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Hong Kong Buyers Rushing to Buy UK Property

There are increasing numbers of Hong Kong residents who are looking to buy UK property. This is largely as a result of the evolving political situation in Hong Kong. Many Hong Kongers seeking UK property are taking advantage of the UK’s visa scheme for BNO passport holders, which was introduced in 2021. The visa programme provides a fast-track to British citizenship and was announced as a reaction to Beijing’s newly imposed national security laws which were seen to breach the 1984 Sino-British declaration which guaranteed certain freedoms to Hong Kong citizens for 50 years.

Between June 2021 and 2022 alone, Hong Kong has seen 121,500 people leave, with many of these taking the UK government up on its offer of fast-tracked British citizenship. In fact, the UK government has received 140,500 applications already.

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Hong Kong Buyers Looking to the UK
‘The UK has been a popular location for Hong Kong investors for a while. This is because it’s extremely affordable for most Hong Kong buyers compared to their expensive domestic market. The exchange rate from Hong Kong dollars to British Sterling also makes this a favourable purchase, especially given the current state of the Great British Pound. Strong rental yields and capital growth offered by UK property have also served to compound the attractive nature of UK property for Hong Kong buyers. But with so many Hong Kong residents looking to move to the UK, at least on a temporary basis, the demand for UK property from Hong Kong has grown even more’ says Stuart Marshall of Liquid Expat Mortgages.

‘We’ve seen a huge increase in enquiries from Hong Kong. But there are a number of common issues that Hong Kong buyers encounter. One of the most common early hurdles that Hong Kong buyers come across is that they are trying to use a high street lender. Such lenders are usually not equipped to properly serve a borrower from Hong Kong. A specialist mortgage broker, on the other hand, will have the infrastructure to put Hong Kong borrowers in touch with specialist lenders who have foreign national – and, in some cases, Hong Kong – specific deals.’

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Mortgage Deals Available for Hong Kong Buyers
A positive for Hong Kong investors in the UK is that, because of the demand at the moment, lenders are creating deals specifically for Hong Kong investors to satisfy the need for specialised products in the marketplace. ‘Lenders have been working with brokers to understand the specific needs of Hong Kong borrowers and work on crafting products that meet these needs. These products are available for a wide variety of uses on both residential and buy-to-let properties, new purchases and re-mortgages.’

Source: EIN News

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Overseas buyers look to snap up London property as weak pound takes demand to ‘new levels’

Demand in London property from foreign investors is at “new levels” as they rush to make the most of the weaker pound.

The pound steadied in early trading in Asian markets on Tuesday, recovering ground slightly from the record low of 1.0327 against the dollar on Monday morning.

Sterling was standing at around $1.08 early on Tuesday but this is still significantly lower than before chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget, which sent the currency spiralling last Friday.

One London estate agent, Chestertons, has said that the dip in the value of the pound has driven interest from overseas buyers, who can now get more with their dollars.

“London already attracted overseas buyers back to its property market since the easing of travel restrictions but the weaker pound is taking demand from foreign investors to new levels,” Matthew Thompson, head of sales at Chestertons, said.

“Bearing in mind the dollar’s beneficial exchange rate against the pound, our branches have registered a particular boost in buyer enquiries from US citizens or residents of country’s where the dollar is a primary currency.”

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He continued: “To maximise the saving that can be had due to current exchange rates, buyers are especially drawn to some of London’s priciest neighbourhoods such as Knightsbridge, Mayfair and South Kensington.

“Only 6 months ago, a property that is on the market for £4million, would have cost around $5.23million. At the current exchange rate, the same property costs around $4.32million which is a saving of almost $1million.”

Rory Penn, head of London sales at Knight Frank, said that there has been “a pick up from international buyers who see a buying opportunity in London.”

“US buyers are either looking for best-in-class turnkey residential development or family houses and apartments,” he said, “particularly lateral space with high ceilings and period features.”

Arthur Lintell, who works in Knight Frank’s Notting Hill office, said that the North London residential area had seen particular interest from US buyers.

