Ricky Sachar 1966 – 2021

It is with sad hearts that we at MCR Property Group say goodbye to our dear friend and colleague, Ricky Sachar.

“Ricky, you will be missed by all of us, thank you for your hard

work in helping the company grow, and we will never forget the laughs and good times we shared”

All MCR Property Groups thoughts and condolences are with

Ricky’s friends and family during this sad time.

Ricky’s friends, family and MCR Property Group would politely request for no floral tributes in line with COVID 19 guidelines.

For anyone that would like to show their support, a donation to The Christie NHS Foundation Trust – just giving page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mcr-property-group3 would be gratefully received.

COVID-19 Statement

Ensuring the health and safety of our employees and customers remains our absolute priority as we market properties for lettings and sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MCR Homes team will assist with their usual expertise, enthusiasm and commitment to providing the best possible customer care.

During these uncharted times, ahead of any meetings, viewings, or other face-to-face interactions, you will be asked four questions to assess any risk involved in your meeting with our employees.

The questions that will be asked ahead of any meeting are:

  1. Are you or any member of your household displaying either of the symptoms associated with COVID-19, namely a high temperature or new, persistent cough?
  2. Have you or any member of your household returned from a foreign country within the past 14 days?
  3. Have you or any member of your household come into direct contact with anyone showing either of the symptoms associated with COVID-19, a high temperature or new, persistent cough?
  4. Have you or any member of your household been self-isolating within the last 8 weeks in accordance with Government guidelines?

If you answer No to all 4 of these questions, your risk will be recorded as low. If you answer No to questions 1-3 but Yes to question 4, if the self-isolation was more than 4 weeks ago, your risk will be recorded as medium. If the isolation was less than 4 weeks ago, or you answer Yes to any of the other questions, your risk will be deemed as high.

We are only able to meet face-to-face and arrange viewings on properties with people who we assess as low risk and we will follow the strictest social distancing guidelines as set out by the Government’s Ministry of Housing.

If we assess you as medium or high risk, we will discuss alternatives and employ technology such as video conferencing to conduct the meeting or show you around a property, where we will be your eyes through the use of a smartphone or tablet.

Points of reference for viewing properties for sale or to let:

  1. Viewings are strictly scheduled and controlled; we will not carry out any ‘open house’ or ‘block’ viewings.
  2. Viewings will be restricted to two people only and we request that all follow the strictest social distancing guidelines as set out by the Government’s Ministry of Housing.
  3. There will be no person to person contact (e.g. handshaking) and viewers are encouraged to wear face coverings prior to arriving for a viewing.
  4. Gloves will be worn on viewings and hand gel will be available at appointments.
  5. Viewing appointments are to be kept as short as possible – preferably no longer than 10 minutes, with a cut-off at 20 minutes.
  6. We must allow a minimum of 20 minutes between the end of an appointment and the commencement of the next.

We strongly encourage buyers to view properties virtually in the first instance whenever possible, and only physically visit properties which they have a strong interest in.

Renters may get access to rogue landlord database

A database of rogue landlords would be opened up to prospective tenants under government plans.

The Rogue Landlords Database was launched in 2018 and only has ten names on it so far.

It includes those who have been banned for failing to make a property habitable, or have been convicted of serious offences.

At the moment the list is only open to local authorities but under a package of rent reforms it will be opened up.

The proposals apply to England as housing policy has been devolved.

“This database has the potential to ensure that poor quality homes across the country are improved and the worst landlords are banned, and it is right that we unlock this crucial information for new and prospective tenants,” said Communities Secretary James Brokenshire.

“Landlords should be in no doubt that they must provide decent homes or face the consequences.”

More than four and half million households rent from private landlords in England, a number which has risen dramatically in recent years as buying a house has become more expensive.

“Renters have to provide references from employers and previous landlords before a landlord hands over the keys to a new flat. So it is only fair that renters get the opportunity to check that a prospective landlord doesn’t have a criminal record,” said Dan Wilson Craw, director of Generation Rent, which campaigns on behalf of tenants.

“This plan is another victory for renters, though we need much more effective enforcement to identify all landlords who have been breaking the law,” he added.

The move will be open to a 12-week consultation which will also consider whether to widen the scope of the rogue list to more housing-related offences, such as breaching the Tenant Fees Act.

Access to the Rogue Landlords Database is part of a wider package of reform to the rental sector, which includes an end to no-fault evictions, which allow landlords to get rid of tenants without a reason after their fixed-term tenancy period has ended.

High Wycombe: Up & Coming Property Hotspot

 

High Wycombe: An Up and Coming Property Hotspot

As London house prices remain some of the highest in the world, living close to work is unrealistic for many of the 500,000 professionals located in the centre.

Commuting has provided many people with a viable solution to work in a city where property is just too expensive.

Subsequently, many of the boroughs that surround London are becoming increasingly popular. High Wycombe has become a commuter hotspot due to its proximity to London, outstanding transportation links and local amenities.

High Wycombe to London

On a train, High Wycombe to London takes just over 30 minutes, with trains running every 10 minutes to London Marylebone, making the train station one of the most frequent connecting routes to and from the city.

In 2016 the town was voted Number One UK Commuter Town to London, based on its travel time, frequency, cost and house prices.

The short time between High Wycombe to London and the much lower house prices, presents a rare opportunity to live close to London without paying the price tag.

Property in High Wycombe

Property in High Wycombe has represented year on year growth. 2018 has already seen an average £25,000 increase from last year, with demand currently outweighing supply.

The town has seen relatively little expansion over the recent years due to the Councils budget limitations, meaning private investment has remained the main development source of property in High Wycombe. The need for multi-tenure modern property in the area has remained seemingly under-met.

Earlier this year, MCR Homes recognised this growing demand, that if met, will strengthen the local economy and provide people working in the city with a better quality of life. Next year, we will bring  228 mixed-tenure apartments to the area.

 

Wycombe Schools

Wycombe is home to several prestigious and highly credited schools. Wycombe Abbeyis an independent all-girls school that consistently ranks within the top positions of GCSE and A – Level results in the UK. Last year, 84% of A – Level results were A* -A, one of the highest percentages in the UK.

Another shining example amongst the Wycombe schools is Sir Williams Borlase’s Grammar School. Borlase provides a wide range of opportunities for its pupils and prides itself on educating each student on an individual basis.

The highly regarded selection of Wycombe schools makes the area a great place to raise children or relocate a family.

High Wycombe Market

The High Wycombe Market is an open-air street market that dates back to around 1476. High Wycombe Market has become the hub of the community with a thriving selection of venders and produce.

Some of the produce on offer includes: Caribbean fruit and veg, martial arts paraphernalia, carpets and even exotic fashion.

Wycombe Market is easily found in the town centre and runs every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.

Elfin Square welcomes Kevin Stewart MSP

MCR Property Group played host to the Scottish Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, Kevin Stewart MSP, on Monday 15 April at its mixed-use Edinburgh development, Elfin Square.

Mr Stewart was shown around the affordable housing scheme by MCR Property Group chief executive officer, Aneel Mussarat, and asset manager, Nick Lake, as part of a wider progress report on a government-backed project to tackle the shortage of mid-market rental homes across Scotland.

The former office block, known as Chesser House, two miles west of the city centre, is a mixed use residential and commercial development offering 40 prime apartments, as well as ground-floor retail and office space.

