Investment News

London Beats New York Among Foreign Investors in Real Estate

by International Commercial Investment on January 8, 2018

Source: Bloomberg

New York City took a double hit in an annual survey of real estate investors, which saw London overtake it in first place globally and Los Angeles tie it for top U.S. city.

The annual survey of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate asks its members, who are estimated to have more than $2 trillion in real estate assets under management, to rank markets by various measures, such as stability and opportunity for capital appreciation. This year’s poll, the 26th, also saw pricey San Francisco, which had been one of the top five global cities since 2011, fall to 11th place, and Washington, D.C., skid to 25th from 15th place last year, part of a long slide.

Foreign investors are less worried about the impact of Britain’s exit from the European Union than they were a year ago, association Chairman Edward M. Casal said in a statement, referring to London’s jump from third to first place — although Britain did fall from third to fifth among countries offering the best opportunity for appreciation.

The U.S. was first for planned real estate investment in 2018, followed by the U.K., Germany, Canada and France. And New York is no slouch, as the chart shows.

New York’s tie with Los Angeles was a surprise, association Chief Executive Officer Jim Fetgatter said. It was L.A.’s first time in the top spot for U.S. cities, while New York had been named the top U.S. city for the last seven years. Los Angeles can thank its mighty port for the honor.

“With the growth of online shopping, foreign investors continue to rank industrial/logistics properties as their No. 1 investment opportunity,” Fetgatter said in the statement.

In an interview, he said that the recent U.S. tax overhaul is “not necessarily a boon” to real estate, preserving much of the status quo for the industry, but is generally a positive development. Investors will benefit from the far lower corporate tax rate, which will create jobs and increase income, he predicted.

The survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of last year by the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, at the Wisconsin School of Business.

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International Commercial InvestmentLondon Beats New York Among Foreign Investors in Real Estate

Value of UK’s housing stock soars past £6tn

by International Commercial Investment on November 28, 2017

Source: The Guardian

The total value of all the houses in the UK has passed the £6tn mark for the first time, according to research by Halifax which also highlights the vast concentration of property wealth in London and the south-east.

The value of homes in London is now more than all the houses in Scotland, Wales and the north of England combined. The research also reveals how property values in the south have escalated since the financial crash of 2007-08, despite incomes remaining relatively flat.

In 2007 Halifax estimated that the UK’s housing stock was worth a total of £4,077bn, but over the past 10 years the figure has risen to £6,015bn.

To put the £6tn figure into context, it is nearly four times the size of the UK’s national debt, which is currently just over £1.8tn, and three times our total national output in 2016 (around £2tn). But even if every house in Britain was sold, the money raised would pay off less than half of the US’s national debt.

The big rises in the value of the UK’s housing stock have mostly taken place in the south. In 2007, the value of housing in the north-east was estimated at £114bn, but today it stands at £136bn – an increase of £22bn.

But in London, houses have jumped in value from £718bn in 2007 to £1,338bn today, a gain of £620bn. Over the same period the value of properties in Northern Ireland actually fell.

In total, 68% of private property wealth, amounting to £3.8tn, is concentrated in the south, up from 62% in 2007.

The stock of privately owned homes in Britain also increased in number from 21.5m to 23.4m.

Among the biggest gainers of property wealth in the south have been landlords and second home owners. Halifax said that while the average rate of owner-occupation in the UK was 63%, it stands at just 48% in London.

The vast majority of housing wealth is owned by the over-55s. Halifax estimated that under 35-year-olds own just 3.3% of the UK’s net property wealth, while the over-55s hold 63.3%.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said: “The value of housing stock has grown by close to £2tn in the past decade, and with the equity rich regions of London and the south-east largely responsible, it highlights a considerable regional imbalance in the distribution of housing wealth.

“Within the capital there is also a mix of fortunes. While more than a fifth of total property wealth is in London, lower levels of owner-occupation reflect a major barrier to the property ladder with a far greater number of people renting where house prices are at their highest.”

The property market has bestowed much higher levels of housing equity – the difference between the value of a home and the outstanding mortgage – on people living in the south. Halifax estimated that the average homeowner in London has net equity worth £360,193, compared to £134,273 in the north-west of England.

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International Commercial InvestmentValue of UK’s housing stock soars past £6tn

Business investment in the UK went up in the second quarter

by International Commercial Investment on October 4, 2017

Source: CITY A.M.

Business investment in the UK increased between April and June this year, the latest Office for National Statistics data shows.

Compared to the same period last year, business investment rose 2.5 per cent to £45.6bn, meaning firms bought more non-financial assets like machinery and property than they did last year.

It also edged up on the previous quarter, increasing 0.5 per cent.

This contributed to overall year-on-year growth of 2.4 per cent in the UK’s gross fixed capital formation (GFCF).

On a quarter by quarter basis, GFCF rose 0.6 per cent, with general government investment up 6.1 per cent.