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“Favoured amongst Americans, Notting Hill has seen a recent surge in interest from US or dollar pegged buyers all keen to take advantage of the recent buying window,” he said.

“One in particular, an ex-Notting Hill local who relocated to New York 15 years ago, is now returning, as the opportunity is too good not to miss as their children start Notting Hill Prep next year. In their words: ‘The timing could not be better for us right now’.”

Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade, said: “Given the weakness of the British pound, we may see foreign investors buying property in the UK as the currency has depreciated that much. For many, this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

In an attempt to steady the markets on Monday, the Bank of England said that it “will not hesitate” to raise interest rates. However the pound fell after the joint statements from the Bank and its governor Andrew Bailey amid concerns that they had ruled out an emergency rise in rates.

The next interest rate decision is scheduled for 3 November.

Following the fall in the pound, some mortgage deals have been withdrawn by banks and building societies. Virgin Money and Skipton Building Society halted offers for new clients and Halifax said it would stop mortgages with product fees.

By Holly Bancroft

Source: The Independent

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Pound’s weakness could boost overseas investment in ‘resilient’ Scots property market

Sterling’s weakness could boost overseas investment in a “resilient” Scottish commercial property market, industry experts believe.

Property consultancy Knight Frank found that investment volumes in commercial property north of the Border rose by 37 per cent during the first nine months of 2022 compared to the same period last year, increasing to £1.46 billion from £1.06bn.

Offices were the most popular asset type, accounting for just over one-third of total investment volumes. Investment in industrial property almost doubled, from £157 million to £300m, as interest levels in the sector continued to increase following the pandemic.

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The research found that overseas investors remain the most active buyers of Scottish commercial property, accounting for 53 per cent of investment volumes. UK property companies increased their investment levels from £312m last year to £518m in the latest nine-month period.

Investment volumes in Aberdeen more than doubled from just over £54m in the first nine months of 2021 to £116.9m, buoyed by the sale of two retail parks. Edinburgh saw investment volumes increase 24 per cent to £415m, while Glasgow increased by 6 per cent to £377m.

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Alasdair Steele, head of Scotland commercial at Knight Frank Scotland, said: “There has been a great deal of uncertainty this year, starting with the complications of the ongoing pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine, and rising inflation and interest rates, but Scotland’s commercial property market has continued to fare well. This is particularly true for assets that are in high demand, namely prime offices and industrials – but alternatives, particularly hotels, are increasing in popularity.

“The summer period was relatively quiet after a flurry of deals were completed in the lead up to June. However, as we move into the final quarter, there remains a significant amount of dry powder waiting to invest and commercial property is traditionally seen as offering a good hedge against inflation – particularly for overseas investors, with the pound’s current weakness. We could see them take an even more active interest in the market in the remainder of 2022 and into next year.”

He added: “We anticipate a busy end to a challenging year, provided the macro-economic situation does not change materially and the right stock is made available.”

By Scott Reid

Source: The Scotsman

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London rental properties letting within minutes

One lettings agency in London says that tenant demand is so great in the capital for rental properties that many homes are being let within minutes of becoming available.

Benham and Reeves point to demand created by the return of professionals and international students, along with the growing shortage of available properties to rent, for creating a ‘challenging market’.

Tenant enquiry levels have continued to increase over the summer, across the firm’s 19 branches.

They say this is the ‘Most competitive London rental market that we have ever known’.

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Many branches have had almost no stock
In addition, tenants are finding that many branches have had almost no stock available, at best one or two apartments available to rent.

In a market update, the agent says: “Many properties are renting within hours – and some within minutes – as applicants immediately make an enquiry as soon as a property goes live on our website.

“This is swiftly followed by a full asking rent offer and once agreed, a holding deposit – so anxious are they to secure a property.

“This of course is great news for buy-to-let investors who, in many parts of the capital, are seeing their rental properties let immediately with voids at an absolute minimum. Sometimes just a day or two.”