The second block – known as Embankment West – has been transformed by MCR Property Group into 123 one, two and three-bedroom homes for private sale, available to purchase using Help to Buy.

All 40 units were recently purchased by LAR Housing Trust to meet its target of providing high quality, affordable homes for rent in key locations across Scotland. LAR Housing Trust will retain the name of this part of the development, as Chesser House.

Mr Stewart was in the area visiting LAR Housing Trust’s Westwood House development, another high value commercial-to-residential conversion, situated next to Elfin Square.

Nick Lake, asset manager at MCR Property Group, said: “It was a pleasure to greet Kevin Stewart MSP and showcase how our partnership with LAR Housing Trust is helping to bring vital, new rental accommodation to Edinburgh.

“We had a lively discussion on how the government and private sector can better collaborate to address the housing shortage the country faces and, with a number of high profile developments nationwide, welcomed the minister’s proactive stance on the matter.”

Elfin Square is expected to welcome its first tenants in June 2019.

MCR Homes sets out 2019 expansion plans

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Unprecedented two-year growth with a deliverable pipeline of £2.9 billion GDV

MCR Homes, the sales arm of MCR Property Group, has unveiled its ambitious growth strategy for 2019 following a successful second year in business.

Since its inception in January 2017, the company has seen unprecedented growth delivering sales across schemes nationwide.

Driven by MCR Property Group’s strategic land acquisitions, which total £2.9 billion GDV, MCR Homes has more 14,000 homes in its immediate pipeline for 2019.

The company’s developments are located throughout the UK and will be targeted primarily for first-time buyers and end users, with Help to Buy available.

Several high-profile schemes are set to be launched by MCR Homes in 2019, including:

  • The company’s £275million landmark New Monaco development in Birmingham, which will see the delivery of 1,009 new homes on a seven-acre site in the city centre
  • A £65million, three-phase development, The Old Works in High Wycombe, bringing 275 new homes to the commuter town
  • The £60million redevelopment of Manchester’s Hotspur Press, including the sympathetic restoration of the original buildings, the construction of 171 apartments in a 28-storey mixed-use tower and a new public realm
  • Trafford Plaza, a £40million 174-unit residential scheme that will see the creation of one of Trafford’s first high-rise residential towers

MCR Homes also operates within the Build to Rent and Private Rented Sector markets under its soon to be launched property management division, Regency Living, which taps into the UK-wide demand for high quality, managed rental accommodation.

There are more than 270 units across a number of developments already lined up to benefit from the additional services offered by Regency Living.

To bolster its growth, the company recently appointed Christopher Pullan and Matthew Walsh as co-heads of marketing.

There will be a significant recruitment push at MCR Homes in 2019, with plans to add up to 70 new sales and marketing positions at its Manchester headquarters and in London.

Chris Taylor, managing director of MCR Homes, said: “In just two years, we have established our position as a leading player in the UK property market, achieving these truly impressive sales figures in the process.

“Our emphasis for 2019 is to build on the strong foundations laid by our talented team, while generating increased sales and attracting greater levels of national and overseas investment.

“Despite the spectre of Brexit, the UK remains a prime property hotspot, attracting major overseas investment. Our development pipeline in London and key locations nationwide, including Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh, presents unrivalled opportunities for investors on a global stage.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

2018 Budget – How will the property market be affected

The 2018 Budget will be announced and made public at 3:30pm today. There has been a fair amount of controversy over what the 2018 Budget may mean for First Time Buyers, Overseas Investors and Landlords. In this article we will make our own predictions on what ramifications the 2018 Budget may have on the British property market, based on industry insights and past projects.

Stamp Duty

In a conference in Birmingham discussing the current housing crisis, Theresa May announced that the 2018 Budget will introduce an increase in stamp duty for individuals and companies not paying tax in the UK. Theresa May stated that this is a result of overseas investors and foreign buyers and landlords ‘taking advantage of Britain’s housing market”. Stamp duty for domestic buyers or individuals paying tax will remain relatively high. However, first time buyers will not be required to pay a stamp duty on properties worth less than £300,000.

Overseas Investors

When discussing the 2018 Budget earlier this year, Theresa May stated: “overseas investors will have to pay a new levy” in the form of an increased stamp duty. Neither Theresa May or the Chancellor have announced exactly how much the proposed new stamp duty will be. A key issue that Theresa May discussed revolved around overseas investors exploiting the buoyant British property market to accumulate profit. This has resulted in many properties being left vacant, simply sitting there to make a profit. However, what this statute of the 2018 Budget fails to account for is the positive impact overseas investors have on Britain’s property market.

Many of the projects we lead involve overseas investors and provide a range of different properties to buyers and renters across the UK. Last year we brought over 152 properties to South Manchester. The property was co-developed with domestic and overseas investors and developers. The whole project was a success and provided a sought-after area of Manchester with a range of contemporary competitively priced apartments and larger deluxe townhouses. Increasing the stamp duty tax on every overseas investor could result in a domestic slump in new developments.

First Time Buyers

The 2018 Budget appears to maintain the positive level of support the Government has provided first time buyers over the last year. According to recent research conducted by THISISMONEY.co.uk, first time buyers have saved on average around £2,337 each over the last year. Chancellor Phillip Hammond introduced a tax relief in last year’s Budget and has provided first time buyers with a greater opportunity to get their foot onto the property ladder. However, the ladder is still by no means an obstacle easily overcome. Many first time buyers are still faced with the almost impossible task of saving up for a deposit.

Help to Buy

The Help to Buy scheme is a Government incentive aimed at making buying a property easier for young/first time buyers. The Help to Buy scheme is essentially a loan/ISA provided by the Government as a contribution towards the deposit. Help to Buy ISAs are typically available on new build homes although there may be exceptions to this. The process works like this: if the property is eligible, the Government will lend buyers up to 20% of the total cost of the property. The buyers will only be required to provide 5% of the deposit and can pay the HTB loan off interest free for up to 5 years.

As one of largest and diverse property developers in the UK, MCR Property Group, along with its sales and consultancy arm, MCR Homes, has seen the outstanding benefits the HTB scheme has provided buyers with. MCR Homes and MCR Property Group are currently leading a project in the fashionable Ancoats area of Manchester. The project is aimed at providing young professionals/families with luxury apartments in a vibrant, practical location to Manchester. The Help to Buy scheme will make the prospect of living in contemporary, fully fitted apartments in a central location more realistic and attainable for many first time and younger buyers.

Tax Relief

Despite the rising costs for property in the UK, Government incentives, mainly in the form of tax relief, for investors and landlords has been inconsistent. Changes in the investor/landlord property tax system have unsurprisingly placed concern in the minds of investors and landlords. The current buy to let mortgage tax relief that provided landlords with a significant deduction in their tax bill is changing, the way in which landlords declare their rental home income is set to be completely reformed by 2020 and the 2018 Budget could bring this closer. Landlords only pay tax on the net value of their rental homes, with the current tax relief they do not have to declare any profits made. The 2018 Budget could see this tax relief change and landlords will be required to pay tax on their profits as well as net worth.

Capital Gains Tax

Currently, investors/landlords are required to pay a capital gains tax when they are selling any property. Capital gains tax is the highest taxation on any commercial asset. With current system, basic-rate tax payers are required to pay 18% and higher-rate tax payers are required to pay 28% of the value of the sale of a property. According to The Telegraph, the 2018 Budget could result in landlords/investors having to pay an inflated capital gains tax. The Chancellor and Theresa May have both announced that the 2018 Budget will emphasise support for the NHS, financial advisors are anticipating that the extra funds will be sourced from increasing capital gains tax.

