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2017 – even bigger, even better for Inspired

Martin Skinner

Are you nervous about the year ahead? Brexit, Trump, house prices, the global economy? I know I am.

But I’m also excited because in 2017 everything will change. And we’re good at leading through change – we’ve been through so much of it. The old ‘world order’ (particularly in homebuilding) was looking out of date and ripe for some ‘Inspired’ disruption.

In 2016, Inspired led the movement towards higher quality, more efficient and more affordable accommodation. We pioneered improvements in standards, technology and legislation – adapting to the new world and evolving lifestyles. We completed a bunch of awesome projects. We were in the papers, on TV and won awards on the way. We even helped to re-brand Croydon.

So – let’s do it again in 2017. I’m not sure exactly what our greatest achievements will be – a lot of that will be up to you – but if they’re going to be anywhere near what we achieved last year, they will be pretty extraordinary – and that’s an exciting prospect.

Umm – what shall we do?

Shall we help Housebuilders to bring forward new homes by acquiring future phases in their entirety off-plan and then improving them? Sure, why not, let’s do it!

Shall we help smaller investors to continue to invest in buy-to-let? Yes please. We and many other developers need BTL to get new projects off the ground and deliver much needed new homes for young professionals and first time buyers. We have numerous innovative and supportive friends on www.propertytribes.com and in what is now a £2tn BTL sector. Let’s defend them!

Shall we solve the housing crisis? I think we should. Let’s drive home our campaign for efficient legislation and a better planning system. We can build more homes if we cut the red tap – I would love us to be spending more time with our customers creating solutions for them instead of filling in so many forms for lawyers and local authorities.

Can we also continue to deliver great value homes and exceptional returns for our investors? Absolutely.

And if we can get through all of the above before the year’s out, we might just have time to establish ‘co-living’ as an asset class and launch our crowdfunding and VR (and maybe AI and AR) platforms. The world’s our oyster…

But then what? Well I guess that’s up to us. Is that scary or exciting? Probably a bit of everything but hopefully more of the latter.

Come on, let’s do it, let’s make 2017 the best year ever!

Martin Skinner – Founder and CEO, Inspired Asset Management / Inspired Homes

Gatwick expansion to have positive effect on south London property market 

Following months of in-depth debate, eleven councils across London have urged Theresa May to back Gatwick's bid to build London's new runway. 

The airport has recently reported increased activity with trade at an all-time high, encouraging the government to take the expansion plans more seriously. 

Most recently, these eleven council bosses have witnessed nearly 20 years of failed attempts to increase the capacity of Heathrow sufficiently which has only made them more determined to see successful expansion plans carried through.  

Unsurprisingly, Croydon Council is amongst the eleven councils openly supporting the concept of the Gatwick expansion, in addition to Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Lambeth Council. 

The impact of expanding Gatwick will spread across the whole of London, but have a particularly positive effect on South London. Over 3 million Londoners will experience the impact of increased trade, more job opportunities and improved transport links. In addition, property prices will also increase in the surrounding areas as they benefit from the alterations. 

Currently, the average price of a house in London is over 600,000, with prices in outer boroughs such as Croydon still reaching averages of £350,000 - £400,000. The expansion of Gatwick means that there is an opportunity to experience capital appreciation on properties based in the relevant areas. 

Furthermore, former MP's Tessa Jowell and Steve Norris have been confirmed as the heads for the new Gatwick Growth Board, ensuring the impact of the expanded airport is positive and benefits are equally distributed across the region. 

For regular updates on the industry, please contact our team on 0207 495 0523

UK housing market stands strong after Brexit vote 

Both politicians and property experts predicted that UK house prices would take a rather large hit post-Brexit, yet the residential market in particular has managed to remain relatively stable. 

New data by Rightmove shows how 40.7% - 352,301 - of the 866,179 homes available for sale nationally the day before the Brexit vote are now under offer. In addition, prices have remained stable thanks to increasing demand for property across the UK. 

Throughout July and August, the total number of homes on the market has increased by nearly 2%, with the country’s average asking property price rising by £1,040 – from £240,470 on 25 July to £241,510 on 8 August.

Following an independent study which was highlighted in a report by Landlord Today, Nick Leeming, Chairman at Jackson-Stops & Staff, commented: “Whilst the market has weakened slightly following the Brexit result, we usually see a slowdown in activity over the holiday months and these figures suggest we are yet to see a property crisis.

“Although agreed offers have marginally decreased, many thousands of buyers are still making offers to buy homes in the present economic environment. As a result, many sellers are feeling confident, demonstrated by the fact that asking prices themselves have not fallen – and have in fact seen a moderate increase.”

The average price of a home in London is now £600,076, with this figure expected to grow even more thanks to a shortage in supply and increasing demand. Therefore, those worried about the impact of Brexit on the residential property market can rest assured. A weak pound is causing an increase in overseas demand, buyers confidence is rising and property is still proving to be an excellent investment. 

To receive regular updates, please contact the team on please contact our team on 0207 495 0523

Property investment benefits most from bank rate cut 

The Bank of England has slashed interest rates to an all-time low of 0.25% in a bid to boost the UK's economy. The alteration has been done as a part of a quantitative easing plan, with the hope of encouraging people to spend more and save less. 

However, as any move, this stimulus package produces both winners and losers. 

 In this case, it's the savers who are losing out as they are earning a lot less from their money in the bank. On the flip side, property investors are due to benefit massively!

The cut in interest rates is set to attract more buy to let investors to the market, and currently the north and greater London are experiencing incredibly high rental yields. 

An environment that promotes spending as opposed to saving means that property investment will be boosted, and this will be fuelled further thanks to a weak pound when overseas property investors are concerned. 

Those with large savings in the bank stand the chance of losing money over time with a drop in value, whereas property continues to be a relatively safe investment, particularly in high-growth areas. 

Borrowers, mainly mortgage holders, will benefit from the rate reduction, however, the benefits could take time to come to fruition.  

Ultimately, now is an excellent time to consider London property investment opportunities, which is what we specialise in. 

Our developments are all based in areas of London that are due to experience exceptionally high capital appreciation which is making then incredibly popular with both London investors and international property buyers.

To find out more about our portfolio, please contact the team on please contact our team on 0207 495 0523

Chinese Property Investors turn to London post-Brexit

This is clear proof that the Brexit vote has boosted Chinese buyer interest in UK property investment opportunities, making the most of a strong yuan. 

Juwai's research goes on to say that "with politics stabilising and a competent new government in place, the UK looks like the same old safe haven as ever - but cheaper."

Over the last 12 months, Chinese interest in London property has been falling, however, this was partly due to the slowdown in the Chinese economy earlier this year. However, they are now reaffirming their place in the global market as key players across the UK property landscape. 

Investors from China are changing their buying habits, though, leaning towards purchases either in the North or in outer London, where higher rental yields are possible. 

This is what has made Inspired's units incredibly attractive to overseas buyers. We only develop in boroughs which are due to experience large levels of capital appreciation, including Croydon, Epsom, Sutton, Chertsey, and Crawley. 

We use permitted development rights to convert tired old apartments into beautiful units, which provide owners with an excellent rental income thanks to their award-winning communal areas and superb transport links. 

To find out more about our current investment opportunities, please contact our team on 0207 495 0523

Property price gaps between the capital and the rest of the UK closes 

It's a widely known fact that property prices in London are hugely inflated in comparison with the rest of the UK as the capital experiences such large levels of demand. However, new research from the Land Registry has shown how the gap is closing slightly. 

According to this new data, the average price of property in England and Wales reached £221,832 in May, almost half the price of Greater London (£472,163).

This may still sound like a comparatively large difference, however,  the data released in March showed that a property in London was three times more expensive than the rest of the country. 

These latest statistics demonstrate that prices in England and Wales have begun to feel the benefits of record low mortgage rates and recent government initiatives, such as the 2014 reduction in stamp duty and the Help to Buy scheme. In addition, experts believe that prices will only escalate further following the Bank's decision to slash interest rates to 0.25%. 

Price growth in May reflected a healthy 1% increase versus the previous month, whilst prices were up 8.7% year-on-year, well above the average market appreciation is seen since the credit crunch of just 4.9% per annum. 

This is incredibly positive news and defies any expectation that Brexit would ruin the UK's residential property market. 

London continues to be the centre of property activity, and despite huge price increases over the last 20 years, 2015 to 2016 still saw an average increase of 13.6%. Over the last ten years, property prices in London have increased by 48% (Zoopla), with a value change of £210,857. 

With several regeneration schemes in place, increased trade and growing demand, London prices are showing no sign of slowing, which makes property in high-growth boroughs an excellent investment. 

To find out more about our investment opportunities in areas such as Croydon, Epsom, Sutton and Crawley which are all undergoing extensive redevelopment plans, please contact our team on 0207 495 0523

London's rental market is going from strength to strength

When looking at London's rental market, you would question why so many 'experts' are worried about a Brexit property lull. 

According to the latest data from Knight Frank, demand for rental property in London is at an all-time high, with prices rocketing as demand increases. 

The estate agency said that the number of tenancies agreed for prime properties in London in the last three months was 3% higher than in the same period in 2015.  The highest level of demand is currently for homes that rent between £5000 and £5000 per week, highlighting how all property types are experiencing huge levels of demand, which is producing interesting opportunities for buy to let investors.

Tim Hyatt, head of lettings at Knight Frank, said: “From a transaction perspective, the level of new deals has remained strong. In particular, the number of corporate inquiries was encouragingly positive as it was dramatically up on last year, highlighting that confidence in London as a capital city of choice remains strong.

“Due to the imbalance of supply and demand, landlords need to be realistic when it comes to pricing in an increasingly competitive market.”

At Inspired, we currently focus on high-growth areas in London such as Croydon, Epsom, Sutton and Crawley, where demand for rental properties is also soaring. 

The average cost to rent a property in Croydon currently stands at £1300 per month, however with regeneration schemes in place and the arrival of a new Westfield shopping centre, these prices are only due to increase.

To find out more about our available units, please contact our team on 0207 495 0523

Bank of England cut UK interest rates to 0.25%

After a large amount of speculation, the Bank of England has finally cut interest rates from 0.5% to 0.25% - a record low since 2009. 

These additional measures have been taken with the hope of boosting the UK's economy, encouraging people to spend as opposed to saving. This whole process is referred to as quantitative easing  or QE, however, it poses large risks of causing issues with inflation in the long run. 

As a recent article published by the BBC stated, "When inflation is close to zero, as it is in the UK and the eurozone at the moment, a bit more upward pressure on prices can be seen as a good thing. But some politicians and economists have opposed the idea of QE in principle because they believe in the long run there's a danger that it could create too much inflation."

Overall, a Bank rate cut is good news for borrowers, particularly those with a mortgage. 

A mortgage is by far the biggest debt taken on by the majority of households in the UK and currently, an estimated 11.1 million households have one. These recent changes mean that now could be the perfect time to either increase a property portfolio or simply purchase a first home. There is little to be gained by keeping your money in the bank and larger returns in capital appreciation can be seen by investing in appropriate asset classes. The clear message being promoted by our government is to spend more and save less, but expenditure should focus on assets that are safe and are growing in value. 

Furthermore, Governor Mark Carney has said there is scope to cut the interest rate further, as our economy needs a push post-Brexit. 

To receive regular industry updates, please contact our team on 0207 495 0523

Low levels of home ownership fuel rental demand 

Due to soaring property prices, home ownership has fallen to its lowest level for 30 years in England. People have been left with no alternative as finding the money for a deposit, particularly in London has become an unattainable task. Sadly, it now takes an average deposit of £90,0000 to purchase a typical first property in London, which has forced the average age to purchase a home in the capital to 40 years. 

However, it's not just London experiencing major issues as the analysis by thank-tank the Resolution Foundation has revealed that Leeds, Sheffield, and Greater Manchester have also experienced double-digit falls. 

The report goes on to highlight that outer London saw the second largest drop - of 13.5% - to just below 58%, meaning that outer boroughs are experiencing huge levels of demand for rental properties, providing large opportunities for buy to let landlords. 

The Foundation claims the figures show how the proportion of people owning their own home has plummeted across every part of the UK since their peak in the early 2000s. Experts blame this on a  combination of a lack of quality housing supply paired with inflated prices, with the average price of a London home now being £610,000. 

Stephen Clarke, policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “London has a well-known and fully blown housing crisis, but the struggle to buy a home is just as big a problem in cities across the North of England.”

Furthermore,

“Welfare has failed to save the poor from their lot, only the possibility of mass ownership offers the possibility of ending poverty, this is our dream and this should be the aim of all our policy,” he added.“At the moment we are failing to extend economic ownership to everyone, ownership is an unrealisable dream for too many,” said Phillip Blond, director of ResPublica.

The current state of the economy has therefore opened up a huge gap in the market for potential buy to let landlords. Earlier this year, changes in stamp duty legislation deterred a proportion of investors, yet property is still an exceptional investment, which is why we continue to purchase new sites and deliver thousands of residential units. 

To find out more about expanding your buy-to-let portfolio in areas such as Croydon, Epsom, Sutton, Crawley and Chertsey, please contact our team on 0207 495 0523

Millennials ensure that buy-to-let landlords make large profits 

Millennials will spend an average of £44,000 more on rent before they reach the age of 30 years in comparison to what those in the 80's and 90's spent. 

The cause for this increase is largely blamed on the rising prices of homes and the little increase in average wages, making it more and more difficult for first-time buyers to secure a place on the housing ladder. 

As a recent article in the Guardian highlights, 'a combination of falling homeownership levels and the rising cost of renting meant that people born between 1981 and 2000 would pay £53,000 in rent before their 30th birthday'. 

Laura Gardiner, the senior policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “The nation’s housing crisis is perhaps the most visible example of growing inequality between generations. Young people today are paying a heavy price for decades of falling homeownership.”

Sadly, only 42% of millennial's tend to own their own home thanks to decades of rising prices and declining housebuilding. Due to the changing dynamics of the market, an investigation has launched by thinktank with the hope of highlighting how the drop in homeownership has led to a concentration of wealth among older people. 

This research has strengthened the argument for the positive elements of investing in property and becoming a landlord. Residential landlords are currently benefiting from a strong market and huge levels of demand, despite increases in transactional charges which came into place earlier this year. 

Data from the government’s Family Resources Survey shows that 39% of landlords are in the baby boomer generation and that they have a 50% share of all UK rental income. Typically, these landlords earn £5,700 a year in rents.

If you are considering the purchase of a second property or simply want to expand your portfolio, please contact our team on 0207 495 0523

May's government moves forward with major infrastructure projects 

Theresa May's Government has made several critical decisions regarding housing and infrastructure, with High-Speed Rail 2 leading the way. 

The future of HS2 has been heavily debated, with several opponents and supporters alike. 

Following the Brexit vote, many remained sceptical about larger plans moving forward, however, new Transport Secretary Chris Grayling MP has strongly highlighted his support for connecting London and Birmingham. He has gone on to say, "HS2 is not simply a speed project; it is a capacity project. We have lines at the moment which has seen huge increases in the number of passengers and amount of freight in recent years. It makes sense if you are building a railway line for it to be a fast line, to reduce travel times from north to south. We need a better transport system for the 21st century and HS2 is part of increasing the capacity of our transport system. 

HS2 is part of a long-term growth strategy which experts believe will aid the UK's trade substantially. In addition, the new transport link is being designed with the hope of creating thousands of new jobs and to save businesses millions of pounds. It will, therefore, have a profound effect on the property market, creating new real estate hot-sports similar to how the environment in Croydon and Sutton have changed. 

Mr Grayling has also expressed his support for the proposed £344 million expansion at London City Airport. The plans were approved by the Government last week and Mr Grayling has issued a joint statement alongside Communities Secretary Sajid Javid:

"This decision clearly indicates that Britain is open for business. The expansion of both the airport and terminal building will provide a real boost to economic growth and job creation. Commuters also stand to benefit from the expansion of the terminal and improved facilities which will make using the airport more pleasant and efficient."

To receive regular updates on the UK's property market and economy, please contact our team on 0207 495 0523

Housing shortage due to drive up UK house prices 

The EU debate has prompted much talk of the UK's property market, with politicians and investors trying to predict the economic outlook. 

Former Chancellor George Osborne claimed that property prices could experience price reductions of up to 50% over the next two years, however, real estate experts think differently. 

It is undeniable that there is a severe housing shortage in this country, and the number of new homes currently being built remains significantly below the government's target of 200,000 new homes a year. 

And yet, rather than increasing new housing supply, the latest housebuilding data shows that residential construction levels are actually falling: down by 3.2% in May – the biggest drop since February 2014. 

This could be due to political and economic uncertainty, but we believe strongly that because there is such a large amount of demand for our product, developments should go forward as normal. 

Unfortunately, housing output across the UK has dropped over the last 2 years, yet the population of the UK has increased substantially. The section of the market which requires the most attention focuses on first-time buyers and homes under £700,000, which is why we channel our efforts into this demographic. 

Overall, 'the UK has missed its housebuilding targets by a staggering 1,199,180 since 2004', recent figures from Yorkshire Building Society revealed and which an article in Property Investor Today highlighted. 

We believe strongly that homes in regional cities and outer London will experience high levels of capital appreciation, as this is where regeneration schemes are located and where first-time buyers tend to look. 

Our theories have been proven since we have sold in excess of 300 apartments this year to date, and these numbers show no sign of slowing. 

To find out more, please contact our team on 0207 495 0523

Rising prices are preventing singles from getting onto the housing ladder 

Despite government efforts to encourage first-time buyers to secure a place on the property ladder, the percentage of single people amongst England's first-time buyers have halved in the past 20 years due to house prices rising sharply. 

Throughout 2014 and 2015, single people made up just 14% of first-time buyers, which is a reduction of 29% since as far back as 1995. 

These figures have been released as part of the government's English Housing Survey and illustrate the changing landscape of new homeowners. Ten years ago, it was popular for individuals to get onto the housing ladder in their late 20's with a salary from their first job, yet now, they tend to need to wait until they have a family and are more secure in their career. 

Couples made up 80% of those taking their first steps in the property market, which 'may be due to an increasing need for two incomes to be able to buy", the Department for Communities and Local Government said. 

In addition to this research, the data also highlights how first-time buyers were also older with an average age of 33 years in the UK and 39 in London. Unfortunately, with house prices growing and incomes staying relatively stable, this is likely to continue and first-time buyers will become older before they buy their first home. 

Sadly, when asked, only 10% of people renting in the UK claimed they actually wanted to rent instead of buy. 65% stated that they were kept off the housing ladder by the sheer cost of buying, particularly in London where the average house price is now over £600,000. 

An average salary in London is now £48,000 and across the rest of the UK, it's £24,000. However, to purchase a first home in London, most need a deposit averaging £75,000 to secure just a one-bed flat. 

Inspired have stepped in to fill a gap by providing stylish apartments and studios which start at less than £200,000. With help to buy in place, we hope to provide young hard-working Londoners with the chance to own their own home. In addition, our model also means that there is a huge amount of demand for our product, making it a very interesting investment prospect. 

 

To find out more, please contact our team on 0207 495 0523

London house prices show no sign of slowing down  

Surveys show how those working in commercial property are preparing for a slight downturn. Experts from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors have claimed that in their opinion, 'property brokers are expecting real estate values and rents to fall as investors and companies turn cautious following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.'

However, it's quite a different story for residential property across the UK. Many have claimed that there will be a downturn in the market and activity will slow down, yet London residential property prices are actually on the rise. 

Many foreign investors are taking advantage of a weak pound and are channeling their money into both prime and suburban real estate. 

One of the most astonishing examples of price increases concerns a 12-bedroom apartment which is located in the Admiralty Arch building and has been put on the market for just under £200,000,000. 

As a recent article in the Huffington Post stated, 'many prognosticators said London’s property market, a favourite target for wealthy foreign investors and jet-setters looking for a second home, would see a major slump after the Brexit vote. Yet so far, the opposite has happened.'

It's the same story for outer London which currently boasts several real estate hotspots.  At Inspired, we have focused largely on Croydon, as well as other high-growth locations including Sutton, Epsom, and Chertsey. 

Croydon in particular has become increasingly popular with young professionals, meaning that there are large investment opportunities to either flip a project or simply grow a buy-to-let portfolio. 

Affordability has ensured the surge in demand for residential properties in the borough, as well as superb transport links and a large number or regeneration schemes. 

Although Croydon boasts a diverse housing market, we specialise in building new apartments which are perfectly suited to young working professionals and first-time buyers. 

Overall, the reduction in value of the British pound following Brexit has made London real estate much cheaper from the perspective of foreign buyers, and sales in the city have jumped roughly 38 per cent since June, so now really isn't the time to miss out. Our units start at less than £200,000.

To find out more, please contact the team on 020 7495 0523

Five million new homes need to be built in UK over next 20 years  

New research has confirmed that five million new homes need to built over the next 20 years to cope with a population explosion in the UK.

The data, which has been provided by the government, blames increasing immigration as they predicted the number of households in England will soar from 22.7 million to 28 million by 2039.

According to a recent article in The Sun, The Department for Communities and Local Government said this ‘meant an average of more than 210,000 homes will be needed each year’.

The question, therefore, remains of how we are going to achieve this figure.

When the statistics are considered, net migration accounts for 37 per cent of the forecast increase, which accounts for a staggering 1.9 million new homes.

Worryingly, the number of households headed by 25 to 34 year-olds is expected to fall by 9,000 a year. This is the area that Inspired focuses on.

Ultimately, we believe that more houses need to be built and that we have the perfect model, and that hard-working young Londoners deserve to own their own home.

That is why we build apartments in high-growth areas, which start from £199,950. We offer exceptional investment opportunities

To find out more, please contact the team on 020 7495 0523

Inspired Secures (another) Major Award Nomination

The quality of the Inspired group’s work has been recognised by both the Department for Communities and the Homes and Communities Agency.

The shortlist for the National Housing Awards 2016 has just been announced, with Inspired’s Green Dragon House amongst the nominations for the prestigious Best Large Development Category.

One of the property sector’s most respected, the National Housing Awards identifies and selects developments according to key criteria including:

  • High standards of design and build quality
  • Sensitivity of the building to the surrounding area
  • Value for money for both residents and the developer
  • Innovation to support people into home ownership
  • Evidence of performance against original scheme objectives

CEO Martin Skinner commented: “Recognition from official bodies of our work is satisfying. Not only is it confirmation of the standards we set, it also acknowledges the crucial role we play in providing a solution to the UK housing crisis. There will always be demand for our product, and the more the government recognises this the more we move from strength to strength.”

 

Inspired’s ‘next generation projects’ all benefit from the experience gained through the completion of Green Dragon House and set. To find out more and how to invest in our continued expansion simply click here

 

Buy to let lending via limited companies on the increase across the UK

The most recent transactional data has highlighted how the number of buy to let mortgage applications completed by limited companies ‘grew to 30% of all buy to let completions, up from 21% in the second half 2015, and 18% in the first half of 2015’ (Property Wire).

Buy to let data from Mortgages for Business has also backed these new statistics, suggesting that this number grew to 30% of all buy to let loans, up from 25% in the second half of 2015 and 20% in the first half of 2015.

According to experts, these changes are due to an increase in limited company products rather than new lenders entering the buy to let sector. Lenders offering limited company products now account for 42% of the whole buy to let lending sector, up from 30% in the first half of 2016.

This recent data also shows how March 2016 saw the number of completed limited company buy to let applications more than triple in comparison to any other month in the first half of the year as investors, brokers and lenders raced to get deals over the line ahead of the introduction of the stamp duty surcharge which came into effect on 01 April 2016.

Earlier in 2016, buy to let investors took a hit with the changes in stamp duty. However, property still offers brilliant and often stable investment opportunities.

At Inspired, we only focus on the high-growth areas of London which are called the ‘doughnut’ areas. These include boroughs such as Croydon, Sutton, and Epsom which will all experience vast capital growth over the next twenty years and also secure large rental incomes.

Our units start from £199,950, so if you are looking to expand your property portfolio but don’t want to take too much of a risk, Inspired’s model could be exactly what you are looking for.

To find out more about our available units and investment opportunities, please contact the team on 0207 495 0523

 

 

 

 

 

House prices to boom thanks to Crossrail 2 

Everybody wants to spot the next 'big thing' and most of all, they want to know how to invest their hard-earned money.  

London may have experienced slight uncertainty thanks to Brexit, however, due to regeneration schemes, an influx of foreign investment and ever-growing transport links, the market is not only growing but is starting to boom once more! 

Crossrail 2 is due to arrive in London in 2030, which may seem quite far away, yet to reap the largest rewards, investors need to consider how they are going channel their money and energy sooner rather than later. 

The £27 billion project is now well underway and will link Surrey to Hertfordshire via London destinations. In addition, the arrival of the new transport link will prompt the development of 200,000 new homes. 

When these facts are taken into account, now is an excellent and unique time to purchase property along the route as house prices will increase significantly and quickly. 

Welcome to Chertsey...

Inspired's Chertsey development will certainly feel the impact, and Crossrail 2 influenced our decision to invest millions of pounds into the area. 

Bridge House in Chertsey is the latest redevelopment brought to you by Inspired. The stunning building will offer 39 one and two bedroom apartments (subject to planning) close to the banks of the picturesque River Thames. 

Chertsey offers a rare combination of the urban and rural lifestyle with acres of green land close by, yet it is also within easy reach of Central London and Heathrow airport. 

Bridge House is located within easy reach of Chertsey Town Centre and therefore, the opportunity to achieve capital growth thanks to Crossrail 2 is incredibly appealing. It is only a short drive from the M25 and the M3 interchange, meaning that residents will have excellent access to key locations including Weybridge, Woking, Ascot and South West London. 

The building is undergoing an extensive redevelopment with scheduled completion anticipated for Quarter 3 2017. Off-plan reservations are now being taken. 

Please contact Inspired Homes Sales and Marketing teams on 020 7495 0523 for further information regarding our investment opportunities.

 

 

 

 

 

Property is still a safe investment according to experts 

Since the referendum, several investors have turned their back on the British property market, yet analysts have highlighted how safe a property investment can be, as opposed to mere stocks and shares. 

Recent figures have highlighted that sales are now on the increase and transactions are moving forward. In addition, demand for property in London is on the rise and there is still a large shortage in housing. Therefore, it's no surprise that most developers are continuing with their plans and are still delivering new-build properties at a fast rate. 

At Inspired Asset Management, we focus on high-growth areas such as Croydon, Epsom, Sutton and most recently, Chertsey. We have become award-winning for our process and are frequently featured in the Daily Mail, the Evening Standard and the First Time Buyer Magazine. 

 However, we thought we would provide you some key information regarding our chosen locations. 

Croydon

Croydon has become a property hotspot in London as it undergoes huge regeneration plans and will be the home to the new Westfield shopping centre in 2020. House prices in the area have increased by 30% over the last five years, with a percentage of Croydon's market now passing the one million pound mark. 

Current average property value: £354,950

Value change in 12 months: +14%

Value change in 5 years: 38%

Epsom

Epsom really offers the best of both worlds which is why we have developed Rutland House, a grand residential development which boasts studios, one and two bed apartments. This borough is exceptionally popular with young couples who are looking to start a family, as well as those entering retirement. 

Current average property value: £514,000

Value change in 12 months: 6.5%

Value change in 5 years: 35%

Sutton

Sitting on the south-west edge of London, Sutton is a leafy borough which offers excellent schooling, superb amenities and profitable property investment opportunities. The main town is bustling with countless eateries, bars and gyms, making it an ideal place to settle down. 

Current average property value: £440,000

Value change in 12 months: 5%

Value change in 5 years: 35%

Chertsey 

Chertsey offers a quieter lifestyle that's still nearby to zone 1. It's known for its safety and there are currently bargains to be found before the area experiences huge regeneration schemes similar to Croydon. 

Current average property value: £460,000

Value change in 12 months: 3.69%

Value change in 5 years: 29%

To find out more about our investment opportunities, please contact the team on 020 7495 0523

 

 

 

Post Brexit Report

A little over one week into the effects of the historic Brexit decision and the knee-jerk reaction in the financial markets has calmed, providing an opportunity to take a measured view of potential ramifications for the property industry.
 
The Need For A Calm Approach
 
Although initial impressions of Brexit invoke images of tariffs, protectionism and trade barriers between the UK and the European Union, this is unlikely to happen due to the mutually beneficial relationship from which recent trade equated to more than £500bn per annum (source: ONS).  
 
There will, of course, be a period of adjustment where the UK and EU set out the terms of the withdrawal. We at Inspired Asset Management predict high activity in exchange rates and financial markets, based mainly on speculation of what may happen in the future; we advise ignoring media hype and keeping a logical view whilst details are defined for the new arrangement with Europe. The parties involved are mutually dependent, developments will create both opportunities and issues, and there already exists a strong push for a Norwegian-style agreement which is similar to that which Britain already has in place.


How Are Inspired Asset Management Reacting?
 
Inspired are in a very strong position as a business with high demand for our affordable private homes and our skills as a specialist micro apartment developer. One of the strengths of our business model is the mass market appeal of locally sold, affordable housing, especially with higher-end finishing and in areas boasting significant prospects for future growth.

All of our developments are applicable for Help to Buy – the Government-funded scheme that contributes up to 40% equity loan on properties within London, making it even easier for First Time Buyers to get on the property ladder.

