Real estate, alternative real assets and other diversions


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What rural Britain needs from Brexit

Against a backdrop of Westminster turmoil, the British economy has proven itself to be more robust than many predicted. But with many expecting a global economic downturn, it’s difficult to quantify the impact the current uncertainty is having on the economy. However, for the 9.3 million people who live in rural Britain, the hard work continues. Farmers are completing their harvests and with No Deal looming are now left to ponder where their future markets are likely to be. Small rural... Read More >

Recent Articles:

After U.S. Flop, Real Estate Brokerage Purplebricks Faces Mounting Headwinds In The U.K.
Tech-driven real estate brokerage Purplebricks released its 2019 results last week. After a failed U.S. expansion, the core U.K. business is still growing and remains profitable, but is facing headwinds in a soft property market. The results Read More >
Residential property management is broken
Proper regulation is needed, while far-reaching leasehold reform must accompany changes to the building safety regime Residential property management is broken and the regulation of managing agents long overdue. Not just from a financial Read More >
Illiberal and economically illiterate – Germany’s new housing policy
With the support of the Atlas Network, CapX is publishing a new series of essays on the theme of Illiberalism in Europe, looking at the different threats to liberal economies and societies across the continent, from populism to Read More >
Rebalancing Britain: Blackpool has had some dark days – but its future could be bright
Earlier this year CapX launched a major new project with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation focusing on how the Government should tackle the longstanding imbalances in the British economy. ‘Rebalancing Britain’ focuses not only on the Read More >
Berlin rent freeze draft likely to be watered down, Vonovia around 15% discount to YE NAV
Whilst many of us were baking in in the sunshine on bank holiday Monday, the Berlin Senate cooked up its freeze for residential rents in Germany’s capital. That rocked the sector on Monday, neutered by a dead cat bounce yesterday, and steady Read More >
Is ‘local housing for local people’ a good strategy?
“So many of the parishes in our district are merrily approving more houses around their village,” an official from Oxfordshire fumed to me last month, “and that’s against Council policy!” I had to pinch myself: living in London, it’s Read More >
Regulation is Coming
Last week saw the long- trailed publication of the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group report, introducing a raft of proposals to regulate sales, letting and leasehold managing agents in what has until now been essentially a collection Read More >
Robert Jenrick – the quiet radical now in charge of housing
Robert Jenrick, the new Secretary of State for Housing, wrote a striking call in 2017 to boost home ownership by building homes on government land and selling them at cost to the under-40s of that area. In the South East, that could mean a 75% Read More >
A bold plan to renew home ownership in Britain
Britain’s housing crisis is uniquely severe. We build houses more slowly than anyone else, we have seen a fastest house price rise than any developed country, and our homes are the most expensive houses compared to the average salary. Quite Read More >
Silver linings in the property market
A ray of hope for the central London property market The prime central London market has been a tough place over the last year, with a continuing decline in both flats and houses. Against the trend of the past four years, flats in 2018 Read More >
Purplebricks isn’t dead – it’s dangerous
Rumours of the agency’s demise are premature. And even if such disruptors fail, the fortunes they are spending on marketing could change customers’ expectations forever. If you believe everything you read in the media, you could be Read More >
Reading the small print on subletting
Plus, is the AirBnB boom coming to an end? I write this camping beneath the canvas cover of a tent – a novel experience for me. I should add, though, the healthy caveat that I am glamping. Essentially, a luxurious form of camping. Camping Read More >
Emoov and Countrywide merge: it could have happened…
Emoov and Countrywide: what a pair, observers might say. They present a tale of two failures - although, in the case of Countrywide, it’s still theoretically possible that victory could be snatched from the actively-snapping jaws of Read More >
Could Purplebricks go bust? Apparently not, says analyst
An analyst on shares website Motley Fool says Purplebricks is not only in surprisingly strong financial health, but is actually outperforming some longer established bricks-and-mortar agencies. The Motley Fool analyst in question, Karl Read More >
Berlin embraces the folly of hard-left housing policies
In Berlin, support is growing for a referendum on mass property expropriation. In a move reminiscent of East Germany’s communist past, the referendum’s supporters aim to seize property from all private landlords who own more than 3,000 Read More >
Should the Bank of England be responsible for controlling house prices?
