Forget the Euros: will Spain, Portugal or the UK win the battle of the property champions?

Forget the Euros: will Spain, Portugal or the UK win the battle of the property champions?

Portugal Spain United Kingdom , ,
  • Portugal may be the defending European champion, but how does its property market stand up?
  • Will Spain’s second home credentials win out?
  • Or is UK property still holding its own?  

Euro 2020 excitement is reaching fever pitch, with the first match (Turkey versus Italy) due to kick off in Rome on Friday 11 June. In total, 51 fixtures will be played across 11 host cities. Both Spain and the UK will be hosting matches (in Seville and London, respectively), as defending champions Portugal seek to retain their championship title.

But enough about football. What about the contenders’ property credentials – does it make more sense to buy property in Portugal, Spain or the UK right now?

“Each country has its own merits when it comes to buying property there. Whether it makes more sense to buy in the UK, rather than Portugal or Spain, for example, depends entirely on what you plan to use the property for – and how long you intend to hold onto it before selling.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

Owning property in Portugal has plenty of appeal. The cost of living/holidaying there is a major draw. Numbeo reports that Portugal’s cost of living is lower than that of Spain, which in turn is lower than that of the UK. The Post Office Holiday Costs Barometer 2021, meanwhile, reports that Portugal’s Algarve is cheaper to visit that Spain’s Costa del Sol. And with property priced at €1,185 per square metre, Portugal’s homes are also cheaper than pretty much all of western Europe. Score one for Portugal.

Portugal also delivers an enviable lifestyle, particularly in the sun-kissed Algarve, with its stunning coastline, world-class golf and marine sporting facilities and its picturesque towns and villages packed with independent restaurants and cafés serving up the delicious local cuisine.

In terms of what you can get for your money in the Algarve, the homes at Amendoeira Golf Resort are a great example. Two-bedroom apartments cost from €285,000, while three-bedroom villas with private pools are priced from €490,000.

Owned and operated by Kronos Homes, Amendoeira Golf Resort presents buyers with a range of additional facilities, including golf, tennis, a gym, communal pools, a sports bar, a restaurant and a stunning new clubhouse. For those currently fixating on the Euros, there’s a natural grass football field built to FIFA’s standards, along with two AstroTurf five-a-side football fields.

So, what does Spain have to offer? Like the Algarve, southern Spain offers a superb outdoor lifestyle, with 300 days of sunshine per year. It also provides a wealth of golf and other sporting facilities, along with a wonderfully scenic coastline. Spain’s coast is on the Mediterranean, so it wins out over Portugal when it comes to sea temperatures (as Portugal sticks out into the Atlantic).

For those who like to treat themselves while on holiday, Spain is also the place to be. From designer clothes to yachts, the country’s southern shores are awash with high-end goods and upscale beach clubs (far more so than that Algarve, which tends to deliver luxury in a rather more laid-back fashion).

“Spain has long been a favourite destination for British holidaymakers and second home buyers. Its vibrant towns, superb gastronomy and cosmopolitan atmosphere are ideally suited to relaxation and enjoyment.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

Spain also wins out over its Iberian neighbour when it comes to flight times – just. Flying from London to Alicante takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes, while London to Faro is closer to 2 hours and 50 minutes.

In terms of properties, the Costa del Sol has a wealth of options available. Leading Spanish homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España offers everything from golf apartments to stunning beachfront homes.

A property at Sun Valley, for example, provide residents with all the benefits of living at the prestigious La Cala Golf Resort. Priced from €251,000 for a two-bedroom apartment, the south and southwest facing homes enjoy panoramic golf and sea views and come with a communal pool and infant splash pool. The individual apartments all feature large terraces and spacious interiors.

Where does all this leave the UK? Well, while Portugal and Spain are winning big with second home buyers, investors looking for passive income are turning to the UK, according to property investment firm Fabrik Invest. The company cites the UK’s stability as an investment destination as a key part of its appeal

Owning a rental property in the UK certainly comes with plenty of earning potential. The Exchange in Preston is an excellent example. It offers contemporary urban apartments within one of the city’s key redevelopment zones – Stoneygate. On-site amenities include a gym, residents’ lounge, elegant rooftop garden, concierge and bike storage. Not only are the homes set to benefit from the impact that the Stoneygate masterplan has on the local area, but the North West region is projected to lead the UK in terms of property price growth. Savills predicts that prices in the North West will increase by 28.8% in the five years to 2025.

So… which country wins? It seems the answer really does depend on what you want to own the property for. And as for who will win Euro 2020, only time will tell!