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London is now a ‘landlord’s market’
The update also makes clear that the imbalance between supply and demand means that London is now a ‘landlord’s market’ with property investors expanding their property portfolios.

And rents are rising to pre-pandemic levels – some are now 10% higher.

Investors from overseas are also finding that the weakness of sterling makes London property considerably more affordable, while the shortage of rental properties means demand is the highest that the agent ‘has ever seen’.

Professionals returning to live and work in London, along with international students, are fuelling demand.

In some areas, including the City and east London, around 85% of applicants have been international students.

With the rental market so competitive, tenancy renewals remain at an all-time high – often more than 90% of existing tenants are renewing because they see there is a limited choice of properties available.

Source: Property 118

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Prime house price five-year forecast revised

Savills has released a revised five-year forecast for the UK’s prime housing markets, reflecting strong levels of activity in prime central London and prime regional markets, but also a backdrop of international and domestic uncertainty.

While the shape of recovery remains broadly as previously forecast in November 2021, the long-awaited bounce in values in prime central London has been pushed out to 2023. The firm expects prime central London’s house prices to grow 4% across 2022 (down from 8% previously forecast in November 2021). This reflects a slower pace of return of international buyers than anticipated, as well as the war on Ukraine and current domestic political instability which have caused a degree of caution that is constraining price growth.

Savills expects a more significant recovery in 2023, and has forecast growth of 7% (up from 4%), with the pace of demand from overseas expected to increase.

Over the next five-years, prices in prime central London are expected to rise by a total of 21.6%, despite a slight slowing of growth in the run-up to the expected general election in 2024.

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“Strong activity over the past six months, the relative value on offer and the prospects for global wealth generation together give us confidence that prime central London will continue to recover steadily over the next couple of years,” comments Frances McDonald, research analyst at Savills.

“However, the pace of return of international buyers has so far been slow, holding back the more rapid recovery we had previously anticipated. Early indicators suggest that things should improve over the second half of the year and into 2023, as high-net-worth buyers have gradually started to return to traditional prime postcodes such as Chelsea, Belgravia, Kensington, Mayfair, Notting Hill and Holland Park over the past three-months, boosting the outlook for price growth beyond this year.”

“In the longer term, requirements to register beneficial ownership of homes held in offshore vehicles have the potential to curb some demand amongst a limited number of buyers in the longer term. But, while historically there have been many benefits to using offshore vehicles to hold UK property, the tax advantages have largely already been removed. As such, we have only slightly reduced our outlook for prices over the next five years,” continues McDonald

In the more domestic markets of outer prime London, continued unmet demand from those looking to upsize and a lack of suitable stock will support price growth in the short term. Savills has forecast that price growth in these markets will average +5% in 2022.

But while the prime markets (broadly the top 5%-10% by value) are generally more resilient to interest rate rises and the increased cost of debt, they are not completely immune. Savills expects to see signs of price sensitivity creep into the market over the next six months, resulting in slower growth from 2023 onwards. This is expected to cap price growth at 13.6% over the five years to the end of 2026.

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“Over the medium term, the return of workers to the capital will fuel demand. Even as hybrid working becomes more conventional, workers still value proximity to the office and some of those who bought a home in the country during the pandemic are realising the need for a pied-à-terre, further supporting demand for flats,” continues McDonald.

“From 2023 onwards we are forecasting slightly lower levels of price growth with rising pressure on buyers’ spending power, though the effect of earlier than expected interest rate rises is likely to be offset by an easing in mortgage regulation and an increased flow of capital coming out of central London.”

Scotland, the Midlands and the North expected to perform the strongest in the long term

Following two years of unprecedented price growth (+16% since March 2020), the pace of growth in the prime regional markets has started to slow. However, activity continues to be strong and there remains an imbalance between supply and demand across much of the market, which will support price growth in the immediate future.

Savills forecasts that prime regional markets will grow by an average of 5% in 2022, led by growth in London’s suburbs (6%), with prices growing more steadily thereafter (18.8% over the five years to the end of 2026).