Reports on the post-Brexit London housing market range from a strong, uncertainty-fueled pullback through to a potential increase in demand from overseas investors capitalising on exchange rate opportunities. It is our belief that any negative effect on the entry level market is likely to be minimal if, indeed, it happens at all. Brexit or not, the UK has a genuine housing crisis, with strong demand for affordable property, an ever-rising cost of renting and historically low interest rates buoying the mortgage market (the Bank of England is widely expected to announce interest rate cuts, whilst lenders are already offering the cheapest products ever available at 0.99% (source: The Guardian)).
 
Inspired are focused now on capitalising on post-Brexit opportunities:
•    Permitted Development Rights (PDR) schemes at likely discounted prices to grow our portfolio in and around London  
•    A Private Rental Sector (PRS) model for diversification across both rental and sales markets to adapt to the longer-term effects of Brexit
•    Lobbying activity centred around concessions for London space standards to allow flexibility in delivering affordable new homes as part of a central state solution to the lack of housing that will continue irrespective of the consequences of Brexit

We believe now is the time, above all others, to remain calm and measured. As completions of our inventory continue at a steady pace, Inspired already possesses perfect case studies to help roll out our model across the capital and we foresee little reason for change to this situation.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of your existing or potential investments with Inspired, simply call us on 020 7495 0523 or click here to request a callback. 

Conservative government reiterate that housing spending will not be cut post Brexit 

The UK Housing Minister Brandon Lewis and Communities Secretary Greg Clark have reaffirmed that new homes are still a top priority of the Government post-Brexit. 

This comes as excellent news for both builders and buyers as the UK and London, in particular, are in a housing crisis due a lack of available supply. 

At a recent meeting with the Home Builders Federation (HBF), they reiterated the Government’s ambition to build a million more homes.

This target has been underpinned by a record £20 billion housing package announced in the Spending Review and Government backed schemes, including Help to Buy and Shared Ownership, which have supported over 309,000 homeowners since 2010. Over 2016, Help to Buy has proven to be a tremendous success, allowing hundreds of first-time buyers to secure their place in London's housing market. 

An article in Property Wire focused on these recent announcements, suggesting that 'the HBF and its members stated that all indicators show reservations and sales rates have not been affected by last week’s referendum on leaving the European Union. Members restated their commitment to driving up supply and increasing the number of new homeowners.'

Experts in the field have spoken of their confidence in the market and how sales are back on the rise, as is foreign and domestic investment. 

Greg Clark has stated ‘the action we have taken over the last six years to get the country building again has put the industry in a position of strength. We have doubled investment in housing and set out the largest affordable house building program since the 1970s'. 

Overall, Brandon Lewis has stuck to the motto of remaining calm and carrying on. He has repeatedly reiterated that housing and infrastructure spending will not be cut, and housing remains firmly on the political agenda. 

To find out more about the market, please contact Inspired Assets on + 44 207 495 0523 or follow us and join in with the debate on Twitter @InspiredAssets. 

Croydon is still one of London’s hottest property Investment locations 

Since the announcement of Brexit on the 24th June, we have spent countless hours analysing the market to work out where we are going to focus on next. It’s with happiness that we saw a continuous demand for our products, especially in Croydon.

Many young professionals can see the unique opportunity of being able to afford a house and reap the rewards of a growing asset over the next twenty years, which is why we sell our apartments at such a fast rate.

According to recent data (CBRE), Croydon is poised for a 63% increase in office rents by 2017, thanks to the borough’s regeneration initiatives.

As well as Inspired, Croydon has received the backing of investors and developers including the Berkeley Group, L&G, Hammerson, and Westfield.

In terms of commercial real estate, Savills believe rents will rise from £24.50 per square foot to £40 per square foot, shifting Croydon in the right direction for achieving the highest rental increase of any property market.

Due to the area’s revival and influx of upmarket properties, prices of residential are also predicted to increase by at least 20%.

Leading Estate Agents, Foxtons, have highlighted how investors are noticing the amount of opportunities that are further afield than just central London. They go on to state that there has been a ‘resurgence in Croydon, with a boost to the infrastructure in areas such as leisure, entertainment, and employment, which has attracted home buyers, making Croydon one of `the’ places to live in the coming years.’

 Key Facts:

Price of an average property in London has increased by 44% since 2008

Fastest growing London borough – Croydon

House prices in Croydon have increased by:

320% in 20 years

35% in 5 years

11% in 12 months

The average property price in Croydon – £300,000

Inspired Homes start at – £287,950

Considering all of these facts, Croydon is an exceptional place to buy. Not only does it offer a unique and energetic lifestyle, but properties in the area make a superb investment!

If you’re not sure whether Croydon is where you want to be in ten years time, don’t worry! People change and so does their taste…but, one thing that won’t change is that there is a lot of money to be made by owning a property in this borough.

- See more at The spotlight is on Croydon

There’s still money to be made in Epsom post Brexit

Buyers and sellers alike face a period of uncertainty over house prices after the Brexit vote, however, like any situation, things settle and change often results in windows of opportunity being created.

Ahead of the vote, the Treasury voiced dire warnings of prices plunging by up to 18 percent while price indices from lenders Halifax and Nationwide registered slowdowns in the rate that house prices are growing.

Economic uncertainty over Brexit means that consumers are likely to tighten their belts and curb their spending, however, it also means that bargains are out there, waiting to be seized.

London property prices are expected to drop slightly, and this means it’s good news for first-time buyers.

The property portal Zoopla warned last week that Brexit could wipe out nearly all the house price gains of the past five years, so many may even be able to buy properties which they simply thought they could not afford a few years ago.

Whatever happens, here at Inspired, our goals remain constant. We are focused on helping first-time buyers to purchase a home in what has become an overly competitive housing market. We build superb apartments with excellent resident facilities that are very reasonably priced.

To find out more, please contact the team on 020 8688 6552

There’s still money to be made in Epsom post Brexit

Buyers and sellers alike face a period of uncertainty over house prices after the Brexit vote, however, like any situation, things settle and change often results in windows of opportunity being created.

Ahead of the vote, the Treasury voiced dire warnings of prices plunging by up to 18 percent while price indices from lenders Halifax and Nationwide registered slowdowns in the rate that house prices are growing.

Economic uncertainty over Brexit means that consumers are likely to tighten their belts and curb their spending, however, it also means that bargains are out there, waiting to be seized.

London property prices are expected to drop slightly, and this means it’s good news for first-time buyers.

The property portal Zoopla warned last week that Brexit could wipe out nearly all the house price gains of the past five years, so many may even be able to buy properties which they simply thought they could not afford a few years ago.

Whatever happens, here at Inspired, our goals remain constant. We are focused on helping first-time buyers to purchase a home in what has become an overly competitive housing market. We build superb apartments with excellent resident facilities that are very reasonably priced.

To find out more, please contact the team on 020 8688 6552

Brexit isn’t all bad!

Many were left in shock on the 24th June, but the dust is settling and now we must look towards the future.

Uncertainty will creep into property markets in the coming months, but it is not all bad news.
Multiple headlines have concentrated on how prices could fall, how there won't be enough workers in the construction industry unless steps are taken to address the skills crisis and how interest rates will rise.

However, we must also focus on the positives. As a recent article in Property Week stated, builders will, by all accounts be ‘glad to see the end of EU red tape, falling prices will help first time buyers and in reality interest rates are unlikely to rise anytime soon and could even fall.’

This is great news for us, as we are dedicated to helping first-time buyers and it means that the demand for our products will only increase even further.

Analysts also believe there is likely to be less investment from overseas buyers in the prime property market in London but this will be very short term as currency exchange will soon entice and buyers adopting a wait and see attitude. However, the hot-spot areas of London are predicted to experience further growth and there is still a lot of money to be made.

That is why we are continuing to grow at Inspired, investment in new developments in Croydon, Epsom, Sutton, Chertsey and Crawley.

To find out more about our vision for the future, please contact our team on 0207 495 0523

 

Inspired Homes address the real demand for housing in London

We are no strangers to change and volatility. We live in a world that is ever-changing and evolving, and also a world in which we are constantly being faced with challenges and struggles, as well as vast opportunity. We have to ensure shrinking economies, stock market volatility and a maxed out high-end property boom for the wealthy 5%... and that’s only when real estate is concerned.

So, talking of real estate, what on earth are we to do about the other 95%? These are real people, with an urgent need for affordable, intelligent living spaces in commutable London.

With a chronic undersupply of affordable quality housing, Inspired is the only company dedicated to addressing these needs with intelligent design of high spec compact apartments. Features like the UK’s fastest hyperoptic broadband, residents’ roof gardens with electric barbeques and bike servicing, merge desirability with affordability.

Become an Inspired investor and you invest in the only company building real quality for real demand in the London housing market.

Each day, we continue to answer the housing needs of London's society and economy, gaining constant press coverage and even international recognition.

To find out about our vision for the future, and we intend to play a large role in finding a solution to the housing crisis, please call our team on 0207 495 0523. 

 

Do you want to claim your stake in one of Croydon’s flagship developments?

A world away from the exuberance of personal residential purchases in prime London, investors from the likes of Abu Dhabi, China and Dubai are also interested in the lower end of the market and areas further afield than Zone 2.

Several investors are now intrigued by both private rented accommodation and sales opportunities in Croydon. Croydon is undergoing a huge regeneration process, boasting the arrival of a brand new Westfield Shopping Centre in 2020, and being just a 30-minute commute from central London.

At Inspired Homes, we are incredibly proud to introduce you to our largest development to date, Impact House.

Originally built as an office building, Impact House is now receiving an extensive programme of upgrading, refurbishment and development to create a new era of stylish living.

Impact House is centrally located next to Croydon’s town centre, and upcoming civic hub. Croydon’s three stations are also nearby, with speedy service into central London.

Now transformed into a light filled landmark setting for contemporary apartments, this Inspired Homes development offers high specifications throughout. Studios, one-bed and two-bed apartments are available, all with access to outstanding resident facilities.

Every home in Impact House incorporates efficient heating and lighting, the UK’s fastest broadband, high-quality fixtures and fittings and an open-plan interior designed for modern, luxurious, urban living.

Standing impressively tall in the centre of East Croydon, and boasting exceptional views of the city, could Impact House be the right development for your next investment?

To find out more, please call the team on 0207 495 0523

 

The spotlight is on Inspired Homes

We do things differently at Inspired Homes, which is why our investment opportunities will most likely be more unique and rewarding in comparison to what you have seen with other companies.

Not only are our developments award-winning, but our CEO, Martin Skinner, has featured on the BBC and Channel 5 as a property expert, so he really does know what he’s talking about.

At Inspired, we believe that hard-working Londoner’s should have the chance to own their own home. Home ownership is seen as one of the main goals for adulthood, and at the current rate, homes are becoming more and more unaffordable.

We, therefore, introduce you to our developments, which include the award-winning Green Dragon House, Coombe Cross, Impact House, Canius House, Sutton Court, Rutland House, The Broadway, Bridge House and Surrey House.

In addition to just building homes, we have created the concept of ‘living brilliantly’. Many of our homes in Greater London start at just £199,950 and offer more than what the average apartment can give. Several of our homes include access to superbly designed communal areas, roof gardens, and residence lounges. 

We start by looking beyond the obvious, pinpointing properties with potential for remarkable transformation. 

We are specialist investors, developers and asset managers focusing exclusively on emerging locations across Inner, Greater and Commuter London, and our innovative, design-led approach to layout makes the most of every inch of space.

Every fixture, fitting, and finish has a contemporary feel that you – and your friends – will notice straight away. So if you’re ready to own your first home, or are simply investing for the future, we can show you how to turn that dream into a reality.

Demand for our properties is always present, as we are hitting a market that has previously been neglected. Our prices, specifications, and delivery are unmatched, which is reflected in our high sales rate. This is what makes our homes a perfect investment, which could be right for you. 

We also are proud to have help to buy in place, meaning that all that is needed to secure your own piece of Greater London, is a 5% deposit.

To find out more, call our team on 0207 495 0523

 

Supply of residential rental properties continues to fall

The UK’s housing crisis has been a growing problem over the past decade. The supply of residential rental properties in the UK has continued to fall, but this comes at a time when rental costs are predicted to rise due to recent changes in stamp duty.

Overall, the number of rental properties managed per lettings agents branch increased by 8% in April to the highest level this year but is down from April 2015 (ARLA).

Unfortunately, the main reasons for the UK housing crisis boil down to growing demand and a lack of quality supply. As house prices soar, particularly in London, first-time buyers have to postpone their dream of owning a house and face the expensive reality of renting.

Supply stands at 5% lower than April last year, despite a huge increase in the UK’s population. What’s worse is that if the UK remains in the EU following the June referendum, the population is expected to increase at a rate that we have never seen before. That means that those renting will experience price hikes larger than previously experienced.

66% of ARLA agents have predicted that the stamp duty reforms will push rent costs up for tenants down the line. Agents also reported an increase in the number of landlords selling their buy-to-let properties, as the industry’s profitability has been questioned.

It is true that fewer investors are taking on buy-to-let properties, but the other reality is that property is still a brilliant investment. All the changes in stamp duty mean that it will take you slightly longer to make your money back. More importantly, looking at the bleak future ahead for first-time buyers now could be the perfect time to take advantage of the political and economic landscape.

Expand your profitable UK property portfolio this summer

We are now officially in the midst of yet another fabulous and quintessential British summertime. It’s time to start thinking about the Queen’s Cup, Wimbledon and the Royal Henley Regatta, but could you also be increasing your wealth without jeopardising your fun levels?

Britain's property prices are almost out of control, especially in zone 1, and are set to keep on rising for the next five years at least.

Despite the uncertainty of a Brexit, prices are soaring and this is simply due to increasing demand. However, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors have suggested that there's a small window of opportunity to buy a London property at a cheaper price this year and before they start skyrocketing again, and that time is now!

If you’re an investor who is considering expanding your portfolio but are experiencing cold feet, then read these numbers…By 2020, you will need an average deposit of £138,000 just to purchase a normal one-bedroom apartment in London. Prices are expected to rise by 23% over the next 4 years, making the housing crisis worse than we initially thought.

In addition, changes in stamp duty legislation, combined with political instability mean that prices, for now, has stabled slightly for a short period.

The average price of houses in Britain sits at £284,000, while the price to buy a home in London is now at a huge £630,000, according to the Office for National Statistics. It is shocking to learn that a large property developer recently announced that consumers now see £600,000 homes as relatively affordable!

At Inspired Homes, we just don't agree. We are committed to providing what we call affordable luxury. Our products are within a price bracket that always experiences exceptional demand, which is what makes Inspired's apartments a unique investment. 

If you think you can’t afford to buy, think again - Our homes start at just £199,950 and we also offer a unique furnishing service to ensure you receive the highest rents possible, as well as the highest quality tenants. 

To find out more about owning your London or Greater London portfolio, give the team a call on 020 8688 6552.

 

UK house prices increased yet again in April

According to the latest survey by mortgage lender Halifax, UK house prices rose again last month following changes in transactional costs.

The price index edged up 0.6 percent on the month in May, compared to a 0.8 percent decline in April. This was ahead of economists’ estimates of a 0.3 percent rise (Financial Times).

The average UK house price was £213, 472, with the average price of a London property exceeding £630,000.

Halifax claimed that the price rise in the three months through May was more prominent.

A stamp duty hike that came into effect in April led to a last-minute rush to buy houses in March, followed by a slight dip in the market. However, if the figures are anything to go by, the market now seems to be picking up again.

Despite EU referendum jitters, property is still an excellent investment and a lot of money can be made.

For example, over the past two decades, property prices per square metre have increased by 432 per cent in Greater London.

Areas such as Croydon and Sutton are experiencing extensive regeneration schemes which has boosted the local economy.

That is why we have put our money where our mouths are and have invested in 5 residential developments in Croydon, as well as in Epsom, Sutton, Crawley, and Chertsey.

To find out more about our exceptional investment opportunities, please call the team on 0207 495 0523 

Investors turn their back on Zone 1 and look towards high-growth boroughs

Key regeneration projects and transport improvements are creating new property hotspots and buying opportunities in areas that were once avoided. If you want a good investment and want to see hefty returns, you need to look at the bigger picture.

Wealthy investors are still channeling their money into the capital, however, they have diverted their attention away from the luxury market. 

As a recent article in Homes and Property suggested, ‘London is brimming with regeneration projects, transport upgrades and cultural and employment shifts that are revitalising areas — creating new property hotspots and buying opportunities.’

These changes have been prompted not only due to the fact that prices in prime London areas are hugely distorted, but also because of the new fees which came into force in April of this year.  These changes caused properties worth over £1 million to carry huge additional transaction costs if the investor already owned one home.

Therefore, the savvy investor is now looking towards places where they can identify bargains and experience exceptional returns. 

A world away from the exuberance of personal residential purchases, investors from the likes of Abu Dhabi, China and Dubai are becoming fascinated by the lower end of the market and areas further afield than Zone 2. Several investors are now intrigued by both private rented accommodation and sales opportunities in Croydon. Croydon is undergoing a huge regeneration process, boasting the arrival of a brand new Westfield Shopping Centre in 2020, and being just a 30-minute commute from central London.

Despite concerns from the industry, foreign investment is fueling demand once more, suggesting that the supposed ‘cooling’ will not be as dramatic as experts once thought. In addition, the latest official picture from the Office for National Statistics, suggests that London still boasts an impeccably prosperous market, highlighting how house prices increased by 6.7% from 2014 - 2015.

Greater London areas have experienced huge price increases as developers look further afield to accommodate the growing population, and average prices have soared by up to 18% in areas such as Lewisham and even 30% in Croydon. The race to own a London property is well and truly on!

To find out more about owning a London or Greater London portfolio, give the team a call on 020 8688 6552.

 

The effect of immigration on UK housing

With the EU referendum drawing closer each day, the impact of a Brexit on housing and immigration seems to be dominating headlines and causing reason for concern. 

Yet, with persuasive propaganda and bias television coverage, it can be extremely difficult to come to a definitive answer when the success of Britain’s future is concerned.

In a speech in December 2012, Theresa May claimed that more than a third of all new housing demand in Britain was caused by immigration. “And there is evidence that without the demand caused by mass immigration, house prices could be 10% lower over a 20-year period,” she said

This idea mirrors mass opinion that immigration increases the UK’s population, which in turn, increases demand for UK housing.

There is no denying that mass immigration is having a negative impact on the NHS, with leaks from EU papers even suggesting that if we were to remain a part of the organisation, there are plans to completely scrap a government funded health service (Express Group, June 7th, 2016).

However, several researchers argue that immigrants don’t increase demand for housing quite as much as we think. According to papers by the London School of Economics, immigrants often live in high-density households, meaning that they are more conservative in their needs for housing in comparison to British nationals.

Another interesting statistic is that Migrants are more likely to rent in the private sector, as opposed to buying homes or living in social housing. According to the Oxford Migration Observatory, 74% of recent migrants (those who have been in the UK for five years or less) were in the private rented sector in the first quarter of 2015.

The concept of immigration, therefore, provokes deep debate. House prices are naturally being fuelled by excessive demand, and anyone who thinks that immigration has nothing to do with this is simply misinformed. Yet, immigration is a multi-faceted agenda that requires much thought.

It is argued that it increases the skill sets of our workforce, allows us to experience new cultures and encourages additional trade. Prime Minister David Cameron has repeatedly argued that if we leave the EU, we will no longer hold a seat at the table when the most important decisions are being made. However, the facts and statistics suggest that most aren’t 100% sure of what a Brexit will truly mean and certainly decided how they will vote.

We invite you to join the conversation and let us know your thoughts on what a possible Brexit will have on the property market in particular.

You can follow our research and news on @InspiredAssets and @InspiredHomes.

To find out more about our vision for the future or to learn about our investment opportunities, please contact the team on 0207 495 0523

 

Rental supply in the UK continues to fall 

Following the changes in stamp duty legislation, the buy to let market has become increasingly subdued.

The supply of residential rental properties in the UK has continued to fall, which was expected. However, what’s worrying is that it has come at a time when demand is increasing.

Overall the number of rental properties managed per lettings agents branch increased by 8% in April to the highest level this year but is down from April 2015, according to the data from the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA).

Supply still stands at 5% lower than in April last year and continues to fall year on year. In April 2015, the average number of properties managed per branch was 193, this year it stands at 183.

This is driving up the cost of renting a home, meaning that there has never been a better time to buy!

At Inspired Homes, we have residential developments in property hotspots including Croydon, Epsom, Sutton, Crawley and Chertsey.

Our unit prices start at just £199,950, with all apartments finished to an incredibly high standard. We even offer a bespoke furnishing service to help you gain the highest rental income possible.

To find out more, contact the team on 020 8688 6552.

Could Croydon be the perfect place to invest? 

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ll have heard all the hype about Croydon. With huge regeneration schemes, property prices are soaring and there is an awful lot of money to be made!

Gone are the days when Croydon was considered unfashionable. With a brand new Westfield shopping centre on the way for 2020, a strong indigenous population and exceptional transport links into Central London, it is no surprise that London's largest borough is attracting multi-million-pound investments.

According to Zoopla, property prices in Croydon have increased by 40% over the last ten years, with a value change of £96,710, making it a real estate hot spot. However, before you invest, it’s important to know the essential information. So, here it is…

Commuting time to Zone 1 : 15 minutes

Amenities: Westfield Shopping Centre launching soon, BoxPark launching summer 2016, Wandle park,  2 Vue Cinema's, regular vibrant food market, and the Fairfield Halls plays host to a variety of theatre performances and shows

Open Space: Coombe Wood, The Addington Golf Club, Selsdon Park Golf Course and Purley Downs Golf Club

Schools: An excellent mix of top performing academic institutes including Whitgift School, Coloma Convent Girls' School and the independent Trinity School, to the more creative BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology which received an outstanding rating from OFSTED.

Who lives there? Young families, tech entrepreneurs, fashion forward city workers. In addition, Kate Moss, billionaire Topshop boss Sir Philip Green, artist Tracey Emin, illusionist Derren Brown, comedian Ronnie Corbett, England football manager Roy Hodgson were all born in Croydon.

Inspired Asset Management has worked tirelessly to give Croydon a facelift and in doing so, providing much needed affordable, yet desirably private housing for working Londoners.

To find out more about our Croydon based Inspired Homes and to learn how you could expand your portfolio, please call 020 8688 6552.

Could an Inspired investment be just what you're looking for?

We do things differently at Inspired Homes, which is why our investment opportunities will most likely be more unique and rewarding in comparison to what you have seen with other companies.

Not only are our developments award-winning, but our CEO, Martin Skinner, has featured on the BBC and Channel 5 as a property expert, so he really does know what he’s talking about.

At Inspired, we believe that hard-working Londoner’s should have the chance to own their own home. Home ownership is seen as one of the main goals for adulthood, and at the current rate, homes are becoming more and more unaffordable.

We have done something about this, and have managed to create what we call ‘affordable luxury‘. Many of our homes in Greater London start at just £199,950 and offer more than what the average apartment can give. Several of our homes include access to superbly designed communal areas, roof gardens, and residence lounges. 

We start by looking beyond the obvious, pinpointing properties with potential for remarkable transformation. 

We are specialist investors, developers and asset managers focusing exclusively on emerging locations across Inner, Greater and Commuter London, and our innovative, design-led approach to layout makes the most of every inch of space.

Every fixture, fitting, and finish has a contemporary feel that you – and your friends – will notice straight away. So if you’re ready to own your first home, or are simply investing for the future, we can show you how to turn that dream into a reality.

Demand for our properties is always present, as we are hitting a market that has previously been neglected. Our prices, specifications, and delivery are unmatched, which is reflected in our high sales rate. This is what makes our homes a perfect investment, which could be right for you. 

We also are proud to have help to buy in place, meaning that all that is needed to secure your own piece of Greater London, is a 5% deposit.

To find out more, call our team on 0207 495 0523

London residential property bond launch offers 8% yield 

With the EU referendum drawing closer, London’s property market has sparked mass debate.

A recent announcement has revealed a soon-to-launch five-year property bond which is offering investors 8% annual interest through exposure to the London residential market.

According to a recent article in City Wire, ‘London Property Bonds plc will target opportunities in and around Wimbledon, allocating under the direction of local estate agent Robert Holmes.

Rather than focusing on riding market growth, a large number of Robert Holmes’ properties are purchased based on their prospects for rising value following upgrades and renovation.’

The article goes onto the explain how ‘carrying an investment threshold of £1,000 – alongside a minimum top-up of £1,000 thereafter – the fund will yield 8% per annum over a five-year period.’

So, what’s the catch? Well, the offer closes on the 29th July so you would have to move fast.

At Inspired Asset Management, we work tirelessly to analyse the very best investment opportunities in the property market across the UK.

After considering the facts and figures, it became incredibly obvious that the largest returns now lie within regional cities and Greater London.

That is why we have put our money where our mouths are and have invested in areas such as Croydon, Epsom, Sutton, and Chertsey.

We build beautiful apartments using permitted development rights, and keep our prices extremely competitive with units starting at just £183,950.

In addition, we offer some incredibly attractive investment opportunities which are backed up by incredible success stories.

To find out more, please contact our team on 020 8688 6552.

The Impact of the Crossrail on London property hotspots 

London's Crossrail project has received a lot of interest from the press in recent times, and that’s no surprise considering it will alter not only the property market but also the way in which we commute and travel on a daily basis.

While this exciting mode of public transportation will not officially open to the public until 2019, it has already driven high levels of job creation and property market growth, as well as predictions and forecasts of growth in certain areas.

Similarly to other reports you may have read, research regarding the new Crossrail suggests that demand for properties in zone 1 has decreased by 20%, yet demand for properties further afield has zoomed.

Many of the homes closer to the capital have already sold and benefited from an upward swing, with people now believing they have hit a price ceiling. This has encouraged buyers and investors to look at alternative regions along the commuter belt, which has in turn popularised areas including Croydon, Sutton and Epsom.

Croydon, in particular, has seen huge growth, with prices increasing by 30% in 5 years (Zoopla).

Overall, Inspired Homes have taken notice of this trend, and have fallen in love with all that Croydon has to offer. It is therefore with great happiness that we introduce you to our Croydon based developments, Impact House, Coombe Cross, Canius House, Surrey House and Green Dragon House. 

All of our developments offer exceptionally high-quality studios, one bedroom, and two bedroom apartments, as well as penthouses.

Demand for our properties is always present, as we are hitting a market that has previously been neglected. Our prices, specifications, and delivery are unmatched, which is reflected in our high sales rate. This is what makes our homes a perfect investment, which could be right for you. 

Unit prices start at £199,950.

To find out more about expanding your property portfolio, call our team on 020 8688 6552.

The average Londoner saves for over ten years to buy first home

New figures from leading property firm, JLL, state that it will take an average young couple ten years to save for a starter home in the capital.

Despite valiant efforts from the government, who set out targets to build 200,000 new homes for first-time buyers over the next five years, prices are still skyrocketing.

“The implementation of the starter home policy will go some way to addressing the ever-growing disparity between house price and wage growth," said Philip Wedge-Bernal, residential research analyst at JLL.

"This policy provides some short-term stability, in the form of a capped upper limit, for prospective purchasers in a world of ever-moving goalposts.”

We are very concerned about the rate in which property prices in London are increasing, which is why Inspired have our own model that allows us to deliver units in Greater London for a much more affordable price.

We use permitted development rights to convert tired office spaces into brilliant and uniquely designed apartments, which are design-led and have access to extensive resident facilities, yet they start at just £199,950.

This figure is much more attainable for first-time buyers, which is why we have such huge demand for our product and have become one of the fastest growing development companies in the UK.

 

To find out more about our vision for the future or to learn about our investment opportunities, please contact the team on 020 8688 6552.

Inspired Homes feature in the First Time Buyer Magazine 

The press have taken a large interest in our innovative and design-led developments in London and Greater London, and on this occasion, the focus was on the ins and outs of service charges. 

Many tenants become confused about where their money is actually going, and therefore, we know that it is important for both landlord and tenant to have a full understanding of the issue.

This particular article in the FTB magazine focuses on the reasons behind service charges, to which our CEO, Martin Skinner offered an explanation. 

"At our Green Dragon House development in Croydon, the service charge pays for resident facilities and shared amenities such as a 10th sky garden with a BBQ a table tennis tables, a resident's lounge with sofas, coffee machines, a pool table and a 24/7 concierge service, as well as a useful Brompton bike hire scheme. 

"Affordability is key to our purchasers, who are typically first-time buyers, so the important thing is to keep costs down. Our service charge for a 2-bed flat is about £2000 per annum, which is 20% lower than other newbuild developments in the area. 

"Residents at our smaller neighbouring developments are given exclusive access to the facilities at Green Dragon House and also Impact House when it completes."

We currently have developments in Croydon, Epsom, Sutton, Chertsey and Crawley with units starting at £183,950.

If you have any questions or would like to book a viewing at one of our developments, please contact the team on 020 8688 6552. 

Leading economist believes next generational property shift will see an increase in community living arrangements

Neil Howe is one of the world’s foremost experts on demography and generational shifts. His book, The Fourth Turning, was highly predictive, which has gained him respect across the globe. 

Neil believes that long-term cycles are driven by generational shifts, and follow Kondratieff wave theory, including a Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter (roughly 25-30 year) economic cycles.

According to his studies, we are currently in winter, or the Fourth Turning, but will soon enter a new First Turning, i.e. Spring.

