is a company guarantor, which is where a company agrees to act as a guarantor for one of its employees. However, both of these models are flawed, according to Housing Hand’s Group Operations Director, Terry Mason:

“Insurance companies are known for not paying out on every claim. This has the potential to leave landlords unexpectedly out of pocket. Company guarantors, meanwhile, may be in very different financial positions than they were at the start of the pandemic, so carry risks of their own.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

For tenants and landlords looking for maximum protection, rental guarantor services that are underwritten by an insurer offer the greatest peace of mind. Housing Hand, for example, is backed by Lloyds syndicate insurance. It delivers 100% pay-out and continues until the end of the tenancy.

While many landlords – and their letting agents and tenants – have missed out on the benefits of rental guarantor services during the pandemic, those looking for a reliable safety net in future have everything to gain.

For more information, please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

Taylor Wimpey España launches second phase of Sun Valley homes, as Spanish property market picks up

Taylor Wimpey España launches second phase of Sun Valley homes, as Spanish property market picks up

Spain ,
  • New build transactions exceeded 2019 levels in August and September 2020 (Valmesa Consultores)
  • Mediterranean Coast property prices up 2.7% since February (Tinsa)
  • Britons bought more homes in Spain than any other foreign nationality in 2020 (Colegio de Registradores)

Despite Brexit and Covid, Britons bought more properties in Spain than any other foreign nationality in 2020. They accounted for 1.48% of overall property sales, with total purchases by foreigners accounting for 11.3%, according to the Colegio de Registradores.

While the total number of sales inevitably shrank in 2020, it was the second-hand homes market that was the most heavily impacted. Nationally, home sales dropped by 16.7%, but for second-hand homes, that figure reached 18.7%. Sales of new build homes, meanwhile, dropped by just 7.3%.

In fact, according to analysis by Valmesa Consultores, the number of new build transactions in August and September 2020 surpassed those in the same months of 2019.

We’re seeing some very positive signs across the Spanish property sector right now, with demand and sales both increasing. Buyers are looking for a mix of key-ready, newly completed homes, as well as off-plan properties on new developments. With renewed interest in the market, prices in coastal regions are beginning to increase, making now a great time to buy before they rise any further.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

Prices along the Mediterranean coast rose by 0.1% year on year in March 2021, according to Tinsa. However, the monthly increase since February stood at 2.7%, as buyers continue to gain confidence in the light of ongoing vaccination programme rollouts.

Increasing enthusiasm for overseas second homes was confirmed by recent statistics from A Place in the Sun, which found that 30% of people are now more motivated than ever to buy a property overseas. Of those looking at buying a property in Spain, 40% have their sights set on the Costa del Sol.

Leading Spanish home builder Taylor Wimpey España has been building along the Spanish Mediterranean coast for over 60 years. Most recently, the company has launched the second phase of homes at Sun Valley at La Cala Golf in Mijas, Malaga. With all but four of the key-ready homes in phase I already sold, Sun Valley’s second phase of stunning golf resort properties are available for purchase. Prices start from €251,000 plus VAT.

La Cala is Spain’s largest golf resort. It has a well-deserved reputation for the excellence of its facilities. Nestled between the sea and the mountains between Marbella and Fuengirola, the resort includes a hotel, restaurant, spa, golf club and academy, tennis court, squash court, fitness centre, running circuits and FIFA football pitch. All in addition to its three 18-hole golf courses.

The apartments at Sun Valley sit in a privileged position within the resort, at the top of the hill overlooking the Europa course. Their location provides buyers with panoramic views of the golf course and the sea, while all apartments are south or southwest facing for maximum enjoyment of the Spanish sunshine. Buyers also benefit from Sun Valley’s communal swimming pool and landscaped gardens.

The two- and three-bedroom apartments’ large terraces have glass balcony enclosures to make the most of the fabulous views. Interestingly, the April 2021 Savills report on homebuying trends in Spain found that those buying property in Spain prioritise having a good view more than any other factor. 94% of buyers ranked this as important, followed by 87% who were focused on having high-speed internet – also something that comes as standard at Sun Valley.