“Growth in the medium term will depend largely on further interest rate rises and the rising cost of living which will limit buyers’ spending power. This will have the most significant impact on markets where buyers typically take on more debt.

“As a result, we are likely to see a continued slowing of growth towards the end of this year, and whilst we are not expecting a significant correction in price levels, realistic pricing from vendors will once more become all-important. This will be particularly true for markets which have seen the strongest growth since the start of the pandemic, namely London’s suburbs and the coastal and rural markets in the south of England which performed phenomenally over the course of the pandemic,” concludes Savills’ Frances McDonald.

Longer term, the prime markets of Scotland, the Midlands and the North of England are expected to perform the strongest, due to greater capacity for growth (compared with those in the South). Savills has forecast 21.7% and 22.8% total growth over the next five years.

By MARC DA SILVA

Source: Property Industry Eye

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Overseas investors ‘will not be deterred’ from UK property by new rules

Despite measures and additional taxation to curb overseas investors in UK property, the asset class still holds great allure for a number of reasons.

On 1 August 2022, a new register of overseas entities was launched in the UK. This means anyone investing in or acquiring property in the UK from abroad will need to register with Companies House.

The aim of the register is to prevent individuals or companies buying property with illicit funds, but some believe the additional paperwork could serve as a deterrent for some legitimate overseas investors.

However, David Hannah, group chairman at Cornerstone Tax, believes the UK property market will still provide enough of an attraction to foreign buyers for myriad reasons, as it still presents an “exciting opportunity”.

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Big demand from overseas investors
Hannah points out that the UK property market is very much an international market, and it can therefore be affected by geo-political events all over the world.

“Even if domestic demand cools, I think international demand will increase and the UK market will be affected because of it. I don’t think foreign investment will be overly deterred by the new rules coming into place on 1 August.

“Property in the UK represents an exciting opportunity for foreign buyers because of the drop in the value of the pound.”

The historic house price growth has always provided an attraction to overseas investors, gaining the sector a reputation as a safe haven as it generally shows less volatility than many other asset classes.

In recent years, this growth has been even stronger due to a range of contributing factors.

Hannah comments: “UK house prices continue to rise at a staggering rate domestically, being pushed higher by factors such as the influx of oversea investors.

“In the past, factors such as the stamp duty holiday have caused more people to consider buying property. However, due to the increase in average house prices, it has made it more difficult than ever for buyers to purchase their first property.

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What’s in the pipeline?
Recent data revealed that overseas investors now own around £90.7bn of property in England and Wales. Around half of this (£45.3bn) is concentrated in London, which has historically attracted the most attention from foreign buyers.

This was according to research from Benham and Reeves, which also named the south east and the north west as the top two property investment destinations for those living abroad, after the capital. Overseas owners have around £15.6bn tied up in the south east, and £7.6bn in the north west.

In total, according to Benham and Reeves, 247,016 properties across England and Wales are owned by overseas investors. As well as the highest value of properties, the highest number of these can be found in London, with 85,451 foreign-owned.

One of the biggest draws in recent years has been the falling value of the pound, which makes it cheaper for overseas investors buying property here.

A challenge for anyone buying property right now in the UK is the supply gap, as less sellers have been coming to the market.

Hannah notes that the 24% rise in prospective sellers putting homes on the market offers hope that this trend could be easing, “thus causing a more manageable supply and demand level and potentially slowing the rapid rise of property prices”.

The register will also be applied retrospectively to property bought up to 20 years ago in England and Wales and since December 2014 in Scotland. UK property owners who live overseas should ensure they are up to date on the latest requirements.

Source: Buy Association

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Will new disclosure rules deter foreign buyers?

The UK property market continues its upward trajectory as recent data from Halifax shows that the average house price now stands at £294,845, which represents a 6.8% rise, or £18,849 since the start of the year.

Supply-demand imbalance continues to be the main contributor to the rising prices.