This next generation will be characterised by Millenials and their habits, and so far, one of the main trends arising is the desire to live in a community with shared facilities that go further than just a cafe. 

Neil thinks that Millennials will gravitate to community living arrangements until they start forming families of their own, allowing them to live in apartments but not forfeit a village feel. This will lead to more "micro-apartments" being built as there will be less focus on size and more on overall circumstance and location.

Millennials would rather be outside (coffee shops, etc.) than at home, according to him. The "We Live" movement is creating giant dorm rooms in NYC and SF for post-graduates, so everyone can live together. They don't mind depending on other people (saving data to the cloud, relying on Uber, etc.) unlike Boomers who made it a point to "own" things. Already, we are seeing these trends in London and New York, and it will be highly interesting to see how this cycle develops.

Here at Inspired, we are proud to offer investment opportunities in our residential developments based in Croydon, Epsom, Sutton, Chertsey and Crawley and have a strong focus on this new trend of community living. Our apartments, which are built using permitted development rights, include resident facilities such as business lounges, sky gardens and cinema rooms.  

Our unit prices start at just £183,950 and we offer exceptional returns, as well as a bespoke furnishing service to ensure you receive the highest possible rental return as a landlord. 

To find out more about our properties, please contact the team on 020 8688 6552.

Landlords experience greater returns than FTSE investors 

Buy-to-let investors are typically enjoying greater returns than those who choose to invest in the FTSE 100 comapnies. 

New research has highlighted how total returns in the propety investment industry rose by 9.57% since last March, whereas the London-based stock exchange has lost 1.4% over the same 12 months. (Express Group)

Despite recent buy-to-let tax changes imposed by the government, there is no doubt that the property market is still strong and boasts relativey safe and also very healthy investment opportunities. 

Across the UK, London continues to lead the way, with landlords enjoying a 16.49% increase in returns. This was closely followed by the East of England at an increase of 13.8% and the East Midlands at 9%. (Property Partner's Resi market index). 

Here at Inspired, we are proud to offer investment opportunities in our residential developments based in Croydon, Epsom, Sutton, Chertsey and Crawley. 

Our unit prices start at just £183,950 and we offer exceptional returns, as well as a bespoke furnishing service to ensure you receive the highest possible rental return as a landlord. 

To find out more about our properties, please contact the team on 020 8688 6552.

Epsom buy to let market experiences high returns 

Buy to let has been a profitable sector for decades. Despite some the of sleeping policeman, landlords have experienced high rental income and large levels of capital growth across the UK. 

Those who have invested in Epsom are no different. Thanks to growing demand to live in the leafy suburb, landlords have been able to increase rents substantially. 

Over the last five years, the average price of a property has increased by 29% - a value change of £111,000 with the average property now costsing £392,000. 

Rutland House - Epsom

Think of Epsom, and you may recall memories from a terrific day at the races, or simply taking a windy walk through its many green spaces. However, it is also home to Rutland House, a fabulous new development from Inspired Homes, perfect for first time buyers.

Rutland House is a handsome four-storey, brick-built, late 1980s structure with a porticoed entrance and underground parking.

It will consist of 32 beautiful one and two bedroom apartments, due for completion second quarter of 2016. Just an 8 minute walk to Epsom railway station, from here, London Victoria is 38 minutes away.

As with all developments from Inspired, the apartments will feature the latest tech and appliances, including granite worktops, hardwood flooring, LED lighting, Sky TV and NEST thermostat systems.

The development is in the centre of Epsom, making it perfect for the young working professional who wants to be leave the leafy town and be in Central London within 30 minutes.

For those who want some fresh air and green space during weekends, the rolling South Downs are in easy reach of Rutland House, and nearer to home is Roseberry Park, a stone-throw away from the door-step.

Rutland House is also a five minute walk to the town centre – boasting shops and restaurants within extremely easy reach!

Prices start at £281,950 for a one-bedroom apartment (with a ground rent of £300 per year).

To find out more about our properties, please contact the team on 020 8688 6552.

UK residential market update for 2016

The most recent data (Knight Frank - May 2016), shows how house prices across the UK rose by 0.2% in April, making the annual average rise in prices across the UK 4.9%. 

Prime central London prices remained unchanged in April, with an annual growth rate of 0.5%, yet Greater London saw healthy growth. 

In addition, following the changes in stamp duty legislation this year, average UK rents are up by 2.6% on the year in March, and by 3.7% in London.

Knight Frank's report goes on to highlight how 'the number of sales in March 2016 was 52% higher than in March 2015',  yet the number of sales in April fell by almost a half year-on-year, highlighting the extent of the activity that took place before the April deadline.

Despite the solid figures, the UK is experiencing a “wait and see” approach currently being taken by many businesses and investors in the run up to the vote on June 23 regarding a Brexit. 

However, scaremongering has caused for unnecessary worry. The UK is still forecast to outperform the wider EU area where an average growth of 1.7% is expected this year, and many can see the pro's of leaving the EU. It is true that some buyers and sellers are choosing to hold off making a move until the outcome is clear, but the truth is that bricks and mortar always make a good investment which is relatively safe. 

At Inspired, we choose to invest in the 'doughnut' areas of London which experiences the highest levels of growth.

We currently have 5 award-winning developments in property hot-spot, Croydon, as well as residential developments in Epsom, Sutton, Chertsey and Crawley.

In addition, we keep our prices extremely competitive at £183,950, meaning that there is always an incredible amount of demand for our units. 

To find out more about our properties, please contact the team on 020 8688 6552.

EU purchasers withdraw from London's prime property market 

Buyers from Europe seem to have taken the threat of a Brexit rather seriously, reducing their involvement in the prime London property market. 

According to a recent article in the Financial Times, 'just 9 per cent of people buying “prime” central London houses and apartments in the first quarter of this year came from other EU countries, compared with 29 per cent a year earlier and a five-year average of 20 per cent.' 

What makes these figures more interesting is that the current exhange rate means that UK property has recently become more affordable for European buyers. For example, as the report goes on to state, 'London homes priced from £2m to £5m now cost 9.7 per cent less than at their 2014 peak, while those over £5m cost 8 per cent less, according to LonRes, a data provider.'

It has been the prime London market that has been affected most, as it is this area which has experienced huge price increases over recent years which most UK citizens can simply not keep up with. A large proportion of property in Knightsbridge, Mayfair and Chelsea has been sold to international investors over the last 20 years, however, these places have only experienced small amounts of growth over recent years which has caused investors to start looking further afield. 

Greater London boroughs are experiencing huge growth thanks to regeneration schemes and large new developments. For example, over the last five years, property prices in Croydon have increased by 40% and these are only due to rise even further thanks to growing demand. 

Investors are looking for projects where they can receive healthy returns and have the opportunity to become involved with an exciting development. We offer both of elements and we are proud to boast the opportunities that we currently do, with large residential developments in hot-spots including Croydon, Sutton, Epsom, Chertsey and Crawley.

Our units start at just £183,950. 

To find out more about our properties, please contact the team on 020 8688 6552.

Property prices and rents would drop after Brexit 

According to researchers, rents and property values would drop if we left Europe, however, would that necessarily be a bad thing?

Affordability is a major problem, particularly in London where the average house is now worth more than £600,000. 

A recent article in The Guardian went as far to state that 'rent bills are likely to fall if Britain exits the EU and property will become more affordable to first-time buyers, according to the bodies that represent the UK’s estate agents and landlords.'

The reason for these suggested reductions is that a Brexit would cause a reduction in immigration, depressing future prices, as demand would also be less. 

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the Association of Residential Letting Agents (Arla) went as far to suggest that the average UK house worth £2,300 less in 2018, and £7,500 less in London.

The report states that “lower immigration would also impact rental prices. UK residents born in other EU countries are far more likely to be private renters. Therefore if fewer EU nationals move to the UK in the long term there may be a noticeable impact on demand levels.”

New research claims that if we did leave Europe, the population of the UK would be 1 million less in 2026 than currently predicted.

This would certainly ease some of our housing problems and make current housing more affordable for hard-working people. 

This is an area that we a truly dedicated to. At Inspired Homes, we build beautiful apartments in London and Greater London, that start at just £183,950.

The properties benefit from exceptional resident facilities such as business lounges, sky gardens and cinema rooms, as well as all being based in brilliant locations close by to public transport links. 

To find out more about our properties, please contact the team on 020 8688 6552.

Investors continue to look further than Zone 1

London properties have always been in high demand because there is a shortage in quality supply.

However, it also comes at a high price in comparison to the rest of the UK, especially in the most desirable and affluent areas such as Knightsbridge, Kensington and Chelsea. Despite popular thought, those areas are not where the most growth lies and there are other boroughs where the ability to gain from capital appreciation is much higher.

In prime Central London, the average house price in 2014 stands at £1.6 million – more than six times the average value in England and Wales. Considering that house prices in the most luxurious areas only rose by an average of 1-2% over the last 12 months, these properties don’t seem too enticing. So, where are investors placing their money?

A world away from the exuberance of personal residential purchases, investors from the likes of Abu Dhabi, China and Dubai are also interested in the lower end of the market and areas further afield than Zone 2. Several investors are now intrigued by both private rented accommodation and sales opportunities in Croydon. Croydon is undergoing a huge regeneration process, boasting the arrival of a brand new Westfield Shopping Centre in 2020, and being just a 30 minute commute from central London.

Normal working families are being pushed out of Zone 1 -2 , which is presenting a wider geographic spread of rental opportunities. Investors are now realising that their returns for properties in Croydon pose a much more fruitful outcome, that simply funneling money into the overpriced town houses in Chelsea and Mayfair.

Inspired Homes have taken notice of this trend, and have fallen in love with all that Croydon has to offer. It is therefore with great happiness that we introduce you to our Croydon based developments, Impact House, Coombe Cross, Canius House, Surrey House and Green Dragon House. 

All of our developments offer exceptionally high quality studios, one bedroom and two bedroom apartments, as well as penthouses. In addition, we also now have help-to-buy in place in offer, so you could own your own home with just a 5% deposit!

Demand for our properties is always present, as we are hitting a market that has previously been neglected. Our prices, specifications and delivery are unmatched, which is reflected in our high sales rate.This is what makes our homes a perfect investment, which could be right for you. 

To find out more about expanding your property portfolio, call our team on 020 8688 6552.

 

The capital needs more homes beyond central London

Housing supply is pretty much at the top of the current political agenda. A gross lack of supply has caused prices to sky-rocket and ultimately resulted in what we are now referring to as a 'housing crisis'. 

London needs 64,000 new homes a year to take account of population growth, as well as projected employment growth on the back of the capital’s strong economic performance. This is a vast increase of 28%, in comparison to predictions in 2013, which estimated the need of 50,000 new homes a year. 

In addition to residential property, the growing number of employees means that the City of London will need to increase office space by 25% (Savills Resi Research). 

Considering these factors, the obvious answer is for developers to focus on either areas which are booming so offices will inevitably be built, or indeed to combine both residential and commercial uses to ultimately intensify development. 

Most have already identified the incredible potential which sits outside of central London.

High-growth areas include Croydon, where we have five residential developments, Epsom, Chertsey and Sutton. All of these areas are experiencing increases in employment and regeneration schemes to a certain extent. For example, it is a well-known fact that Croydon will be home to the next Westfield shopping centre in 2020. 

By moving offices to these outer London boroughs, employees can also enjoy living in the suburbs for far less money and with a much better quality of life with no commute. We believe that bold actions need to be taken, which is why we have invested in these hot-spots, enabling us to receive large returns and provide superb investment opportunities. 

We use permitted development rights to convert tired office spaces into beautifully designed apartments. Our developments offer the latest fittings and home efficiencies, a superb location, plus extensive resident facilities which include cinema rooms, business lounges and sky gardens. In addition, we have help to buy in place which means that there is a huge level of demand for our apartments which are priced so well. 

To find out more about expanding your portfolio and receiving exceptional returns, please call the team on 0207 495 0523

Inspired Homes feature in The Sunday Times 

We are very proud to announce that Inspired Homes featured in The Sunday Times this weekend. 

The article refers to how property developers are getting creative with their buildings, and Inspired Homes are one of the names who are leading the way. 

The Sunday Times note how we go that extra mile to make our homes unique and high quality, and in this instance, it wasn't due to our extensive resident facilities or superb home efficiencies, but infact the artwork at Green Dragon House. 

Green Dragon House in Croydon acted as a canvas for world-famous artist Ben Eine, and in doing so, attracted a lot of very positive attention. 

Eine has completed work for President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as having his work featured across the world from America to the UAE.

Ben stated that he 'came to Croydon a year ago and decided to get involved in the street art scene'.  He chose to paint the word 'mesmorising', as it is one of his favourite words, and he has been waiting to use it but simply needed a large enough canvas.

He added: "Street art has been instrumental in invigorating urban areas in cities and councils like Croydon are starting to realise the positive benefits that creating a buzzing street art scene can bring to an area."

To find out more about how we make our homes unique, please call the team on 0207 495 0523

If you’ve got the money, now is the time to take advantage of low prices!

Recent figures have highlighted how house prices have fallen due to the changes in stamp duty legislation.

 The research, which comes from Halifax, says April saw prices drop by 0.8% after highly volatile pricing and a big rise in transaction numbers in February and March.  (The Guardian, May, 2016).

Buy-to-let purchasers have lost some confidence due to the rise in stamp duty, however, property is still an incredible investment which will always be relatively safe.  Bricks and mortar do a very good job of maintaining a good value, and the number of people needing rented accommodation is on the rise.

That is why we believe now is an excellent time to take advantage of slightly cooler prices, and increase your portfolio.

Here at Inspired, we focus on the ‘doughnut’ area of London. We channel our money and attention into the places we know will see the largest capital appreciation, including Croydon, Sutton, Epsom and Chertsey.

We fit our apartments out with the highest quality equipment and even offer a bespoke interior design service to help you secure the highest rental income and best quality tenants.

 However, this window of opportunity may not last that long.  Current market conditions remain complex, as there is a huge imbalance between supply and demand. The UK's economy, which has seen increased employment and low interest rates, means that circumstances should continue to push house prices up over the coming months.

 Overall, the prices of properties in London and around the UK are on the increase simply due to such large demand.

 Therefore, if you don’t want to waste anymore time and want to start building your London and Greater London portfolio, please call the team on 0207 495 0523

Are you thinking about investing in Croydon? 

If you're considering investing your hard-earned money in real estate, you will probably have heard about Croydon's soaring popularity.

Gone are the days when Croydon was considered unfashionable. With a brand new Westfield shopping centre on the way for 2020, a strong indigenous population and exceptional transport links into Central London, it is no surprise that London's largest borough is attracting multi-million pound investments.

According to Zoopla, property prices in Croydon have increased by 40% over the last ten years, with a value change of £96,710, making it a real estate hot spot. However, if you're still not aware of what Croydon has to offer, here's all the information you need:

Commuting time to Zone 1 : 15 minutes

Amenities: Westfield Shopping Centre launching soon, BoxPark launching summer 2016, Wandle park,  2 Vue Cinema's, regular vibrant food market, and the Fairfield Halls plays host to a variety of theatre performances and shows

Open Space: Coombe Wood, The Addington Golf Club, Selsdon Park Golf Course and Purley Downs Golf Club

Schools: An excellent mix of top performing academic institutes including Whitgift School, Coloma Convent Girls' School and the independent Trinity School, to the more creative BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology which received an outstanding rating from OFSTED.

Who lives there? Young families, tech entrepreneurs, fashion forward city workers. In addition, Kate Moss, billionaire Topshop boss Sir Philip Green, artist Tracey Emin, illusionist Derren Brown, comedian Ronnie Corbett, England football manager Roy Hodgson were all born in Croydon.

Inspired Asset Management has worked tirelessly to give Croydon a facelift and in doing so, providing much needed affordable, yet desirably private housing for working Londoners.

To find out more about our Croydon based Inspired Homes and to learn how you could expand your portfolio, please call 020 8688 6552.

Sadiq Khan's policies on the London property market from an investors point of view 

Sadiq Khan has already made a name for himself as the new Mayor of London as he's made history by having the biggest personal mandate in British political history. Some were perhaps shocked by this, as it differs so hugely from Mr Corbyn’s strategy of mobilising millions of non-voters which has “abjectly failed” according to backbencher, Tristram Hunt.

As the Mayor of London, one of his main focuses has to be on housing, and from his point of view, ensuring there is a healthy supply of affordable housing. His role allows him to have a large amount of control when planning regulations are concerned, so many are questioning what Khan will do with his newly found power.

The issue has risen to the top of the political agenda, not just because of soaring prices and rents, but also because of the huge influx of luxury flats being built which have an extraordinary high price tag in central London. As a recent article in The Financial Times states, Mr Khan’s 'big manifesto pledge was that half of new housing construction in London should be affordable to people on average incomes'.

Mr Khan's policies therefore hit many developers who focus on prime areas of London. By enforcing his desires of making London property less pricey, he risks a huge reduction in sites that are able to deliver affordable housing. Prime London developers pay a lot of money for land, and therefore they need to make this money back which is what causes the higher price tags.

According to a report by the Centre for London think-tank: “The development of new housing in a city like London is a remarkably complex business. It typically involves partnership of an array of private companies, public and third sector bodies, the coming-together of a range of skills — including planning, finance, design, and community engagement — and the pooling of resources in the form of land and finance.”

With all of these concerns looming, many investors are choosing to look slightly further afield, to areas that still offer bargains as well as brilliant amenities. That is certainly what we do at Inspired Homes, as we focus on the very best commuter zones such as Croydon, Epsom, Sutton and Chertsey, creating developments that are always extremely close to all public transport, shops and the town's facilities.  

In addition, our houses start at just £183,950, so expanding your property portfolio has never been easier. 

To find out more about our investment opportunites at Inspired Asset Management, please call the team on 020 8688 6552.

Investors turn their attention to cheaper London homes

Wealthy investors are still funneling their money into the capital, however, they have diverted their attention away from the luxury market. 

This is not only due to the fact that prices in prime London areas are hugely distorted, but also because of the new fees which came into force in April of this year.  These changes caused properties worth over £1 million to carry huge additional transaction costs if the investor already owned one home.

Therefore, the savvy investor is now looking towards places where they can identify bargains and experience exceptional returns. 

A world away from the exuberance of personal residential purchases, investors from the likes of Abu Dhabi, China and Dubai are becoming fascinated by the lower end of the market and areas further afield than Zone 2. Several investors are now intrigued by both private rented accommodation and sales opportunities in Croydon. Croydon is undergoing a huge regeneration process, boasting the arrival of a brand new Westfield Shopping Centre in 2020, and being just a 30 minute commute from central London.

Despite concerns from the industry, foreign investment is fueling demand once more, suggesting that the supposed ‘cooling’ will not be as dramatic as experts once thought. In addition, the latest official picture from the Office for National Statistics, suggests that London still boasts an impeccably prosperous market, highlighting how house prices increased by 6.7% from 2014 - 2015.

Greater London areas have experienced huge price increases as developers look further afield to accommodate the growing population, and average prices have soared by up to 18% in areas such as Lewisham and even 30% in Croydon. The race to own a London property is well and truly on!

To find out more about owning a London or Greater London portfolio, give the team a call on 020 8688 6552.

Take advantage of pre-referendum jitters and expand your property portfolio

Britain's property prices are almost out of control and are set to keep on rising for the next five years at least. Even with the Mayoral election on the horizon and the uncertainty of a Brexit, prices are soaring, and this is simply due to increasing demand. However, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors have suggested that there's a small window of opportunity to buy a London property at a cheaper price this year and before they start skyrocketing again, and that time is now!

If you’re an investor who is considering expanding your portfolio, but are experiencing cold feet, then read these numbers…By 2020, you will need an average deposit of £138,000 just to purchase a normal one-bedroom apartment in London. Prices are expected to rise by 23% over the next 4 years, making the housing crisis worse than we initially thought.  In addition, changes in stamp duty legislation, combined with political instability mean that prices, for now, have stabled slightly for a short period.

The average price of houses in Britain sits at £284,000, while the price to buy a home in London is now at a huge £524,000, according to the Office for National Statistics. It is shocking to learn that a large property developer recently announced that consumers now see £600,000 homes as relatively affordable!  As well as these reasons, pre-referendum jitters have also caused investment into the capital to slow slightly, meaning that the canny investor is using it as an opportunity to secure excellent assets at competitive rates.

At Inspired Homes, we are committed to providing what we call affordable luxury. Our products are within a price bracket that always experiences exceptional demand, which is what makes Inspired's apartments a unique investment. 

 If you think you can’t afford to buy, think again - Our homes start at just £183,950 and we also offer a unique furnishing service to ensure you receive the highest rents possible, as well as the highest quality tenants. 

To find out more about owning your London or Greater London portfolio, give the team a call on 020 8688 6552.

Inspired Homes New Property Developments in London

If you were to take a helicopter ride over the nation’s capital, one thing you would notice, besides the beautiful skyline and famous landmarks, are the number of new property developments in London under construction.

New homes and apartments are being built everywhere and at an astonishing rate. However, it raises the question of whether all these new property developments in London are worthwhile? Will they sell and is there enough demand? Will they be bought by the people who need them – professionals, couples, young families?

In the middle of 2015, there were around 50,000 new home property developments in London on the go. Boris Johnson had set an annual target of 47,000 and recent statistics show that the average wage in London is £40,000 and the average house price is £580,000. Young people are being priced out of new property developments in London and first-time buyers are being forced to look elsewhere.

So what happens to these new properties? Their sky-high prices mean that many of them are sitting empty. 

One new property development near central London sits 50 storeys high and has over 250 apartments. Yet, most of them are unoccupied. Who can afford a 2 bedroom apartment for, in some cases, £1m+?

If they’re not sitting empty, many of these new property developments are being snapped up by investors or foreign buyers and rented out at extortionate rates.

So where does the young couple or first-time buyer go? The answer is further afield…to a fast-growing, super-trendy commuter-hub just outside of London and close to the pebbly beaches of Brighton. Croydon.

Believe it or not, this booming borough is the next big thing for affordable new apartments in London.

Here at Inspired, we have undertaken a number of new property developments in this London borough, opening a door for first-time buyers. Our apartments are modern and functional. They are stylish and open-plan, with high-tech features and stunning attention to detail.

Take Green Dragon House, an exceptional example of how new property developments in London needn’t cost the earth or sit next to Oxford Street. Green Dragon House looks out over the well-known Surrey Street Market and is very close to Croydon’s best bars, restaurants and shops.

The building features 119 one and two bedroom apartments and has high-tech fixtures, quality fixtures, energy saving LED lighting, Bosch appliances and beautiful granite kitchen worktops. 

For new property developments in London, these stunning homes present young couples, families and professionals with the chance to step onto the property ladder. You don’t have to spend all your hard earned savings and as the area is booming, you will likely see capital growth on your property over time.

To find out more about investment opportunities and vision for the future, please contact the team on 020 7495 0523. 

Investing in London property in 2016

Ever-evolving and highly adaptable, London's property market offers both interesting and prosperous investment opportunities.

Booming residential development and an exceptionally competitive market, the capital remains an investor's favourite. London is excelling itself, with increasing rents and therefore increasing returns, despite the curveballs that have been thrown at buy to let investors with recent legislation alterations.

However, 2016 brings further opportunity for growth and renewal, but there's so much choice, that it can become difficult to ascertain which location is best.

Buyers and investors are now looking beyond the traditional high-end postcodes, expanding London's landscape and allowing the property market to evolve.

Large pockets of London, especially Croydon, are undergoing development and regeneration projects, making investment opportunities particularly interesting. These areas have started to outperform others in terms of profitability and accessibility.

Areas such as Sutton, Epsom and Croydon are grabbing investors attention, and it is easy to see why! Property prices have risen in Croydon by 30% in just 5 years (Zoopla) and are only going to increase further once the Westfield shopping centre arrives (scheduled 2020/21) - we all know what effect this had on house prices in Stratford just a few years ago. Intensive regeneration has injected youth and vitality into an area that has previously been neglected.

These up and coming boroughs are gaining improved transport links and new forms of amenities, creating hype and excitement which is further fuelling demand.

In addition, the private rental sector is continuing to grow in size, with around 5.4 million properties now being let out to private tenants (Knight Frank 2016 RESI report). Whereas renting has previously been seen as the intermediate before getting onto the property market, those in the UK are now following in the footsteps of several European countries, where renting and the PRS are seen as a lifestyle choice.

London, in particular, continues to attract many investors thanks to its developing PRS market. Those looking to purchase more high-end properties are focusing on Canary Wharf, where new developments are providing homes for the bankers of the city. However, the canny investor is looking at the commuter belt, which is offering a small window of opportunity to make large returns.

To find out more about our developments and investment opportunities, as well as our exceptional returns, please contact the team on 0207 495 0523.

How will Brexit influence the London property market

Tabloid headlines make it clear that the Brexit debate is taking centre stage across the UK, with businesses becoming increasingly worked up and readers more confused. Adding to that, the looming threat of a house-price crash remains present. However, the facts suggest that there is a little too much scaremongering. 

KPMG recently released a survey claiming that 66% of property industry people thought Brexit would have a negative effect on inward foreign investment in London property. However, that may not be a bad thing, because the main problem in London is that property is not affordable. Yes, a Brexit could have a large impact on the higher-end market, but the lower and middle-end of the London property market is set to boom. 

Prime London property has long been held aloft by international investors, and according to a Knight Frank study in 2013, 49% of all prime central London buyers were non-British citizens. 

Inspired Asset Management focus on the middle market, helping hard-working Londoners and first time buyers to secure their place on the property market. As the capital attracts the brightest talent and graduates, housing that is both of a high quality and affordable is experiencing an incredible amount of demand. 

Our prices start at £183,950, and we offer both high-tech and high-spec finishes, as well as excellent resident facilities. 

If you want to find out more about our investment opportunities, please contact the team on 0207 495 0523

What Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith want for London's property market

On the surface, London is a booming city with a towering skyline and heaving social scene. The capital seems to be building at a ferocious speed, yet it needs more homes than ever before!

Researchers claim that 80,000 homes need to be built over next year in London alone. However, last year, less than half this amount were built, despite London's population growing at a rate faster than we have ever experienced. Currently, the city boasts 8.6 million inhabitants, but this is predicted to rise to 10 million by 2030. 

A severe lack of supply has forced house prices up so far in the capital that the affordability crisis is beginning to spread out into Greater London and key commuter zones. For example, according to The Telegraph, 'house prices in Slough jumped 19pc in the year to February 2016'. 

It is therefore no surprise that housing is high on the agenda when it comes to electing the next Mayor of London. 

The main candidates - Labour's Sadiq Khan and the Conservatives' Zac Goldsmith, both agree that more houses need to be built, 50,000 more to be exact. However, have they really delved into the question of how this is going to be achieved?

Guy Grainger, the chief executive of commercial estate agents JLL, believes hitting this target will be "really hard". In 2010, only 18,000 houses were built in London, and this figure hasn't surpassed 30,000 even up to present day. Many believe that the largest restrictions that developers face are tight planning regulations and land availability. The question of whether there are enough builders also has to be considered. 

Mr Khan believes that affordability is key, while Mr Goldsmith wants to focus predominantly on medium-density developments where people can not only get onto the housing market via schemes such as help to buy, but buyers can also have a larger say over what gets built. 

Goldsmith has said that he is focusing his efforts on providing housing for those on "average salaries", wanting to revive the traditional London Edwardian terrace. He also proposes three-year leases as standard, with the hope that this will give more power to tenants. 

Khan has promised to bring in what he is currently calling the "London living rent", making rent in the capital a reflection of local wages. He also wants to increase the proportion of shared-ownership homes built on publicly built land. 

Overall, one thing is clear when looking at the figures, and that is that something must be done and at great speed. In 2015, the average price of a home in England and Whales stood at £190,275, yet in London it was £530,368 (Land Registry). 

To find out more out Inspired's vision and our investment opportunities, please call 0207 495 0523.

Why is the government stalling our housing supply?

We need more housing to be built in the UK. It is that simple and an indisputable statement which causes concern for many young Londoners. 

When the figures are taken into account, Britain's population increases by 500,000 every year. This is mostly due to increasing immigration levels, as opposed to random baby booms. Adding to this, people are living longer which means that overall, the UK is experiencing a lack of supply of housing that is both affordable and of a good quality. 

Last year, only 142,890 properties were completed, which is up by 21 percent on 2014, but still a modest number compared to what’s needed.

Over the last few years, and in particular, throughout the latest London Mayoral race, there has been much talk about what the Government should and could do to fix this housing deficit. 

Many argue that it is our planning laws that need addressing, suggesting that they should be relaxed and the building process made easier. As a recent article in City AM highlighted, 'designated Green Belt that holds questionably protected resources such as old trading estates, scrap yards and so on, could be re-defined'. 

The Government seem to be doing a lot more to encourage demand than they do to aid supply across the UK. For example, the introduction of Help to Buy has provided an excellent way for first time buyers to own their own home, even in London. Yet what seems to be being forgotten is that if supply isn't increased, high demand will cause prices to rise anyway, making it more difficult for buyers to get onto the property ladder despite any scheme put in place. 

At Inspired Asset Management, we believe strongly that it is London space standards that need to be addressed, as well as planning laws. We use permitted development rights to build beautiful homes that are just fractionally smaller than normal flats. They are stunningly designed and our Greater London developments offer exceptional resident facilities, yet we are able to bring them to market for just £183,950

It is therefore no surprise that there is a huge amount of demand for our product, and that is why we are so positive that we have at least one of the solutions to help fix the housing deficit. 