Regency Brings Mason Street Residential Apartments to Market

MCR Property Group is looking to convert a Victorian mill in Manchester’s New Cross into luxury apartments after acquiring a site on Mason Street.

The redevelopment of the 19th century, 14,700 sq ft building at 32 Mason Street will be developed under its MCR Homes brand, with Coda as architect.

There will be 13 apartments over five floors, with a mix of one, two, and duplex apartments. The current building is largely vacant and was formerly home to fashionwear shops and manufacturers, and was purchased by MCR on 1 June this year.

Chris Taylor, fund manager of MCR Property Group, said the project would “honour the building’s distinctive red brick mill features” including the building’s original entrance and foyer area, and added the properties would be targeted at “young professionals looking to work and live in the city centre”. MCR described the project as “its first venture in Ancoats”, although the site falls under Manchester City Council’s New Cross development area.

MCR also owns a neighbouring property on Marshall Street which it plans to convert into 14 units.

Other developments nearby include the £17m StayCity aparthotel, designed by SimpsonHaugh, which is being built by contractor Bardsley.

MCR’s development pipeline in the city centre also features the Hotspur Press, which is being brough forward in a joint venture with Blue Dog Property. This features a façade retention of the 56,000 sq ft warehouse with a 28-storey tower built behind, designed by architect Hodder + Partners.

Second Phase of £30million Edinburgh Development Launches

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]MCR Homes, part of the MCR Property Group, is bringing phase two of its £30million mixed-use Edinburgh development to market.

Embankment West, located on Gorgie Street two miles west of Edinburgh city centre, has seen one of the two former Chesser House office blocks transformed into prime residential living.

Phase one launched in April 2018, fully selling out to residential buyers who benefitted from the Help to Buy scheme available on the development.

Launching phase two of the development, which also includes Help to Buy, MCR Homes has now unveiled the upper floors of the scheme, including penthouse apartments.

The development comprises a total of 123 apartments, available as one, two and three-bedroom configurations.

Prices start from £129,950 for a one-bedroom apartment and buy-to-let investors can expect strong rental yields of up to 6%.

The second block, still known as Chesser House, consists of 40 affordable housing units, as well as ground-floor retail and leisure space. When completed the entire scheme will be known as Elfin Square.

Chris Taylor, managing director of MCR Homes, said: “Demand for phase one of Embankment West was exceedingly strong, with 50% of the development already sold. We expect phase two to create a similar level of interest, especially among the first-time buyers looking to take advantage of Help to Buy and enter into Edinburgh’s extremely robust property market.

“Edinburgh’s population exceeds half a million and is growing, but there continues to be a major issue with undersupply of quality homes. Considering the city’s documented potential, developing residential space is absolutely key.

“Embankment West is designed to dramatically enhance the area, providing well-designed and affordable housing that meets the needs of this increasingly popular city. We’re excited to be a part of Edinburgh’s significant growth as it continues to make an impact on a global stage.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

High Wycombe: £65m development brings 228 apartments to town

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A total of 228 new apartments are launching in High Wycombe as property developer MCR Homes prepares to bring to market The Old Works, its £65 million mixed-use development.

The development is set to occupy a circa 2.5-acre site on Leigh Street, which comprises a number of derelict former furniture factories. William Birch warehouse, one of the units, was once home to WM Birch Limited, manufacturers of high-quality arts and craft furniture after they acquired it in 1901.

MCR Homes plans to transform the entire site in multiple phases. The first, named de Havilland Buildings, is inspired by High Wycombe’s rich manufacturing history, in particular noted aircraft designer, Geoffrey de Havilland, and his role in building wooden-frame Mosquito planes for the Second World War.

Phase one will consist of 118 new-build studio, one and two-bedroom high specification apartments for sale. A second and third phase will see the developer build 110 new build homes, including one and two-bedroom apartments with duplexes.

During phase two, a number of properties will be constructed using a retained section of the William Birch warehouse. New office spaces will also be created to meet local business needs.

An 18-month construction programme is expected to commence in August 2018.

Prices will start from £199,000 for a studio apartment, with a Help to Buy application for the scheme currently processing. Suited to first-time buyers and home-movers, the properties will be released for sale in stages.

The Old Works sits one mile from High Wycombe rail station, which provides direct links to London in 23 minutes. In close proximity is Buckinghamshire New University, home to more than 8,000 students.

Chris Taylor, managing director of MCR Homes, said: “High Wycombe is the focus of significant regeneration. Given its excellent links to the capital, the town is attracting major investment, which is resulting in an influx of new residential and commercial developments coming to market.

“The Old Works is a landmark mixed-use development that is aiding the town’s transformation, creating a new community that will offer a new standard of living and working for residents and businesses alike.”

The Old Works adds to MCR Homes’s growing portfolio, which comprises more than 7,000 units in 15 locations throughout the UK.

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Regency plans luxury homes on Alderley Edge nightclub site

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]MCR Homes is aiming to complete a 12-home development in Alderley Edge by autumn this year as the scheme’s detached houses hit the market for at least £1m each.

Regency, part of the MCR Property Group, will build the development through its in-house construction business, and will deliver a mix of detached and semi-detached homes, all of which are single-storey.

Designed by Coda Studios, the development just off the A34 also includes woodlands and a lake over a 4.5 acre site, which formerly housed the 18,000 sq ft Yesterday’s nightclub.

The detached homes are on the market for between £998,000 and £1.2m and prices for the other properties start at £350,000.

Chris Taylor, managing director at MCR Homes, said: “Our expert planning team scrutinised every detail to ensure the creation of a pioneering and beautiful development, while guaranteeing minimal visual impact on the North Cheshire green belt landscape.

“Alderley Edge is one of the most desirable locations in the North West, and this special collection of distinguished homes further demonstrate the wealth and diversity in this sought-after area. We expect demand for the properties to be high.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Property developer hits £50m target in first year of trading

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Property developer and consultancy firm MCR Homes has delivered over £50m worth of projects in its first year.

The firm is part of the MCR Property Group and is already looking to develop 1.5 million square feet of property in the coming 12 months.

Managing director Chris Taylor said: “Our first annual figures are testament to the leading position we’ve quickly established for the business only 12 months since we launched.

“Backed by MCR Property Group, and with a highly experienced team behind us, we’ve been able to identify development opportunities that can deliver high yields for investors nationwide, as well as high spec homes for buyers.”

A total of 290,000 sq. ft. has been developed by MCR Homes since it was founded last year, with 52 per cent sold to residential buyers and 48 per cent to investors.

By the end of 2018, the firm expects to have developed over 1,500,000 sq. ft.

Chris added: “We aim to build on our substantial growth throughout 2018, with targets to increase value to £450m and number of units sold to 2,500.”

MCR Homes has developments across the country including Fifteen the High Street, a contemporary boutique development of 32 apartments in Kings Heath in Birmingham; 12 high specification new homes at Harden Park in Alderley Edge; popular penthouse apartments at Grosvenor House, Norwich; and 99 centrally-located apartments at Queens House in Sheffield.

The company is also expanding its UK reach, with key developments launching in locations such as Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester, Swindon and High Wycombe in 2018.

Further growth is expected in 2019 with an additional 5,000 units to be developed across the UK.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Penthouse plans for superflats in Edinburgh

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Once home to scores of Edinburgh Council departments, Chesser House in Gorgie is now set to become a block of superflats.