With inflation in the UK rising to 9.4% in the year to June – marking its highest rate in 40 years, many are expecting a sharp decline in the property market, but the influx of foreign investment for properties in the UK could continue to push house prices higher. Recent research from Benham and Reeves shows that overseas nationals now own almost 250,000 homes across England and Wales – amounting to £90.7 billion worth of property.

London continues to be home to the highest value of foreign-owned homes, with all of the city’s top five property deals in 2021 – all of them worth £20 million or more – involving Chinese billionaires according to Beauchamp.

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Following sanctions imposed to Russian investors there were fears that foreign investment would falter, however Chinese investors seem to have picked up the slack. There are now 85,451 properties (amounting to a total value of £45.3 billion) in the capital owned by oversea investors who are able to take advantage of the UK’s thriving market.

The drop in the value of the pound, which has fallen by 11% since the start of the year, seems to be one of the major appealing aspects of buying property in the UK. 61 luxury properties in London – each worth more than £10 million, have been sold in the first six months of 2022 – representing the highest number in a decade.

Even though overseas buyers are an important segment of the market throughout the UK, there have been attempts to deter foreign investment.

There will be an introduction of new rules that will come into force on 1 August. The new register of overseas entities maintained by Companies House means that buyers will be forced to declare their ownership and provide details of beneficial owners.

The register will be publicly available at Companies House and intends to dissuade individuals looking to buy UK properties with illicit funds. It is unclear how significant this new regulation could be and whether it will deter foreign investment in the UK property market.

David Hannah, Group Chairman at Cornerstone Tax, is not convinced that it will.

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“What people must consider is that the UK property market is an international market, meaning it can be affected by geo-political events all over the world.

“Even if domestic demand cools, I think international demand will increase and the UK market will be affected because of it. I don’t think foreign investment will be overly deterred by the new rules coming in to place on 1 August.

“Property in the UK represents an exciting opportunity for foreign buyers because of the drop in the value of the pound.

“UK house prices continue to rise at a staggering rate domestically, being pushed higher by factors such as the influx of oversea investors. In the past, factors such as the stamp duty holiday have caused more people to consider buying property. However, due to the increase in average house prices, it has made it more difficult than ever for buyers to purchase their first property.

“There is hope that more available properties will enter the UK housing market and the latest House Price Index shows an increase of 24% in the number of prospective sellers bringing homes to the market – thus causing a more manageable supply and demand level and potentially slowing the rapid rise of property prices.”

By EYE CORRESPONDENT

Source: Property Industry Eye

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UK Expat Buy-To-Let Mortgage Market Review

The UK expat buy-to-let market creates a busy news cycle. Liquid Expat Mortgages will often pick the most important headlines to break down.

The continued activity in the UK expat buy-to-let mortgage market is partly due to increased interest coming from Hong Kong as the political situation continues to evolve there.

Despite the rises in the base interest rate, interest rates are still relatively low by historic standards and many lenders are not increasing – or increasing only marginally – their rates for expat buyers, as the expat buy-to-let marketplace is particularly lucrative.

Zoopla which noted that the number of people looking for rental properties this year is 76% higher than the average number for the same time between 2018 and 2021.

In the ongoing race to get rental properties to an EPC rating of a C or higher, 17% of landlords have already attempted to improve the energy efficiency of their property, while 22% of portfolio investors have begun green renovations.

Liquid Expat Mortgages takes a look at the top headlines from recent news in the UK expat buy-to-let mortgage market.

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Activity in the expat buy-to-let and remortgage markets is similar to the high seen late on in 2021, indicating that expat business is not being dampened by the consistent interest rate rises.” — Stuart Marshall MANCHESTER, GREATER MANCHESTER, UK, June 29, 2022 /EINPresswire.com / —
As we move into the second half of June, Liquid Expat Mortgages takes a look at the top headlines from recent news in the UK expat and foreign national mortgage market.

Expat Buy-to-Let Market Remains Strong After Rate Rises.
Activity in the expat buy-to-let and remortgage markets is at a similar level to the high seen late on in 2021, indicating that expat business is not being dampened by the consistent interest rate rises coming from the Bank of England. This is, in part, due to increased interest coming from Hong Kong as the political situation continues to evolve there.