We would love to hear your opinion. To get involved or find out more about what Inspired Asset Management do, please call the office on 0207 495 0523.

House of Lords committee criticises government housing policy

Earlier this year, the House of Lords Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment has released a scathing report on current government housing policy, saying it is “unlikely to meet demand for either the quantity or quality of houses we need”.

The main point in the report, is that the committee is convinced we will not reach the set targets for building enough houses to accommodate our growing population. They argue that unless local authorities and housing associations are allowed to play larger roles in the housing industry, prices will continue to rise at a rate that many cannot keep up with.

Baroness O’Cathain told Showhouse magazine that: “It is increasingly clear that we need to build more houses in England and we wholeheartedly support that objective. However, if we build those houses in the wrong place, to a poor standard, without the consent of local communities, we are only storing up future misery for the people in those houses and others nearby.

Here at Inspired, we believe that we have one of the solutions. We provide hard-working Londoner’s with what we call ‘affordable luxury’. By making the flats slightly smaller and utilising excellent design, we can sell them for a very reasonable price. For example, our homes start at just £183,950 in Greater London and boast superb transport links.

We want to develop this into a graduate housing model, where newly qualified young working professionals can enjoy owning their own home, while using resident facilities to include gyms, businesses lounges and cinema rooms. We are aware of the need to new homes, but speedy delivery must not result in lost quality.

If you would like to find out more about our ambition for the future, please call us on 0207 495 0523. 

 

Inspired Asset Management and Henley agree residential deal for Sutton project

Inspired Asset Management have agreed a £17m debt deal with Henley to fund the development of the office-to-residential project in the heart of Sutton.

The news has featured in Property Week (see full article here) on 20th April 2016 along with a quote from Ian Rickwood, CEO of Henley, who stated that Henley is in a strong position to take advantage of development opportunities in the UK. Inspired and Henley have partnered together to deliver 82 one and two bed apartments in a prime central location in Sutton, with over half sold off plan already. 

This is welcome news for Inspired who can now commence with construction with scheduled completion date looking at Q1/Q2 of 2017. 

 

Now is the right time to expand your London property portfolio 

Britain's property prices are almost out of control and are set to keep on rising for the next five years at least. Even with the Mayoral election on the horizon and the uncertainty of a Brexit, prices are soaring, and this is simply due to increasing demand. However, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors have suggested that there's a small window of opportunity to buy a London property at a cheaper price this year and before they start skyrocketing again, and that time is now!

If you’re an investor who is considering expanding your portfolio, but are experiencing cold feet, then read these numbers…By 2020, you will need an average deposit of £138,000 just to purchase a normal one-bedroom apartment in London. Prices are expected to rise by 23% over the next 4 years, making the housing crisis worse than we initially thought.

In addition, changes in stamp duty legislation, combined with political instability mean that prices, for now, has stabled slightly for a short period.

The average price of houses in Britain sits at £284,000, while the price to buy a home in London is now at a huge £524,000, according to the Office for National Statistics. It is shocking to learn that a large property developer recently announced that consumers now see £600,000 homes as relatively affordable!

At Inspired Homes, we just don't agree. We are committed to providing what we call affordable luxury. Our products are within a price bracket that always experiences exceptional demand, which is what makes Inspired's apartments a unique investment. 

If you think you can’t afford to buy, think again - Our homes start at just £183,950 and we also offer a unique furnishing service to ensure you receive the highest rents possible, as well as the highest quality tenants. 

To find out more about owning your London or Greater London portfolio, give the team a call on 020 8688 6552.

Rents in London up 7.7% as anti-landlord policies take effect 

New research has revealed that tenants in London are paying an average of 7.7% more for new tenancies compared to this time last year (Landlord Today). The figure has been taken from the HomeLet Rental Index, which puts rent inflation outside the capital at 4.9%.

The studies highlight that rents in the capital continue to rise significantly, with demand for low to mid-priced property remaining strong and supply not hitting targets. 

London’s rental market, where the average rent on a new tenancy is now £1,536, continues to see rents rise more quickly than in other areas of the country. At 2.8 percentage points, the gap between rent rises on new tenancies in London and the rest of the UK, where rents average £755, was almost identical to last month (2.9 percentage points). Ultimately, landlords are able to increase their prices, as fewer buy-to-let properties are enterting the market due to recent legislation changes. 

External factors such as population growth and increasing costs for landlords only fuel the prices increases, making it very difficult for young working professionals to afford to rent in the capital. The effect of these price increases, combined with the introduction of London help to buy, means that there is a huge demand for Inspired Homes' product. By building what we call 'affordable luxury', and making the apartments slightly smaller than normal, we are able to sell London and Greater London homes for just £183,950. For many, the option of purchasing their own propety has become a reality with help to buy, meaning that all they need to secure their first home is a 5% deposit. This makes our investment opportunities incredibly interesting, as we are targetting a market that has suddenly undergone substantial changes. 

To find out more about Inspired Asset Management and our investment opportunities, please call the team on 020 7495 0523. 

New York turns to micro apartments to solve the city's housing crisis 

London is not the only city currently experiencing a housing crisis. The major hubs across the globe are facing the same problem of a lack of supply and ever-increasing demand. However, the solution for these problems could be the same for all, and it is exactly what Inspired'd CEO, Martin Skinner has believed in from the very beginning. 

Here, at Inspired Asset Management, we have always believed that consumers are willing to sacrifice a bit of space in order to actually call a property their own. House prices in London have reached a point where rent is averaging £1000 per month, and therefore buying a house or apartment is beocoming more and more appealing. The introduction of London Help to Buy has also aided the process, meaning that young couples and hard-working Londoner's can purchase a home with just a 5% deposit. However, we take it a step further, and by making our apartments slightly smaller, we can sell them for incredibly affordable prices. Currently, our prices start at just £183,950 for a superb apartment which includes excellent fittings and handy transport links to central London. This means that demand for our product is always incredibly high.

Backing up our theory is a recent article in CBC News. It states how 'in a city of big dreams and an ever-growing population trying to squeeze into a tight space, New York is hoping the solution to its housing problems is to go small — micro, in fact.' It highlights the opening of Carmel Place, the city's first apartment building made up entirely of micro apartments. The development includes apartments ranging in size from 260 to 360 square feet. In order for the development to be built, the city relaxed the 1987 law that prevented the construction of any apartment smaller than 400 square feet. 

So far, Carmel Place is a one-off in New York, but this trend has already hit London and has proven incredibly popular with buyers. Inspired Homes currently boast five developments in property hotspot, Croydon, as well as buildings in Chertsey, Epsom, Sutton and Crawley. 

To find out more about our investment opportunities and homes, please call us on 020 7495 0523. 

 

Brexit concerns result in another blow for central London

Uncertainty over the EU referendum and a vote for Brexit looms largest over central London, with global investors raising their concern over the future of London's luxury market. A tale as old as time, political uncertainly has always resulted in the market becoming paralysed as the banks and developers eagerly await Parliament's news. Since the announcement that the UK would hold an official EU referendum this Summer, the real estate market has noticed a slight slow down, particualrly in prime locations such as Mayfair, Chelsea and Fulham. 

Several surveys suggest that key stakeholders believe there could be an over-supply of swanky central London apartments which are overpriced and unaffordable to the section of the market that is currently experiencing the highest levels of demand. Here at Inspired, we are aware of these trends, and that is why we develop residential property in Greater London and the key commuter zones. It is incredibly affordable, which means that demand is exceptionally high, with our apartments selling off-plan at a hugely accelerated pace. We are targeting the first time buyers and hard working Londoners who thought owning a house was beyond their dreams, yet the reality is that they can afford a centrally located, impeccably designed apartment with Inspired Homes. 

This makes our projects ideal for potential investors. We are not in a risk zone, and we offer brilliant returns with altering terms. The company is expanding at a huge rate, purchasing properties most recently in Chertsey, as well owning large residential developments in Croydon, Epsom, Sutton and Crawley. 

Therefore, a Brexit may affect investment in the high-end market, but the lower market in commuter zones is where the huge growth and demand will be. 

To find out more about Inspired Asset Management and our investment opportunities, please call 020 7495 0523. 

Why buy an Inspired property?

At Inspired, we believe that hard-working Londoner’s should have the chance to own their own home. Home ownership is seen as one of the main goals for adulthood, and at the current rate, homes are becoming more and more unaffordable. We have done something about this, and have managed to create what we call ‘affordable luxury‘. Many of our homes in Greater London start at just £183,950 and offer more than what the average apartment can give. Several of our homes include access to superbly designed communal areas, roof gardens and business suites.

We start by looking beyond the obvious, pinpointing properties with potential for remarkable transformation. We are specialist investors, developers and asset managers focussing exclusively on emerging locations across Inner, Greater and Commuter London, and our innovative, design-led approach to layout makes the most of every inch of space.

Every fixture, fitting and finish has a contemporary feel that you – and your friends – will notice straight away. So if you’re ready to own your first home, or are simply investing for the future, we can show you how to turn that dream into a reality.

Demand for our properties is always present, as we are hitting a market that has previously been neglected. Our prices, specifications and delivery are unmatched, which is reflected in our high sales rate.This is what makes our homes a perfect investment, which could be right for you. 

We also are proud to have help to buy in place, meaning that all that is needed to secure your own piece of Greater London, is a 5% deposit.

To find out more, call our team on 020 8688 6552.

 

Average London property prices hit £530,368

House prices have risen by a staggering 13.5 per cent in the Capital since February 2015, according to the latest official data (http://www.moneyobserver.com/). In addition, property prices in England and Wales rose by 6.1 per cent annually, taking the average price to £190,275.

Prime London areas such as Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham showed a slow-down, with annual rises of just 5.6 per cent and 7.3 per cent. However, despite concerns from the industry, foreign investment is fueling demand once more, suggesting that the supposed ‘cooling’ will not be as dramatic as experts once thought. Greater London areas have experienced huge price increases as developers look further afield to accommodate the growing population, and average prices have soared by up to 18% in areas such as Lewisham. The race to own a London property is well and truly on!

However, at Inspired, we believe that hard-working Londoner’s should have the chance to own their own home. Home ownership is seen as one of the main goals for adulthood, and at the current rate, homes are becoming more and more unaffordable. We have done something about this, and have managed to create what we call ‘affordable luxury‘. Many of our homes in Greater London start at just £183,950 and offer more than what the average apartment can give. Several of our homes include access to superbly designed communal areas, roof gardens and business suites.

We also are proud to have help to buy in place, meaning that all that is needed to secure your own piece of Greater London, is a 5% deposit.

To find out more, call our team on 020 8688 6552.

 

London's housing market is still one of the most powerful markets in the world 

When looking at the news, you couldn't be blamed for believing that London's housing market has been a victim of its huge success. Prices are spiralling out of control, there is a shortage in available supply and George Osborne's recent reforms to stamp duty have caused undeniable problems with buy to let investors. However, when you look a little closer, the capital's market is far from cooling and demand is still through the roof. Have journalists and sceptics exagerated?

The latest official picture from the Office for National Statistics, suggests that London still boasts an impeccably prosperous market, highlighting how house prices increased by 6.7% from 2014 - 2015. There is a little or no evidence of a slow down, with the only solid statistics showing how the population will continue to rise.In addition, RICS recently reported a pick-up in the UK's housing market, with demand and supply in London moving in an upward direction. 

Strengthening this argument, new buyer enquiries rose sharply in the latest month, along with new seller instructions and sales. 

The forecasts for prices over the five years demonstrate stable and steady growth, with an average 4.2% annual increase in London between now and 2012. 

When buy to let landlords are concerned, the news is also good as RICS has reported how tenant demand is on the rise, and an average rental growth over the next five years of 4%. 

To find out more about investing in London and Greater London property, please call our team on 020 7495 0523.

Experts warn that new taxes will result in rent rises 

Research shows that rent prices in the UK will most likely rise as a result of the new stamp duty rate that was introduced on 01 April for additional properties, as it will hit landlords of buy to let properties.

The extra tax, which affects anyone buying an additional home, is seen as a huge burden for the UK’s private rental sector at a time when there is increased demand for rented homes. Unfortunately, a reduction in available supply of rented accommodation will mean that prices are forced upwards, meaning that London will become even more unaffordable.

As a consequence of the housing shortage, London is potentially on the cusp of the resurgence of the corporate-sponsored worker housing, which was previously adopted by the Bournville family during the Victorian era.  Large and small employers alike are increasingly worried about London’s living costs, and therefore, the concept of large blue chip companies providing good quality housing seems like one of the most promising options.

Worryingly, current projections suggest that central London house prices will grow by 15 per cent over the next five years, and rents by 22 per cent. Companies are therefore becoming increasingly worried that they will fail to attract and retain the best talent, and are searching for a a speedy answer.

Fortunately, thanks to recent government legislation, help to buy is now giving first time buyers a helping hand. Help to Buy could mean an end to renting for thousands of  Londoners and commuters, as suddenly, property ownership is far more within reach. Help to Buy offers a Government equity loan of up to 40% of the value of your home, on Inspired Homes’ London properties in Greater London boroughs including Croydon and Sutton. In addition, a 20% Help to Buy loan can be available on our other developments including Epsom, Crawley and Chertsey. A 5% deposit is all that’s required up front, so owning a piece of ‘Brilliant Living’ is now a real possibility.

At Inspired, we strongly believe that hard-working Londoners should be able to own their own home, which is why we work tirelessly to deliver affordable luxury in excellent locations.

Speak to our Sales team to find out more about Help to Buy and to obtain expert financial advice on whether you are eligible by calling 020 8688 6552.

 

Inspired Asset Management's CEO, Martin Skinner, features in Property Week

We are delighted that our CEO, Martin Skinner, has featured in Property Week, offering his opinion and expertise on permitted development. 

"I’m delighted that the extension to permitted development rights for office-to-residential conversions is now official and that applicants will have three years to implement the change of use from the date of the prior approval (PropertyWeek.com).

"Permitted development has made a significant contribution to London’s housing needs. Last year, with 519 units under construction, my company was responsible for the 16th-highest number of consented units under construction in Greater London, more than Crest Nicholson and other major housebuilders.

"Criterion Capital, another developer that has taken advantage of permitted development, was eighth on the list, with 940 units under construction.

"However, the introduction of Article 4 Directions will mean that many of the sites for which we obtained prior approval last year are now exempt from the rights. We urge the government to clarify the rules on what can be exempted, and to request that local authorities provide comprehensive evidence to support these exemptions.

The next London mayor will have their work cut out to meet the 50,000-homes-a-year target, and I believe that further deregulation is the answer. Next on the list is to enable student-type shared accommodation to be let to graduates/young professionals as well as students under sui generis."

A seasoned entrepreneur, Martin Skinner is a proven expert when it comes to permitted development rights. Inspired Asset Management currently boasts a GDV of £350 million, having established a number of successful joint ventures and pinpointing exceptionally profitable projects in the London 'doughnut' area. 

To find out more about our projects, please contact us on 020 7495 0523.

Getting to know you: Martin Skinner

Business Matters Magazine spoke to Martin Skinner about his inspirations in business, and find out what he would have done differently given the chance.

What do you currently do?

I am the CEO and founder of Inspired Asset Management, a property development and asset management company that I set up in 2010. We create affordable luxury homes for first-time buyers and young professionals who are renting. We use innovative approaches to design – made possible by new policies on office to residential conversions – to create high-spec, high-tech homes at prices that young professionals can actually afford.

Our pipeline of more than 1,300 homes is spread across developments in Croydon, Epsom, Sutton, Crawley and Chertsey. Last year, of the London developers, we were responsible for the 16th highest number of consented homes under construction, more than housebuilding giants Crest Nicholson. Not bad for a small company.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

My desire to spend money on enjoying life as opposed to renting an apartment inspired me to create aspirational low cost homes for myself and others. Believe it or not cars were my passion, not property. In trying to find a more efficient way of satisfying my own need for housing, I ended up with a business that helped other people in my position.

Who do you admire?

I admire Tony Pidgley, founder of Berkeley Group and a godfather of residential property. Berkeley currently build more homes in London than any other developer. I also admire Reza Merchant, a young entrepreneur, only in his twenties, who founded The Collective. They are a property company providing rental accommodation for young professionals, which I chaired for three years and continue to hold shares in. Reza is doing a brilliant job creating quirky live/ work communities for young people in London.

Outside of property, I admire the guys from Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. I like their open-sourced approach to development where they get everyone in the business to think like an entrepreneur. Google employees are encouraged to spend 20% of their time on outside interests and they often invest in ventures cultivated by their staff. We try to do the same at Inspired, except they’re developing software and we’re developing property. Then there’s Steve Jobs, who was admired by everyone in business. It was his design and usability intelligence that I admired the most; his ability to simplify things and make them look beautiful – something we look to do at our developments. 

Looking back are there things you would have done differently?

Yes – I wouldn’t have gone bust in 2008. I had a previous property business called Nice Group which fell victim of the Credit Crunch. At our peak, we had a property portfolio worth more than £250m. Obviously, I learnt the hard way along with a lot of people working in property at the time.

These days, I like to build a greater margin of safety into my projects. I also try to create a product that has a deeper market both in terms of investment and sales so it’s less prone to shocks.

What defines your way of doing business?  

My businesses are all about maximising marginal gains. I tend to focus on all the little things that you can incrementally do better – providing a better social environment through resident facilities, incorporating the latest technology and providing the highest spec finish. We want people to enjoy living in an Inspired home and we want everyone who interacts with us to enjoy the Inspired experience – whether that’s customers, investors, lenders, journalists, agents or employees.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

My advice is to get out there and take some risks. You have to build confidence in yourself through practice. Take risks early. When I had my implosion during the Credit Crunch I was young enough to start again. Had it been even 10 years later and I didn’t have just the one child – but maybe two or three – it might have been more difficult. I probably would have gone for a salary. Also, start the preparations around your current job. I started establishing a property portfolio whilst heading web and software development at an IT services company. It was income from the property portfolio that supported me and allowed me to leave and set up my business. Most successful entrepreneurs start up part-time.

How the 2016 budget will affect the housing industry

George Osborne yesterday announced the budget for 2016 and there were a few changes affecting the housing sector.

It has been confirmed that the increase in Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for additional properties will also apply to larger investors.

Osborne also announced the new Lifetime ISA that people under the age of 40 can use.

Savers will receive a 25% bonus from the government, therefore they can put in up to £4,000 a year with the annual bonus of up to £1,000 paid until the age of 50. This could reduce the time taken for first time buyers to save for that all important deposit by a

quarter.   

Commenting on the announcement, Martin Skinner, CEO of Inspired Asset Management, said:

“With the government adding £1 for every £4 saved, the new lifetime ISA will enable first time buyers to raise a deposit more quickly.

“It is concerning to hear though that SDLT for additional properties will apply to large property investors. The devil will be in the detail but it is clear that the government’s intention is to shrink the private rented sector.”

“As a result, we expect the shortfall in supply to continue and therefore both house prices and, even more so now, rents to continue to rise quite rapidly.  Once tenants’ complaints about rising rents start to echo around Westminster (as they inevitably will) then the Government will need to look at countering some of their recent anti BTL/PRS policies to attract the investment that will be needed.”

Investors leave Knightsbridge for Croydon -

London property comes at a high price premium compared to the rest of the UK, especially in the most desirable and affluent areas such as Knightsbridge, Kensington and Chelsea. However, those areas are not where the most growth lies and there are other areas where the ability to gain from capital appreciation is much higher.

In prime Central London, the average house price in 2014 stands at £1.6 million – more than six times the average value in England and Wales. Considering that house prices in the most luxurious areas only rose by an average of 1-2% over the last 12 months, these properties don’t seem too enticing. So, where are investors placing their money?

A world away from the exuberance of personal residential purchases, investors from the likes of Abu Dhabi, China and Dubai are also interested in the lower end of the market and areas further afield than Zone 2. Several investors are now intrigued by both private rented accommodation and sales opportunities in Croydon. Croydon is undergoing a huge regeneration process, boasting the arrival of a brand new Westfield Shopping Centre in 2020, and being just a 30 minute commute from central London.

Normal working families are being pushed out of Zone 1 -2 , which is presenting a wider geographic spread of rental opportunities. Investors are now realising that their returns for properties in Croydon pose a much more fruitful outcome, that simply funneling money into the overpriced town houses in Chelsea and Mayfair.

Inspired Homes have taken notice of this trend, and have fallen in love with all that Croydon has to offer. It is therefore with great happiness that we introduce you to our Croydon based developments, Impact House, Coombe Cross, Canius House, Surrey House and Green Dragon House. 

All of our developments offer exceptionally high quality studios, one bedroom and two bedroom apartments, as well as penthouses. In addition, we also now have help-to-buy in place in offer, so you could own your own home with just a 5% deposit!

Get in now before buy-to-let homes face higher stamp duty

On November 25th, the Government announced its latest taxation measures in the UK buy to let market. These changes mean that from April 2016, an extra 3% stamp duty payable on nearly all buy to let (second home) investors when they purchase.

Plans to increase stamp duty costs for buy-to-let landlords and second home buyers could fuel price increases and rents, according to experts.

The changes, which will come into force in April 2016, will mean a 3% rise in stamp duty for buy-to-let investors. For example, the tax bill on a buy-to-let property costing £250,000, will jump to 10,000 instead of 2,500. The same increased stamp duty rate applies to buying other second properties, such as holiday homes, in which the owners do not intend to live full-time. Initially, it seems daunting. However, when you take into consideration the potential profit to be made thanks to capital gain, it would be foolish to forget about investing in property. In addition, these changes will not apply to “corporates or funds making significant investments in residential property, given the role of this investment in supporting the government’s housing agenda”.

Over the last ten years, property prices in London have increased by 55% over a ten year period. Even in individual boroughs, values have shot up with Croydon properties experiencing a 35% increase in value over five years and Brixon properties now being worth 46% more than they were in 2010.

Research suggests that the market will get more active following Osborne’s announcement in the latest budget. Many people are exchanging on properties sooner rather than later to avoid these changes. The alterations will net the exchequer £625 million over 2016 and a rush of purchases ahead of its introduction is even expected to bring in an extra £30 million before April.

The government have made these changes in a bid to achieve sustained investment and fix the UK’s current housing crisis. As it stands, research predicts that by 2025, over half of 20 to 39-year-olds in the UK will be renting. Therefore, this policy is designed to target buyers of second homes in communities and parts of the country where the housing need is most chronic to help increase supply to first time buyers.

On one hand, the changes could discourage people from investing in buy-to-let due to increasing costs involved. However, for those willing to purchase properties now, the risk will pay off. Less supply on the market means rents will increase substantially, increasing potential yields for investors and reducing the risk of empty properties.

Ultimately, property is still a brilliant, safe and stable investment. The new changes simply mean that the investment will just take slightly longer to start paying back, but it is not enough to merit the complete disregard of several investment opportunities. Pick your purchases well, and you can still make a lot of money!

Get onto the property ladder before these changes set into place.

To find out more about investment opportunities with Inspired Homes or Inspired Asset Management, please call 020 7495 0523.

Inspired Series: Interview with Gaëlle Tallarida, Managing Director of the Monaco Yacht Show

Set in the iconic Port Hercules of the Principality of Monaco since 1991, the Monaco Yacht Show is the only place to admire, visit and purchase around 120 extraordinary one-off superyachts built by the world’s most respectful shipyards.

The Monaco Yacht Show is the one and only occasion in the year – and in the world – to discover the greatest of superyachting in the glamorous setting of Monaco. The show has the privilege of benefiting from the recognition and the support of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco. Inspired Homes were lucky enough to have an exclusive interview with the show’s Managing Director, Gaëlle Tallarida.

1. Could you tell us what the MYS is all about?

The Monaco Yacht Show is a yearly exhibition exclusively dedicated to the worldwide superyachting industry. I mean all boats starting from 24 metres in length. The show displays 120 one-off super and megayachts from 24m to 100m, built by the world’s most respectful shipyards. Around 580 world leading luxury yachting companies participate in the event: the trendiest superyacht builders, yacht designers, luxury manufacturers, nautical suppliers and the most important brokerage houses.

Next September, the MYS will be 26. Since its creation in 1991, the event has the privilege of benefiting from the recognition and the support of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco.

 2. How long have you been involved with it?

I’ve been working for the show for 19 years and I was appointed Managing Director in 2010. So, you can imagine how the show has dramatically changed over these years! 19 years ago, there were 58 boats with an average size of 35 metres. In 2015, 120 super & megayachts of 47 metres in average length were exhibited. Another era of superyachting!

 3. What has been your biggest highlight while running the show?

In 2006, the newly-delivered Maltese Falcon represented a new step in R&D for superyachting: the enormous 88-metre sail yacht had unmatched maneuverability. A single sailor was able to control the three self-standing and rotating masts for a total sail area of 2400 square metres. Even though the MYS is renowned for exhibiting the greatest of superyachting every year, the world-premiere presentation of Maltese Falcon in MYS generated a worldwide buzz.

 4. What sort of clientele tend to be attracted by the show?

The global Superyacht community attend the show every year, we hosted 34,500 participants in 2015. During four days of the show, yacht owners and potential end clients can visit the greatest superyacht offering in one and unique venue. Indeed, if you want to admire and visit such a gathering of 120 unique luxury yachts the rest of the year, you will really need to take your time for visiting the shipyards in Germany, Holland, Italy, Turkey, USA, etc. The MYS also attracts professional of the yachting and luxury markets that walk along the docks to develop their businesses.

 5. How would you describe the MYS show in just 3 words?

Please allow me four: House of Fine Yachting.

6. Monaco is known for a place where the rich and famous mingle – what has been the most outrageous purchase you have ever witnessed?

As organisers, our very first goal is to deliver the utmost business platform for the show’s exhibitors and participants, where supply meets the demand.

Considering the level of the financial transactions, you understand the finalisation of the purchase remains extremely confidential between the client, his representatives and the shipyard or broker agent; so I’ve never participated in a negotiation and I do not want to as this is not part of my role.

However, we can regularly hear that sales are signed during the show. The yachts are assessed to dozens of million Euros so signing outstanding deals in port Hercules positions the MYS as the world Superyacht trade centre.

6. Do many celebrities attend the event?

We do not search for inviting celebrities to the show or really identify the UHNW visitors. The superyachting industry is a confidential world. Even though we sometimes organise for a few private visits for famous people, they enjoy walking in the show in total anonymity and visit boats without being chased by fans.

 7. How is the superyacht market currently performing?

The Superyacht market is being cautiously optimistic considering the current global context of adjustment and economic transit linked to the geopolitical environment. Still, the megayacht market (70m+) remains popular as people who own them can weather passing financial storms. The Superyacht segment continues to hold up well in construction, sales and second-hand market. As for charter, the market is doing well due to a drop in prices and to the Americans thanks to the strong dollar.

8. Who has been the most interesting person you have ever met via the yachting world?

Well, I must admit that Philippe Stark, the famous French designer, was this kind of fascinating person you really enjoy talking with. Even though he’s not from the yachting world, he’s been involved in superyacht projects for a few years now and notably worked on the iconic Superyacht “A”. We invited him as speaker in 2013 for the Monaco Yacht Summit we organised and his expertise as designer and trend setter combined with a talkative personality really seduced our high-profile audience!

City house price inflation hits 10% growth in 2015

Research (Cities House Price) has shown how UK cities have experienced record growth, with prices increasing by an average of 10.1% per annum. This double digit growth has been driven by a severe shortage of homes for sale, particularly in the latter half of 2015, which is reflected in the 5% drop in open market transaction volumes. As supply continues to diminish, demand only grows, fuelling prices to soar at an even faster rate.

Over recent years, strong demand from investors, most of whom are not end-users, has also worsened the erosion of obtainable supply. The real engine for house price growth in 2016 looks set to derive from regional cities (especially Birmingham and Manchester), which have recorded much lower levels of house price growth in the last few years and affordability levels are far less stretched. One reason for these increases in regional cities and Greater London is due to new and improved transport links, which will make London a much more accessible commute. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has even predicted that regional cities will experience an annual increase in price of 4.5 per cent – and even more in London.

Overall, across the 20 cities covered by the index the average income to afford a home with an average 76% mortgage at a 3.5x income mortgage is £49,700, up from £45,200 a year ago.

The EU…in or out?

The impact of a Brexit on the property market would depend upon its impact on the economy generally in terms of growth and trade. The 2015 Smith & Williamson property survey has revealed the property and construction sector in the UK wants to remain part of the EU, with only 15% of respondents suggesting that a British exit from the EU would have a positive impact on the industry.

In addition, a survey earlier this year by accountants KPMG found that 66 per cent of real estate experts believed that 'Britain leaving the EU would have a negative impact on inbound cross-border investment'. (http://www.winkworth.co.uk/)

All of the most recent research has demonstrated that business confidence is growing, indicating a particular belief in commercial property over the next 12 months. Despite experts suggesting that the market may cool down in 3 – 4 years, they are certain that there will be no crash or catastrophic price drops, which is emphasised by investor confidence improving, particularly in Greater London and regional cities.

Most industry experts believe that if a Brexit was to happen, it would be the central London property market that would be hit hardest. These concerns are being mirrored by the fact that investors are now looking further afield. The savvy individual is placing their money in up and coming areas, such as Croydon and Greenwich, were prices have increased by about 40% over the last 15 years (Zoopla). 