Unlike other city developments the original 1970’s tower block opposite Saughton Park, will not be razed but instead converted into homes.

The £30 million residential development has been launched in Edinburgh by MCR Homes, part of the MCR Property Group. Located on Gorgie Road, the Embankment West development will look to convert two former Chesser House office blocks into flats, including affordable housing and retail and leisure space at ground level.

MCR Homes made a decision early in the design stage to retain the existing building with the addition of a glazed rooftop level. Due to the age of the building, EMA Architects said the building will be renovated with new windows, improved air tightness and high performance heating system to meet the latest technical standards requirements. Insulation levels will also be increased to ensure carbon emissions are low.

The design aims to address some of the challenges raised by converting an office building into residential flats.

In the planning application EMA Architects stated: “The existing building has a relatively poor relationship with the street. Separated by a metal fence and parking the building feels detached from the public realm.

“There is an opportunity to repair the urban fabric and streetscape and create a more pleasant pedestrian environment and approach.”

Private and semi private gardens will be accessed off a new courtyard area.

Developers also plan to remove the single storey extension at ground level to improve the natural landscape in front of the flats at the Water of Leith boundary.

Chris Taylor, managing director of MCR Homes said, “Edinburgh’s population exceeds half a million and is growing, but there continues to be a major issue with undersupply of quality homes.

Considering the city’s documented potential, developing residential space is absolutely key. “Embankment West is designed to dramatically enhance the area, providing well-designed and affordable housing that meets the needs of this increasingly popular city. We’re excited to be a part of Edinburgh’s significant growth as it continues to make an impact on a global stage.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

MCR Homes launches luxury penthouse apartments in Norwich

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Property consultancy firm, MCR Homes, part of the MCR Property Group has extended its city-centre Norwich development, Grosvenor House, with 14 luxury penthouse apartments.

The 14 purpose-built properties, offering an average of 932 sq ft for a three-bedroom apartment, form part of a roof extension to the original scheme. The extension takes the residential development on Prince of Wales Road from 65 to 79 units.

Placed on floors five and six, prices start from as low as £259,950 for a two-bed apartment and £304,500 for a three bedroom. As an investment, prospective buyers can expect an annual yield in the region of 6.5%.

Situated on the top two floors of the six-storey development, all penthouse units are fitted to a high-quality specification, including quality Bosch kitchen appliances and laminate flooring as standard. Balconies are available on select apartments, which provide stunning views of Norwich.

Grosvenor House was overhauled in 2017 to create a mixed-occupancy development for those seeking affordable, city-centre living accommodation. In easy reach of Norwich Railway Station, the former commercial block is placed near local amenities, with Riverside Entertainment Complex just a five-minute walk away.

Chris Taylor, managing director of Manchester-based MCR Homes, said: “Norwich is a real hub for growth at the moment, with expanding sectors in research, development and technology. The city’s gross value added (GVA) increased faster than that of London, Manchester and Bristol in the last quarter of 2017.

“There has been great interest in Grosvenor House, with high demand in the area pushing occupancy to over 60% already. It’s great to see young professionals and families settling in this desirable, city-centre location and benefitting from our competitive pricing and payment plans.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

UK Tenants Paid Record £50bn in Rents in 2017

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The amount of rent paid by tenants in the private sector has hit a record high, with landlords generating £51.6bn in rent in 2017, according to new estimates.

New figures released by Countrywide showed that amount is more than twice what was paid 10 years ago, in 2007, an increase that has largely been driven by rising rents and more people renting. A decade earlier, in 2007, the total rent was put at £22.6 billion.

Countrywide’s analysis suggests that for the past 11 years the millennial generation born between 1977 and 1995 have been paying the majority of total rent in Britain.

In 2017 millennials paid 59 per cent of the total rent, or just over £30 billion as oppose to 64 per cent in 2015. More and more millennials are beginning to buy their own home, which accounted for a shrinking proportion of the total rent paid, the report said.

Older renters still make up a significant proportion of tenants, with baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 paying £5.5 billion or around 10 per cent of rent in 2017.

“The rental market grew in 2017. More people joined the rented sector and average rents increased, meaning 2017 saw the highest total rent bill so far,’ said Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide.

“As millennials age, more are becoming homeowners, so the total amount they’re paying in rent has started to drop. But the Generation Rent title still applies. Any fall will be much smaller and slower than seen by previous generations as less become home owners,’ he pointed out.

He also pointed out that for the second month running rental growth in London has outstripped the rest of the country. “Stabilising rents in central London alongside rises everywhere else in the capital has pushed the rate of rental growth to the highest level for 22 months. While the rate of growth outside London remains higher than for most of last year, it has picked up to a lesser extent. Across northern England rent rises are running at half the rate of 2017,” he added.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Number of home movers in the UK hits 10-year high

The number of homeowners moving house is at the highest level in 10 years, according to analysis by Lloyds Bank, despite warnings that the level of transactions has slumped.

Lloyds found that the number of homeowners getting a mortgage for a new home increased by 2%, up from 361,300 in 2016 to an estimated 370,300 last year.

This particular part of the market has been stimulated by continued low mortgage rates and higher demand for homes.

The estimated total number of mortgages last year was also the highest since 2007, at 729,300. This is up 4.1% from 700,800 in 2016, and 18% higher than the low in 2009, but far below the peak 10 years ago at 1.0138m.

Andrew Mason of Lloyds Bank, said: “We’ve seen a slight increase in the number of homemovers following a weak 2016. This could be down to low mortgage rates, rising house prices and high employment levels.

“House price increases will have boosted equity levels for many homeowners, enabling movement along the housing ladder. For the first time, home movers are choosing to pay an average deposit of over £100,000, with Londoners putting down nearly double this.”

“Taking advantage of increased equity levels by putting down a bigger deposit can really make a big difference towards what home movers can afford and can be the difference between a good home and the right home.”

The capital was the only area of the UK where there was a decline in the amount of mortgages secured by homemovers – down 6% last year as the market slowed due to a crunch on affordability and a slump in transactions.

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Number of home movers in the UK hits 10-year high

The number of homeowners moving house is at the highest level in 10 years, according to analysis by Lloyds Bank, despite warnings that the level of transactions has slumped.

Lloyds found that the number of homeowners getting a mortgage for a new home increased by 2%, up from 361,300 in 2016 to an estimated 370,300 last year.

This particular part of the market has been stimulated by continued low mortgage rates and higher demand for homes.

The estimated total number of mortgages last year was also the highest since 2007, at 729,300. This is up 4.1% from 700,800 in 2016, and 18% higher than the low in 2009, but far below the peak 10 years ago at 1.0138m.

Andrew Mason of Lloyds Bank, said: “We’ve seen a slight increase in the number of homemovers following a weak 2016. This could be down to low mortgage rates, rising house prices and high employment levels.

“House price increases will have boosted equity levels for many homeowners, enabling movement along the housing ladder. For the first time, home movers are choosing to pay an average deposit of over £100,000, with Londoners putting down nearly double this.”

“Taking advantage of increased equity levels by putting down a bigger deposit can really make a big difference towards what home movers can afford and can be the difference between a good home and the right home.”

The capital was the only area of the UK where there was a decline in the amount of mortgages secured by homemovers – down 6% last year as the market slowed due to a crunch on affordability and a slump in transactions.