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Despite the rises in the base interest rate, interest rates are still relatively low by historic standards and many lenders are not increasing – or increasing only marginally – their rates for expat buyers, as the expat buy-to-let marketplace is particularly lucrative and competitive. Further, there are still many interested buyers as the UK property market remains an attractive investment option offering a relatively stable asset class.

‘Anecdotally, this is something we’ve been seeing’ says Stuart Marshall. ‘The UK expat and foreign national buy-to-let mortgage market is very busy at the minute. Many UK expat and foreign national investors are benefitting from uncertainty in the domestic marketplace that is being caused by the consistent base rate rises. This is currently acting as a deterrent for domestic buyers and meaning less competition for UK expat and foreign national buyers. This means that properties are staying on the market longer and prices are coming down faster. There is also a more competitive rental market since fewer people are graduating to home ownership. This means UK expat and foreign national buy-to-let mortgage holders are seeing higher profits as competition in the rental market pushes up prices.’

Sky High Confidence Indicating a Profitable Marketplace.
In Shawbrook’s Changing Face of Buy-to-Let Report, it was revealed that 67% of landlords are confident about buy-to-let in 2022. It also showed that 34% of landlords are planning another buy-to-let property purchase in 2022. This is another indicator that expat buy-to-let is thriving despite the recent rate rises. This is largely due to rising rents contributing to greater profits, slightly dampened house prices in the UK and enticing yields. There is also an increased desire or necessity for those in the rental market to continue renting, with the survey showing that only half of renters expect to leave the rental sector in the next fifteen years, while 13% of renters are committed to long-term renting.

The increasing number of people in the rental market is also shown in a recent report by Zoopla which noted that the number of people looking for rental properties this year is 76% higher than the average number for the same time between 2018 and 2021 . Aside from the difficult market conditions, this could also be partly due to the number of young people leaving their parents’ homes and returning to the city centre post-pandemic.

As noted above, the difficult domestic conditions are creating a fertile investment landscape for those using UK expat and foreign national mortgage products. Consequently, buyer confidence is high among UK expats and foreign nationals. ‘This is likely to increase as forced sales start to bite in the marketplace too’ says Stuart Marshall. ‘Smaller salaried homeowners with larger mortgages are in a precarious position with the interest rate rises and are facing the real possibility of negative equity amidst falling house prices. Forced sales are inevitable with the way the market is currently poised. This will only lead to a higher number of properties available in a slower marketplace, meaning that investors will be able to utilise UK expat and foreign national mortgage products to secure a fantastic investment property at a reduced price.’

Another thing to note from Shawbrook’s report is that 29% of brokers said that three quarters of the portfolio investors they were dealing with were considering opening limited companies for their buy-to-let ventures. ‘This is continuing a trend that has emerged in recent years’ says Stuart Marshall. ‘With an increasing number of legislative changes for landlords, there are many good incentives for UK expats and foreign nationals to incorporate their investment properties in limited companies. A good broker will be able to help with this.’

Green Buy-to-Let Mortgages at a Record High.
In the ongoing race to get rental properties to an EPC rating of a C or higher, 17% of landlords have already attempted to improve the energy efficiency of their property, while 22% of portfolio investors have begun green renovations. The most popular renovations were new windows and new boilers, with 23% and 22% of those improving their property’s energy efficiency conducting these renovations respectively.

Stephanie Charman, head of strategic relationships at Sesame Bankhall Group, estimates that the cost of improving the EPC rating of a property will range between £5,900 and £10,400. ‘This is obviously a significant cost to landlords’ says Stuart Marshall. ‘However, discerning investors are talking to expert brokers and finding ways to minimise the cost of these renovations. One such way is to remortgage – which has proven very popular amongst the UK expat and foreign national investor population – and use some equity from the property to finance green renovations, especially with the chancellor’s new discount to green technology.