Buy-to-let landlords are flooding the UK market

Recent research (City AM) has confirmed that buy-to-let landlords are flooding the UK market and are purchasing several properties before the a stamp duty hike arrives in April.

A new three per cent stamp duty surcharge for investors has had an immediate effect on the market, with a quarter of agents reporting an uplift in interest from landlords looking to snap up a buy-to-let property in time to beat an increased tax bill.

Researchers believe that the new stamp duty charges will have the impact of reducing available rental supply, therefore pushing up rents, particularly in the capital.

According to thisismoney.co.uk, those looking for rental properties in the capital ‘continue to struggle, with an average of just 108 properties managed per branch’, 43 per cent less than the national average. This means that as a buy-to-let investor, yields will be much higher and projects will prove more profitable.

However, if you are trying to decide whether to purchase your first home, now is the perfect time to leave growing rents behind and take advantage of Help to Buy.

Our London apartments are based in Croydon, Epsom, Sutton and Crawley and start at just £175,000, making them incredibly affordable. Our prices do not reflect our product, as flats feature high-spec, high-tech fixtures and fittings such as LED lighting, NEST thermostats, Bosch kitchen appliances and granite worktops.

To find out more about our homes or the Help to Buy scheme, please call 020 8688 6552.

Boys and their toys… James Bond Aston Martin DB10 Spectre vehicle up for auction

If any man says that he hasn’t dreamed about being James Bond at least once in his life, he is lying. It’s that simple. However, the reality of this actually happening is somewhat slim, but this opportunity may be the next best thing.

The Aston Martin used in James Bond film Spectre, along with 23 other Bond-related items for charity, will go up for sale at auction in London.

The DB10, which was specially built for the film, will be put up on 18 February with a minimum price of £1m.

It forms part of "Spectre - The Auction", timed to coincide with the release of the 24th Bond film on DVD.

The car has a 4.7-litre V8 petrol engine and a top speed of 190 mph, but it cannot be driven on public roads.

Aston Martin has been associated with James Bond since the 1964 film Goldfinger, which featured a DB5.

Most of the DB10s were modified for use in the filming of Spectre, but the DB10 offered at Christie's auction house is one of only two "show" cars, which were left unmodified and used for display purposes.

The film is said to have destroyed $36m worth of cars during shooting.

The car up for auction has been signed by James Bond actor Daniel Craig.

Inspired's Industry Expert Market Overview

The general outlook for the UK economy is positive despite the drop in oil prices and proposed stamp duty increase.

The UK house prices rose for the fourth consecutive month in the year to November 2015, and are now at three times the pace of earnings growth. 

According to Nationwide Building Society, the lack of new homes is still likely to lead to higher property prices and reduced affordability going forward. Further, average rents in England and Wales increased by 3.4% in 2015 which reinforces the lack of supply (Your Move and Reeds Rain).

Therefore we continue to see the residential market as a strong investment opportunity, particularly in city centre locations in close proximity to transport links. 

Apply nowInvestment Consultant – 3 Month Internship

Location: London                                                                                                           

Team: Investment

Reporting to: Head of Investments, Stuart Ross 

Description

About Inspired Asset Management

Inspired Asset Management (“IAM”) is an innovative property development / investment company specialising in office to residential conversions under the current Permitted Development legislation.

At IAM we source, acquire, design, build and sell all of their projects and have a strong track record of delivering high returns whilst delivering high specification, modern and affordable homes for first time buyers and young professionals. 

We target emerging locations in Inner, Greater and Commuter London with excellent transport links to Central London such as Croydon, Epsom, Sutton and Woolwich. We also look at key regional and economic centres such as Liverpool and Manchester. 

 

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Raising funds for current projects
  • Source and introduce new investors to the business through the use of social media, warm and cold calling, attending events, networking and online research
  • Building relationships with key investors
  • Research the market and understand our product
  • Supporting the team by providing up to date market intel and helping to assist with ongoing investor agreements.
  • Attend meetings with current or potential investors

 

Requirements

  • Strong communication skills
  • Excellent telephone manner
  • Interest in the property market
  • Exceedingly driven, dynamic and assertive
  • Hard-working, meticulous and able to multi-task
  • Previous sales experience is preferable although not essential

 

To find out more about working at Inspired please visit our website – www.inspiredassets.com

We are an equal opportunity employer and we are opposed to discrimination on any grounds

House prices have increased by nearly 300% over the last 20 years

Everybody knows that house prices have increased astronomically over the last 20 years, but it may surprise you to hear that the increase is as large as 300% in England and Wales (Property Wire).

Back in 1990, the average price of a house in England and Wales was just £60,000, yet today, that has soared to £265,500 (Zoopla).

In London, this increase is even more drastic. The average price of a London home currently stands at £654,000 (Zoopla), yet 20 years ago, the price was £295,820. This represents a massive increase of 369%.

Here, at Inspired Homes, we work incredibly hard and closely with the government to make sure that hard working people can actually own their own home.

Our London apartments offer you the chance to enjoy affordable luxury in superbly well-connected areas including Croydon, Epsom and Sutton.

Our residents also enjoy excellently designed communal areas in the form of business lounges and rooftop gardens.

To secure your invitation to our next launch, please contact the sales team on 020 8688 6552.

Impact House featured in Drive – Article with Sotheby’s Michelle van Vuuren.

The 2015 Winter edition of Drive, a H.R.Owen PLC publication, featured an interview article with Sotheby’s Michelle van Vuuren. The Managing Director of Residential Development and Investment gives readers an insight into how best to invest in London property and how to generate good returns given the new stamp duty rise due in April.

With the increase in Stamp Duty tax investors are going to have to be clever with their investments putting their money into key growth areas such as Croydon, Battersea and Stratford.

Impact House, Inspired’s largest development to date, featured in Vuuren hot tips for property investments as a “wonderful development”. Vuuren gives glowing reviews of Croydon’s incredible transport links making it possible for residents to live in luxury apartments with top amenities while having access to central London inless than 15 minutes.

Impact House was acquired by Inspired Assets as part of its ongoing strategy of converting redundant office space in commuter belt locations into quality specification apartments and penthouses suitable for first time buyers and second-homers.  Until now this demographic have been limited by London’s sharply rising house prices. In the case of Impact House, prices start at just £309,950, which is significantly below the market average price for a London home of £499,997*.

Apartments at Impact House are already being marketed under the Inspired Homes brand all built to a high specification yet within the reach of young professionals looking for attainable luxury-living in an up-and-coming London borough which is on the receiving end of a multi-billion-pound regeneration programme.

 

If you would like to find out more about Impact House you can see the full details here…

The full article available from the Drive magazine that can be acquired here...

 

Special thanks to DriveSotheby’s and Michelle van Vuuren.

Inspired’s CEO features in Property Week

Property Week recently analysed the forecasts for 2016, and they asked Inspired’s CEO, Martin Skinner for his expertise. Property faces some major issues, from political to economical, yet the future still seems very bright. Here’s what Martin had to say…

“The effects of landlord tax changes, stamp duty hikes, and increasing regulation of the Buy to Let mortgage sector will definitely start to have an impact in 2016. The early part of the year may see a rush of investor buyers before stamp duty hikes come in, which could temporarily inflate the market. However, this could be countered by some landlords, particularly those with big mortgages, exiting because they no longer see investments being sustainable without mortgage interest being an allowable expense.

“Because we offer one and two bedroom apartments, off-plan investors have made up a sizable proportion of purchases. It may be that we deliver an element of future schemes via a PRS investment vehicle that individuals and institutions can invest through. In the meantime, we will be doing our best to support the efforts of the Buy to Let/ private landlord community in getting these misguided policies, which will inevitably reduce supply and increase rents, reversed or amended.

“That said, first-time buyers and young professional owner occupiers remain our core market and the vast majority of our homes are priced well below the £600,000 threshold for Help to Buy, which will be key for us and the mainstream market in general. In our case, we are confident that it will more than make up for any void left by Buy to Let.

“In terms of supply, we expect to continue to significantly expand our output in 2016 as a result of Permitted Development Rights being made permanent. We already have a shortlist of new PDR opportunities in the pipeline having acquired nine sites in 2015 comprising more than 1,300 units. We are also continuing to explain the benefits of our compact, shared and community living innovations to policymakers both locally and centrally, which we believe offers a realistic, practical and popular solution to increasing the supply of new, affordable market homes.”

Martin Skinner, CEO, Inspired Asset Management

Beat the Buy-To-Let Stamp Duty increase

George Osbourne delivered a big hit to the landlord market hard with a big tax hike on second home and buy-to-let investments, due to take effect April 2016.

A £275,000 buy-to-let investment would typically cost £3,750 in stamp duty tax, whereas under the new rules this will rise to nearer £12,000.

One way second home buyers and landlords can avoid the 3% tax increase is by completing on an investment property or second home by 31st March 2016

We can expect to see a surge as second homeowners and landlords rush to capitalise on the April deadline which could save them a lot of money. We predict this will distort the property market in the next coming months and New Year and then die down after the April deadline.

As well as this Investors and Landlords also have another trick to beat the stamp duty change whereby they can offset costs of purchasing against any eventual capital gains tax, including stamp duty. Although they will have to pay a large bill initially, when a buy-to-let investor comes to sell their property they can claim stamp duty back later against capital gains tax. 

Heathrow expansion delayed until 2016

Several business leaders have been left stunned as the Government announced it is postponing a decision on whether to expand Heathrow airport until late 2016.

Prime Minister David Cameron stated that the delay comes after heightened concerns regarding the environmental impact of a new runway. 

The Airports commission said in July that it backed building a third runway at the London based airport, but now the government will undertake a series of further studies to reach a final conclusion next Summer. 

Despite parliament being split on the issue, many businesses support the idea, suggesting that it is critical for Britain to maintain healthy international trade. British Chamber of Commerce Director, John Longworth, has even stated that many will see this as a 'gutless move by a government that promised a clear decision on a new runway'. 

Expansion is proving political challenging however, as the environment heads further up the ladder of importance within the political spectrum. 

Airport bosses continue to argue on whether the decision that has been made is the wrong one. 

Competition to dominate London's skyline heats up as plans for the tallest building are revealed 

The Shard has competition as plans to build the City’s tallest skyscraper and London's second highest building have been today been unveiled. 

Aroland Holdings, a Singapore-based developer, are aiming to secure planning permission to build a 73 storey tower at One Undershaft in the City. The proposaed plans mean that the impressive building would stand at 309.6 metres tall, dwarfing its skyscraper neighbours and nearly match The Shard.

The City of London Corporation has given Aroland Holdings the green light to construct the tower after a lengthy consultation process, despite the fact that the neighbouring, but stalled, Pinnacle project, at 22 Bishopsgate, was originally set at 307m but scaled down to 288m, following concerns from the Civil Aviation Authority. Additional concerns focus on the fact that sky scrapers can ruin traditional skylines and also cause vast amounts of shadowing, therefore being seen as anti-social. 

The proposed office scheme will have a viewing platform higher than that of the Shard, and even “London’s highest public restaurant” as well as shops and a public square for the public to enjoy. The 90,000 square metre building, which will replace the Aviva Building, will reportedly be able to accommodate 10,000 people, having 1,500 bicycle spaces as well as new shower and changing facilities. 

Is this the best time to buy in the London property market?

Property values in London are set to rise exponentially in the following years as investors and international landlords flock to the capital to benefit from strong and well documented capital appreciation. The Bank of England recently announced Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Santander UK, Nationwide and HSBC all passed the stress test and were deemed to have adequate capital positions to withstand increases in interest rates or a fall in income.

In an attempt to curb risky buy-to-let investments the Bank of England are ‘poised’ to implement measures to restrict mortgage approvals. Following the changes to stamp duty tax, the BoE remains alert to financial stability risks arising from rapid growth in buy-to-let lending. Mark Harris, Chief Executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients states “These entry costs coming in from April will deter the small-time investors in favour of larger investors with much deeper pockets.“

These development should encourage investments with a long-term view, an investment for capital growth, which should inherently benefit the owner-occupier market and the long term investors. With many smaller buy-to-let investors being deter this should free up more properties for individuals looking for a place of their own and with further tweaks to the Help-To-Buy scheme, it is now even easier for first time buyers to enter the market… is this the best time to buy in the London property market?

Inspired features in the Croydon Advertiser for leading the way in permitted development

Permitted development is changing city skylines, and Croydon is at the heart of the office-to-flat race.

Inspired are proud to have been recognised by the Croydon Advertiser on leading the way of property development via PDR in the area. The mention follows Inspired’s acquisition of the multi-million pound Impact House – a project that will result in 227 apartments which start from £298,000.

The article notes how there are twice as many flats being created from former offices in Croydon than in every inner London borough combined. This information becomes even more poignant considering that before PDR was introduced in 2013, there was ‘very little office-to-resi conversions in Croydon, with just 183 flats started in ten years.’

Inspired are just one of many developers that support PDR, as it enables us to build affordable homes far more quickly. Considering there is a huge shortage in housing supply, this is just one way to attempt to fix the current housing crisis.

You can find out more about our homes by visiting inspiredhomes.uk.com or for investment opportunities at http://www.inspiredassets.com/

Prices start at just £234,950.

Property Investment continues to rise in the UK 

Property investment in the UK is on the rise, with the world’s richest people increasing their portfolio of London assets to over £300 billion.

The information, published by industry publication, Estate Gazette, features 60 billionaires claiming their stake in the London real estate market, as opposed to just ten in 2009.

Securing the top spot on the list is Amancio Ortega, the Spanish billionaire behind Zara, who owns £47.7 billion worth of property in the Capital.

Foreign investment continues to grow for predictable locations such as the West End and Knightsbridge. Case studies prove why, as returns are exceptional and opportunities continue to present themselves.

One example concerns Lord Sugar’s company, Amsprop, which recently sold Burberry’s old flagship store for £65 million, more than double the £31 million it paid in 2013.

However, shrewd investors are looking beyond zone 1 for prosperous investment opportunities. The network of ultra-wealthy individuals are not only interested in the core districts of Belgravia, Chelsea and Mayfair, but also in the lower end of the market. Boroughs such as Croydon are attracting interest with regeneration programmes underway, and the offer of excellent transport links.

Research emphasises the geographic shift which is presenting a wider spread of rental opportunities across commuter towns and investors are there to take advantage of this.

CBRE’s house price growth predictions suggest that London prices will still experience 30% increase by 2019, as a lack of supply only fuels prices and ensures increasing demand. Therefore, it is easy to see why those in the know are purchasing at a fast rate. 

Inspired features in Property Week’s vital stats

A recent article in Property Week covered the issue of greenfield development prices across England and how they continue to fall due to the rising cost of building and dampening demand. However, the article went on to reveal the most vital stats of the month.

Property Week highlighted how 3000 is the amount of homes to be built per year by the new housing association created by the merger of Genesis and Thames Valley, 55% is the proportion of UK homeowners that believe Britain leaving the EU will affect the price of their property, and then our very own Impact House featured.

We are proud that Property Week highlighted the success of Inspired Asset Management regarding the landmark purchase of Impact House office tower in Croydon. We are set to create 227 new affordable starter homes for working Londoners, following the £25 million purchase of its biggest development to date.

We have acquired the 123,265 sq ft, 16-storey office T-shaped building as part of our ongoing strategy of converting redundant office space in commuter belt locations into quality specification apartments and penthouses suitable for first time buyers – in the case of Impact House, prices start at £293,950, which is significantly below the market average price for a London flat of £459,004.

We chose Impact House based on its strength in structure which provides light and usable space, alongside stunning views and Grade A specification floors. The homes will be marketed under the Inspired Homes brand (www.inspiredhomes.uk.com), all built to a high specification yet within the reach of young professionals looking to take that first step on the property ladder in the capital city.  

Huge 'Impact' on London resi market as a result of PDR expansion 

Inspired Asset Management (www.inspiredassets.com) has completed on one of the biggest PDR deals of 2015, its £25 million purchase of Croydon’s impressive Impact House which dominates the London borough’s skyline.  Inspired Asset’s CEO Martin Skinner says that the government’s recent decision to make PDR a permanent option for developers has enabled the purchase of the 123,265 sq ft, 16-storey, T-shaped office building to become a reality. 

But more than that, Skinner believes the decision has installed a new level of confidence among investors in the office-to-resi sector, now that the uncertainty over the once temporary piece of legislation has been eradicated.

Explains Skinner: “Impact House is not only a landmark deal for us as it’s our largest development to date, but it marks the next stage in investor confidence in the London office-to-resi market, an area we have been spearheading for the past five years.

“It opens up huge opportunities for future developments across the capital by presenting a viable option for the delivery of market housing that is more affordable to the average Londoner.”

According to a new Ipsos Mori poll (30/10/15), housing concern is at a 40 year high, with 43 per cent of Londoners now worried about the issue.  Inspired Asset’s unique compact living model offers one possible solution to the shortfall in affordable market housing in the capital.  Land agents are reporting a large increase in interest since PD rights were extended, and office-to-resi purchases are expected to increase as a result.

PDR & Impact House

Impact House was acquired by Inspired Assets as part of its ongoing strategy of converting redundant office space in commuter belt locations into quality specification apartments and penthouses suitable for first time buyers and second-homers who, until now, have been limited by London’s sharply rising house prices. In the case of Impact House, prices start at just £293,950, which is significantly below the market average price for a London home of £499,997*.

Thanks to the government’s ruling earlier this month, Permitted Development Rights for Impact House have been sought and secured, allowing Inspired Assets to convert the impressive Croydon building into a total of 227 units consisting of studio flats, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. Croydon has seen more office-to-resi conversions than any other part of the UK, given its high density of dated office stock and proximity to central London.

Planning permission is also being sought for a collection of skyline penthouses as well as enhanced residents’ facilities similar to those already scheduled for Inspired’s award-winning Green Dragon House development a short distance away.

High Spec, High Tech

Apartments at Impact House are already being marketed under the Inspired Homes brand (www.inspiredhomes.uk.com), all built to a high specification yet within the reach of young professionals looking for attainable luxury-living in an up-and-coming London borough which is on the receiving end of a multi-billion-pound regeneration programme.

Each apartment will boast features including 1Gb broadband, NEST ‘smart thermostat’ technology, bright open plan and ‘hallway free’ layouts with engineered hardwood flooring, granite kitchen worktops with Bosch appliances, and marble bathrooms with Hans Grohe taps.

Impact House is just a ten minute walk from Croydon town centre, which in 2019 will be the home of a brand new Westfield shopping development and is already attracting a huge amount of investment in the area.  It has excellent transport links into Central London as well as serving the local business community including major employers such as AIG, Bank of America and Direct Line Insurance.  Croydon has the UK’s 13th largest shopping population (1.7m people) within its primary catchment area and 17,000 new residents are expected in Croydon over the next eight years.

Inspired makes an Impact in Croydon 

Inspired Asset Management is set to create 227 new affordable starter homes for working Londoners, following the £25 million purchase of its biggest development to date - Impact House, one of the tallest buildings in Croydon. 

The 123,265 sq ft, 16-storey office T-shaped building has been acquired by Inspired Assets as part of its ongoing strategy of converting redundant office space in commuter belt locations into quality specification apartments and penthouses suitable for first time buyers – in the case of Impact House, prices start at £293,950, which is significantly below the market average price for a London flat of £459,004.

Impact House was chosen for development by Inspired Assets based on its strength in structure which provides light and usable space, alongside stunning views and Grade A specification floors. There will be a total of 227 units consisting of studio flats, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments and the possibility of Croydon’s first skyline penthouses. 

Each apartment will boast features that include 1Gb broadband, NEST ‘smart thermostat’ technology, bright open plan and ‘hallway free’ layouts with engineered hardwood flooring, granite kitchen worktops with Bosch appliances, and marble bathrooms with Hans Grohe taps.

Commenting on the deal, Inspired Assets CEO Martin Skinner said:  “Impact House is not only a landmark deal for us as it’s our largest development to date, but it also gives us an opportunity to provide more affordable homes for Londoners who are unable to get on the property ladder thanks to spiralling house prices in the capital.  What we are doing with Impact House is typical of our innovative approach to development, which not only allows us to plug the housing gap for first time buyers in major urban centres such as London – a subject close to my heart, but also allows us to deliver impressive returns for small and large-scale investors in the process.”

This is a huge landmark for Inspired Assets and we are proud to be holding the official launch party on Wednesday 4th November. The event will take place at Impact House itself, with food, drinks and entertainment provided. The timings are 4pm – 8pm.

If you would like to join us at this event, please email sandy@inspiredassets.com to request to be put onto the guest list. 

Why are so many investors choosing Croydon?

If you're considering investing your hard-earned money in real estate, you will probably have heard about Croydon's soaring popularity.

Gone are the days when Croydon was considered unfashionable. With a brand new Westfield shopping centre on the way for 2019, a strong indigenous population and exceptional transport links into Central London, it is no surprise that London's largest borough is attracting multi-mullion pound investments.

According to Zoopla, property prices in Croydon have increased by 40% over the last ten years, with a value change of £96,710, making it a real estate hot spot.

Inspired Asset Management has worked tirelessly to give Croydon a facelift and in doing so, providing much needed affordable, yet desirably private housing for working Londoners.

Find out more about our Croydon based Inspired Homes starting at £234,950 - http://inspiredhomes.uk.com/our-homes/

If you are an investor, please contact our team on 0207 358 8130 to learn more.

 

Monthly Residential Market Update 

Recent research highlights a significant increase in sales growth over the last month across the UK residential market (RICS Residential Market Survey). There is a shortage of properties coming onto the market which has caused demand to not only remain steady, but rapidly increase. Looking ahead, experts predict that house prices will continue to shift in an upward direction alongside demand.  

Coombe Cross, Croydon

Since April 2015, the UK has experienced a sustained upturn in demand, with an increase in new buyer enquiries being evident amongst Inspired Homes developments. It is not just demand that is increasing. Data also shows that mortgage approvals are at an eighteen month high and up 12% compared to a year ago. 

In the lettings market, tenant demand is booming, extending its track record of uninterrupted growth since December 2014, but showing a particular increase since January 2015. Rent expectations remain positive, with forecasts predicting an increase of 3% across the UK.

National house prices continue to rise at a fast pace, however, at Inspired Homes, we work tirelessly to deliver affordable apartments that do not compromise on quality. Our flats start at just £234,950, are fitted out with the highest quality appliances and interior design, as well as being within the commuter belt to London.

Overall, a stable government and improved investment opportunities bodes well for the market for the foreseeable future, with the market continuing to be increasingly active since the closing of the Summer holiday period.

To find out more about our homes, please visit http://inspiredhomes.uk.com/ or call 0207 495 0523. 

Top 8 investment blogs

Investing in any venture can be extremely exciting and lucrative. It can also present high levels of risk and prove confusing if you don’t know what you are doing. It is essential to stay up to date with market news and investment strategies in order to build a robust portfolio. It takes years of research to learn exactly how the markets operate and to help, we have compiled a list of finance and investment based blogs to make sense of economic trends and to keep you informed about the latest strategies.

 

FT Alphaville

Created by the Financial Times and the founding editor Paul Murphy, FT Alphaville provides daily news and commentary service for financial market professionals. This service includes an email-based morning financial brief providing you with interesting information on a daily basis.

 

Financial Mentor

The main objective of this blog is to help the investor find financial freedom. The Financial Mentor site puts investors on a path of low-fee strategies to maximise returns and to avoid some of the common pitfalls many early investors make.

 

Financial Samurai

With recognition from some of the biggest names in the game, Financial Samurai’s motto is “achieving financial independence sooner, rather than later”. Financial Samurai is an oasis of advice on wealth management and investing.

 

Monevator

Monevator epitomises Scott Fitzgerald’s great line – the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.  In this respect monevator knows passive investing is probably the safest route to investing, though everyone hopes this not be true for one’s self. Monevator provides readers with a wealth of useful information and advice.

 

Intelligent Spectator

Intelligent Spectator is not for the risk-averse investor, believing that if you speculate in the right manner you can increase your chances for exceptional returns. Influenced by Warren Buffet, Intelligent Spectator recommends trades and investments on a weekly basis.

 

The Makin’ Sense Babe Cheat Sheet newsletter

Specifically tailored for non-wall street people, this newsletter cuts through the jargon to tell you exactly what you need to know. With up-to-date commentary and analysis on what is happening to your money and why. The investment world can be a little dry sometimes so if you need a laugh, check out some of the videos.

 

Seeking Alpha

Seeking Alpha is a great place for industry news and opinions. With a long list of contributors who cover topics from stocks to the latest investment stratgies, this is an essential resource for every investor, 

 

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

With stacks of useful information on factors that drive the markets, DQYDJ is incredibly useful for any investor. Future market results are driven by economic data and market trends, DQYDJ provides great insights. Content provide by esteemed bloggers such as PK, Cameron Daniels and Bryan Sullivan.

 

07/10/2015 - article uploaded

See why it's not what you know. It's where…

See why it's not what you know. It's where

UK real estate remains an attractive asset class

Interest rates are staying low. Credit conditions have eased significantly since the economic meltdown. The UK real estate sector remains strong, with house prices up 8.9% in the first 7 months of 2015* - and London continues to lead the way.

Asset selection is key

Even so, the window of opportunity is closing as yields start to decline. Robust returns are still achievable. But now more than ever, you need to know where to look. That's where the experts come in.

Welcome to Croydon, London's latest property hotspot

Croydon is growing - fast. A £5 billion-pound urban transformation includes a brand new Westfield complex. Fast and frequent trains connect commuters to central London in just 10-15 minutes. More jobs. More demand. More opportunities.

Impact House - an Inspired investment

Until recently, Impact House in central Croydon was a largely vacant office space with no change of use consent.

Inspired Asset Management has acquired the property and secured that consent, immediately increasing value by an anticipated 25%. On previous projects, we have added as much as 64% this way.

We have de-risked the project further with 90 of the 197 all-private apartments already sold off-plan. All at the heart of the capital's most populous borough.

And now, we are offering cash buyers a unique a two-fold, two-year investment opportunity.

  1. Enjoy an effective discount of 24%
  2. Profit from the capital gains of a fast-growth area

To find out more about this unique opportunity from an award-winning asset manager delivering proven returns, contact invest@inspiredassets.com or call +44 (0) 20 7495 0523

Who are we?

Inspired Asset Management develops intelligent living spaces for a high demand market. We currently have over 1,500 properties under planning and construction.

What do people say about us?

Property Week, The Times and Metro have all picked up on the Inspired story. Explore the NewsDesk for a balanced, impartial view of our success.

Find out more

For further information about Inspired's award-winning developments and apartments, please visit www.inspiredassets.com and our consumer site, www.inspiredhomes.uk.com

Remember

24% effective discount for cash buyers*

  • 12% per annum via a loan agreement under which you have 2nd charge security on the development**

Benefit of capital appreciation

  • Apartment contracts to the value of your investment
  • Nominal £1 exchanges for the apartment contracts
  • Capital appreciation over 24 month development duration

Your investment will be used to fund the development. When the development is completed, we repay your loan enabling you to complete the purchase of your flats which by then will have benefitted from two years of capital growth.

Typical investment

*By investing the full value of your apartment purchase prices you will receive the value growth plus a fixed 12% per annum return.

**Investors committing at £1M and above will benefit from a 2nd charge security on the development.

***Any projections and figures provided are for information only and should not be relied upon. The information provided has not been independently verified and has been prepared by Inspired Asset Management for illustration and information only.

Inspired Asset Management is not authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The information in this message (which has not been issued by, and whose contents have not been approved by, an authorised person for the purpose of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000) is directed only at investment professionals as defined in the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 and other persons falling within the exemptions set out in that Order. It should not be distributed to any other person(s).

Any projections and figures provided are for information only and should not be relied upon. The information presented has not been independently verified and has been prepared by Inspired Asset Management for illustration and information only.

Potential investors in any investment scheme should seek independent professional advice and consult the information memorandum or other offer document for a full description of the investment or business being undertaken and pay particular attention to the sections relating to risk.

Inspired, Autumn 2015 Schedule

We have got a very busy autumn coming up full of Inspired appearances and speaking events by our CEO Martin Skinner.

8th September : Progressive Property Network (PPN) : Knightsbridge

PPN is a monthly networking event for residential and commercial property investors, from beginners to seasoned professionals. Martin Skinner will be speaking and answering questions.

11-13th September : Overseas Property & Immigration & Investment Exhibition : China
18-20th September : The Luxury Properties Showcase : China
24th September : Landlord Investment Show : North London

Inspired Homes will be exhibiting at this show, aimed to provide excellent resources for Landlords, Prospective Landlords, Management Companies, Letting Agents, Investors, Developers and Property Service Providers.

1st October : Landlord Investment Show : Manchester

Martin Skinner will be speaking.

5th October : UK Property Traders (UKPT) : Hemel Hempstead

UKPT Live is a monthly event focusing on trading and creative ways to purchase property. Martin Skinner will be speaking. Tickets available.

10th October : First Time Buyer Show : London

Private Developers, Housing Associations, Financial Advisers, and more will be exhibiting at this show aimed to provide first time buyers with the resources they need to get on the property ladder.

21st October : MIPIM : London

MIPIM, the world’s leading property market, brings together the most influential players from all international property sectors. Martin Skinner will be attending.