For full details of Amendoeira Golf Resort, please email realestate@amendoeiraresort.com, call (+351) 282 320 820 or visit https://www.amendoeiraresort.com/en/

For more information on Taylor Wimpey España, call 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.

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

What has the stamp duty holiday done for property investment in the UK?

What has the stamp duty holiday done for property investment in the UK?

United Kingdom
  • Fabrik Invest reports increased activity due to stamp duty holiday
  • Investors in Chatham Waters save over £100k in just over 3 months
  • First-time landlord numbers swelled by chance to save

As the stamp duty holiday draws to a close, property investment firm Fabrik Invest reports that the policy, which was introduced in July 2020, has done much to support investment in the UK property market. That investment is sorely needed; Hamptons reveals that the UK rental sector now has 250,000 fewer rental homes than it did at its peak back in 2017.

“The stamp duty holiday has delivered on a number of fronts after nearly a year of operation. It’s not just families seeking homes with more space who have been spurred into action – many investors have also seized on the opportunity to make a substantial saving.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

The savings certainly have been substantial. Under the stamp duty holiday, anyone who buys a property and completes by 30 June 2021 doesn’t have to pay tax on the first £500,000 of its value. Fabrik Invest has seen investors rushing to take advantage of this. In a little over the past three months, investors in one development alone have saved more than £100,000 in stamp duty that would otherwise have been due.

The development in question is Chatham Waters in Kent. Just over half an hour from London by train and completed in November 2020, the one, two and three-bedroom homes offer waterfront living with a range of high-specification on-site amenities.

“In the last six months, our Chatham Waters investors have saved over £60,000 thanks to the stamp duty holiday. The biggest savers were first time buyers, with some having saved more than 50% of the stamp duty that they would otherwise have had to pay. The holiday has definitely supported more activity in the buy-to-let sector and encouraged some first-time landlords to get involved.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

Interestingly, Hamptons has also noted the prominence of first-time landlords, with Head of Research Aneisha Beveridge noting that, “The stamp duty holiday has tempted more small and first-time landlords into buy-to-let, reversing a shift towards portfolio investors.” Low interest rates have also played a role in attracting new landlords to the sector – a shift that many see as vital to buy-to-let’s long-term appeal.

“The UK is struggling with a fundamental shortage of homes. Government policy has driven down the number of available rental properties over the past four years, despite continuing growth in the number of renters. It is our hope that those attracted to buy-to-let investment for the first time as a result of the stamp duty holiday will now remain within the sector and further increase the number of homes available to the UK’s renters.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

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

Preston showcases the potential of the North, as Fabrik Invest reveals details of The Exchange

Preston showcases the potential of the North, as Fabrik Invest reveals details of The Exchange

United Kingdom
  • 200 stylish homes launched, as Preston rents rise at one of fastest rates in UK
  • Investors seek to capitalise on £434 million worth of public funding
  • Exchange residents to benefit from host of amenities and on-site neighbourhood creation

Property investment company Fabrik Invest has revealed details of its newest development: The Exchange, in Preston. It is the second development that the company is offering in the rapidly growing northern city, following in the wake of the hugely successful Bishopgate Gardens.

“There’s so much dynamism in the property sector in the North right now and Preston is really showcasing that. Not only are property values rising rapidly, but so are rents, and there’s strong, sustained demand for well-located homes with the right amenities.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

Developed by respected local firm The Heaton Group, The Exchange will include rooftop gardens, a gym, a residents’ lounge, bicycle storage and a concierge. Commercial units on the ground floor, with carefully procured tenants, will deliver neighbourhood creation as well as the homes themselves. The 200 apartments will be split across three buildings. They range from one to three bedrooms, with prices starting at £136,000. Construction is already underway and completion is due in 2023.

In 2019, rents in Preston rose faster than in any other city in the North West and by Q1 2020, the city had made it into Zoopla’s index of the top ten cities with the highest annual rental growth in the UK.

The picture is certainly a positive one for the UK’s northern cities. JLL reports a 57% increase in northern letting activity so far in 2021, when compared with Q1 2019. And Savills has pegged the North West as leading the UK for projected property price growth, forecasting increases of 28.8% across the region in the five years to 2025 (versus 21.1% nationally).

The Exchange is poised to allow investors to take full advantage of this regional growth, as well as of the funds being channelled into Preston itself. £434 million worth of public funding has been allocated to regeneration work in the local area, along with £19.9 million from the Towns Fund, as announced in March.