More investment was put into ICT equipment and other machinery and equipment during the period, marking a jump of 8.1 per cent to £13.9bn.

But less investment in transport and buildings dragged the average growth down, while intellectual property products remained flat.

GFCF is now 6.1 per cent above pre-crash levels, and 35.7 per cent above levels seen at the financial crisis.

But business investment annual growth has been slowing since 2014. In 2016 investment actually shrank 0.4 per cent, marking the weakest growth since 2009, though this is a revised figure. Previously published estimates put decline at 1.5 per cent between 2015 and 2016.

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International Commercial InvestmentBusiness investment in the UK went up in the second quarter

Spiralling rents mean Britain’s private landlords earn £54 billion a year

by International Commercial Investment on October 4, 2017

Source: Business Insider

Growing rents and a sharp rise in the number of people renting homes means private landlords are earning ever-increasing sums from renters, and deepening a financial division between those who own a home and those who don’t.

Estate agents Savills said landlords earned £54 billion in the year to June, according to a Times report — twice the total amount of interest homeowners paid on their mortgages, who currently benefit from record-low interest rates.

The private rental figure is up by £14 billion in five years, and represents a 35% increase from a 21% rise in the number of homes, Savills said.

The revenue is driven largely by the vast numbers of millennials who cannot afford to buy a property and are forced to pay increasingly expensive rents.

Around 5.3 million UK households are privately rented, of which those aged between 25 and 34 form the largest group at 1.5 million, according to government figures.

The chronic shortage of UK housing is currently an important political issue. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn last week pledged to introduce rent caps if he becomes prime minister, and Theresa May pledged a further £10 billion for the government’s Help-to-Buy scheme which helps first-time buyers to purchase homes.

Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, told the Times that high rents in London could push graduates away and threaten the city’s competitiveness.

“The risk is that this starts to become a threat to London’s competitiveness to attract young people into the city,” he said.

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International Commercial InvestmentSpiralling rents mean Britain’s private landlords earn £54 billion a year

Commercial property markets back on firm ground after Brexit

by International Commercial Investment on July 3, 2017

Source: The Express

Commercial property is set to continue its recovery one year after the EU referendum result panicked investors who rushed to dump funds targeting the sector.

FTSE 250-listed St Modwen Properties and Great Portland Estates both deliver updates next week amid continuing uncertainty over the impact of Brexit.

Shares in St Modwen, the UK’s largest brownfield property developer, have bounced 45 per cent since its post-referendum dip and Ben Maitland, securities analyst at Beaufort Securities, expects to see healthy growth in net-asset value per share in next Tuesday’s half-year results.

“St Modwen has just sold its stake in the New Covent Garden Market development at Nine Elms Square in Battersea, south-west London, for £190million, which puts it on a sound financial footing,” said Maitland, adding that the land sale significantly reduces the company’s debt and balance sheet risk.

“The outlook for commercial property for industrial, logistics, private rental and student accommodation is good.”

Graham Spooner, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, said St Modwen is a buy as its debt has been reduced and the shares trade at a large discount to net-asset value.

Great Portland Estates will publish a trading update after May’s full-year results showed a pre-tax loss of £140.2million, with analysts forecasting profits of £58.2million in 2018 amid market resilience.

Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst Laith Khalaf said it is now a year since open-ended commercial property funds were forced to suspend withdrawals after investors withdrew billions in a post-Brexit panic: “The sector has regained its poise as economic data has proved more robust than expected.

“Commercial property remains sensitive to a UK slowdown. London property is particularly vulnerable as the capital relies so heavily on financial services, which are considered a flight risk if Brexit talks go badly.”

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International Commercial InvestmentCommercial property markets back on firm ground after Brexit

UK property prices set to rise by over 6% by 2021 fuelled by buy to let surge

by International Commercial Investment on June 1, 2017

Source: Property Wire

Property prices across the UK will rise by 6.1% in the next five years, bringing the average property value to almost £300,000, according to new research.

It is expected that property hotspots will emerge in the North of England with employment opportunities and business start-up rates helping to close the gap on the current property hubs of London and the South.

The research from Barclays Bank also predicts that buy to let investments and high net worth millennial investors are set to lead the way in fuelling the property market going forward and they are likely to look for higher yields outside of London.

Overall, despite an uncertain economic and political climate, the report says that the UK property market remains buoyant with prices set to rise by an average of 6.1% by 2021 with high employment rates and an increase in rates of average earnings contributing to rising property prices across the country.

London is set to see prices rise the most with growth of 11.88% by 2021, followed by the East of England with growth of 9.38%, the South East up by 8.74% and the East Midlands up 6.67%. Scotland and the West Midlands are both projected to see price rise by 5.88%.

The South West is expected to see price growth of 5.31% over the same period, the North East 5.31%, the North West 4.01% and Yorkshire and the Humber up 3.6%. Northern Ireland and Wales are set to see the lowest price growth at 3.04% and 2.88% respectively.