22nd October : Landlord Investor Show : Maidstone
4th November : Landlord Investor Show : Southampton

Inspired Homes will be exhibiting and Martin Skinner will be speaking.

19th November : Landlord Investor Show : Olympia

Inspired Homes will be exhibiting and Martin Skinner will be speaking.

Property Week: Inspired tempts cash investors with unusual financing deal

Property Week: Inspired tempts cash investors with unusual financing deal

Inspired Homes has come up with an unusual offer to investors in order to raise capital for its office-to-residential schemes in London.

The developer is offering investors the chance to purchase flats with cash up front and receive a 12% a year return on that investment via a loan agreement for the 24-month development period. They would also benefit from any capital appreciation during this time.

Alternatively, investors can put up cash, but opt not to take the units and receive a fixed return of 18% a year during the building phase.

Martin Skinner, chief executive of Inspired Homes and Inspired Asset Management, said the developer was seeking a limited amount of finance for its existing projects, but would ideally like to line up a large investor willing to commit anything up to £100m so that Inspired can move quickly on new investments when the government extends office-to-resi permitted development rights (PDR). The government is expected to announce a decision when parliament returns.

Inspired has seven properties in the capital that it is converting under PDR into 500-plus homes aimed at young professionals.

“We have a number of large office-to-resi developments to finance, including our recently secured Impact House in Croydon, which we are converting into at least 197 high-tech, high-spec units for first-time buyers,” said Skinner.

“This deal is a unique opportunity for investors, particularly those with £10m or more cash to invest, to be part of London’s affordable private housing market at the same time as realising generous returns.”

The loans will operate effectively as mezzanine finance, sitting behind Inspired’s bridging debt. Skinner said its new approach to financing would enable it to avoid having to sell more flats off-plan than necessary and allow it to accelerate development. “We have very limited, if any, competition where we operate and yet it is a huge market,” he said.

Inspired has embraced unusual approaches to financing in the past. In January last year, it borrowed £4.15m via LendInvest to fund a project in Croydon, which at the time was the largest ever peer-to-peer loan.

More information >

Property Week: Developers in limbo after government delays office-to-resi PDR extension

Property Week: Developers in limbo after government delays office-to-resi PDR extension

A recent article in Property Week expounds on the delay of an official announcement of an extension for permitted developments rights (PDR) and the effect this delay has on London. PDR allows for conversion from commercial use to residential through a streamlined planning process.

While some argue for the end of PDR, citing concern over the decrease in office space, others argue that the benefit of providing more housing (when housing is so desperately needed) and jobs far outweigh any potential office shortages.

Our own CEO Martin Skinner is quoted as saying, "We are concerned that lenders are withholding finance for projects until either an extension is provided or at least clarification around 'implementation' is given that allows developers the times to deliver their schemes."

The article goes on the say that "developers can at least be reassured that the extension of the office-to-resi PDR will happen—they are just not sure when."

While developers wait for an official extension, Croydon Council has approved a time-frame of 3 years to build out consented PDR developments, which has safeguarded IAM's 4 schemes in the area.

More information >

The only investment that meets London's REAL housing demand

It’s an uncertain world: shrinking economies, stock market volatility and a maxed out high end property boom for the wealthy 5%.

But what about the 95%? Real people, with an urgent need for affordable, intelligent living spaces in commutable London?

With chronic undersupply of affordable quality housing, Inspired is the only company dedicated to addressing these needs with intelligent development of high spec compact apartments. Features like the UK’s fastest hyperoptic broadband, residents’ roof gardens with electric barbecues and bike servicing, merge desirability with affordability.

Become an Inspired investor and you invest in the ONLY company building real quality for real demand in the London housing market.

At these prices and specs, no wonder we have already sold 333 apartments to date off-plan:

1 bedroom apartments from £234,950 and 2 bedroom apartments from £303,950.

Inspired answers the housing needs of London's society and economy

Inspired Asset Management has a unique product matched to a high demand market. Our founder, Martin Skinner, has a track record of owning & managing over 2,500 properties with over 1,500 currently under planning and construction, and now we are offering investors an innovative and unique way to lend money.

A 24% discount on new London apartments

Since the beginning, we’ve found ways to do what others can't, including taking on the world's largest peer-to-peer loan to fund the initial phase of Green Dragon House, our ground-breaking development in Croydon. We are now offering the opportunity to achieve a 12% per annum return on money lent, as well as benefiting from overall capital appreciation, over a period of 24 months.

Inspired has found a niche in the market by providing brand new apartments at more competitive pricing versus other developers, underpinned by CEO Martin Skinner’s vision. Units provided are affordable to the mass market as well as being highly appealing to the international market.

Let's break it down:

24% effective discount for cash buyers*

  • 12% per annum via a loan agreement under which you have 2nd charge security on the development**

Benefit of capital appreciation

  • For lenders who are able to provide sums of £250k+
  • Apartment contracts to the value of your investment
  • Nominal £1 exchanges for the apartment contracts
  • Capital appreciation over 24 month development duration

Typical investment

*By investing the full value of your apartment purchase prices you will receive the value growth plus a fixed 12% per annum return.

**Investors committing at £1m and above will benefit from a 2nd charge security on the development

***Any projections and figures provided are for information only and should not be relied upon. The information provided has not been independently verified and has been prepared by Inspired Asset Management for illustration and information only.

Once the development is complete, we repay your loan enabling you to complete the purchase of your flats, which by then will have benefitted from two years of capital growth.

Please contact invest@inspiredassets.com to find out more and to arrange a meeting with our senior team.

Inspired Asset Management is not authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The information in this message (which has not been issued by, and whose contents have not been approved by, an authorised person for the purpose of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000) is directed only at investment professionals as defined in the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 and other persons falling within the exemptions set out in that Order. It should not be distributed to any other person(s).

Any projections and figures provided are for information only and should not be relied upon. The information presented has not been independently verified and has been prepared by Inspired Asset Management for illustration and information only.

Potential investors in any investment scheme should seek independent professional advice and consult the information memorandum or other offer document for a full description of the investment or business being undertaken and pay particular attention to the sections relating to risk.

Inspired Asset Management property portfolio tops £200 million following latest acquisition

Coombe Cross

Innovative property developer Inspired Asset Management, which specialises in office-to-residential property development for first time buyers, has extended its property portfolio to more than £200 million with the completion of its acquisition of ex-office building Coombe Cross in Croydon, the London borough on the receiving end of a multi-billion-pound regeneration programme.

Inspired Asset Management (IAM) now has seven properties in its portfolio in London which, under office-to-residential Permitted Development Rights, it is converting into more than 500 affordable private units for young professionals to purchase or rent. Its Surrey House, Croydon development of 30 one and two-bedroom apartments last week reached practical completion, with occupiers now ready to move in.

To date, IAM has raised in excess of £75 million of capital with further projects in the pipeline including Swindon and Impact House, Croydon that the developer is raising capital for as part of its on-going strategy of converting empty office buildings in urban centres into high spec, high tech affordable apartments for first time buyers.

Coombe Cross originally provided office space to Croydon's thriving business community in the 1980s. IAM is developing the 32,000 sq ft building into 82 one and two bedroom apartments, all with high-spec, high-tech fixtures and fittings such as LED lighting, NEST thermostats, Bosch kitchen appliances, granite worktops and 1GB hyperoptic broadband – the fastest in the UK. Residents of Coombe Cross will have access to a superb range of communal facilities and services at nearby Green Dragon House such as two roof gardens, members' club lounge, a BBQ area, table tennis, Brompton bike hire and a concierge service.

Commenting on the deal, IAM CEO Martin Skinner said: "Permitted Development Rights have enabled us to purchase buildings such as Coombe Cross and, thanks to our innovative approach to development, convert them into affordable homes for hard working Londoners who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford to take that first step on the property ladder. Permitted Development Rights allow us not only to plug the housing gap for first time buyers, but also to deliver impressive returns for small and large-scale investors in the process.

"The government has done a lot to cut red tape in the housing industry, allowing us to create new homes in out of date, tired office accommodation rather that in Britain's Green Belt. When Permitted Development is finally extended beyond May 2016 - which we are confident it will be – responsible developers like us will be in the perfect position to deliver thousands of additional new homes, meeting the demands and expectations of Londoners looking for a high quality, affordable home in our exciting capital city."

Coombe Cross is just a ten minute walk from Croydon town centre, which in 2019 will be the home of the brand new Croydon Partnership Scheme, the joint venture between Westfield and Hammerson which is already attracting a huge amount of investment in the area. It has excellent transport links into Central London, with train journeys of as little as 15 minutes to Victoria, as well as serving the local business community including major employers such as AIG, Bank of America and Direct Line Insurance. Croydon has the UK's 13th largest shopping population (1.7m people) within its primary catchment area and 17,000 new residents are expected in Croydon over the next eight years.



A Property Week Interview: Raymond Bloomfield on his UK comeback

Property Week has made quite a splash with its recent interview of Raymond Bloomfield, the other half to our Inspired GSP joint venture.

A rock star of the property world since the age of 17, Raymond has a keen understanding of untapped markets and good investments—as well as a wealth of experience to back it up.

As a seasoned real-estate entrepreneur, Raymond has seen the giddy highs and the tumbling lows, and now, after taking a hiatus, he’s back and hungry, working with our own CEO Martin Skinner. As Raymond put it "we’re trying to transform unloved buildings" and "we're producing smaller, micro flats at a genuinely affordable level for young people…it's a highly original concept and they are beautifully done using the highest quality fittings."

When it comes to quick thinking and ingenuity Raymond is a legend, and Inspired Asset Management is privileged to be working with him.

In Raymond's own words, "My whole motto is to do unto others as you wish to be done to yourself—treat people with respect [and] that actually is why I came back to business. Martin [Skinner] and I share the same principles. We believe in doing things ethically and correctly, morally."

"People are interested in performers, not talkers" he concludes, and that's exactly what Inspired GSP is focused on.

You can read the full interview here.



A Property Week Round Table

Property Week partners with Savills to bring together industry insiders from both the public and private sector to discuss the current issue of sky high residential prices and the best practice solutions to create a more balanced property market in London.

The round table included exceptionally knowledgeable professionals, including our own CEO Martin Skinner.

Martin's solution of providing more homes through efficient use of space, while not skimping on high-quality finishes, offers first time buyers, most of whom are priced out of the property market, a chance to own their own home.

Highlights from the roundtable include a call for the support of small and mid-size developers, along with streamlined planning processes, and increasing overall investment in more commuter neighbourhoods.

Inspired Asset Management dedicates itself to being quick, creative, and most importantly, to doing more with less to ensure a more balanced and bright future for London.

The full article is available here (subscription required). If you would like more insider news you can subscribe to Property Week for free.



The Times: What's Luxe Now. Inspired Homes Project in the Top Ten.

The Times: What's Luxe Now. Inspired Homes Project in the Top Ten.

Inspired Asset Management has recently been featured in The Times Interiors.

The article presents the top ten décor trends spotted at London’s best show homes.

The trends range from player pianos to must have accessories, all of them set against the backdrop of homes crafted with the utmost attention to detail to the resident experience.

We are happy to see that while our units are appropriately priced for young Londoners, they are still considered to be stylistically upmarket, and have the finish and finesse of apartments in the millions.

If you want to by your own stylish Tom Ford coffee table book that looks so great in our showflat you can purchase it here.

More information >



Property Week Q&A: Cutting-Edge Conversions

Property Week Q&A: Cutting-Edge Conversions

Our CEO Martin Skinner was recently interviewed by Property Week and had some great things to say.

Property Week outlines what we do at Inspired Asset Management to craft such space-savvy flats, and why providing affordable housing to young Londoners is so important to us.

Martin explains that while our apartments might have less square footage, they do not sacrifice any usable space, making them economical but incredibly high spec and efficient. Our residents still get good sized bedrooms and living rooms, but are not paying for unused hallways and other redundant spaces.

"We focus on residents" Martin explains, "we've put into Green Dragon House a big roof terrace with a big electric barbecue, so people can come home from work, hang out, cook food together, make friends with their neighbours and build those social connections, and actually establish a real community."

Thank you Property Week for showing the passion and dream behind Inspired Asset Management.

More information >



The London Economic: "Cleaning up Croydon"

Green Dragon

Inspired Asset Management has been featured in The London Economic. Our Croydon properties, particularly our award winning Green Dragon House, are highlighted for offering affordable private residential accommodation for working Londoners, something London greatly needs.

Martin Skinner, CEO of Inspired Asset Management says: "The ability to change out of date, tired office accommodation into residential homes can breathe life into neighbourhoods, and meet the demanding targets set to match housing demand in the capital. This is something we set out to achieve with Green Dragon House and our other developments."

More information >



Upcoming Events:

Club no. 41
The Inspired Homes Portfolio Launch - 24th June 2015

Club no. 41, Conduit Street, Mayfair, London W1.

Inspired Asset Management is delighted to invite you to this exclusive gathering of principle investors.

Please join Martin Skinner (CEO) and his senior management team for the unveiling of the latest report on our existing and forthcoming investments.

We look forward to welcoming you and sharing some exciting news for all our investors and potential partners.

Please RSVP by registering online here

More information >

Club no. 41
The Inspired Homes Showroom Grand Opening - 26th June, 2015

Green Dragon House, 64-70 High Street, Croydon, CR0 9XN.

We're delighted to invite you to our grand opening of our 1 bedroom apartment showroom in our award winning development: Green Dragon House, Croydon.

Join us from 16:30 for the exclusive "Ribbon Cutting" launch.

We look forward to welcoming you!

Please RSVP by registering online here

More information >



Landlord Investor Show: Your Questions

Surrey House

Inspired Homes, the consumer brand of Inspired Asset Management, recently attended two Landlord Investor Shows, and we had a wonderful time meeting with new and experienced landlords.

Here are 5 of the most frequently asked questions posited to us during the shows, we hope you’ll find them helpful:

  1. I know Croydon is really booming, but can you give me the projected profit margins on your Croydon properties as a long term investment?

    Absolutely! Croydon currently benefits from attractive purchase prices and stable rents which result in, on a conservative estimate, an anticipated average gross yield of 4.6% and an overall return of 53.3% over five years.
  2. These images are great, but can I see the showroom?

    Perfect timing, our show rooms will be available to see soon, in fact we are planning a special launch in Croydon on Friday June 26th and Saturday June 27th, stay tuned for an invite right here on the Inspired Asset Management NewsDesk.
  3. Are you selling off-plan?

    Yes we are, and the sooner you reserve your unit the better the price you will get. First build completion among our developments will be Surrey House in July 2015.
  4. What do you mean by “hallway free” layouts?

    We maximize every inch of your future property by omitting hallways and keeping the layout open plan, while implementing strict safety protocols to ensure your safety and comfort. To be able to achieve this, we consult extensively with fire-engineering experts and use industry-standard fire-safety solutions such as automatic sprinkler systems and automatic opening vents. All in all, this results in a flat that has more useable space, and less redundant space, than the competition.
  5. If I purchase a unit how can I keep updated on the build progress?

    As completion nears, buyers will be provided with a log-in to access an online build tracker.

We hope these helped with any questions you may have but always feel free to contact us with any more.

More information >



Green Dragon House wins the First Time Buyer Readers award for "Most Innovative Redevelopment of an Existing Building"

Green Dragon House wins the First Time Buyer Readers award

Inspired Asset Management is proud to announce that our Croydon development Green Dragon House has won the First Time Buyer Readers award for "Most Innovative Redevelopment of an Existing Building".

We would like to extend our gratitude to all our supporters and readers who voted for us.

Green Dragon House is undergoing stunning refurbishment after its time as an office building.

We are especially proud of our innovative layouts that guarantee maximum useable space for our residents, as well as the varied amenities. All at an affordable price perfect for First Time Buyers and Buy to Let investors.

More information >



Buy-to-let: Britain holds its breath…

Buy-to-let: Britain holds its breath

BRITAIN'S growing army of buy-to-let landlords will hold its breath this week – and pray that a Labour Government is not elected. Many experts believe a Government led by Ed Miliband will wreak havoc on the attractive investment returns that many people now earn from owning a buy-to-let property - or a portfolio of properties.

Mismanagement of the economy by Miliband and likely Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls, they say, could trigger interest rate rises and a sharp housing market correction, proving disastrous for buy-to-let investors. Also, Labour has confirmed it intends interfering in the private rental market to the detriment of landlords. It has pledged to cap rental increases that landlords can impose, introduce longer leases and remove tax reliefs for those who fail to look after their properties.

Download the article >

Paper article >




First Time Buyer Readers' Awards 2015: Inspired project awarded "Most Innovative Redevelopment of an Existing Building"

First Time Buyer Readers Awards 2015

These awards demonstrate the great lengths that so many companies go to in order to help and support first-time buyers, the lifeblood of the property market. Proving stylish and hight-quality homes, as well as a range of useful services aimed to help the less experienced buyer, it's good to know that first-time buyers are in good hands when it comes to buying their first home.

Download the article >










Vote Now: First Time Buyer Reader's Award

Vote for us image

Inspired Homes, the consumer brand of Inspired Asset Management, has been shortlisted for a First Time Buyer Reader's Award. Green Dragon House is in the running for "Most Innovative Redevelopment of an Existing Building".

In redeveloping Green Dragon House we made it a point to honour the existing building and its surroundings by taking the design and materials of the neighbourhood into account to contribute to a coherent streetscape. We are especially proud of our innovative layouts that guarantee maximum useable space for our residents. Please support us by voting for Inspired Homes here.

Voting closes April 10th so hurry!











Moves report: Get in on the commuter zone craze

Read the article >

Get in on the commuter zone craze article image

Ginette Vendrickas explores the fact that more young Londoners are making the move to commuter neighborhoods. Canius House, one of Inspired Asset Management’s projects, is featured as an example of a smart purchase for First Time Buyers.

Martin Skinner comments "We are all about bridging that gap by creating an innovative, high spec, high-tech yet affordable solution."

Read the article >











Forecasting Stronger Home Gains in 2015 by Martin Skinner

Read the article >

Forecasting stronger gains article image

Sifting through all the new years' economic forecasts I'm struck by how average they all look. There is some discussion around "convergence" (the tendency for economic forecasts to be broadly the same) and some more interesting discussion about the relative lack of value in forecasts including the Office for Budget Responsibility's (OBR) Robert Chote's rather blunt (but refreshingly honest) point to George Osborne that his organizations forecasts will only ever be accurate by accident. So basically you have to make up your own mind about what's likely to happen and then act accordingly.

Focusing on house prices (because that's what I've been investing in for nearly 15 years) most forecasters are sticking with the standard guesstimate of between 3-7% with the only real difference this time being an expected continuation of the slowdown in Central and Inner London and the biggest rises now expected in the mainstream market in the South East of England in areas with easy commuting access to Central London. This is because Central & Inner London prices have already risen so much that they are now unaffordable to all but a very small proportion of the population. I agree with the direction of the forecasts but I disagree with the degree. I'm going to stick my neck out and say that I am expecting much more substantial gains in house prices in the South East in 2015 for a number of key reasons…

Read the article >

 

Creating Quality in Compact Spaces

Read the article >

Creating quality spaces article image

Property developer Martin Skinner talks with Richard Bowser about the opportunities created by Permitted Development (PD) and converting redundant offices into residential space.

Read the article >











Inspired Asset Management agrees funding deal with Omni Capital and Capitalise Assets

Inspired Living available to first time buyers from £250,000

Specialist London residential property developer Inspired Asset Management and equity partners/project managers Capitalise Assets have agreed a financial partnership with specialist real estate finance firm Omni Capital (whose parent company is Christian Candy-backed CPC Group) which will see the creation of 39 exclusively luxurious new homes under the Inspired Homes brand in up-and-coming Croydon.

Specially designed for young professionals in London wanting to get on the property ladder for the first time, the quality spec, high tech one and two-bed apartments are being offered for sale at a surprisingly sensible price, starting at just £250,000.

Boasting features that include 1Gb broadband, NEST 'smart thermostat' technology, bright open plan and 'hallway free' layouts with engineered hardwood flooring, granite kitchen worktops with Bosch appliances, and marble bathrooms with HansGrohe taps, these genuinely affordable private homes prove that through sensible deregulation (they are being created under the governments office to residential Permitted Development Rights) and innovative design it is possible to deliver affordable private housing in London.

By sharing access and services between neighbouring developments also involving Inspired Homes the residents will benefit from plugging into a new community heating system (keeping their utility bills down), a concierge along with on demand laundry & dry cleaning services and home delivery management, a private members club with a roof terrace & sky garden (including an all-weather BBQ, bar, table tennis & pool table facilities) and a Pilates & Yoga studio and yet keep their service charges down to the bare minimum (around £85pcm).

Situated in Croydon's restaurant quarter, with a new Westfield Shopping Centre due to open just two minutes walk away and trains into Victoria and London Bridge from the nearby East Croydon station in just 15 minutes which run every 5 mins, this looks like being a very smart move by the developers.

And for the 39 lucky buyers who are able to snap up one of the luxury 'Canius House' apartments this is surely the opportunity of a lifetime. Young professionals from the iPhone generation will have the security of owning their own very exclusive, brand new, high specification home from just under £800pcm (assuming an 85% LTV mortgage, a 4.5% interest rate and a £25k deposit) with all the features and prestige that comes from owning the best.

Martin Skinner, CEO of Inspired Homes, a specialist developer of quality affordable homes that helps Londoners get onto the property ladder adds: "We're delighted to have secured this deal with Capitalise Assets and Omni Capital, which allows us to offer affordable luxury to first time buyers, giving people the chance to get on the property ladder and live an enhanced lifestyle in London. And thanks to its multi-billion pound redevelopment, we believe Croydon is the ideal capital city location to start living this dream."

Colin Sanders, CEO of Omni Capital comments: "It has been a pleasure working with the highly professional teams at Inspired Asset Management and Capital Assets. We've particularly enjoyed helping fund this innovative development project in an exciting up-and-coming area of London."

Damian Cox, partner at Capitalise Assets comments: "This three-way partnership is a fantastic example of how property developers can really work together to solve the capital's housing crisis."

Arc & Co. Structured Finance were involved in structuring the funding between Inspired and Omni. Its asset finance advisor, John Kerrigan says: "It has been a pleasure to support both Inspired Asset Management & Omni Capital in structuring the funding on the Canius House development, which provides high quality, affordable housing to a market in need of this type of product. Arc & Co Structured Finance look forward to assisting on future collaborations between Omni Capital and Inspired Asset Management in bringing more units of this type to the market."

Canius House in Croydon's buzzing cultural quarter will offer a range of one and two-bedroom apartments which have been cleverly designed with first-time buyers in mind. An innovative, design-led approach to layout makes the most of every inch of space, creating some of the best-value living in town. Apartments are expected to be ready in autumn 2015. They are available off plan and are already selling fast.

 

Croydon Guardian: World's biggest P2P loan of £4.15m helps developer turn Croydon office block into flats

Read the Croydon Guardian article >

Listen to the BBC Radio 5 Live On the Money interview >

A property developer has taken crowd funding one step further by taking on the world's biggest peer to peer loan of £4.15m to turn a Croydon office block into flats.

While bands use fans cash to produce albums and movie audiences pay to help directors produce film sequels, Inspired Asset Management (IAM) bypasses banks and instead uses a network of investors to get the cash needed to buy buildings.

Its latest loan, borrowed from 300 investors brought together by the LendInvest peer to peer lending platform, was used to fund the initial phase of the development of Green Dragon House.

The 55,000sq ft 60s office block in the high street will be converted into 111 flats, costing from £160,000 to £300,000.

IAM managing director Martin Skinner (pictured above) said: "We have to very quickly raise both the equity and the debt to acquire buildings.

"Traditional lending models can prove too slow to compete with the number of bidders who can exchange quickly with immediate cash.

"Peer to peer lending offers a flexible and swift solution.

"We have been meeting the new wave of funders, both investors and lenders, that have been coming into the market to make up for the reticence of the mainstream banks."

Building work is expected to start within six months and take around 12 months to complete.

Mr Skinner added: "At the end of the process we will have a building that we and Croydon can be proud of.

"I have been involved in residential developments in the Docklands and that area has changed to an astonishing degree, the same as the Olympics area.

"I think Croydon has the same opportunity here."

Demand from buyers has been exceptionally high with the first set of flats being sold off plan in just nine days.

This does not surprise Mr Skinner who said: "Croydon is going through a huge change with the joint Westfield and Hammerson shopping centre acting as the catalyst for a raft of regeneration programmes in the town."

"It is no surprise people are wanting to be a part of the new Croydon with flats going as soon as they come on the market."

High Street nightclub The Black Sheep Bar, situated underneath Green Dragon House, decided to close last November because of the proposed changes to the building.

Read the Croydon Guardian article >

Listen to the BBC Radio 5 Live On the Money interview >

 

Financial Times: London developer takes on largest P2P loan

Read the Financial Times article >

Listen to the BBC Radio 4 World at One interview >

A London based property developer has secured the world's largest peer-to-peer loan.

Hundreds of private investors hoping to benefit from London's booming housing market have clubbed together to provide just over £4m through online platform LendInvest.

Investors in the residential housing project in Croydon, south London, have been offered a 12 per cent annualised rate of interest, an appealing return at a time when interest rates in the UK remain at 0.5 per cent.

The loan marks a dramatic shift in the sorts of funding undertaken through peer-to-peer websites.

Before Lendinvest's £4.1m loan the largest loan provided through a peer-to-peer platform is believed to be £1.75m via Assetz Capital.

"The fact that the largest loan has more than doubled in a year shows how quickly the sector is growing,” said Christine Farnish, head of the UK based peer-to-peer Finance Association. “What we thought was astonishing a year ago is now normal."

peer-to-peer websites allow investors to lend directly to individuals and small companies, cutting mainstream lenders out of the equation. The sector, which has been described as Ebay for loans, is praised by consumers and industry figures keen to see high street banks cut down to size. Platforms have received endorsements including government funding in the UK and backing by high profile investors such as Google in the US.

However peer-to-peer has yet to be tested by serious default in the west. A recent spate of failures in China's booming P2P industry is a stark reminder that rising interest rates could pose problems for the sector in the US and Europe, where the industry has expanded rapidly in recent years as banks scaled back their lending.

Most platforms limit the sums that individuals and small companies can borrow. Lending Club, the largest P2P lender in the US, will not provide more than $35,000. Zopa, the UK's oldest website, sets a £20,000 limit.

Yet as the sector grows these limits could rise. Funding Circle, one of the UK's largest platforms, said that it expects to loan out larger sums as it moves further into property development services.

Like LendInvest, Funding Circle sees residential property developers as an untapped market for alternative funding. Small to medium-sized housebuilders and property developers have, like many SMEs, struggled to access funding during one of the deepest downturns in the construction industry's history.

"The London residential market has been booming for quite a few years, but it's taken a long time for the funding environment to catch up," said Dominic Grace, head of London residential development at Savills, the estate agent.

LendInvest was spun out of Montello, a London-based bridging finance lender, last year. Martin Skinner, director of Inspired Asset Management, said he had no qualms about using a new funding model.

"What we needed was to move quickly and traditional lenders are too slow," he said. "There is a lot of money out there for property in London and we have been in bidding situations with 50 other buyers who can offer immediate payment exchanges."

Ian Gurney, who runs the independent P2PmoneyUK website, said that the peer-to-peer industry was likely to grow at a faster rate if property loans took off. "It doubled in size last year and this sort of funding could take it to another level," he said.

"Crowdfunders, which facilitate equity investment rather than loans, are already into this in a big way and they show how large it can get.""

Last year, New York based website Prodigy Network crowdfunded $200m from over 3,000 investors to fund the first skyscraper built in Colombia in 40 years.

Read the Financial Times article >

Listen to the BBC Radio 4 World at One interview >

 

Property Investor News: Back From The Brink

The London based property entrepreneur Martin Skinner talks with PIN editor Richard Bowser about the highs and lows he has experienced in recent years and how he is currently developing his property development and investment business.

Read article >











A Sea Change From Across The Atlantic?

North America is leading the way once again, with the exceptional communicator and statesman Barack Obama safely installed in the hot seat for a second term.

Having led (i.e. caused!) the credit crunch, the US is making the most of its relative safe haven advantage and utilising the depth and diversity of its funding markets to great effect. This in turn has provided good real estate investors with more funding options through corporate bond issuances, plus loans from insurance companies as well as banks. DTZ boldly stated last autumn that, as a result, there was no funding gap in the US. In consequence, acquisitive US Private Equity funds such as Blackstone have begun mopping up bargains all over the world. Over the last year, domestic unemployment has decreased from 8.3% in January to 7.7%, homebuilder sentiment has risen to its highest level since 2006, and prices are up by about 17%.

Just as significantly, DTZ also said they expected the UK's real estate funding gap to be all but eliminated by 2014, with equivalent funding lines to those active in the US recently tested and expected to expand significantly in the months ahead.

In the Eurozone, meanwhile, DTZ expect the funding gap to remain outstanding for some years. Even so, it looks promising that the crisis is taking a course "less bad" than most had expected -much to the credit of (ex-Goldman Sachs) Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank and FT Person of the Year 2012. Draghi's promise to "do whatever it takes" seems to be working.

As a result, the recovery of Greek Bonds has proven to be the hedge fund play of 2012. And if the Spanish government finally requested a Euro bailout, the country’s banks only required half the expected £100bn. The great exception of course is France, where policy makers seem to be doing their utmost to dismantle the economy (to the benefit of London). Economic disaster looks increasingly likely as wealth creators jump ship before they are pushed or even have their ships confiscated (as with Arcelor Mittal)!