“We’re hearing from many buyers that it is peace and proximity to nature that they want right now. This means that golf developments such as Sun Valley are ticking all the right boxes. With international travel hopefully just weeks away from resuming, we’re busy providing virtual viewings and have taken a number of reservations following WhatsApp and Zoom tours.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

The Taylor Wimpey España team has been providing ‘live’ viewings via video call almost since the start of the pandemic, touring apartments and developments and even walking down to the beach. Calls last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

For more information, please contact Taylor Wimpey España on 08000 121 020 or visit https://www.taylorwimpeyspain.com/. If you reside outside of the UK, you will need to call 00 34 971 706 972.

Housing Hand highlights financial plight of international students, in face of 17% rent rise

Housing Hand highlights financial plight of international students, in face of 17% rent rise

United Kingdom
  • Brexit has quadrupled some course costs
  • Rents projected to rise by 17% over next 5 years
  • Students from EU/EEA and Switzerland can no longer apply for student loans

UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has spoken out about the financial plight that international students are facing in the UK.  

Students coming to the UK from overseas are facing the perfect storm. Brexit has increased course costs hugely for those coming from the EU/EEA and Switzerland, at the same time as rents are projected to rise steeply. We’ve also got Erasmus funding ceasing, in addition to the withdrawal of student loan facilities. This is going to place a huge additional financial burden on many young people over the next few years.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

UCAS’ end of cycle analysis 2020 shows an increase of 1.7% in student numbers from the EU (excluding the UK) being accepted onto UK higher education courses between 2019 and 2020. Non-EU acceptance numbers rose by 16.9% over the same period.

Course costs for these international students are significantly higher than for UK-based students, whose fees are capped at £9,250 per academic year. Those coming to study here from overseas are often charged three to four times this amount, with costs varying based on the degree course and the university. Students from the EU/EEA and Switzerland had their fees capped in the same way, but from August 2021, that cap will no longer apply.

The UK’s withdrawal from the Erasmus funding programme after the end of the academic year in 2021 will add to the pain, as will the fact that students coming from the EU/EEA and Switzerland can no longer apply for student loans.

“It is the rising cost of renting accommodation in the UK that is really adding to students’ plight. While we’ve seen landlords offering lower rents over the past year, as a result of the pandemic, projections show that rents are set to increase significantly between now and 2025.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

It is Savills’ data that has flagged up the likelihood of rising rents. The company projects that rents across the UK will rise by 0.8% in 2021, then accelerate the pace at which they are increasing, with total growth of 17% by 2025. For students on limited budgets – those from the UK as well as from overseas – that means having to find even more cash to pay their way through university.

“The spiralling costs of higher education in the UK – including students’ accommodation – increasingly mean that only those from higher income families are likely to have the option to attend. This is particularly the case for international students, given the impact of Brexit on the cost of studying in the UK.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

For more information, please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

Pandemic drives rise in commercial to residential conversions, presenting new opportunities for investors

Pandemic drives rise in commercial to residential conversions, presenting new opportunities for investors

United Kingdom
  • Fabrik Invest highlights significant shift from new builds to conversions
  • Lower prices, higher yields and faster income all driving the change
  • Location winning out over facilities in terms of investor priorities

Property investment firm Fabrik Invest has reported a shift in developers’ and property investors’ priorities, driven directly by the pandemic. Managing Director Dale Anderson comments:

“We’re seeing much more emphasis – from both the developers and the investors that we work with, and particularly over the past six months – on commercial to residential conversions. This is marking a significant and sustained swing away from new builds, as lower risk, more economical projects appeal more in the pandemic era.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

It’s cheaper to convert an existing building than to build one from scratch. This means that savings can be passed on to the investor, resulting in a better purchase price per square foot than new build homes. They can also be passed on to the tenant, with lower rents meaning the building is faster to fill.

Given Covid’s impact on the economy, lower rents are certainly appealing to many tenants right now. Rent arrears protection service Only My Share reported last month that it had seen a 300% rise in claims during the pandemic, as tenants struggle financially. From a development perspective, this emphasises the need to focus on lowering costs where possible.

The other major factor behind the rise in commercial to residential conversions, according to Fabrik Invest, is the speed at which the work can take place.

“New builds can take two to three years to complete, whereas a conversion can be finished in just three to six months. That’s a huge difference for developers in terms of risk, as well as cost. It’s also extremely appealing for investors looking to receive income as quickly as possible.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

Off-market apartments at Albion Place, in Manchester city centre, is one such example. Newly launched to the market this month, the first phase of homes are due to complete before the end of the year, providing investors with much faster returns than a new build ever could. Available from £140,000, the one- and two-bedroom apartments are also competitively priced – again, due to being a conversion, rather than a new build.