High-rise apartments to be built in Old Trafford

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]OLD Trafford’s first ever new-build high-rise apartment development is to be built this year.

Property developer and consultancy firm, MCR Homes, part of the MCR Property Group will build Trafford Plaza, situated off Seymour Grove.

The building will be 15 storeys set in 1.5 acres of landscaped grounds and comprise of 174 one and two bedroom apartments. The flats will also offer luxury features including floor-to-ceiling glass windows and balconies.

The development will be less than a three-minute walk to Trafford Bar tram stop, providing access to Manchester city centre and Salford Quays. The scheme is surrounded by local shops, food outlets, with Old Trafford Cricket Ground and Manchester United football club in close proximity.

There will also be private car parking with 90 spaces.

Chris Taylor, managing director at MCR Homes, said: “Trafford Plaza is a unique development in the heart of Old Trafford – the building offers fantastic views over the ever-changing Manchester cityscape and the increasingly favoured area of Old Trafford.

“It is no surprise that properties in the area are getting snapped up; year-on-year growth, recent regeneration of the area along with its ideal location just outside the bustling city, combine to offer something for everyone. From shopaholics to football fans, Trafford Plaza is a desirable purchase for those seeking new build properties.

“Access to key transport links give easy access to the popular surrounding suburbs of Chorlton, Didsbury and Salford Quays while the city centre is just a short journey. The apartments are ideal for first-time buyers, families and young professionals, providing plenty of space compared to city centre alternatives.

“With rental yields attaining almost 7.5 per cent year on year, this will be an attractive proposition.”

To enquire about reserving a unit contact MCR Homes on enquiries@mcr-homes.co.uk[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Plans tabled for canalside apartment development

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Manchester-based property company MCR Homes, part of the MCR Property Group, has submitted plans for a 99-apartment development on Bridgewater Canal in Altrincham.

The scheme on Wharf Road, the mixed-height building will vary between three to seven storeys and sit adjacent to the canal, which has undergone a significant transformation in recent years.

An existing brick warehouse on the site bordering the Bridgewater Canal will be demolished to make way for the scheme, which will provide a mix of one, two, and three-bed apartments, alongside six two-bed townhouses.

The development will offer views over the canal and is in walking distance to Altrincham town centre. It will include 104 car parking spaces – 100% provision for prospective residents – and 99 cycle spaces, as well as a 6,000sq ft internal courtyard for residents.

Designed by Leach Rhodes Walker as architect, the professional team also includes Savills as planner and Enzygo as transport planner and ecological consultant.

Chris Taylor, managing director at MCR Homes, said: “Following major investment in the town centre and its flagship market, Altrincham is more sought after than ever. The property market is booming – prospective buyers and renters are attracted to its excellent commutability to Manchester, boosted by the rail and Metrolink networks, fantastic local schools and amenities.”

Christian Gilham, director at Leach Rhodes Walker, said: “This dynamic residence will be a high quality gateway building for those coming to Altrincham via the canal. It is designed to enhance the landscape of the waterway while blending with the style and scale of the existing houses adjacent.”

Rob Haslam, director at Savills, said: “Wharf Road will add an attractive waterside building to the available homes in Altrincham and contribute to the long-term vision of regenerating the Bridgewater Canal, a major part of local industrial and natural heritage.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Leaseholds Banned On New-build Houses in England

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]People buying new-build houses in England will no longer be obliged to enter leasehold agreements, the government has announced.

The plans announced mean anyone buying a flat – or a house – on a lease of longer than 21 years will also not have to pay any ground rent.

Earlier this year, it was announced that the government was seeking to end ‘long-term financial abuse’ by some developers who are selling new-build homes on a leasehold basis.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said that the move is part of action to deliver a fairer, more transparent system for home owners to help fix the broken housing market and build a Britain fit for the future.

The announcement comes at the end of a consultation period in which there was an overwhelming response in favour of Government plans to tackle the unfair practices in the leasehold sector.

While there is an acknowledgement from the Government that where there are shared facilities, such as in the case of apartments, there is a justifiable reason for them to be leasehold; MCR Homes have for a while now, recognised that some developers aggressively ramp up ground rents.   All of our leasehold apartments however, are in line with RPI and therefore only increase in line with inflation.

MCR Homes welcome any new industry legislations ensuring that all of our clients can feel confident when using our residential or investment services.[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”View Our Properties” style=”flat” color=”black” size=”lg” align=”center” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fmcr-homes.co.uk%2Fproperty-investment%2F|||”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

What Does The Future Hold for Chinese Property Investment?

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Overseas investment from China in residential, commercial and industrial property totalled $33bn in 2016, up 53 per cent from a year earlier, according to global real estate group JLL, as Chinese buyers snapped up office buildings, hotels and residential land. (FT, 2017) 

Wealthy Chinese and Far Eastern investors like the stability, democracy and solid land titles that Britain offers, as well as feeling that owning property here carries kudos and offers a prime opportunity to educate their children in the English-speaking world. They are also keen to store some of their riches outside of their homeland.

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Northern Economy Boost

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1511439955793{padding-left: 30px !important;}”]Almost exactly two years since President Xi Jinping visited the North and announced the UK’s first direct flight to China outside of London, research released early in November revealed that the connection is delivering a significant economic reward, or ‘China Dividend’, to the northern economy.

Statistics from economic consultancy Steer Davies Gleeve show that since the Hainan Airlines route between Beijing and Manchester was launched last year, UK export values from the Northern Hub have soared 265 per cent to £200m a month.

In its first year, the airline has carried 90,000 passengers between the two countries. Meanwhile, inquiries from China to Manchester property and investment agents have doubled – with the ‘potential’ to create 850 new jobs in the city region.

Visitor spend as a result of the link has been valued at £140m, double the expected value, and there are now 40 per cent more people in the North now travelling to China than prior to commencement of the route Passenger volumes have come in at 15 per cent higher than predicted and the inward investment pipeline has doubled in 12 months, with international student numbers growing at twice the national rate.

Already worth hundreds of millions of pounds a year to the North, this “China Dividend” is predicted by researchers to grow substantially in the years ahead as the profile of the region increases further in Asia and as civic and business ties between the North and China are strengthened further.

The report, called The China Dividend: One Year On, is being launched as a Ministerial delegation from the UK Government heads to Shanghai to promote trade and investment opportunities in the Northern Powerhouse.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”3341″ img_size=”large” alignment=”right” css=”.vc_custom_1511439149029{padding-top: 90px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”stretch_row_content”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1511438298650{padding-left: 30px !important;}”]

Strict Regulations In Place

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1511440011956{padding-left: 30px !important;}”]The Chinese passion for owning property is so strong that by the end of 2016, rampant demand from Chinese buyers drove a stunning increase in China’s housing prices, with hotspots like Shenzhen and Beijing seeing pricing increases of 23.5% and 25.9% y-o-y. (Juwai, 2017)

However, over 20 city governments in China have imposed stricter restrictions on top of the existing property rulings in a bid to rein in property price growth in their own country and to dampen fears over a weakening yuan currency. However, with the yuan staging a sharp turnaround in recent months and with outflows dwindling, authorities have shown no signs of easing their campaign.