Labour is said to be considering whether the Bank of England should be mandated to limit house price growth. According to The Guardian, this would be done not via interest rates but via mortgage regulation as overseen by the financial policy Read More >
The ‘New Build’ Premium Conundrum
While homeowners will pay a premium for their new build properties, a lower percentage of tenants will not. But does the data agree? In this month’s Market Mover, Gav delves deeper into the inconsistencies we’ve found in the ‘new build’ Read More >
Shelter and Generation Rent? Radical? Don’t make me laugh…
Campaigning groups like Generation Rent and Shelter like to think they are simultaneously edgy and radical; likewise some think tanks believe themselves to be lofty, worldly and above the fray of day-to-day politics. So why, when it comes to Read More >
The changing fortunes of the prime London housing market
Source: LonRes What does the chart show? It’s easy to fixate on what’s happening now and block out the – even most recent - past.  And this is never truer than when it comes to the housing market. In prime central London Read More >
The Golden Opportunity in Build-To-Rent Demand
Summary:   With the number of BTR developments expected to increase by 180% in the next 6 years, is this a golden opportunity for developers? The REalyst takes a closer look, using the REalyse platform to find potential BTR Read More >
If the point of Help to Buy is to help people buy, there are other and better ways
The housing minister describes being stopped in the street by people wanting to thank him for Help to Buy. ‘Several people have stopped me and thanked me for it, because it gives young people access to homes that otherwise they would not Read More >
Divergence in Leeds: Why Are House Prices Behind the Curve?
Last quarter’s reports showed Leeds lagging behind the upward house price curve, while Birmingham and Manchester prices steamed ahead. In this month’s Market Mover, REalyse’s CEO and Statistical Mastermind, Gavriel Merkado, takes a closer Read More >
Fewer landlords does not mean fewer homes – let’s not design policy as if it does
I keep hearing it said that we should not re-regulate private renting, or if we do then we need to be very careful about it, lest landlords disinvest. This would exacerbate supply issues in places like London, it is claimed. One policy type told Read More >
Rise and Fall: The shift in household growth rates since the 1990s
Daniel Bentley and Alex McCallum, February 2019 Over the past two decades, UK household formation rates have undergone a striking change. After many decades during which the number of households per head of population was rising, since around Read More >
How Big Data Could Prevent Miscalculating Revenue Forecasts in the UK Property Market
Purplebricks, the online estate agent, was in the headlines last week for all the wrong reasons: shares nose-dived by 40%, revenue forecasts came in short of £35m and management resigned. But could this all have been avoided with the help of Read More >
Banning Tenant Fees: The Impact on the Rental Market
Tenants have been made to feel somewhat of an afterthought in the rental process ever since the lettings boom of the early 1980s. The business of the UK residential lettings market starts with landlords, who own the “stock” (i.e. the bricks Read More >
Millennials — different burdens to bear INVESTMENT CONCLUSION
It’s popular to group millennials together as one cohesive group and compare like-for-like. But they are a diverse bunch that share as many differences as they do similarities. Where comparisons are useful is in determining how this generation Read More >
GERMAN REAL ESTATE FUNDS Key structures for institutional investors
Empowered by its economic strength, Germany is one of the most interesting markets for foreign investors, even though its legal system is not based on common law. Having performed a continuous growth within the past ten years, the German Read More >
Property Stereotypes Reflecting on the various types of property professionals
After many years in the property industry I thought it time to reflect on my experiences and the people I have met. The young estate agent: a raging mess of hormones and conflicting  interests. They talk the market up like a puppy but weep at Read More >
Housing – maths versus emotions An analysis of the market from independent researcher, Independent Strategy
INVESTMENT CONCLUSION The UK housing bubble is a myth. Current price declines are principally function of Brexit-related uncertainty. While you’d have to be mad to buy until this fog lifts, this means there is pent-up demand to stabilise the Read More >
Kent: the right track for investors A look at the opportunities available in Ashford and Folkstone
With stamp duty rates crippling the London residential market, many investors have naturally been looking to areas further afield. A lot of articles in the press have focused on regional opportunities as investors seek cheaper areas to expand Read More >