Commercial conversions also tend to deliver maximum benefit in terms of location. Albion Place, for example, sits in an enviable position between Spinningfields and MediaCityUK, just 850m from Salford Crescent station. According to Fabrik Invest, this is another plus point for investors.

“The pandemic has led investors to focus on location over and above amenities. This comes back to price, again. Cinemas, pools and gyms are all very nice, but they also eat into yields significantly by driving up service charges. In a price-conscious era, the right location – with a price-tag that can attract tenants fast – is proving far more appealing than on-site facilities and services.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

Over 60,000 homes have been created using permitted development rights over the past four years, according to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick. With demand increasingly favouring commercial to residential conversions as a result of the pandemic, it will be interesting to see how many more are created over the next four years.

For more information, please contact Fabrik Invest on 020 8175 9891 or enquiries@fabrikinvest.com, or visit www.fabrikinvest.com

Brits lead the charge to the sun as Taylor Wimpey España launches two new developments in April

Brits lead the charge to the sun as Taylor Wimpey España launches two new developments in April

Spain ,
  • British buyer snaps up first property at Essential in Jávea, Costa Blanca
  • New homes also launched in Port Verd, Mallorca
  • Demand for holidays to UK-friendly destinations increasing (Jet2)

In another sign that the resumption of foreign holidays is edging closer, leading Spanish home builder Taylor Wimpey España has launched not one but two brand new developments. 

With vaccination programmes underway and airlines adding new routes and additional capacity for this summer, many families are feeling confident once more about their longer-term holiday plans. Buying off-plan means that families who can’t travel right now can still enjoy planning for a future of building happy memories together overseas.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

That’s precisely what the first buyer at Essential in Jávea on the Costa Blanca can now do. The British buyer has snapped up the first of the 74 two- and three-bedroom apartments, which come with communal pools for adults and children and prettily landscaped gardens, just a 15-minute walk from the beaches and marina of Jávea.

Priced from €175,000 plus VAT, the apartments at Essential include spacious terraces with huge windows that blend indoor and outdoor living space beautifully. Privat rooftop terraces with hot tubs are available for the penthouse homes, offering a slice of sunshine-packed luxury at a superb price.

With supermarkets, a market, banks, restaurants, cafés, gyms, schools (state and international), a bus station and a post office all within walking distance, the homes are well-suited to year-round living, as well as holiday usage. They are due for completion in March 2023, providing families with plenty of time to look forward to using them once international travel is largely back to normal.

“We’re delighted to be able to provide buyers with a mix of properties to suit their differing needs. For some, that means providing homes that allow them to look a couple of years into the future and plan for anything from family holidays to retirement. For others, that means providing key-ready homes that allow them to enjoy the Spanish sunshine this summer, as soon as they can travel.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

Over in Mallorca, Taylor Wimpey has also launch Port Blau this month. The high-end homes enjoy a superb location in Port Verd, on the island’s east coast, with direct access to the sea. Each home is filled with space and natural light, with ground floor apartments offering private gardens and penthouses coming with their own private sun terrace.

Port Blau also comes with communal gardens and a good size swimming pool. Homes face south-east in order to delivery plentiful sunshine throughout the year. The 10 three-bedroom homes are priced from €425,000 plus VAT.

The launches come as demand for international travel continues to build. A number of airlines have launched additional routes and seats for the summer 2021 season. Jet2, for example, has added over 50,000 additional seats as a “direct response to demand” for holidays to locations that are open to welcoming holidaymakers from the UK, including Spain.

“While we are still some way off from international travel operating as ‘normal’ once more, the industry is nevertheless preparing for a far better summer than last year. We’ve already seen a notable increase in interest from UK holiday home buyers, with leads up 116% YTD in March from British clients, compared with an increase of 73% across all nationalities. Brits are coming back in force.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

For more information, please contact Taylor Wimpey España on 08000 121 020 or visit https://www.taylorwimpeyspain.com/. If you reside outside of the UK, you will need to call 00 34 971 706 972.