First-time buyers will now have to put down much more to secure a property in China. Minimum required down payments in Beijing have now been raised to 30% from 20%, while buyers looking to acquire a second home face even tougher rules – minimum down payments increased to 60% from 50%, and even higher to 80% from 70% for high-end properties. (Juwai, 2017)

With a narrower range of domestic choices, especially when compared with more attractive overseas market alternatives, as well as the opportunity to invest abroad whether for a new life overseas, educational reasons or retirement, it’s clear that the drivers are in place for a solid increase in demand from Chinese buyers for overseas property. In fact, Juwai.com saw a 6.7% y-o-y increase in overall Chinese buyer enquiries for international property in March 2017.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”3278″ img_size=”large” alignment=”right” css=”.vc_custom_1511438738672{padding-top: 90px !important;background-position: 0 0 !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”stretch_row_content”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1511438309441{padding-left: 30px !important;}”]

The Future

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1511440202244{padding-left: 30px !important;}”]As appealing the UK housing market is to chinese investors, it too comes with it’s own pitfalls and obstacles. Chinese government allows China’s citizens to exchange up to $50,000 worth of Yuan into foreign currencies each year. This means that for chinese buyers seeking to invest in high-end off plan developments; typically commanding a 30-50% deposit in the UK to secure new build property, isn’t an option for many years due to restrictions enforced by the Chinese government. For example the average price of a 2-bedroom apartment in Manchester is around £200,000, with a 50% deposit this would mean it would take a chinese investor over 3 years to exchange currency and transfer money to the UK just to secure the funds for the deposit.

However, MCR Homes is different in that our distinctive investment process requires only a minimum 10% deposit upon exchange. Referring back to the investment example previously mentioned, this means a deposit for a £200,000 property could be secured within one year including enough funds to cover any other costs.

Should an investor be interested in taking a MCR Homes property off the market, all that is required is a £1,000 reservation fee. Once the reservation has been made and the property is taken off the market, the process of exchanging contracts will begin; at which time a 10% deposit is taken for developments with a build period of 12 months and under.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”3280″ img_size=”large” alignment=”right” css=”.vc_custom_1511438760989{padding-top: 90px !important;background-position: 0 0 !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Why Invest in Sheffield?

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Located in the middle of the UK within the South Yorkshire region, Sheffield has plenty on offer. Known as the ‘steel city’, Sheffield has grown to become England’s fourth-largest city. Exceeding a population of 635,000, the city’s ever-increasing inhabitants have pushed house prices up and increased housing demand. As one of the UK’s buy-to-let hotspots, Sheffield has been widely identified amongst property professionals as an area that will experience continued growth and remain a city popular amongst students. So what makes Sheffield the perfect city for property investment?

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”stretch_row_content”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1511449003122{padding-left: 30px !important;}”]

Property Market

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1511448971807{padding-left: 30px !important;}”]Sheffield city centre has potentially the highest rental yield of any British city. The average price of a flat in Sheffield rose by 10% from £118,538 in 2016 to £130,696 in 2017. The growing demand of flats for students and graduates provides a great opportunity for investors. This demand is driven not just by students and graduates, but also those relocating from more expensive areas, like Leeds and Manchester, as well as buy-to-let investors, many of which are targeting Sheffield’s vibrant student accommodation market. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”2709″ img_size=”large” alignment=”right” css=”.vc_custom_1511450139403{padding-top: 50px !important;background-position: 0 0 !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”stretch_row_content”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1511449021131{padding-left: 30px !important;}”]

Northern Powerhouse

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1511448869604{padding-left: 30px !important;}”]As one of Britain’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ cities, Sheffield is a prime position for inward investment. In 2015, the Government agreed to give £30 million a year to the city for the next 30 years, giving it the power to use new funding to boost local growth and invest in manufacturing and innovation. It is projected that this vast amount of investment will influence property prices throughout Sheffield and position the city on an upward curve for years to come.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”2364″ img_size=”large” alignment=”right” css=”.vc_custom_1511450172588{padding-top: 30px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”stretch_row_content”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1511451060517{padding-left: 30px !important;}”]

Economy

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1511451044476{padding-left: 30px !important;}”]Sheffield City Region’s economy has an output of more than £30 billion pounds per year and is home to approximately 52,000 businesses which have created and sustained approximately 700,000 jobs. A recent report released by the Centre for Economic and Business Research found that the city’s economy is set to become £80m larger by the end of 2017. The UK Powerhouse report predicts that the value of goods and services produced in Sheffield will grow by 0.7% during 2017 despite the challenges of Brexit.

In February 2017, McLaren announced a new £50m plant that will create 200 new jobs in the city. The investment, supported by the council, could be expanded in the future is just one of many investments that will boost the local economy. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″ css=”.vc_custom_1511451252390{padding-top: 35px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”2698″ img_size=”large” alignment=”right” css=”.vc_custom_1511520379340{padding-top: 30px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”stretch_row_content”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1511449851581{padding-left: 30px !important;}”]

Connectivity

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1511450400669{padding-left: 30px !important;}”]Sheffield station, a combined railway and tram stop, runs frequent services to London St Pancras. The journey currently takes 2 hours however, this is expected to be reduced to just over an hour when the HS2 construction project is completed. It’s proposed that HS2 will run from London to Birmingham, then on to Manchester and Leeds calling at Sheffield; which would reduce the journey time from London. The journey time to Leeds and Manchester will also be less than half an hour. The station’s annual footfall is over 9 million passengers providing access to destinations up and down the UK. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”3351″ img_size=”large” alignment=”right” css=”.vc_custom_1511450228503{padding-top: 50px !important;background-position: 0 0 !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”stretch_row_content”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1511449064652{padding-left: 30px !important;}”]

Student Population

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1511449862557{padding-left: 30px !important;}”]The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University combined attract over 60,000 students to the city every year, including many from the Far East. The two universities are highly regarded, with The University of Sheffield rising to 21st in The Times University Guide 2018 – a ranking that highlights the University’s strong performance in providing graduates to leading employers.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”1442″ img_size=”large” alignment=”right” css=”.vc_custom_1511450242637{padding-top: 50px !important;background-position: 0 0 !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_btn title=”View Our Sheffield Investments” style=”flat” color=”mulled-wine” size=”lg” align=”center” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fmcr-homes.co.uk%2Finvproperty%2Flocation%2Fsheffield%2Fqueens-house%2F|||”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

House Prices Rise £11,000 in a Year Official Data Shows – Despite Fears of a Market Slowdown

House prices in the UK increased by 5.4% in the year to September 2017, up from 4.8% the previous month to an average of £226,367, the latest official figures show.

The figures from the Land Registry also show that month on month prices increased by 0.4% and are now £11,000 higher than in September 2016 and £1,000 higher than August 2017.

The North West experienced the highest rate of annual house price growth in September, at an average of 7.3%. This was followed by the South West (6.6%) and East Midlands (6.4%). The lowest annual increase was recorded in London, where the average price rose by 2.5% over the 12 months to September, followed by the North East, ay 4.4%.

In Wales the average price increased by 5.3% year on year and by 0.6% month on month to £152,661 while in Scotland prices increased by 3.1% year on year but fell by 1.3% month on month to £144,924.

The Founder and CEO of online estate agent eMoov.co.uk, Russell Quirk, comments on the index: “The market has continued to splutter along, registering yet more marginal positive price growth despite a sustainably lower level of buyer demand. This is certainly promising for those on the ladder and we should see a large degree of stability return, with a heightened level of buyer interest come January.

“It is yet to be seen what, if any, impact the marginal increase in interest rates will have. It is likely that, while many will sit back and see through the Christmas period as a result, there will be no medium to long-term impact on the UK’s appetite to buy property, with the cost of borrowing still very affordable for the masses.”