Returning to the outlook for the UK, Mike Carney (notably also ex-Goldman Sachs) has been recruited as the new Governor of the Bank of England. He is widely considered to be one of the top two central bankers in the world, which is quite a coup for George Osbourne. Carney is generally expected to promote higher growth and employment, with interest rates staying lower for longer at the price of higher inflation.

This should be good news for investors like Inspired who concentrate on "real assets", as values and incomes increase while debt as a proportion of value diminishes.

It is likely to encourage greater risk taking by investors who need to find higher returns in order to protect their capital, which will be at greater risk of erosion from inflation - currently standing at 2.7% and remaining stubbornly above the 2% target. Again, this represents good news for opportunistic investors like us: competition for assets may make it harder to buy cheaply, but there should still be plenty to go around as the US funds that bought loans in 2012 take action and make their margin by offloading in 2013. Additionally, our existing assets are all located in Inner London and should benefit from an increase in value, while capital should become easier and cheaper to raise.

I firmly believe that more risk taking (within reason) is a good thing generally: fear has a corrosive rippling effect through morale and into trust, investment and employment and has in itself become the greatest threat to our future wellbeing and prosperity. A more confident approach, as we’re beginning to see in the US, may just offer the perfect antidote.

 

Smiles All Around

Star JP Morgan real estate analyst Harm Meijer and his team recently published their 2013 forecasts - and they made for very encouraging reading.

The key message underlined the strong capital flows into markets and the belief that we are entering bubble territory for prime real estate in core Western European countries, which will prompt investors to move up the risk curve and invest in secondary assets. Experienced management teams will be able to raise capital cheaply. To illustrate the point, almost 90% of listed property management teams (as surveyed by JP Morgan) expect capital raisings in the sector over the coming months.

The report also specifically highlighted London in stating:

"The 'London is booming theme' will carry on next year and we expect John Burns, CEO of Derwent London, to say at our conference in January again: 'I can't say it is bad, when it is good'."

Shaftesbury too recently affirmed that London is more vibrant than ever.

"And we agree with that. The interest rate for London itself is too low. Valuations will rise further, but we believe there will be more talk about property values, after those have further surprised on the upside, and the coming residential boom in 2013."

That sounds good to me and we share the sentiment.

Inspired is delighted to have acquired 19 sites during 2012. These will ultimately produce some 84 units of mostly residential accommodation in Inner London (typically Zone 2) locations and will be worth a total in excess of £20m on completion, with margins on cost typically exceeding 50% and in some cases even 100%+.

Such impressive returns are the result of a bold contrarian approach in a nervous market, not to mention an awful lot of very hard work. We couldn't have achieved it all without the help of the people we have had the privilege of working with over the past year including friends, family, investors, lenders, professional advisers, and our Inspired team.

Our objective has always been to establish an efficient business in which we and all our stakeholders would benefit. 2012 was the year we could truly say we succeeded in that aim.

I have absolutely no doubt that we will do even better this year and look forward to working both harder and smarter to achieve the best possible results. After all, it's not really work when you're having so much fun, is it?!

 

Doing More With Less

Following on from my bright side article, I'm pleased to be able to report that the positive mental attitude approach appears to be working out rather well. Investors (including my own little family office) have bought no less than 13 auction/receivership properties through Inspired Asset Management in the last month alone - with more sure to follow them. That's more than we transacted in the whole of the previous 12 months!

To achieve this we've been considering and discarding 1,000's of other opportunities - more than ever before. As you might imagine, organising, viewing and thoroughly appraising this volume of residential property is very labour intensive. Like many other post credit-crunch businesses, we have far less resources at our disposal having dramatically reduced overheads and staffing in the wake of the squeeze. So I would like to say a big thank you to the unsung (and unpaid) heroes of the City and the West End. We have benefitted hugely from a series of very smart, diligent and hard working interns, most notably Louis, Kunal, Agne and Akvile who will all no doubt go on to achieve great things. The help they have given us has been priceless. Thank you!!

Our Joint Venture partners at Urban Share have also attracted a number of new equity investors and are close to securing their senior debt facility, so we're clearly not the only ones making headway despite the choppy economic conditions. Rather than blind optimism these developments are undoubtedly the result of the plain hard work and persistence that fuel most growing businesses these days; and a smile always helps.

On the macro-economic front there has been quite a lot of good news recently with employment up by 143,000 during the traditionally difficult Dec-Feb period and unemployment down by 17,000; the trade deficit reduced from £5.7bn in Dec to £2.4bn in Feb; and GDP growth again establishing itself despite the spending cuts. 0.5% growth has been initially reported for the first quarter and this is likely to be revised up, while 1.8% growth has been recorded for 2010/2011 as a whole despite an estimated 1.5% GDP fiscal tightening.

However, real incomes (i.e. after the effects of inflation) are still falling, retail spending is down and growth is likely to remain muted as public spending cuts take effect and the private sector continues to hoard its profits. In general this should be good news as the government gets out the way and the economy rebalances from debt fuelled consumer spending and imports towards business investment and exports.

I believe this shows we are getting off our backsides and doing more with less. The next couple of years are likely to remain tough as lower real incomes mean we feel poorer. But with this trend forecast to reverse in 2013/2014 and house prices, at least in London, expected to push beyond their previous peak, we will in due course start to feel wealthier again.

Meanwhile the North/South house price divide is continuing to widen dramatically as I and other Southerners forecast back in late 2009. London is clearly driving this local growth on the back of global interest in our relative advantages, not least our discounted exchange rate and stable legal and political systems. For example Galliard reportedly sold 80% of its new flats in the Strand for between £1,500 - 2,000 psf in just 8 weeks, with 90% going to overseas, typically Asian, investors. Interestingly, the IPD's recent annual results also highlighted the fact that Inner London (where we focus our activities) has outperformed all other areas on a total return basis over the last 10 years, including Prime Central London. This is because Inner London yields are much higher than those in Prime Central London, while capital growth is only marginally lower. And if you like London you'll really like Jim O'Neill's (Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management) recent article entitled Brics herald a golden age for London.

George Osborne's decision in the budget to finally link stamp duty land tax (SDLT) on bulk purchases to the average unit price, instead of the total transaction price, could actually make a real difference and eventually lead to a wholesale market developing. And a barely reported amendment to housing benefits will mean more than 88,000 extra people need to rent rooms just as the unintended consequences of the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licensing regulations start to bite and their supply is cut off. We already expected rental growth in the young professional market to outstrip the rest of the market and issues like this will simply serve to push rents up further.

In conclusion it is my firm belief that investors should be planning their routes into the London residential property market right now, while the supply and demand imbalance is most acute, before the recovery becomes too established and opportunities for super profits dry up. Institutional investors may also start dipping their toes in the market, but are sure to lag behind the more entrepreneurial and often underestimated buy-to-let and private equity brigades. So there's still time for us to thrive.

 

Fall In GDP Can Spell A Growth In Opportunities

Mark Weedon at the IPD has been teaching the property industry one of its best kept secrets. Despite residential property appearing to produce a lower net rental yield compared to commercial property, it has actually been on par over the last nine years when commercial value depreciation is taken into account.

"These findings indicate that relative residential income return is significantly devalued by its superior capital growth. In fact, residential property can deliver as much net income receivable as a percentage of original outlay to commercial for an equivalent sum invested in both. Therefore, the residential sector is now able to boast that it not only offers superior total returns but also that the cash returns from rental income can match commercial even if the percentage yield and income return remain noticeably lower" (2010, Mark Weedon, Head of UK Residential Services, IPD).

This means that, despite the rhetoric, UK residential property not only outperforms commercial property (and all major asset classes) on capital growth, but it also matches commercial for income return too. The arguments from institutional investors against investing in this £6 trillion asset class are steadily being whittled away.

You can find the full International Property Databank (IPD) presentation here and their biannual research reports are available here.

Additionally, why not take a look at some recent Jones Lang LaSalle research forecasting house price inflation rising back towards its long term trend of above 7%p.a. It makes an interesting read. Nationwide estimate that house prices rise by 2.9%pa in real terms, whereas researchers broadly agree that commercial property depreciates by around 1.5%pa in real terms. This reflects the fact that commercial properties typically become obsolete and require replacement much faster that residential.

So no wonder UK residential has historically provided a hedge against rising inflation, rising in value by 274% in real terms over the last 50 years compared to a 55% drop in commercial values.

On the ground I've also noticed the effects of the ongoing supply shortage during the traditional moving season of November and January. Demand for vacant rooms and flats in our own buy-to-let houses in London's Docklands was so enormous that we pushed rents up considerably and got them straight away, on top of substantial advance rents from Chinese students. Yep, we should have asked for more...

Our vacancy rate is 0% and our partner Urban Share has also enjoyed near 100% occupancy for most of 2010, even after increasing rents by between 10-40%! According to Knight Frank, residential rents in London have risen by an average of 16% over the last year. They offer very rewarding and attractive returns for equity rich investors increasingly - and rightly - concerned about rising inflation.

Spareroom.co.uk (the UK’s leading website for finding and letting rooms) told me that they are now placing more adverts for rooms wanted than rooms available for the first time since they began in 1999. That's really quite remarkable when you think about it.

With no significant improvements in the debt funding environment or in local authority demands for affordable housing, supply will continue to fall short. At the same time, babies continue to be ‘born every day’ and more and more migrants are moving to London, whether from southern Europe or northern England. I think I'm safe in making a new year’s forecast that London and the south-east will experience substantial increases in real residential rents over the next 5 years. And that’s great news for current and future landlords.

Even the recent shock drop in UK GDP could prove to be good news for investors in London residential property - assuming that the recovery resumes relatively swiftly. The shock has without a doubt pushed back future interest rate rises, while a weaker Sterling will continue to attract cash rich foreign investors. There should also be some more exciting property deals available to experienced parties that are prepared to look and work hard enough.

Sophisticated investors interested in deploying capital into London residential should contact Inspired on 020 7495 0523 to discuss the ways in which we can enhance your returns.

 

Residential Consistently Outperforms All Other Asset Classes.

So why do institutions consistently invest in all other asset classes!

I think it’s fair to say we’re living in uncertain times, something reflected by the lack of stability and confidence in many of our investments. So it is staggering, to say the least, that the residential sector continues to be ignored by most institutional investors. It is over ten years ago that some of the great and the good prepared the foundations of the Residential IPD index. It has recently reported its ninth set of figures and, compared to the total return of commercial property, wins hands down. No matter which way you look it, however you twist the figures and whatever time frame is taken, the deeper you look the stronger the argument for investing in residential.

At our student event a couple of months ago, guest speaker Rob Weaver clearly showed how residential not only outperforms all commercial sectors, but actually has a lower risk profile too. This is particularly apparent when considering the volatility of returns against equities.

To highlight this superior performance, let’s take a hypothetical £100,000 investment made in 2000 - the start of residential IPD figures. As of December 2009, that investment would have been worth £235,000. The same sum invested in city offices would have only amounted to £125,000.

Of course, focusing on a specific time frame doesn’t necessarily provide us with an accurate picture overall. Yet fans of residential can point to higher returns over virtually any period. Go back as far as 1960 and residential IPD shows a house price growth of 274% in real terms. For commercial property, that figure is -55%. That’s right. A difference of 329%! Just think how your pension fund would be looking if it had invested in UK residential over the past 35 years!

This is why Inspired is committed to funds linked to UK residential performance. And that’s before we even take into account that growth in house prices, whilst a key driver of total returns, is not the sole factor. Income stream also plays a significant role throughout the life of the investment and adds to the attraction.

It’s not for me to expound the reasons why institutions have chosen to ignore residential. Those that argue they have not been able to should look at those that have made a clear commitment to the sector - most notably The Welcome Trust. Trust me, I’ve heard the excuses and that’s all they are; excuses rather than informed and rational investment decisions. For me, the question isn’t why part of a fund should be allocated to residential. Instead, it’s why commercial should form part of a fund that invests in residential.

Most private investors and fund managers that have invested in residential will, I’m sure, quietly confirm that they were some of the best investments they ever made. That’s why it is so important to offer investors the opportunity to benefit from such resilient returns.

 

It's A New Dawn, It's A New Day...

Well after keeping radio silence for what seems quite a while, I'm proud to introduce a new member of the team to everyone. Jack Christopher Skinner was born on the 26th March 2010!

Jack has already chosen his football team (Tottenham Hotspur needless to say) and is also starting to show signs of his parents' impatience. Like most youngsters these days, he's also better at the high tech stuff than they are and is fully operational with his own Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and Google Buzz accounts.

So as you can imagine, life has been even busier than usual in the Skinner household. In fact, this is the first time I've really been able to sit back and reflect on how dramatically things have changed over the last couple of months.

We've created a new family, the country has new leaders (hopefully better than the last lot), and Inspired has made its first great property acquisitions with Urban Share. Even the sun has come out!

Then again, some things haven't changed and we still love London Residential Property. Their recently published residential IPD (Investment Property Databank) report fully supports my own and Inspired’s views.

Aside from linking to the report here and the multiple award winning IPD here I thought I'd just share a few of the highlights with you:

"The residential total return index has experienced real [after inflation] growth of 86% [in the 9 years] to December 2009, compared to 33% in all commercial property. This equates to 7.2% per year in residential against 3.21% per year for commercial. The real capital growth in the residential index is the same to the total return in the all commercial property index. The residential income return on top of the capital therefore represents a real out-performance “bonus”."

"Over fifty years real house prices have risen by 274% compared to a -55% fall in real commercial property value. This represents long run annual residential value increase of inflation plus 3.3% compared to inflation minus 1.2% per year for commercial property."

"Residential has represented the best real return to a December 2000 investment [against equities, bonds and commercial property] at every stage throughout the previous 9 years."

"The annualised rental growth over the 9 year period was 2.23% for residential compared to just 0.45% for commercial."

"Residential market let investment has consistently rewarded investors with greater returns than commercial property and other asset classes since 2000 despite lower income returns."

"The long term real performance of residential represents a hedge against inflation and volatility whilst maintaining impressive performance relative to other sectors."

"The fall from peak to trough is smaller in the residential market cycles." Source IPD Residential Index 13/04/2010, The Strength of Residential as a long term Investment

As you'll know if you've ever met me, I've long been an outspoken advocate of UK residential property investment - especially in London. Discovering this report (as well as Jack’s arrival, of course) has made my 2010 !!

If you’d like to discuss the property opportunities we can offer, would like to raise finance for an amazing site, or you’ve discovered a distressed scheme or portfolio that might interest one of our funds or clients, we're always keen to hear from you.

 

Student Investment - The Gamblers' Dream “A No Lose Bet”

Rising student numbers, consistent annual rental growth and an ever increasing appetite from institutions all bodes well for strong performance in this sector but is it really that easy? Past experience has taught me that when someone tells me it’s easy they have either been exceptionally lucky or really don’t know what they are talking about and are completely fee driven. The private development of student accommodation is a relatively new phenomenon and would appear to provide an excellent investment opportunity which is particularly resilient in more challenging economic times.

However, universities are starting to slash places as the government funding squeeze starts to take effect. You like me probably thought that education and the Health Service were not forming part of future government’s reductions in spending plans. I wonder what part of the Health Service in due course the government feel is not part of the Health Service! It should also be remembered that this is only the beginning of far greater cuts that will be necessary in order to help reduce the UK’s public borrowing deficit. So perhaps those successful in investing in this sector will need to undertake a stricter due diligence process before proceeding to the acquisition stage.

For me any acquisition has to tick the following four boxes before further consideration would be given to the proposition:

  • The quality of the university
  • Location of accommodation to the university and social environment
  • International student population
  • Supply and quality of existing and anticipated accommodation

These four key considerations should not be considered independently of each other and as this investment sector changes and develops so does the weighting that one should attribute to these four considerations. For example the supply and quality of existing accommodation would not have been an issue in almost every University town less than ten years ago. Now, however, in certain areas not all student accommodation will let, and the requirements of what the student is expecting continue to evolve.

In my view the trend in overseas students for a particular university town should now be the key driver. If one takes the view that there is likely to be a continued squeeze on places it is important to remember that there are no restrictions on the number of international students. Whilst there is a cap on British undergraduate fees of £3,225 there is no cap on fees for those outside the European Union. Quite why the British tax payer is subsidising members of the European Union when British applicants are being turned away is not a topic for discussion here but I am sure one for the Daily Mail.

By focusing on this trend and being alert to the requirements of accommodation for the international student there is every reason to remain optimistic that the student investment sector should continue to perform well. For example, with Government forecasts indicating a further 125,000 international students over the next decade it is easy to see why London continues to offer investment opportunities. However one final word of caution. Just as the bubble burst in the commercial market partly due to the weight of money, there is a point, as with all investment decisions, where the answer should be “no” rather than the ridiculous get out clause of acquisition due to the need to balance a portfolio.

 

Residential - What's It All About Then?

A love affair - my story

I've been a passionate advocate of residential property investment particularly in London since I bought my first investment property out in the far reaches of London's Docklands in 2002. My love affair with residential began much earlier though...

I spent my formative years from 7-18 growing up in a big house on 3/4 of an acre of land in East Sussex. My parents had settled there after many years of travelling and teaching in far off places like Uganda & the Solomon Islands, where I was born. It wasn't a particularly expensive house or in a particularly expensive area but it had a big garden, big trees, a gravel driveway and a garage big enough to play table-tennis & snooker in. And I had a bigger bedroom than I remember any of my friends having - so they often came to my place - I loved it ! An Englishman's home is his castle and I didn't have to pay any rent...

... until I moved up to London for university in 1998 and had to pay rent. From 11 years old onwards I'd always worked to earn extra money to pay for extra toys - first skateboards, then bikes and finally sports cars - and I really didn't enjoy having to throw a whole £300 a month away on something I'd always enjoyed for free. Have you any idea how much faster I could make my car go for £3,600 (12 months' rent)?? My parents didn't seem to share my pain. "I could buy a 3-bed ex-council flat, rent out the spare rooms to friends and live rent free if only you'd guarantee the mortgage" I explained. Mum would have helped but my dad, who was a tough old sod from an army background, threatened to divorce her and move out if she took such a huge risk on me. And then my car got stolen.

Anyway, as soon as I had the salary to support it without a parental guarantee I bought my first 3-bedroom house. I paid £220,000 for it in March 2002; quickly knocked the kitchen into the dining room to free up an extra bedroom and let the 3 rooms out. I received enough rental income to pay the mortgage, all the bills and still left me with £500 a month (and my own bedroom). I then re-mortgaged it for £70,000 extra just six months later. It would have taken me at least 10 years to save up that much money from my £34,000 a year job and I was convinced; this was how I would earn my money.

Institutions - still flirting

Meanwhile institutional investors rarely share the passion I have for the sector and consistently struggle to get their products beyond first base. A number of large UK institutions announced their intentions to invest last year but almost a year on they still haven't got them off the ground. The main reasons appear to be:

  • More active management required
  • The recent rebound in market values
  • Lower net yields compared with commercial
  • Short-term tenancies (longer-dated income is preferred)
  • Reluctance from banks to release large volumes of discounted stock

In addition to this many financial advisors struggle to differentiate between an investor (or client)'s home and their investment portfolio and therefore look to diversify into commercial property over residential alternatives.

These are not insurmountable challenges however and some including Invista Real Estate and Inspired Asset Management (who I advise) with their Urban Share Fund are succeeding with their products.

Why not just stick with commercial property?

Assets are generally valued based on multiple of their current and future income (in this case net rental yields). And rents are still under downward pressure for offices, industrial and in particular retail where sheer weight of money meant more space was developed. Combined with changing consumer and occupier behaviour (online shopping for example) the recovery in commercial property is likely to be much more muted.

In residential meanwhile there was a housing supply shortage/crisis before the downturn even began. The demand pressure is building and the supply-side is hamstrung. National house builders had to shrink their businesses to survive the recession and could take 5 years to get back to where they were in 2007 and smaller developers cannot raise the development finance they need to produce new stock.

Hybrid variants of residential including affordable housing and student accommodation are attracting more attention from investment funds but even they are both still in short supply; particularly in London where according to Savills student numbers are growing at 15 times the rate of new supply. London is also where waiting lists for council housing have reached such extreme levels that dedicated workforces are being recruited to persuade those on the lists to look to the private sector for help. Private landlords of course prefer to steer well clear of tenants on housing benefit after suffering huge losses when the government diverted payments from landlords to tenants who then frequently failed to pass them on.

Anecdotal evidence from West London agents suggests rents are increasing again and at quite a pace. Knight Frank is forecasting house price increases of 34% in London over the next 5 years. The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) expects prices in the UK as a whole to rise by 20% over the next 3 years as banks step up lending and interest rates remain low.

Historically residential property has proven to be a relatively safe asset class hence the expression 'as safe as houses' and:

  • outperformed other asset classes
  • offered higher income yields than bonds
  • offered an effective hedge against inflation

Whether the powerful few step up their investment programmes in Residential Property or not it's clear that in the years ahead many students and young graduates are going to have a much harder time finding accommodation they can afford to rent let alone buy.

If you would like to learn more and/or discuss some of the pressing issues faced by our next generation please book your tickets for our University Challenge event. We will be hosting a discussion involving fund managers, property managers and students at the May Fair Hotel in London from 6.30pm on Thursday the 11th February. The last few tickets are available now on http://inspired.eventbrite.com.

 

Which Is More Reliable - Weather Or Residential Forecasts?

As a new year starts, out will come forecasts on what the “experts” think will happen to residential prices this year. The question is how accurate are they? I would strongly recommend a degree of caution on making investment decisions in this sector based on these forecasts.

Let us take a look at some of the forecasts made at the beginning of last year:

  • The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Simon Rubinsohn -10 to -15%
  • Deutsche Bank, George Buckley -15%
  • Capital Economics, Seema Shah -25%
  • Lucian Cook Savills -5%
  • And finally one of the most accurate that I could find was from Trevor Abrahmsohn at Glentree International at -2%.

Investing in the residential investment sector as opposed to residential development is in my view for the mid to long term investor. It would seem sensible to consider what the “experts” are saying before deciding whether to invest but is that really the case?

I remember sitting round a table as a consultant to Lloyds Banking Group just after the takeover of HBOS in January last year when the question was asked as to where I thought prices would be by the end of 2009. Yes, I hear you saying, it’s easy to forecast after the event but genuinely my view was that the range would be between -2 and +2% and that it was more likely to be in positive territory. The room fell into silence and only those that knew me well wanted to understand why I was in such an optimistic mood. Nationwide have recently reported that for 2009 the annual average house price growth was 5.9%.

Of course there have been wide variations with some properties showing falls of as much as fifty percent. The reasons for this I shall cover in my next article on the essentials of residential investment.

It still amazes me how most institutions do not have an allocation within their pension funds for residential even though the track record of residential has consistently outperformed other property asset classes over almost any time frame. The individual investor knows only too well how residential has performed as part of a long term investment strategy. Residential is however capital intensive which is why at Inspired we shall have a strong focus on providing residential funds which enable investors with a minimum of £25,000 the opportunity to invest.

Interestingly in the Sunday Times Money supplement this week there is an article titled “ shares beat property in profits race”. This headline took me somewhat by surprise as unfortunately I did listen to some experts who pursuaded me to invest in shares as well as residential. Whilst I think looking back too far in time as a measure for future performance is also a dangerous route to go down it stated that investing in a house since 1959 showed a rise of 273% or an average annual real return of 2.7% according to the Halifax. Shares, wait for it, have returned 1180% over the past fifty years giving an average real return of 5.2%. This I simply couldn’t believe until I read the small print. This figure included dividends without which the figure would be only 86% or 1.2% in real terms. In other words half that of residential. What this article failed to consider was the fact that residential can and normally is let and generally will provide similar initial income returns to that achieved through a dividend.

So in conclusion I would suggest that the facts speak for themselves no matter what the headlines say. Don’t put off your weekend away due to the weather forecast nor take too much notice of residential forecasts if you are investing for the long term. Residential has continally outperformed all other property asset classes and should definitely form at least part of a balanced investment strategy. Have you been reading this to see what my forecast is for this year? It will be announced and discussed at the next Inspired event set for the 11th February, see our event site for further details.

 

Location, Location, Yield !

Right the snow's over everybody and it's time to get this show back on the road!

Unfortunately it's likely to be quite a long and bumpy road so I thought I'd kick the years blog off with a priority Top 3. Hopefully it'll help keep things focussed on the journey towards financial stability.

Priority numbers 1 & 2 are "Location, Location ..."

I did have a bunch of great articles with lots of lovely tables and charts demonstrating the likely future variances in house price inflation between key regions however partly as a result of being pleasantly distracted by all the new social networking sites and events (and of course the snow) I've managed to misplace them. Still with traditional forecasting having been all but discredited perhaps we shouldn't rely too much on them anyway. Therefore I'll just share my opinions with you and you can comment if you agree/disagree. If you happen to have the tables/charts to hand then please feel free to post them too.

It seems certain to me that the North/South divide is going to widen in the years ahead as 1) investors prioritise properties in the safest, scarcest locations and 2) the [new] government is forced to reign in its spending.

Northern regions are more reliant on the state than southern regions and they will suffer more as a result. Demographics were forgotten somewhat during the boom and financial engineering was often prioritised over fundamental property investment criteria like location and future supply & demand. Sadly many investors found that agents, property clubs and developers forecasts for rental income and re-sale values evaporated and have been left sitting on flats that in some cases could take a decade or more to get back to where they were estimated to be at their peak. And that's assuming the local populace doesn't move to the south in search of better pay (or just any old job). The same can of course be said for many foreign destinations - let's not get into Spain or Dubai here.

The good news for those that have holdings there is that Prime West London is pretty much back where it was in 2007. Cash rich investors have continued to fight over flats and houses in Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Notting Hill throughout the turmoil. Once again the old adage Location, Location, Location has rung true and I believe it will keep ringing loudly for at least 5 years. Investing in the best location you can afford will continue to pay dividends.

Priority number 3 is Yield

Many buy-to-let investors (and others) have managed to hang on to their portfolios despite significant negative equity because interest rates have been reduced so dramatically. In most cases residential property investors have in fact benefitted from significant improvements in their monthly margins as rents have only dipped about 15% overall - as compared with about 50% on commercial property - and they're now beginning to drag themselves back up.

This means income arbitrage is back on the menu. If you can only get 0.5% interest from the Bank of England or a c4% dividend yield on equities then property starts to interesting above that level.

But what about rising interest rates for those looking to use leverage or with debt already in place? The debate will continue to rage on this in the months and years ahead I'm sure (hasn't it always?) however it's clear that they will have to rise at some point and it therefore makes sense to build in some margin for error on the yield. This can be a little difficult if you're borrowing 50% or more and following the golden location, location, rules because yields on Prime Central London properties can be as low as 3 or 4% gross.

So my tip, and I doubt the big fund managers will like this one, is to stay prime and consider more management intensive residential uses such as student accommodation, young professional accommodation and short-let hostels etc. If you were offered the choice between a long lease on a bank in a regional city centre at a yield of 5% or a flat with a 9.5% gross yield (7% net) in Central London what would you choose?

If you fancy learning more about student & young professional accommodation why not come along to our event on the 11th February where we'll reveal many of the secrets to successfully investing?

Andrew Goodwin senior economic advisor to the Ernst & Young Item Club wrote the best article I've read this week (in Property Week).

 

Santa Claus – Will He Deliver In 2010?

While researching and considering this blog I've been travelling to Poland with my family for Xmas. My family consists of my fiancé Magdalena (and bump), my mum Heather, mum's partner Bruce and myself. We've just flown into a snow covered Poznan for our first Xmas in Poland with Magda's family and my mind has naturally drifted towards Christmassy thoughts.

Like so many families around the world we've had a very tough year. With such hard times so fresh in our memories and with such uncertainty ahead important questions are begging for answers. Will the families get on well and have a great Xmas? Will we have a better year next year? And does Santa Claus really exist?

Clearly these are big questions and the answers will depend on your own beliefs and circumstances. I'll let you know how we get on in future blogs. For now I'll share a few of my beliefs and relate them to my specialist subject of investment and specifically investment in London Residential Property.

1. Fog is inevitable

I've had the good fortune to spend valuable time with some extraordinary leaders in both finance and property. One great snippet I heard from a hedge fund manager once was 'the world is full of fog; I've developed the vision to see beyond the fog'.

In reality even his vision couldn't prepare him for the events of the last 2 years. Despite this I do believe it's important to come to terms with the fog and uncertainty we are suddenly so acutely aware of - and carry on with our lives. Psychologically it's probably the most important step we can all take on the road to recovery.

An uncertain environment offers great opportunities particularly when broadly recovering. In this environment Inspired Asset Management (an investment business I advise) is fortunate to be fresh, new and without the legacy issues that will continue to hamper many of its competitors for years to come. The first fund Inspired is advising on will be buying throughout 2010 and deals are likely to be considerably better than if future price rises were "assured".

2. Fundamentals matter

Now more than ever when investing it helps to:

  • deliver products and services people need or want
  • target undersupplied markets
  • focus on very specific known locations
  • buy very selectively - 'Alpha' is a word used in financial circles to describe this approach to cherry picking assets
  • generate plenty of surplus cash flow

We received confirmation just yesterday that the first fund we've helped to raise with Inspired has achieved its first close and will be able to make the first purchases - a great way to start Christmas !