“There is some real game-changing regeneration work taking place in Preston right now. That’s exciting from an investment perspective, as the work that’s underway has the potential to drive up property prices substantially. Investors who choose Preston therefore have a lot to look forward to over the coming years.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

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

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

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

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

Fabrik Invest reveals property investors’ top concerns as they navigate Covid and Brexit

Fabrik Invest reveals property investors’ top concerns as they navigate Covid and Brexit

United Kingdom
  • Post-pandemic market projections occupying investors’ minds
  • Big wins for tertiary cities already beginning to play out
  • Local migration patterns and employment fluctuations being carefully monitored

Property investment agency Fabrik Invest has shared insights into the top concerns that property investors are expressing as they navigate the dual complexities of the pandemic and Brexit. The company works with investors from more than 20 countries and has been monitoring their top property-related concerns for the past year.

“The impact of the pandemic on the UK property market is, naturally, top of investors’ minds right now. They are even more keen than usual to see the latest data on price movements both nationally and locally. There’s also a lot of interest in what’s next for the market – what’s the landscape going to look like in the future, post-Brexit and post-Covid?”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

The stamp duty holiday – now extended to the end of June – has done much to not just keep the property market moving over the past year but to accelerate transactions significantly. Prices have risen as a result, with Nationwide’s February house price index showing annual growth of 6.9%.

Of course, the question on property investors’ minds is whether or not a crash is on the cards. Yet key industry analysts think not. Savills is projecting 4% growth in prices in 2021, followed by 5% in 2022. In fact, in the five years to 2025, the firm is anticipating price growth to total 21.1% across the UK, led by growth of 28.8% in the North West. The figures reflect the measures in the spring Budget, including the introduction of a government guarantee on 95% loan-to-value mortgages. The scheme is set to provide further stimulus for the housing market.

The fact that the Office for Budgetary Responsibility now expects, “a return to pre-Covid levels by the middle of next year, six months earlier than first thought,” according to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, is further good news for investors’ looking at the UK property market’s potential for growing their capital.

Quantitative easing and the recently announced Corporation Tax hikes will also play into the UK’s overall economic picture over the coming months and years, as will migration patterns driven by the pandemic and by local fluctuations in employment levels.

“I expect a short-term dip in prices in certain parts of the country – specifically the prime London and Manchester city centre markets. We’re likely to see homeowners and investors looking for better value outside of these areas instead. Third tier cities should make for the most attractive prospects.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

Preston, in Lancashire, is one such example. With a rapidly growing population and £434 million worth of investment schemes underway, plus a further £19.9 million from the Towns Fund announced in the spring Budget, the city has plenty going for it.

The fact that Bishopgate Gardens, a 130-home residential scheme in Preston, is seeing a surge in interest right now speaks to the appeal of tertiary cities in property investors’ eyes. With shared social spaces including a stylish lounge area, a coffee pod café, show-stopping rooftop gardens and a shared working space, plus seven ground-floor retail units, the development offers a lifestyle experience designed to level up choices for Preston’s renters – and for its investors.

“What we’ve also heard over the past year is investors’ need for significant reassurance over the online nature of their transactions. This has been a direct result of the pandemic. Investors want to know how they can be sure they’re making the right decisions when everything is done virtually.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

Fabrik Invest has fared well in this respect. The firm’s knowledge-based approach has seen it partner with leading financial and mortgage advisors as it works to provide investors with an honest approach to their investment options. That means not only providing deeply researched information on each investment location, but also being upfront about the risks associated with off-plan investment. The company’s consultants, all of whom have a minimum of a decade’s experience in the sector, host personal strategy meetings online, working to understand each investor’s goals at an individual level. 

It’s an approach that clients have found reassuring in the face of the adversity created by the pandemic – and by Brexit too. It means that, while the market is changing in terms of localised demand, property investors are still keen to be a part of the UK’s economic future. They’re just keen to know which cities will provide the best returns and the best potential for capital growth – so while the questions at the top of their minds have changed, their fundamental needs remain the same.

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

Balancing commercial and residential developments is key to keeping town centres alive post-pandemic

Balancing commercial and residential developments is key to keeping town centres alive post-pandemic

United Kingdom
  • Just 29% of high street addresses are retailers (Office for National Statistics)
  • 1 in 12 shops closed in 5 years to 2018 (Ordnance Survey)
  • Blending retail units with new homes is key to city centre survival (Fabrik Invest)

Property investment specialists Fabrik Invest have spoken out about the importance of balancing residential development in city centres with commercial premises in the post-pandemic world. City centres have been hit incredibly hard not only by successive lockdowns but also by the reduced footfall resulting from a far higher incidence of home working throughout the pandemic. According to Fabrik Invest, this puts an onus on developers and investors to take an active role in keeping urban centres alive.