Broken Estate Agency Market There are simply too many agents fishing in a pond that isn’t growing
Who will be the winners in the “broken estate agency” market? We know that the current and foreseeable UK macro property market position lacks stability with Brexit, affordability, supply and demand imbalance, knee jerk and short term Read More >
Trends in UK Commercial Real Estate Investment Non Resident Investors - Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC)
UK real estate transactions being undertaken by GCC investors which we commonly hear about include the acquisition of high end residential property (Chelsea and Knightsbridge) and trophy assets (such as Harrods and the Shard). There is another Read More >
Searchlight Seeking the truth behind the headlines and casting a cynical eye over the market
What the journals are saying Knowledge is power, or so the cliché goes. But knowledge is much more than that, it is influence, it is authority, it is credibility. Property journals are a great source of information, by having the latest Read More >
Why building on the Green Belt will not solve the housing crisis… Allowing developers to continue building outwards can leave derelict wasted spaces to blight our city centres
In August, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) published its latest in a line of reports documenting the continued rise in threat to our Green Belts. Our research shows that the threat to England’s Green Belt land has never been Read More >
A place at the top Table Housing needs a separate and discrete focus at the highest level of government
In my last article, I suggested it was difficult for Housing policy to be considered in any coherent fashion when there had been 16 Housing Ministers in the last 20 years, an average tenure of a little over a year. Within 48 hours of submitting Read More >
Index for Prime Central London Owners, buyers, lenders and commentators need indices to make sense of what is going on in a market
When asked by a journalist why she had a mirror above her bed, Mae West answered, ‘to see how I’m doing.’ The same applies to property indices: owners, buyers, lenders and commentators need indices to make sense of what is going on in a Read More >
PLC Property Indices Buyers like buying into a rising market and a ‘falling market’ is a good reason to sit on your hands
When asked by a journalist why she had a mirror above her bed, Mae West answered, ‘to see how I’m doing.’ The same applies to property indices: owners, buyers, lenders and commentators need indices to make sense of what is going on in a Read More >
Tax on immoveable property in the UK – five key questions on the recent Government announcements Alternative structures (such as REITS) will be on the agenda of many firms
1. What does the draft Finance Bill 2018/19 say about the treatment of UK property held by non-UK residents? From April 2019, gains subsequently arising on any UK property, including commercial and residential property, will be chargeable to Read More >
How to fix the burning injustice that is Britain’s housing market For too long, infrastructure funding in the UK has been the preserve of central government
Affordable housing is one of the key policy challenges of our time. But as with so many other major policy problems, we face a continued lack of imagination that leads many to think that the housing crisis can be solved with more of what worked Read More >
Where is PCL market? Charlie Ellingworth shares his prediction for the commercial and residential sectors
We are now in the longest downturn in the prime London market since the 1988 - 1992 recession. The Savills index showed a decline then of 28% for flats and 16% for houses compared with a fall of 15% for flats and 13% for houses from 2014 until Read More >
Obsessing over empty homes is no way to solve the housing crisis The UK actually has far fewer empty homes than Germany or France
Using the long arm of the law to force-fill empty homes is getting very vogueish. From the far left to the Tory back benches everyone seems to be getting on board with the idea. The Government is legislating to permit greater tax surcharges on Read More >
Leasehold Ownership Leasehold properties are one of the principal forms of property ownership in the UK
Along with knotted hankies, buttered crumpets and queueing, the concept of leasehold is a quaintly English phenomenon. If in any other circumstance I offered you the opportunity to pay £1 million for something which would decline in value until Read More >
Confiscating rogue landlords’ property: illiberal and futile The specific proposal is that local authorities should have the power to confiscate properties from those landlords.
A Commons Committee has – quite seriously – argued that an Englishman’s home should no longer be his castle. You could also describe their proposal as a return of the Star Chamber – where doing something the powers that be didn’t like Read More >
Britain’s housing crisis just isn’t that complicated Homes cost more than they need to. Why not do something about it?