However, while the South of the country is expected to see the largest property price increase over this period, property investors are looking north for good value for money and income stability. Some 38% of high net worth investors looking to purchase property in northern regions think that property prices are going to rise there, with 27% who plan to purchase citing strong rental income as a reason to invest there.

The report points out that the Midlands has the fourth highest expected price increase in the UK at 6.28%, behind London, the East of England and the South East. Warwick in the West Midlands has emerged as one of the top 20 areas of highest growth, with an expected increase of 29.5%, driven by higher than average earning rates and the highest level of business start-up rates in the region.

Scotland has the fifth highest expected price increase at 5.88%. East Renfrewshire makes the top 20 areas of highest growth with an expected increase of 23.8%, with its large proportion of highly qualified residents expected to drive up prices.

The research reveals that younger investors will be a key driver in the growth of the UK property market over the next three to five years. The millennial investors surveyed have 41% of their investment portfolio tied up in property, compared to 23% amongst those aged over 55.

The younger group are also more bullish in their approach to investing in bricks and mortar with 75% intending to increase the percentage of their portfolio in property over the next three to five years, compared to just 10% of over 55s.

The research also shows that millennial investors are also more likely to own more than one property, compared to over 55s, and are reaping the financial rewards of multiple property ownership with 48% of their annual income generated from rent. Those aged 18 to 54 who are planning to buy new property are more likely to take advantage of a buy to let mortgages to fund future property purchases at 23% compared to just 7% of those aged 55 and over.

Despite figures from the Council of Mortgage lenders showing that buy to let lending has slowed, the research suggests that it is on the rise among investors who want to expand their portfolios despite the recent tax changes that affect them.

The report also reveals that higher value investors are seeking to maximise returns through property purchases 65% of those looking to buy doing so for rental income. Some 62% of those with rental properties expect the proportion of the income they receive from rent to increase over the next three to five years, with half predicting it will rise by up to 20%.

‘It’s encouraging to see that property is still viewed as an important part of the investment portfolio with high net worth investors typically owning three properties and over a quarter planning to buy property because they believe that it offers long term investment security,’ said Dena Brumpton, chief executive officer of Wealth and Investments at Barclays.

‘There is also increasing confidence among property investors, as many are taking a long-term view when it comes to putting money into property. It’s also interesting to see from our research how investment prospects are emerging outside of the established property heartland of London and the South of England, with economic growth and employment opportunity fuelling growth in hotspots across the UK,’ she explained.

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International Commercial InvestmentUK property prices set to rise by over 6% by 2021 fuelled by buy to let surge

London house prices to soar by 11.88 per cent by 2021

by International Commercial Investment on June 1, 2017

Source: CITY A.M.

London house prices are set to rise by an overall average of 11.88 per cent by 2021, almost double the national average (6.1 per cent), according to a new research by Barclays wealth and investments.

The study found that Richmond upon Thames will enjoy the largest increase in the UK at 39.1 per cent followed by Camden, Westminster and Wandsworth that are expected to grow at 33.9 per cent, 31.9 per cent and 31.1 per cent respectively.

The average overall price increase in London over the 2017-2021 period is expected to be 2.27 per cent per annum compared to 1.31 per cent in the UK.

Investors from London own an average of four properties while the total value of a property portfolio in the capital is over £2.2m. Also, over three-quarters (79 per cent) of investors in London said they plan to buy new property in the next three to five years.

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International Commercial InvestmentLondon house prices to soar by 11.88 per cent by 2021

UK construction grows as housing market stabilises

by International Commercial Investment on May 4, 2017

Source: The Telegraph

Britain’s builders are getting back to work as housebuilders try to meet demand for new homes and large civil engineering projects get under way, following a modest slowdown at the start of the year.

Last month growth accelerated in the construction sector, encouraging companies to hire more staff to meet the rising demand.

Overall construction output grew at its fastest pace so far this year, according to the purchasing managers’ index from IHS Markit.

The current level of growth is still relatively modest, however – in January 2014 the PMI reached 64.6.

“The housing sector offered up the best news recovering from last month’s minor blip and building on its strongest performance since the end of last year,” said Duncan Brock of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply.

“Employment growth rose to its highest since May 2016, though continued disquiet about the lack of highly skilled labour availability persisted, and must be addressed if the future strength of the sector is to be assured.”

Building firms rely heavily on imported materials, which are becoming more expensive due to the fall in the pound. The price pressures eased a touch in April but remain uncomfortably high.

Those inflation pressures are also limiting households’ spending power, which could hit the market. As a result, the industry may rely on the Government to fund its growth.

“Construction companies will be hoping that recent Government measures aimed at boosting infrastructure and housebuilding (including in last November’s Autumn Statement) have a material beneficial impact,” said Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Markit.

“Measures announced include £2.3bn being earmarked for a new Housing Infrastructure Fund, which will be used to support the infrastructure needed to support the building of up to 100,000 new homes.”

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International Commercial InvestmentUK construction grows as housing market stabilises