“Our town and city centres were already struggling when the pandemic struck, with one in 12 shops closing in the five years to 2018. Yet town centres do so much to help communities connect. That’s something that has become infinitely more valuable as a result of the prolonged isolation of the pandemic. Developers have plenty of scope to help nurture our towns’ and cities’ growth and this needs to be a key focus moving forward.”

Steve Jacob, CEO, Fabrik Invest

By March 2020, just 29% of high street addresses were retailers. Squeezed salaries and the shift to online shopping have been two of the key reasons behind this, both of which have been significantly exacerbated by the pandemic. The closure of offices and the shift to students studying online has intensified the problem, due to the huge drop in the number of those passing through town and city centres. For retail units, footfall is everything

People’s changing preferences have also had an impact on town centres in recent years. While the pandemic has served to push people towards country living, that followed a boom in demand for city centre homes, which is likely to pick up once more as the vaccine roll-out continues and we look forward to a post-pandemic return to relatively normal life.

“People increasingly want everything on their doorsteps – to live within walking distance of excellent restaurants, a selection of shops and the best leisure facilities available. The relaxation of planning laws meant that many old office spaces could be converted into residential buildings, but we need to balance that with keeping commercial premises in urban centres too, as those are a key part of the reason that people want to live centrally.”

Steve Jacob, CEO, Fabrik Invest

The planning law relaxation allowed people with B1 office space to convert it into residential accommodation without the need for a full planning application, provided they stuck to national framework guidelines. The move led to a lot of unused office space being turned into homes and continues to do so to this day. Fabrik Invest regularly offers such developments for investment.

Bishopgate Gardens in Preston is a prime example of this. The office block, which had stood vacant since early 2019, is being converted into 130 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, with shared social spaces including a stylish lounge area, coffee pod café, shared working space, reception area with 24/7 concierge and show-stopping rooftop gardens on the eighth and eleventh floors.

Bishopgate Gardens will also be home to seven retail units on the ground floor, including a deli, barbers, beauticians and florist. Budding entrepreneurs to take over the high-spec shops, which face onto the development’s impressive plaza, are currently being sought.

“With commercial to residential conversions, there’s often plenty of scope for developers to provide retail space on the ground floor. This will be key to the long-term survival of our town and city centres as places where individuals can connect with local businesses and with the wider community. In the post-pandemic era, this will be more important than ever in keeping the commercial heart of our cities alive.”

Steve Jacob, CEO, Fabrik Invest

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

Pandemic drives changes in landlord behaviour/buying patterns

Pandemic drives changes in landlord behaviour/buying patterns

United Kingdom
  • Investors increasingly seeking additional bedrooms and on-site co-working spaces
  • Outdoor space to remain at a premium over the longer term
  • City homes in particular being scrutinised by landlords looking for ideal amenities

Property investment company Fabrik Invest is reporting longer-term changes in landlord behaviour and requirements, as the continuing impact of the pandemic is felt across the UK’s private rented sector.

“There’s still plenty of interest from investors looking to become landlords. Indeed, the Bank of England putting banks on notice to prepare for negative interest rates in the next six months is doing much to fuel a shift of liquid assets into bricks and mortar. Many of our investors are already moving to do this. What’s interesting is the sustained shift in the types of property that they are seeking.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

This shift in demand has put a spotlight on properties such as Bishopgate Gardens in Preston. Priced from £120,000 and due for completion in September this year, Bishopgate Gardens’ 130 apartments have been designed to deliver an exceptional living experience. Residents of the one, two and three-bedroom homes will have access to a shared working space (‘The Common’) and on-site coffee pod café, as well as a stylish lounge area and reception with 24/7 concierge. The show-stopping rooftop gardens on the eighth and eleventh floors, meanwhile, more than tick the oh-so-important outdoor space box.

It is the shared working space, as well as the outdoor areas, which Fabrik Invest has found that investors are increasingly focused on. Home-based working has flourished of necessity during the pandemic, but over the longer term it will continue out of choice for many.

“The increase in home working is driving interest in on-site co-working spaces like never before and it’s not stopping there. Many investors are now looking to put their cash into properties with an additional bedroom that can be used as an office. Landlords are adapting their behaviours and approach to the new normal.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

It is city centre homes in particular that landlords are scrutinising through a new Covid-lens. People aren’t using city centres in the same way they used to. Many behaviours are expected to return to normal as the vaccine rollout reaches the masses. However, the fact that Covid-19 may well move from pandemic to endemic in the human population means that some changes will be for good. This means, according to the Fabrik Invest team’s experience, that landlords are hedging their bets by investing in homes with on-site facilities that make localized living easy. In Preston, Bishopgate Gardens’ seven ground floor retail units are a case in point, with residents enjoying easy access to a barber, hair salon, beauty shop and grocery store, among others.