This is also a good strategy to take as the number of green mortgage products continues to grow, with 19% of all buy-to-let products now green mortgage products . These products offer discounted rates to UK expat and foreign national investors who commit to green renovations or purchase environmentally friendly properties. This can be an incredibly fruitful strategy in the current marketplace as both environmentally-conscious and cost-conscious consumers are looking to rent properties with higher EPC ratings.’

Source: MENAFN

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Overseas buyers’ interest in UK housing market rising

‘Visa’ was the most searched term by brokers in April, shows data provided by Legal & General’s SmartrCriteria tool.

This is the second month in a row that Visa has topped this chart, with search volumes falling by only 4% on a monthly basis.

Visa was also the most searched term overall in 2021 and in 2020, according to Legal & General in a report released in January this year.

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The firm also notes a “surge” in searches for self-employed borrowers, with searches using average or the latest years’ accounts shooting up by 64% on a monthly basis, while searches using account evidence or multiple years’ worth of accounts overtook this, going up by 80%.

Meanwhile, searches for self-employed sole-traders increased by 43%.

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Searches that incorporate environmental criteria also rose, by 24%, although this was “from a low base”, Legal & General says.

Legal & General Mortgage Club director Kevin Roberts says: “Today’s findings are another reminder of the resilience of the UK property market.

“Despite wider economic pressure, demand so far has remained steady, and in some areas of the market is even rising.”

By Gary Adams

Source: Mortgage Strategy

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London house price growth to hit 8% in 2022

London’s millionaire mansions are set for ‘a long overdue recovery’ in house price growth, agents have predicted.

A report by real estate advisory company, London Central Portfolio, has indicated the prime central London residential market has continued to witness positive signs over the past three months.

This is despite the uncertainties caused by the Omicron variant and some overseas property investors not yet travelling to London.

The data, provided by Bricks & Logic, suggested that average prices in the area have increased by 1.7 per cent. The February 2022 prices have now surpassed levels seen before the pandemic by 0.6 per cent.

Residential property in PCL yields have also spiked, the report said.

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The average annual rental return for a flat in PCL was 3.4 per cent in February 2022. However, one must take into account that PCL has a significantly higher proportion of flats (87.5 per cent) than houses (12.5 per cent), which has driven the overall average.

According to Foxtons, the average flat price in central London is £1,091,708, while the average house price is £3,253,175.

Andrew Weir, chief executive of London Central Portfolio, said the current climate pointed “towards the investment opportunities within the flats sector.

“We have seen evidence of buyers seeking to acquire small apartments within prime addresses, as many professionals return to the capital.

“The gradual lifting of international travel restrictions and the full return of overseas investors will almost certainly see the performance gap between houses and apartments draw closer together once again.”

PCL is forecast to see particularly strong activity over the next 24 months based on an anticipated return in travel from the world’s high-net worth individuals and a severe undersupply of homes for sale and rent.

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Tom Bill, head of residential research for Knight Frank, told FTAdviser: “The return of international buyers has been erratic, it can be a bit more seasonal, so you might find more international buyers returning in April or May time…the story of prime central London this year is a long overdue recovery.”

Two separate reports, published by Savills and Jones Lang LaSalle, also predicted similar increases of 8 per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively.

The greater London market, which excludes the prime properties in central London, has outperformed the central areas of the capital over the past 24 months, with prices increasing by 9.4 per cent since February 2020.

Bill added there has been an increase in people looking for space in greenery, “so house prices in Dulwich or Wimbledon are performing more strongly than Knightsbridge, Chelsea or Bayswater”, he said.

However Bill explained: “London has an affordability problem… You have the race-to-space being layered onto that during the pandemic. This will start to recede, but that affordability squeeze is still going to keep driving people out of London.”

When talking about the general scope of house prices in the future, Bill mentioned: “I would expect the regions as a whole to outperform London, in terms of house price growth over the next five years.

He also predicted: “The Midlands is going to do well in terms of house price growth, and generally speaking you’re going to have a broad ‘levelling up’ of house prices over the next five to 10 years.”

By Calum Kapoor

Source: FT Adviser