Y Viva España! Travellers prepare for the green light as excitement to visit Spain builds

Y Viva España! Travellers prepare for the green light as excitement to visit Spain builds

Spain ,
  • Second homes surge anticipated as Taylor Wimpey España reports 116% rise in UK leads
  • UK offering more summer flights to Malaga than any other country (Costa del Sol Tourism)
  • 93% of young adults report an increased desire to travel (Topdeck Travel)

It’s nearly time to pack the sun cream once more. The UK government is poised to announce the resumption of international travel, with details of its traffic light system eagerly awaited. The announcement is expected to lead to a huge wave of travel bookings, as pent-up demand for sunshine and international culture is finally released.

The news of travel resuming will come as a welcome relief for the travel industry and many associated sectors. Leading Spanish home builder Taylor Wimpey España points out that the Spanish second homes market will be one beneficiary of the resumption of international travel.

The news that Britons can head to Spain for their holidays once more will be very welcome. We’ve been in contact with a number of families during this latest lockdown who are itching to come and check out our second homes in person, having already completed virtual viewings and video tours. We’re expecting a very busy summer once families can finally put their plans into action.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

Travel industry experts are anticipating plenty of bookings when Britons are finally allowed overseas once more. One firm – Topdeck Travel – anticipates considerable movement around the globe from younger travellers. The company recently reported that 93% of young adults that it surveyed have an increased desire to travel as a result of the pandemic and lockdowns.

Meanwhile, Costa del Sol Tourism has flagged up the UK as offering more flights to Malaga than any other country between May and July, with seats available for 615,000 passengers between Malaga and 15 British cities.

For those who’ve already sated their wanderlust in their youth, second home ownership in a favourite destination is the perfect way to enjoy holidays as they grow older. Space, sunshine and safety are now the top priorities, according to the Taylor Wimpey España team. The firm has just reported an increase of 116% YTD for UK leads in March, signalling a solid rise in interest in second home ownership now that the country is getting close to the resumption of international travel.

“Plentiful space has become a key priority as a result of the pandemic. In particular, flexible space, which can suit working from home if need be or that can be used as leisure space at other times. Families also, of course, want to feel safe, which is why owning a second home can seem so much more attractive than booking a hotel stay right now. It offers a far greater degree of distance and privacy.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

Taylor Wimpey España’s new Ikat development in Mallorca has been designed with space and comfort firmly in mind. Based in the heart of the traditional town of Ses Salines, the homes are ideal for year-round living as well as regular holidays. They provide easy access to all of Ses Salines’ amenities, while still enjoying a resort-style pool and landscaped gardens. Priced from €260,000 plus VAT, the homes include two-bedroom/two-bathroom apartments, penthouses and duplexes, all of which come with a private garden, a solarium terrace or both. Three homes have already sold since the development launched in March, with a number of other sales expected to finalise in the next few weeks.

Ikat is ideal for families looking to foster a meaningful connection with Mallorca and the island’s traditional way of life. Away from the crowds of tourists, the homes provide an authentic Mallorcan living experience. The development’s exterior has been designed to fit beautifully with the local colours and architectural styles of Ses Salines. Interiors, meanwhile, showcase high quality, contemporary finishes. Living rooms that open onto terraces, while integrating kitchen and dining areas, provide a sense of spaciousness while flooding the homes with natural light.

“We’re excited to be able to offer a slice of authentic Mallorcan atmosphere at Ikat. Even the building’s name is traditional – it refers to the ancient textile dyeing technique for which the island is known around the world. Homes at Ikat have been built with post-pandemic family needs in mind. They are ideally suited to changing travel patterns and usage trends.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

For more information, please contact Taylor Wimpey España on 08000 121 020 or visit https://www.taylorwimpeyspain.com/. If you reside outside of the UK, you will need to call 00 34 971 706 972.

Is buy-to-let under threat in 2021?

Is buy-to-let under threat in 2021?

United Kingdom
  • “Taxes pose the greatest threat to buy-to-let investment” (Fabrik Invest)
  • Record 228,743 buy-to-let companies up and running
  • Around 2,000 buy-to-let mortgage products now available

The UK housing market has, thus far, weathered the COVID storm remarkably well. The Stamp Duty holiday led to an unexpectedly busy 2020, with provisional data from HMRC showing that 121,640 sales went through in January. That’s an increase of 24% year-on-year.

Plenty of families used the holiday to upgrade their home, with space becoming a highly prized commodity as a result of the pandemic. But what about landlords? An increasingly punitive approach to taxation over the past few years has seen the addition of a 3% Stamp Duty surcharge for those buying a second (or subsequent) home, along with a significant reduction in the amount of mortgage interest that landlords can offset against their profits.