Location-wise, it’s all eyes on the North West. Savills’ latest mainstream residential market forecast pegs the North West as leading the UK for house price growth over the next five years, projecting growth of 27.3% for the region (compared to 20.4% for the UK as a whole). This is already unfolding, looking at recent figures. Zoopla’s latest House Price Index shows that the highest house price growth since April 2017 is being led by northern cities, with Liverpool house prices climbing by 6.3% over the past year, followed by those in Manchester at 6%. But that’s not to say that landlords are looking in precisely the same locations within these cities that they were pre-pandemic, according to Fabrik Invest.

“In big cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester, we are seeing investors looking at areas further out, such as the home counties and commuter belt towns for London. Kent is a good example of this – it has the good transport connections for those who need to commute into London, as well as plentiful green space and more affordable prices than the capital. In Manchester, it is Salford Quays that is turning heads. Tenant demand is strong there and investors are racing to meet that demand.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

As 2021 unfolds, all eyes will be on the UK housing market to see what happens after the stamp duty holiday ends. Ultimately, though, the country has a sustained imbalance between its supply of rental homes and the demand for those homes. With the prospect of negative interest rates also coming into play, demand from investors doesn’t look to be dropping off any time soon.

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

Buy-to-let 2021 – what will Covid and Brexit mean for the market?

Buy-to-let 2021 – what will Covid and Brexit mean for the market?

United Kingdom
  • Fabrik Invest looks at the likely effect of Covid and Brexit on the buy-to-let market
  • 41,700 buy-to-let companies set up in 2020 (Hamptons)
  • Bank of England looking into potential of history-making negative interest rate

2021 is shaping up to be a big year of the UK buy-to-let sector. Huge, in fact. Hamptons has just reported a record number of new limited companies incorporated in 2020 with the specific purpose of holding buy-to-let properties. 41,700 such companies were incorporated in 2020, meaning that the number of them has doubled since 2016, when the government began ramping up the tax burden faced by buy-to-let investors.

So, will Covid and Brexit combine to finally dent interest in UK buy-to-let investments, when even the prospect of paying more tax hasn’t deterred investors? Unlikely, says Dale Anderson, Managing Director of Fabrik Invest.

“The UK remains a promising and active market for fully managed buy-to-let properties. The country has a fundamental lack of supply and that’s unlikely to change; we simply can’t build homes fast enough. For overseas investors, Brexit actually presents potential for savings, as currency exchange rates fluctuate. Add to that the fact that Covid is bringing about opportunities such as discounted deals and suddenly 2021 is shaping up to be a huge year for the buy-to-let sector.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

Fabrik Invest flags up buyers from the Middle East, Hong Kong and South Africa in particular when it comes to key investor demographics overseas this year. The company also points to the impact of interest rates and fiscal policy on the 2021 buy-to-let sector.

At present, interest rates remain at the historic low of 0.1%. Not only that, but the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has been openly looking at the potential impact of a negative rate since June 2020. Such a move would be the first time in history that the UK has had a negative interest rate and would be excellent news for borrowers. Even without a further reduction, the current low makes mortgage borrowing in 2021 an attractive prospect.

“With borrowing rates at a record low, now is an excellent time to invest in property. The government is printing another £150 billion due to the pandemic – a move that will catch up with it eventually. It carries with it the potential for the currency to devalue and inflation to rise, meaning that tangible assets such as bricks and mortar carry an even more reassuring degree of safety than usual.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

So, where will investors be focusing during 2021? On regional markets mainly, based on Fabrik Invest’s insights. Michigan Towers, in the heart of the MediaCityUK site in Salford Quays, Manchester, epitomises this regional trend. The contemporary homes have been designed to suit working professionals who want everything on their doorstep, while benefitting from high quality interiors and impressive views.

Covid will come into play in this respect, as demand for apartments with communal gardens, rooftop terraces and innovative home-working spaces continues to increase.

“We saw a push towards a more rural way of life as the pandemic took the nation in its grip in 2020. However, mass vaccinations over the course of 2021 are likely to drive a resurgence of confidence in the urban lifestyle, with people finally able to enjoy the UK’s cities to the full once more. This is why so many or our investors are seeking apartments right now, rather than lower-yielding houses. It’s yet another factor that is underpinning the success of the buy-to-let market in 2021.”

Dale Anderson, Managing Director, Fabrik Invest

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