3. Think long term

Short-term sentiment matters (perception is often reality) however good assets and businesses if they are well funded and in demand will generally normalise over time. If they can be "farmed" effectively to generate plenty of cash flow they should do well without suffering from the risks inherent in short-term speculation.

Property in particular is an illiquid asset class and should generally be approached accordingly. Five years should really be the minimum period to plan to hold an investment - of course if someone offers to buy at a huge premium then early sales should be considered.

Instead of always trying to second guess short-term movements in markets and assets I believe it's sensible to look at where supply and demand forecasts are likely to leave gaps in the medium term and seek to fill one of those gaps.

Inspired's partner Urban Share for example achieves 95%+ occupancy rates and generates 9%+ rental yields on residential properties in Central London and with population growth forecast to continue apace while construction supply is likely to take five years or more to recover we see a gap.

4. Luck favours the bold

Putting time in to research and test your market thoroughly is generally time very well spent and I'm a firm believer in planning to succeed. It's important to also bear in mind that you also have to be in it to win it. Many procrastinate from the sidelines while most others choose to follow the herd (too late).

Those with the guts to drive forward into the fog with their headlights on will often attract others to their cause as they prove their concept. At Inspired we hope a real passion for Social Media/Networking, collaborating and engaging with our clients & peers along with establishing a successful investment track record will help us to achieve this.

5. Network and make yourself available

We've embraced social networking and have made ourselves available through sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Wordpress, Ecademy, Facebook and YouTube and encourage others to do the same.

In the finance & property sectors leaders like Philip Calvert (IFA Life), Robert Gardner (Mallow Street & Redington), JC Goldstein (CREOpoint), Nick Tadd & Vanessa Warwick ( Property Tribes and 4 Walls & a Ceiling) and Jaime Steele (North Financial) are true visionaries and if you don't follow them or participate in their networks yet (10,000+ contacts) I highly recommend you do.

Doors have already begun to open for us and we've met some extremely innovative and passionate individuals and groups. If you would like to know more about us or can add value to our network perhaps come along to one of our networking events. Our next one is on the 11th February in Mayfair and tickets are just £49.95 each. Drinks sponsors are also welcomed.

And finally please have a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year

I suspect I'm not the only one pondering these subjects and while I have initially shared my thoughts with you I would be extremely keen to hear what you think too - please feel free to comment or indeed describe your own Xmas [belief/wish] list.

Now back to the festivities and the family.

 

Safety In Numbers

The debate over our recovery from recession continues to rage and provides an amazing insight into the different ways economic facts and figures can be interpreted. Forecasting is a tough game these days and I will simply express my opinion that we are experiencing a recovery more akin to a craggy[rock]-V than a W or an L for example. This is based on historical rebounds and the remarkably rapid global response to the credit crunch in the following three key areas:

  • Loose fiscal policy through a) reducing taxes and b) increasing spending
  • Highly stimulative monetary policy (low interest rate) and
  • Vast quantitative easing campaign.

Even with this huge boost and my optimism we are being regularly rocked by shocks. Last weeks' Dubai debt crisis for example combined with end-of-year profit taking removed a good chunk of the years stock market gains. Markets are nervous, investors are nervous, workers are unemployed and it's going to take time for confidence to build.

So, in this uncertain climate how can investors profit whilst still hedging their bets against the downside risks? A focus on location, cashflow and occupier demand will help. Our chosen location is London where occupier demand is assured. A cashflow boost is possible through servicing the undersupplied student and young professional markets (and multi-letting). Demand constantly outstrips supply, rents are rising again and the low currency rate is tempting investors to the city. Other strategies also work and the moral of the story is rather than running for cover each time we get hit by an aftershock we should be looking to adapt to the uncertainty/turbulence and push forward with an effective strategy and subsequently confidence in our abilities.

We will be exploring many of the issues involved in investing in student and young professional accommodation at our next event at the May Fair Hotel in London on the 11th February. More details closer to the time.

In Other News:

David Smith - Alistair Darling’s balancing act: cut deficit or win votes. John Waples - Bosses’ bonuses will be next under the spotlight. Irwin Stelzer - Now Barack Obama gets down to work on job creation.

And some funnies from the Sunday Times:

  • One for the naughty step - A masked robber who held up a restaurant at gunpoint was recognised instantly by the manager: she was his mother. Jason Zacci's face was covered by a bandanna as he threatened staff with a sawn-off shotgun and tried to grab cash from the till at the Wendy's restaurant in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. His mother also recognised the getaway driver, his girlfriend Amanda Yost. (The Sunday Times)
  • To pee or not to pee - The mayor of Delhi has launched a campaign to stop people urinating in the streets. Kanwar Sain wants to clean up the city's image before it hosts the Commonwealth Games next year. Posters have been stuck up around the city urging: "Don't be Mr Wee-Wee".
  • Trucker chisels DIY tunnel - Ramchandra Das, a lorry driver, used a hammer and chisel to tunnel his way through a mountain just so it would be easier to park his truck. The 53-year-old from Bihar, India, took 14 years but said it was worth it. "I had to leave my truck miles away, so I decided to do something about it myself," he explained.
  • You may now Tweet the bride - Forget kissing the bride; an American groom, Dana Hanna, had a better idea when the minister declared the couple man and wife. He whipped out his mobile phone and changed his Facebook status from "in a relationship" to "married". He then sent a Twitter message, "Standing at the altar with @TracyPage where just a second ago, she became my wife! Gotta go, time to kiss my bride." Before that, however, he handed over her BlackBerry so she could do the same. Hanna, a software developer from Maryland, said after the service: "This was just done to be funny. We really don't Facebook that often."

 

Dubai - Gets That Sinking Feeling

Building expensive villas on man-made islands with little protection from erosion always seemed pretty bonkers to me. Brilliantly bonkers. Was Dubai's economic miracle nothing more than a mirage? Or is an unfortunate victim of an unprecedented global financial crisis.

Dubai's brash and 'blinging' approach has been pretty uncoordinated and in the past when I visited it I found it soulless. I wouldn't want to live there.

Having said that it has certainly been a beacon for both Western and Eastern capitalism in the region and while its mineral-rich neighbours initially saw it as an upstart, they then copied many of its innovations - free trade zones, massive transport infrastructure upgrades, freehold property ownership, moderation towards other religious & cultural beliefs etc.

And it has a brighter future. Dubai may be overleveraged but it has plenty of assets still and some significant competitive advantages in the region. It also has friends in high places. Including some incredibly wealthy friends and family in the area (particularly in Abu Dhabi & Saudi Arabia) that will invariably support it. Its 'friends' will probably loot a few gems in the process, its Emirates airline for example, but they will stand by their neighbour and defend their own pride and western lenders will be able to breathe another cautious sigh of relief.

Currently it looks to me like the reverse leverage brinkmanship game that's been played out between banks and borrowers throughout the West for 18months or so now. It's just being played out middle-eastern style. Dubai has presided over an economic miracle and doesn't want to give up control of its trophy asset (Emirates). Abu Dhabi has all the cards at present and is almost certain to get its way - in picking assets. However It will provide the necessary guarantees.

I'm sticking to my prediction that we won't suffer a double-dip or a "W-shaped recession" however it's clear the global recovery isn't going to be a smooth one - Alan Greenspan's forecast for a much more turbulent economic period continues to look very prescient.

From an entirely biased perspective (please excuse me) I hope it will encourage get-rich-quick speculators to focus on fundamentals like supply and demand and we'll attract a bit more money back to relative safety in London.

For some great reading on the 'Dubai Debacle' check out these links:

 

Mortgage Lending Rates Increased - Are The Banks Having A Laugh?

Yesterdays Sunday Times money section details a number of margin increases on mortgages by UK banks; mostly the government backed ones. Cheltenham & Gloucester (Lloyds owned) has increased its tracker rate for its 90% LTV product to 5.49% over base - 5.99% at present.

I'm an interest rate 'dove' meaning I believe interest rates will remain low for at least a couple of years. This is despite a substantial increase in inflation that's due around the time the VAT rate returns to 17.5% in January. And despite my belief that a drop in house prices (a 'double-dip') is unlikely next year and my expectation that economic growth is likely to surprise on the upside.

5.49% over base for a mortgage though?! That should really come with a public safety warning notice. When base interest rates do finally return to their 'normal' position after this crisis has passed of around 5% that would leave borrowers paying 10.49%. More if rates have to be increased further in order to slow the economy again.

With such limited competition out there for lending still borrowers need to take extra care when arranging their loans. With such huge margins the banks will inevitably be declaring big profits soon and competitors will enter the market - in turn improving the offering for borrowers again.

Surely sticking with much lower margin mortgages has to be the way forward for now even if it means putting down larger deposits? Then negotiate bigger mortgages on fixed rates in a few years time when competition returns and future interest rate rises are more likely.

Additionally here's my roundup of the best of the recent news:

 

UK Property – Residential vs Commercial

My last two blogs discussed what I believe to be understandable but over-stated concerns of a double-dip in the UK economy in 2010.

This week I’m going to dig into the reasons behind the recent out-performance of residential property as compared with commercial property and would love get some feedback from readers.

In broad terms commercial property values in the UK fell approximately 40-50% from the peak of the market in 2007 to their trough in early 2009 whereas residential property in the UK fell approximately 15-25% from peak to trough. Both have rebounded somewhat as the fears of complete financial and economic collapse have faded.

Why has commercial property fallen so much more than residential and how are they likely to compare in the years ahead?

Private vs Institutional Investment

The residential property market is a lot more granular than the commercial property market. Most residential properties are owned by their occupants – far more so in the UK than in Europe for example. Commercial properties tend to be owned by large (typically institutional) investors. The two markets though linked in many ways therefore operate differently.

Purchases are typically larger and long lease terms are the norm (usually 5/10 years minimum). Each tenant also tends to take more space and be responsible for the repairs, insurance and general upkeep of the building. By comparison lease terms for residential properties are generally very short (6/12 month AST’s) and the landlord is typically responsible for the buildings insurance and maintenance. It’s therefore a lot easier to invest a large sum of money in commercial property.

The ease to which money raised could be deployed & managed inevitably played a significant role in the type of property it was invested in.

Occupier Markets

When the economy took a big hit tenants had to cut their overheads and of course the space they occupy makes up a large proportion of the overheads for both businesses and households.

It’s here the supply and demand dynamics diverge significantly for commercial and residential property. Just before the credit crunch even as house builders were merging, leveraging and generally over-stretching themselves there was a great deal of discussion around the under supply of homes for people to live in. The same was not the case for commercial property.

Future Trends

I believe developments in technology and working practices are going to have a profound impact on the way we live and work.

Most notably employers can’t offer the ‘job for life’ any more and flexible working has both been encouraged and demanded in response. In economic terms this is a good thing – flexibility and de-centralisation of planning encourages personal responsibility and greater productivity. This will lead to more people working from home and part-time from serviced offices. Social media is also going to accelerate this trend and lower growth in demand for large floorplate formal office space is therefore likely.

The growing pensions crisis combined with the shock many households have experienced recently is also likely to have at least some effect on peoples saving patterns. People are likely to save more and spend less. Combined with the trend towards shopping on line growth in demand for space shopping centres is likely to reduce.

By comparison we are likely to continue to attract high levels of immigration from abroad (particularly Eastern Europe) and therefore growth in demand for residential accommodation is likely to persist.

Summing Up

Institutions will continue to struggle to deploy large sums of capital into residential and will maintain their focus on commercial despite consistent historical out-performance by residential.

Both commercial & residential production capacity (supply) has been significantly impaired for at least 5 years.

Residential property has the most compelling argument for future demand growth and in my opinion rents are therefore set to rise fastest for residential property – in the best areas (most notably in London) examples of significant rental increases are already becoming commonplace.

Do you agree? Either way, what trends do you believe will significantly influence these markets in the coming years?

Additionally here's my round up of the best of the recent news:

 

Rose Tinted Spectacles Or Optimism Returning?

I'd been building up to my blog last week on the assumption that more Quantitative Easing would be implemented and support for the banks would be effectively unlimited. With these now in place it seems to me unlikely that we will suffer the severe double-dip that many are worrying about. As last weeks' comments show this isn't a view shared by all - and it shouldn't be expected to be; it is just my opinion based on information currently available and forecasting can be a mugs game these days.

Regardless, the news in the financial press is undeniably better now than it was 9 months ago and either my finding out I'm going to be a dad has given me rose tinted spectacles or optimism is returning to the City.

Looking back

Anatole Kaletsky used the example of the irresistible force and the immoveable object at the height of the crisis and argued that the willingness of governments and central bankers to use unlimited guarantees and in theory at least inject unlimited capital (£200bn so far) into the economy was the only way to reverse a classic run on the banks. This was necessary because banks will rarely have enough money to pay all of their depositors out if confidence goes completely and they all want their money at the same time.

My argument now is that this tactic has succeeded - however it takes a while for markets to shift from 'batten down the hatches' to risking capital reserves on growth. Understandable when you consider just how close we came to utter economic collapse.

Bosses optimism

In the Sunday Times last week John Waples reported on three top chief execs calling an end to the recession in the last week or so - Sir Stuart Rose at Marks & Spencer, Stephen Hester at RBS and Eric Daniels of Lloyds.

Tonight I went to a presentation by St James's Place Wealth Management and the theme was very much that the returns offered by 'riskier' assets like equities, corporate bonds and property greatly outweighed the minimal returns offered by cash at 0.5% - and the expectation was that economic growth was likely to outperform expectations. I agree.

What do you think is going to happen next year? And what do you think will be the 2010's top performing asset classes?

In Other News

Some other great articles from the weekend press included:

 

UK Property - Are We Really Doomed To A Double-Dip?

After a rebound in property values and a surge in listed property equities in the spring/summer much of the early autumn discussion has been around the risk of renewed downward pressure on values in 2010. Is this just irrational pessimism or is it a real probability?

I will focus my discussion on the London Residential Property market where I have most of my experience.

The job market tends to lag the broader economy because understandably after a shock like the one we've had companies tend to want to bolster their balance sheets and deliver good profits before they take on new staff. This inevitably weighs heavily on sentiment.

In recent weeks transactions have actually been very good, particularly in the best London locations. Noticeable trends have included:

  • The London residential lettings market tightening dramatically as accidental landlords have ceased depressing prices. We have just been through the peak lettings season and the excess supply has been soaked up. Lettings agents I know in both West and East London are either fully let or very short on stock and asking prices are heading up.
  • Opportunistic home buyers and renters are finding the market a lot more competitive - they are having to adjust their expectations in order to secure their dream pads.
  • Residential sales agents in prime West London talking about being run off their feet. With the Sterling exchange rate being so low foreign investors are competing for glamorous properties as if we were back into boom territory.
  • Supply remaining near record lows. Without development finance practically impossible to secure and with developers still reeling from the crunch it will take a long time to increase substantially. And remember we were in a 'housing crisis' before the crunch.
  • I even see from a Property Week article that London office lettings have also increased considerably and some commentators have quietly whispered about future undersupply - remarkable considering where we were 12 months ago.

And yet property and banking stocks have dipped noticeably and bank lending is still very tight indeed. Why is that?

The answer is likely to lie in a couple of key places:

  • Price increases moderating - value drops were exaggerated on thin trading on the way down and when the dreaded depression was averted they jumped back (like a rubber band). This had to slow once the initial jump had occurred.
  • Surprisingly bad Q3 GDP figures - the 0.4% drop was contrary to expectations of a return to slow growth.

Taken together and compounded by continuing increases in unemployment people have understandably been worrying about their futures. Reassurance is needed.

Since I began writing this article two key announcements have been made so I'll just cover them briefly:

  • The Bank of England (BoE) has kept rates at 0.5% and committed to a further £25bn of Quantitative Easing (QE). If you read my news review two weeks ago (and the links from it) you'll have seen that the hope was for £25/30bn. So this is good news, as expected, and will keep the foot on the accelerator until the recovery is expected to have achieved broader traction.
  • The Nationwide building society, who are broadly considered to have the most accurate report, released their house price inflation figures for October - up 0.4% for the month which takes the annual figure into positive territory for the first time since March 2008 at 2.0%.

As I commented just last week economists are having to look at entirely new models for their forecasting so it's harder than ever to get any form of consensus on where the market is going for the next few years. Luck supposedly favours the bold however so I will endeavour to give you a property investors view on where the market is heading.

I believe:

  • In London residential both rents & prices will steadily rise. The wealthier areas will rise faster - cash buyers will continue to dominate until debt becomes more accessible.
  • The additional QE and sterling weakness, ironically as a result of weaker than expected (and probably incorrect) Q3 GDP figures, will boost the economy and although next year will still be nervy and mixed there will be growth, sentiment will improve and property values will rise.
  • Unemployment will not rise above 3m as the UK's relatively flexible labour market allows workers to change jobs and/or become self employed reasonably easily - the rise of the 'Individual Capitalist' as Penny puts it in her book will help a great deal.

This may seem surprisingly upbeat to many so I will balance it with some thoughts on areas where real dangers still lie ahead:

  • Shopping centres - have been overbuilt and in some cases will be knocked down before they are ever occupied. The trend towards shopping online will continue and only those that provide a great experience as well as product will attract.
  • Secondary locations - will always suffer more than primary locations if anything goes wrong. Government spending cuts are very likely if as expected the Tories win the general election next year. These will hit regional areas, particularly in the North, hardest where the economy is most dependent on the government for support. The North-South divide will become very evident.
  • Longer term interest rates - will have to go up at some point. Anything below 5% is considered to be expansive (encouraging both growth and inflation). This is likely to take a quite a while however when it does come it will hurt those that have weak incomes.

I've always focussed on higher income variants of property in the best almost prime locations (i.e. Zone 2 in London) because I believe it enables you to benefit from the outperformance scarcity brings while still generating a high enough yield to buffer you against potential future cash flow challenges (like rising interest rates). And I still do.

If you are looking to buy now also consider sticking to the locations you know best i.e. within a maximum 30 mile radius of your home. It's easier to manage when things go wrong and you have a much better chance of buying well & developing well. And don't rush - select your purchases carefully after researching them well. There will continue to be good opportunities to buy next year so don't go off half-cocked.

Do look to increase your exposure to London residential over the next 12 months however if you are in a position to do so - we aren't doomed as some may have us believe.

 

One Step Back Two Steps Forward

The Bank of England will this week be deciding on the quantitative easing commitment for the next three months.

Despite in all likelihood treating the unexpectedly awful GDP result for Q3 with cautious scepticism the bank is likely to be more aggressive with its digital money injection (hopefully £30bn+) than if the figures reported had been better.

If so this is good news for those that own assets because it will add momentum to the recovery and increase chances of both a V-shaped outcome and of earlier inflation. The flip-side of course is that it increases the probability of overshooting and pumping too much money into the economy. That is a problem for tomorrow (or 2013+) though and the priority should be avoiding a resumption of the destructive asset price deflation we've experienced over the last two years or so.

And we need it - after a nice bounce back from the brink people seem a little more nervous again with talk of a double-dip, W-shape recovery etc etc.

 

Tweets Ahead (Or Not As The Case May Be)

I'm a huge fan of Property Week and read it religiously every week. Excellent journalists, great leader and all round best-of-breed publication - it ranks alongside the Sunday Times for me as one of the only two papers I read every week.

... so please consider this constructive criticism and of the broader, corporate, industry rather than the publication itself.

For the most part it's good that social media has been highlighted at all (I haven't seen anything in other property press yet). The article below demonstrates to me how far away from 'getting' social media the mainstream UK property industry is at present. Disappointing when you consider just how much networking is involved in the sector. I didn't really drink before I got into property; that quickly changed, and how, when I fell in love with residential - my excuse is/was that it requires so much great networking.

I'll pick out the key points that should stir further discussion:

  • Knight Frank has 440 followers; Savills 100 (and have never tweeted) and JLL 10 - only Knight Frank is even off the starting line. Most people I know that have been using this [5 year old] service for a year or so have 5,000 or more followers.
  • The story centres around marketing - social media experts agree that the real value is in knowledge gained and introductions made. Listening & helping others should come before overtly marketing or selling - in social networking business generally comes by way of attraction to centres of influence & by referral.
  • Facebook (FB) is described as a purely social medium whereas many authors of business pages on FB will describe their search engine and networking success upon establishing an active one - it's far from purely social.

Meanwhile Claer is absolutely right when she says the personal touch is as important as ever - this should be in relation to the way people & business communicate through social media however. Don't just give it to one person in the marketing team; the principals of the business need to really get involved and be consistent and transparent in their communication; frequently. And look long and hard at how they need to adapt their business and routine to suit the new, online economy.

That's not to say real-life activity is unimportant - people buy people both online and offline and if anything offline networking activity needs to be increased rather than sacrificed in favour of online. Time online needs to be spent 'smarter' and time needs to be invested in learning the ropes - because it's not just a new rule or two; it's a an entirely new, virtual world and it's influencing the real world at an accelerated pace; for the better I might add.

For more information I suggest readers start by buying the excellent Know me like me follow me by Penny Power - creator of the first online social network (Ecademy) more than 12 years ago. And check out some of our free social media resources.

For those in any doubt Thomas Power has a great explanation "it takes 3 years to adapt and succeed online - a year to be known, a year to be liked and a year to be followed. It also takes about 30 years for a new technology age to become embedded in the economy (and for the economy to become dependent on it). Bearing in mind the internet was created in 1973 by DARPA (US defence). Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau invented the World Wide Web in 1990. Therefore we've more than 35 years of 'internet' and almost 20 years of 'web'. The clock is ticking - adapt ... or die.

Major players in property should be beginning their 3 year learning process now (if not before) if they intend to survive and thrive - and the opportunities are plentiful. As Clay Shirky said 'The group gets better together'.

 

RESI 09 Review

Some of my notes & soundbites from the recent, excellent Property Week RESI 09 conference. It was a surprisingly upbeat event particularly in the opening session and the speakers were excellent.

John White - Chairman, Persimmon, House Builder:

  • The house building industry has reduced its headcount by 40-50% as a result of the credit crunch
  • House builders will be extremely cautious when investing for the next few years particularly on large sites which will be delayed. Small sites will be developed in preference.
  • It's unlikely-impossible to imagine supply meeting demand in future.
  • We're 3-5 years off returning to peak [supply] volumes on an optimistic forecast.

Dr Ian Shepherdson - Chief US Economist, High Frequency Economics (commenting on UK housing):

  • We're on the verge of a real turning point. I'm more cheerful about housing than I have been for many years.
  • European economies have weakened further than either the UK or the US.
  • The debt to disposable income ratio had reached an unprecendented level.
  • We've begun a long run shift back into savings.
  • There are shopping centres that were built in the last 3 years that are empty now and will probably fall down before they're occupied.
  • In the US they're pulling shopping centres down now.
  • Better affordability is lifting housing and there is an inventory shortage.
  • Long run UK housing is well supported - higher birthrate and much younger population profile.
  • Housing has hit bottom.
  • Possibility of a price wobble next year and unemployment will remain high.
  • Interest rates are not going to go back up again soon - maybe not in my lifetime.
  • Housing will perform better than the broader economy because new unendebted first time buyers will drive the market while the economy as a whole will be held back by the average debt burden.

Bill Hughes - Managing Director, Legal & General Property:

  • I'm seriously excited.
  • It's a widely held view that now is the sweetspot for the emergence of Resi to the institutional sector.
  • Why? - Low correlation to other asset classes.
  • Why? - The scale of the opportunity.
  • Why? - Long term liability matching.
  • Why? - Attractive total return.
  • Why? - Attractive income return.
  • Why now? - Significantly down on historic completions.
  • Why now? - Capital constraints in house building.
  • Why now? - Accidental high level of bank exposure to the sector.
  • Why now? - Pricing opportunity (house price to earnings) & we haven't yet missed the boat.
  • Broad agreement across the HCA, banks, house builders & investors to find a solution [to institutional investment in build for rent and the private rented sector].
  • Looking for 5-6% net yield.

Ian (apologies I forget his full name): 'I'm nervous the Tories might cut capital spending on affordable housing - while there are already several million people on the waiting lists'.

Nigel Hugill - Lend Lease & the Homes & Communities Agency (based on OECD forecasts):

  • The UK has one of the 4 strongest correlations between housing and economic growth and the shortest lag of all.
  • Supply has been within 10% of 180,000 units per annum for 40 years. It's now down to 80-85,000 units.
  • First time buyers are now at 40% which is historically very high.
  • Rent to buy is to grow with saving up to buy set to encourage good rental behaviour.

Nick Candy - Founder & Joint CEO, Candy & Candy:

  • London geographically is the best positioned city in the world.
  • People still have money, they're just sitting on it.
  • And the way the banks are reacting just means they will take even longer to spend it.
  • With the Euro where it is it's cheap to buy in London.
  • A lot of money will come in from India and the Middle/Far East

Tony Pidgley - Chief Executive, The Berkeley Group - Addressed to the government - 'Leave the market alone' - principally in reaction to restrictions on production of units of c40sqm or less, which are the only units selling well.

Chris Tinker - Chairman, Crest Nicholson Regeneration - There is a likely further shortfall of 1.1m homes against a 2m target over the next 10 years.

Andrew Pratt - Managing Director of Residential, Grainger - Residential outperforms every other asset class certainly over the medium to long term.

Roger Madelin - Joint Chief Executive, Argent - On government quango's - We risk disappearing into a big pile of [bureaucratic] poo.

 

No Summer Slowdown For Property Market This Year

London's property market is apparently being flooded with buyers who fear they may have missed the best buying opportunities, following wide reports of rising house prices and a renewed confidence in the market, according to property consultants Cluttons.

The group has reportedly seen a 75% increase in new buyer registrations since July 2008 and a 35% increase since May this year.

Rather than experiencing the usual summer slowdown in the sales market, as the school year ends and buyers and sellers take annual holidays abroad, the Central London market has instead shifted up a gear.

James Hyman, Partner for Residential Sales at Cluttons, said: “We are seeing the complete opposite of a summer slowdown this year, as buyers start to panic that they have missed the chance to buy at the lowest prices. There is a huge pent up demand, with buyers having waited for the last 18 months for the market to bottom - only the lack of stock is currently preventing activity in the Central London market from returning to 2007 levels.

“As the housing market and economic data becomes more consistent with a recovery, Londoners are suddenly buying into the ‘green shoots’ theory and this, combined with the return of bonuses in some businesses, has given buyers a renewed confidence and a 'feel good factor' which is influencing their decision to buy.”

Cluttons also said that those who wish to sell are reluctant to relinquish their property until they have found a property to buy, for fear of missing out on price rises and finding themselves priced out of the market. Last year's trend, of selling and moving into rented accommodation before buying again at a later date, is said to have all but vanished.

 

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Just back from a Standard Life Investments property seminar.

They're pushing their commercial property funds despite awful performance, oversupply/falling rents and not investing in residential despite massive under supply and the [genuinely excellent] speaker himself being outbid recently on three houses.

The explanation for buying commercial was that rental inflation was likely to turn positive in 2011 when supply dried up. This despite the in-house view being that rents still had a long way to fall, their example (in the City) being:

  • £67.5 psf in Q4 07
  • £45psf currently (33.3% decline)
  • £32.3psf (28.5% further to go)

This is without factoring in yield expansion, tenant default risk and the massive rent-free periods (the speculation is that Nomura got 4 years for free on their recent transaction in the city). Interestingly London's rents have dropped first while rents in regional cities are expected to collapse very soon. It always surprises me how predictable the ripple effect from London is both on the way down and the way up - markets tend to price these things in once they've learned them but this particular characteristic (which influences the Location, Location, Location saying) endures countless cycles.

Actions speak louder than words methinks & all actions/evidence says London residential to me.

It never ceases to amaze me how institutional investors can be so focused on 'traditional' investments (IMO this can be freely translated to 'hassle-free management') to the point where they completely ignore one of the largest and most profitable investment sectors in the UK.

Any IFA intermediaries interested in property can contact me if they would like to know about available residential property funds - for example the Urban Share student fund is ready to take advantage of forecast continued growth in student accommodation rents and massive supply/demand imbalance that existed before the credit crunch and has been compounded by it.

 

Spring Bounce - There Are Signs That The Capital’s New-Build Flats Market Is Set For A Recovery (Tim Craine)

http://www.propertyweek.com/story.asp?sectioncode=530&storycode=3139385 - results of a comprehensive survey into Residential Development in London. Key snippets below:

"Schemes are not revealing excessive horror stories of failed completions. ‘Negative’ sales rates were lower in the first quarter of 2009 than in the final quarter of 2008. However, there is a lot of forced-renting of completed unsold stock.

Sales rates rose 68% from a low base in the first quarter and increases were concentrated in a growing minority of schemes that have accepted current market pricing.

An increasing number of schemes are achieving sales rates that would be enjoyed in normal market conditions – these are promoted by developers willing and able to price to current market levels.

In late 2008, it was not clear how far prices had to fall before normal sales rates could resume. Now we are certain it is 25%-30% off peak 2007 prices." Tim Craine, Molior London

 

Early Risers - London And The South-East Are Forecast To Lead The Market Into Recovery (Savills Research)

http://www.propertyweek.com/story.asp?sectioncode=530&storycode=3139386 - Some interesting reading on the relative benefits and timing of the innevitable recovery in London Residential including some tables that show London values rising by more than 10% per annum each year from 2011 thru 2013.