Will the impact of this spell danger for the buy-to-let market in 2021? Far from it, according to Dale Anderson, Managing Director of Fabrik Invest.

“Taxes certainly pose the greatest threat to buy-to-let investment in 2021, particularly as government debt has spiralled due to Covid. The Chancellor will be looking at all angles when it comes to rebalancing the books. However, interest in buy-to-let properties in the UK continues to be strong. We still have a major shortage of housing in many areas of the country, along with a growing gap between salaries and property prices. All of this continues to create plenty of demand for rental properties.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

The increasingly availability of mortgage products certainly seems to back up the case for interest remaining strong. There are now approximately 2,000 buy-to-let mortgage products available, based on figures from Moneyfacts. That’s a rise of over 500 products since May 2020. Not only that, but lenders are increasingly dropping their requirements when it comes to deposit size. Back in May just 19 buy-to-let mortgages were available to investors with a 20% deposit. That number now stands at 100.

When it comes to taxes, buy-to-let investors are increasingly turning to holding companies in order to make a saving. Investing through limited company is, in many cases, significantly more tax efficient than buying property as an individual. As a result, a record 228,743 buy-to-let companies are now up and running, following a record number being formed in 2020.

“Investors are increasingly using companies to hold their properties, as the savings can run into the thousands for each home that they own. We saw a record number of buy-to-let holding companies formed as a result of this in 2020 and there’s every reason to believe that the same will occur in 2021, as more and more investors seek the most tax efficient setup possible.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

Taxation aside, there is one further threat that Fabrik Invest has identified for 2021: the oversupply of rental properties in certain cities, or in particular areas of certain cities.

“Investors really need to do their homework and perhaps focus more heavily on tertiary cities this year. We expect to see smaller cities such as Preston out-performing some of the bigger hitters in 2021, in terms of both capital growth and yields.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

This is why Fabrik Invest is focusing on developments such as Bishopgate Gardens right now. Centred around an impressive plaza, the 130 homes and seven retail units are raising the bar for Preston’s rental market. Two show-stopping rooftop gardens, a coffee pod café, an extensive lounge area and a stylish work-from-home space will set new standards for the city’s renters. As a result, investors have been flocking to the scheme, which now has just 14 homes left for sale.

For more information, please contact Fabrik Invest on 020 8175 9891 or enquiries@fabrikinvest.com, or visit www.fabrikinvest.com

How far will landlords and letting agents go to attract renters?

How far will landlords and letting agents go to attract renters?

United Kingdom
  • Housing Hand data reveals 22% reduction in rents in the past year
  • Landlords and letting agents slash rents in many areas to entice tenants to move in
  • February marks 9th consecutive month of price falls

Newly released data from UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has revealed a sharp drop in rents as the pandemic continues to put pressure on the housing sector.

The largest rental guarantor service in the UK, Housing Hand is uniquely positioned to monitor market activity from the perspective of tenants, landlords and letting agents all at once. The company has saw average rental values (compared to a year earlier) begin to decline in June 2020, when rents dropped to 11% below their June 2019 level.

Rents have continued to fall in many areas ever since, with the data for February 2021 showing that rents are now 22% below the level they were at in February 2020.

We’ve seen average rents fall steadily for the past nine months. In big cities like London, where tenants have moved outward either because of fears over the pandemic or due to the fact that they no longer need to be near the office to work, this fall is even more pronounced.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

The last two months of the year are usually the low season for landlords and letting agents. By October 2020, rental values were 14% below their level a year earlier. As such, many slashed rents even further in order to try and entice tenants to move in.

“As the pandemic continues to push people from city centres to their outskirts, rents in central areas are likely to drop even further. Not only are landlords and letting agents slashing prices in many areas, we’re seeing an increasing number of rental schemes offering one or even two months’ free rent in order to encourage tenants to sign on the dotted line. Again, this is particularly prevalent in city centres. It begs the question: how far will landlords and letting agents go to attract new tenants?”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly done much to turn the housing sector on its head, with government racing to introduce new initiatives to keep the market ticking over despite the painful economic backdrop. The eviction ban, in particular, has done much to protect tenants who can’t pay their rent. Unfortunately, it has also left many landlords unable to pay their mortgages. With rents now steadily declining in many areas, according to Housing Hand’s figures, it seems that the misery is far from over for both landlords and letting agents as 2021 unfolds.

For more information, please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/