Last week, data from Halifax showed that property values increased 2.3 per cent between August and October, the fastest three-month pace of growth recorded since January.

Annual house price inflation of 4.5 per cent last month saw a typical British home hit £225,826, another record high, according to the monthly index from one of Britain’s biggest lenders.

Everything you need to know about Help to Buy

The Government’s ‘Help To Buy’ scheme aims to help buyers who have a deposit of at least 5% to buy a new-build home up to the value of £600,000. The Government will lend eligible buyers up to 20% of the value of your new build home via an equity loan – you will then only need to secure a mortgage for 75% of the property’s value.

About Help To Buy

Help To Buy is a Government backed scheme which allows eligible buyers to buy a new-build home with a 5% deposit – therefore only requiring a 75% mortgage with the remaining 20% funded by the Government through an equity loan.

In the past four years the Help to Buy scheme has helped more than 200,000 people buy a newly-built home. The scheme now accounts for one in 12 of all first-time buyers making homeownership more achievable for people up and down the UK. If you’re a first time buyer it can be difficult to raise a large deposit to purchase your first home. With Help to Buy you only need just a 5% deposit to get a mortgage.

How Does It Work

  • The scheme is available on new-build properties under the value of £600,000.
  • The Help To Buy equity loan can be paid back at any time during your time at the property or on the sale of your home.
  • The equity loan is interest free for the first five-years although you may still have to pay interest on your mortgage.
  • Help To Buy is available to all new homebuyers not just first time buyers.
  • You won’t be able to sublet your home.
  • Help To Buy is only available on new-build homes in England.

 

Paying Back The Loan
Once you purchase your home, your home will be in your name, which means you can sell it at any time. You won’t have to pay your equity loan back until you decide to sell your property or at the end of your mortgage period. You can however, pay some of your equity loan back sooner. You are entitled to pay either 10% or 20% of your equity loan back as long as your loan equates to a minimum 10% of the total value of your home.

How long does it take to sell a house in Bristol?

Bristol is the capital of the South West, known as the star performer property market for the second year running. According to recent research by Strutt & Parker, the city is pulling in higher proportions of Londoners that have been falling for Bristol’s lifestyle and charm. When it comes to the property market it’s the city centre locations that have been racing ahead, the diverse local economy is ahead of its counterpart locations such as Cheltenham (6.4% house price growth), Exeter (5.8% house price growth), Bath (4.7% house price growth) and Winchester with a small growth of 1.7% growth over the last year. According to Knight Frank (October, 2017), Bristol is way ahead with 7.4% growth over the last year.

It is little wonder why Bristol has become so popular with home seekers, as Britains fastest-selling property market, homes on average take just 34 days ‘subject to contract’ to sell – making Bristol one of the speediest property markets in the UK. The regional city offers good career opportunities, a contemporary lifestyle and a good standard of living that appeal to those who have been priced out of the capital’s property market.

Strutt & Parker research shows that compared to the UK average of 61 days to sell, 63 in London and 93 in prime central London locations, Bristol in Somerset is headlining the property market. A sizeable proportion of metropolitan middle-class Londoners are leaving the capital for a city that has most of the benefits. Plus, you get more for your money, despite the buoyant market!

Demand For Expat Mortgages Reaching New Levels According To Latest Research

There has been an increasing number of UK buy-to-let enquiries from British expats, according to new research from Liquid Expat Mortgages. These findings reflect the growing demand we’ve been seeing for buy-to-let (BTL) mortgages from overseas investors; due partly to the increasing strength of foreign currency against the pound.

The British property market has long been attractive for foreign investors who are drawn to the UK by a robust legal framework and rising house prices. The UK property market is a benefactor of controlled planning and strict regulations that ensure a degree of legitimacy and stability that cannot be found across many overseas economies.

Outlined in our earlier article this year, as a country with; small landmass, an ever-increasing population, coupled with a housing shortage and an increase in single person households, it is clear that the price of homes will continue to increase in the same vein and provide a return on investment for both foreign and domestic investors.

Liquid Expat Mortgages figures show that enquiries for UK buy-to-let mortgages from overseas investors has increased by 90% from the previous year (2016), despite stricter stress-testing regulations brought in by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in January. Thanks to a weaker pound, the post Brexit UK property market is becoming an increasingly attractive investment opportunity for overseas buyers.

Stuart Marshall, Managing Director of Liquid Expat Mortgages commented: “Over the last decade, very few lenders provided mortgages to expats, but that has changed more recently thanks to the increasing demand from expats looking to invest in UK buy-to-let property.

“Many expats are keen to keep a foothold in the UK and the yields on BTL properties in the UK are far ahead of those offered by other countries. This increased interest in UK BTL mortgages is in spite of increasing initiatives by the UK government to dampen BTL purchases, such as the second home stamp duty and increasing stress testing for buy-to-let mortgages.”

Help to Buy: How Can It Help You?

In the past four years the Help to Buy scheme has helped more than 200,000 people buy a newly-built home. The scheme now accounts for one in 12 of all first-time buyers making homeownership more achievable for people up and down the UK. If you’re a first time buyer it can be difficult to raise a large deposit to purchase your first home. With Help to Buy you only need just a 5% deposit to get a mortgage.

 

When Did It Begin?

The first phase started in April 2013 in England. This saw the government begin offering a 20% equity loan to buyers of newly-built properties. When the property is sold, the government reclaims its loan. So if the value of the property has gone up, the government will inherit the capital growth.

In November 2015 George Osborne announced that the equity loan scheme in England would be extended to 2021. Originally it had been due to end in December 2016.

 

How Does It Work?

  • You provide a 5% deposit

  • The government will provide an equity loan of up to 20% of the value of your property

  • You obtain a 75% mortgage

  • The equity loan is interest free for the first five years

  • You repay the Help to Buy equity loan (it can be repaid at any time or on the sale of your home)

source: helptobuy.gov.uk

Example Home:

If the home in the example above sold for £210,000, you’d get £168,000 (80%, from your mortgage and the cash deposit) and you’d pay back £42,000 on the loan (20%). You’d need to pay off your mortgage with your share of the money.

 

Who Is Eligible?

Both first-time buyers and existing homeowners are eligible for the scheme. However, the home you purchase must be your only residence. It is not available to assist buy-to-let investors or anyone who owns another property.

The terms of the scheme vary between England, Scotland, Wales and London, so take a look at the Help to Buy Scheme in your area for more details.

 

How Can This Benefit Me?

If you’re interested in the Help to Buy scheme, you can contact one of our expert Property Consultants to discuss your requirements and view the various homes we have on offer. Click the button below or call 0161 274 0472.

Why Invest In Birmingham?

Why Birmingham?

Birmingham has undergone a significant transformation for a number of years, with milestones including the £600 million reopening of New Street station, £150 million launch of Grand Central shopping centre and its flagship John Lewis store, plus the £50 million redevelopment of The Mailbox and £150 million opening of leisure complex Resorts World Birmingham.

For two years consecutively (2015 & 2016), Birmingham was named the most investable city in the UK in an annual survey of European investors’ intentions. The respected survey, by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and adviser PwC, placed Birmingham sixth ahead of the likes of Milan, London and Paris.

The proposed HS2 railway will link Birmingham to London, the East Midlands, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester – significantly reducing the travel time between each location and improving economic prospects further.

