There’s no place like home

House - PPP

In Britain, property has always been a popular topic in both the media and day-to-day conversations.

It’s not a surprising phenomenon given the country’s obsession with home ownership and property investment – and the fact that it is ranked the fourth hottest property market in the world. 

As the total value of the UK residential property market nears £6 trillion and both house price values and rental income outperform European counterparts, it simultaneously attracts a considerable amount of investment from people here and overseas.

In 2012 alone, £20 billion was spent by foreign investors in the UK property market who were attracted by our financial stability, favourable tax legislation and high-value assets.

Take the Battersea Power Station development for example – within a few days of being released for sale, the majority of the 866 residential apartments were acquired by Singaporean investors. And it’s not just central London that is attracting interest – other areas such as Bristol, Cardiff and Maidenhead are seeing investment from outside of the UK.

At the same time, some domestic investors have bypassed their home country and sought the ‘fly-to-let’ option elsewhere, encouraged by the strength of the pound and relatively slow recovery of property markets in other countries.

But as David Cameron pledges to address ‘corrupt money’ in the UK housing market from foreign investors and more British people look to secure their pensions through property investment, we look at why it’s better to invest in residential buy-to-let property on home turf – even with a potential rise in interest rates and a reduction in tax relief on the horizon.

Robust tenant demand

More than half of UK landlords have seen a significant increase in tenant demand and anticipate further growth over the next 12 months. This is supported by recent reports that show how an average of five people compete for every rented property available. This strong level of tenant demand, coupled with the housing shortage, is expected to outweigh the burdens from the Chancellor’s proposed tax changes.

Rising yields and rents

Yields for residential buy-to-let in the UK continue to climb and are now an average of 6.4%. Private rents in Britain in 2015 are also the highest in the EU, currently standing at £902 per month on average.

Historically low void periods

The average annual void period in the UK, which indicates periods of time that a privately rented property is unoccupied, recorded the lowest level since 2002, falling to 2.4 weeks on a gradual basis. On the top of this, the figure of tenancies agreed while a current tenant still lives in a property has risen to 33% this year, thanks to the fierce demand.

Strong price growth and sales increase

In 2015, the UK buy-to-let market boasted a strong year-to-date increase in sales, reaching £25.62 billion in August. This represents a 30.4% annual rise.

The growth in house values was also apparent. In July, it showed a 0.4% and 3.5% monthly and annual average rise respectively. This was at a pace that is 10 times faster than most countries in the Eurozone.

Minimised management costs and knowledge of the market

One of the greatest merits of investing in property at home is that you can minimise costs by managing a portfolio yourself. There will be no extra cost of employing an agent to manage a portfolio for you or extortionate travel expenses to and from your investment.

If you live in the UK and invest in property in the UK then you are much more capable of staying abreast of developments and market fluctuations – and knowledge is key to success in property investment.

Despite some challenges that lie ahead for UK property investors, ‘home sweet home’ is a lower-risk environment for investing your hard-earned cash in property, provided you have the right strategy and a robust plan.

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