How can we end the housing crisis? Would a better planning system ensure more well-designed homes with local support where they are most wanted, over time making homes more affordable than they would otherwise be? Of course it would. When it Read More >
The power of emotion Why satisfying the sub-conscious is one of the most important considerations with any development
Looking at the current market there are two key challenges - the first is high Stamp Duty and the second is Brexit. This is important to make clear because I believe that these movements have caused the mentality of the buyer to shift. Read More >
Students graduating The UK’s strongest performing property sector Why investors should pay attention to purpose-built student accommodation
Purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) differs from the student accommodation many of us remember. Today’s students are shunning the traditional house shares and out-of-date halls of residence as they’re perceived to be below par, with Read More >
London Eye London’s property market in 2018 Camilla Dell of Black Brick looks at the trends projected for prime London property in 2018
Last year was interesting in London’s property market, to say the least. It was challenging, with flat or falling prices in many market segments, limited stock, and high transaction costs, dampening activity and making it a true buyer’s Read More >
High rise buildings with balconies Are service charges a curse or a blessing? A commonly overlooked part of residential maintenance - and why investors should pay attention
Someone far more erudite than me once described service charges as being like batteries – no-one likes paying for them, but when you don’t, things cease to function quite quickly. A common source of angst between landlord and leaseholder, Read More >
The outlook for the UK property markets in 2018 Charlie Ellingworth shares his predictions for the commercial and residential sectors
Though Donald Rumsfeld was much mocked for his ‘known unknowns’ speech, he was right. It’s the ‘unknown unknowns’ that get you when you try to predict the future because, of course, they are unknown. The only thing you can do is look at Read More >
A house roof with two dormer windows and the sun shining between them What’s in the residential investment crystal ball? Three tips for success when choosing a long-term residential property investment
The approach of a new year is always the time when people start to gaze into their crystal balls, highlighting future trends for the year ahead. I have decided to cast the net a considerable bit further and see what trends we should look out for Read More >
London street with phone box and bright lights Should investors be cautious about prime central London property? The present state of the prime London property market - and what challenges it may face
Prime central London property has long been seen as an asset class in its own right, rather than simply a costlier version of UK real estate in general. It responds to a separate set of economic and financial developments, services a distinct Read More >
Close up of person signing a contract How to make the most of your leasehold property Blake Morgan's specialist in leasehold enfranchisement explains the complexities of the Section 42 Notice
When it comes to selling a property, everyone wants to make the most of what they own, whether it is by giving it a fresh lick of paint or sprucing up the garden. However, for residential tenants of long leases, there may be one further step they Read More >
On forecasting and market insight Savills' Director of Residential Research explains what the team are considering currently
Just over ten and a half years ago I was working as a land agent specialising complex tax valuations, when I received a call from one of Savills’ head honchos asking me if I would like to go to his house on a Sunday morning for a cup of coffee Read More >
Digital map showing key features of a neighbourhood Five golden rules for investing in a successful buy-to-let purchase Residential investment specialist Ben Keating shares his top tips
Further to last month’s article I am following this with specific local factors to look out for when investing in residential property. Once you’ve done your homework on the precise area you are targeting and the amount you can invest, Read More >
Skeleton key hanging on wooden door Be careful what you wish for: the unintended consequences of political intervention in the ground rent market Paul Winstanley explains the dilemma the government is currently facing
I, like most people, detest seeing people get ripped off, especially so in the residential property industry. While I am proud to be part of an industry who, through organisations such as the BPF and ULI, genuinely wants to raise standards, Read More >
A typical Victorian residential building in London Developers should consider style as well as substance How can developers appeal to buyers who don’t want just another new build?
Should you buy new or used? A mattress – always new. Appliances – new if you can afford it. Furniture – new unless it is a nice antique piece. A home? Who wouldn’t want the brand new, well-proportioned, well-insulated two-bedroom Read More >
Houses by the sea seen from above Location, gentrification, population The key factors you need to consider when buying a property to let
As I touched upon in my last article, long term out-performance is the principal aim for a residential investor in our era of lower returns. Residential investment is a completely different mindset from choosing your own home to live in. It is Read More >
Close-up of stacks of pennies Which property makes the best investment? Ben Keating explores good decision-making now the 'easy money' days of residential investment are over
In my next few articles, my aim is to guide readers through typical investment decisions and options, hopefully shedding some light on interesting angles and ways to increase your returns. The buy-to-let market is currently a difficult place. Read More >
Creative designers listening to a presentation in bright creative office Build to Rent: right time, right product? Our resident(ial) investor Ben Keating looks at a new trend in property investment
Ben is a highly regarded residential property investment and development expert. He has a reputation for creating superior investment returns with a considered approach, borne out by the success of his own property portfolio. In this column he Read More >

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