Now a prospering and vibrant city, Birmingham is becoming an increasingly appealing place to live, work and invest – offering what is often described as ‘a cosmopolitan lifestyle without the price tag’. But what is it that makes Birmingham so appealing?

The Economy…

Irwin Mitchell Solicitors UK Powerhouse report forecasts that by the end of 2017, the value of the Birmingham’s economy will be £225m larger than it was in the three months following the Brexit vote. It also expects employment levels to be 3,100 higher, with a influx of new businesses. Knight Frank recently named Birmingham as the UK’s number one business hotspot and with the creation of new jobs, young talent has followed. In 2015, when comparing the number of Londoners who have relocated out of the capital, over 6,000 people moved from London to Birmingham; more than any other comparable city in the UK.


Birmingham’s business base grew 8.1 per cent during 2016, beating Manchester at 7.2 per cent and London with 6.4 per cent. Growth was more than twice the national average of 3.5 per cent (Financial Times, 2016).


The Property Market…

Birmingham is quickly becoming one of the UK’s top cities for property investment, attracting more foreign direct investment than any other UK region. The city’s housing demand is fuelled by a number of factors including a lack of supply, a young professional demographic, high student population and an influx of almost 2,000 international companies that makeup the largest professional services sector outside of London. The population of the city has risen four and a half times faster than the rate of new housing over the last decade, leading for calls for drastic action from the Government (Birmingham Mail).

According to Hometrack, property values in the city increased faster than anywhere else in the country. The average price of a home in Birmingham increased by 8% compared with the same month last year (July 2016) and in the last 22 years average property prices have increased by 257% (home.co.uk).


“Values of apartments in Birmingham have increased by 9.62% over the past year, which is proportionally 21% more than the Birmingham average rise of 7.94%. The last time flats/apartments in Birmingham outperformed all the other types of property, by such a gulf, was back in the spring of 2003” (Love Your Postcode, 2017).


The Universities…

As the largest metropolitan borough in Europe, the education sector is thriving in Birmingham. The UK’s second-largest student city with over 65,000 students boasts five sought after universities: Aston University, Birmingham City University, the University of Birmingham, University College Birmingham and Newman University College.

There are a further 20 universities within an hour of Greater Birmingham, including three Russell Group institutions which represent 24 world-class institutions, dedicated to maintaining the very best in research. Together, the universities provide not only excellent further education options but also a vast pool of talent available to local employers to hand-pick from top-class candidates. Aston University is among the top ten universities for graduate employability (The Independent’s Complete University Guide 2010).


“The University of Birmingham contributes £3.5 billion to the UK economy every year – supporting 15,545 jobs in the West Midlands – almost one in 50 jobs in Birmingham. The University of Birmingham also plays a significant part in attracting international visitors to the region. International students alone contribute more than £160 million to the economy (Birmingham.ac.uk, 2015).”


University of Birmingham

The Financial Crisis – 10 Years On

This month marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the global financial crisis, an event that caused doubt and uncertainty within a number of markets and continues to shape the UK housing market today. Exactly ten years ago thousands of people rushed to withdraw their hard-earned savings from Northern Rock, fearing the banking system was about to collapse with the loss of one of the UK’s biggest banks.

Northern Rock tried to reassure its 1.4 million savers, 800,000 mortgage holders, as well as its thousands of shareholders, that it was not in serious danger. By mid-September however, news of the Bank of England’s intervention caused the share prices to collapse, the firm’s website to crash and the first run on a British bank in more than a century.

Namely its popular 95-105% mortgage deals, Northern Rock’s cash flow was based on its mortgage product. Unlike most other banks that relied on customers making deposits into savings accounts. Following the widespread losses made by investors in loans to US homebuyers with poor credit history, the so-called sub-prime loans, banks and investors became wary of buying any mortgage debt, including Northern Rock’s.

While there has been much criticism of Northern Rock’s lending practices, most analysts agree that the funding model, rather than high loan-to-value mortgage business, was the trigger for the lender’s spectacular collapse. The reason for this stemmed from French bank BNP Paribas, which suspended three funds specialising in the US sub-prime market, a decision that is now widely considered as the start of the global financial crisis (GFC).

Along with the tumbling stock markets, business and consumer confidence fell. While national governments and international central banks started moving cash into financial institutions and domestic economies in order to prevent the solvency of entire nations coming into question.

The immediate effects of the crisis were obvious: House prices in the U.K. went down 20 per cent over a 16-month period starting in August 2007, with prices only bouncing back in May 2014. Transactions went from a yearly average of 1.65 million to 730,000 in the year ending in June 2009 (Savills, 2017).

Ten years on, the crisis and its consequences have dramatically changed the property landscape. It was not until May 2014, for example, that the average UK house price recovered to its pre-credit crunch level.

The amount needed to put a deposit on a house in the U.K. soared from £12,556 in 2007 to £26,224 in 2017, making it more difficult to secure the first ring on the housing ladder. The change is even greater in London, with an average deposit at about £97,513, as opposed to £21,196 a decade ago (Savills, 2017).

The London Bubble

Many expected the financial crisis to affect the whole of the country for many years to come. Instead, between 2007 and 2013, employment in five central London boroughs rose by 23 per cent, a faster annual growth rate than in the period running up to the crash. Many other factors like the devaluation of the pound made London a safe haven for overseas investment and effectively placed London in a bubble, separated from the hardship set to be experienced by the rest of the country.

As a capital city, London’s infrastructure at the time was far superior than that of the North’s major cities and is thought to be one of the main reasons it was unaffected. As the financial hub of the UK, the city’s foundations are built upon its large corporate presence as opposed to SME’s, providing a strong backbone for which the city could rely on to maintain its strong global economy. By no means did the crisis result in a decrease of the hegemonic power of the City of London. Instead, it confirmed its capacity to influence the decisionmaking process of the British government in favour of its preferences.

Much of the investment in London went into property, and particularly the prime central London market, where 60 per cent of purchases by value were by overseas buyers in 2007-11. After a brief slowdown in 2008, prices recovered fast, rising by 45 per cent across central London by 2013 (citymetric.com).

Just before the financial crisis took place, London’s average house price was recorded at £292,409. As of today, London has shown the strongest rate of recovery in the UK since the crash recording levels of £478,142 (nationwide). Since the financial crisis, London’s economy grew by 28.9 per cent – almost twice the rate of Leeds or Cardiff and it’s economy is also nearly 8 per cent larger than it was. More than 80 per cent of London’s economic growth came from real estate and even more from the financial services industry.

London Skyline

Northern Powerhouse

While London was unaffected by the GFC, it was evident that the lack of infrastructure and businesses trading both nationally and internationally in some of the North’s major cities was the reason for such detrimental effects in the North.

In 2010, the coalition government outlined a proposal to boost economic growth in the North of England’s core cities; Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle – with the aim of repositioning the British economy away from London and the South East. The Northern Powerhouse proposal outlined improvements to transport links and an increase in investment to boost local economies and employability.

One measure of regional economic output, gross value added (GVA), shows that per person, London’s total output is 2.3 times that of the North East, two times the North West, and 2.1 times that of Yorkshire and the Humber. In one area of inner London, GVA per head of £135,888 is more than 10 times greater than that in the Wirral (BBC, 2015).

Since 2011 nearly 500,000 workers made a daily 30km commute into London, this figure is double the amount that travelled the same distance to work across all six of the major city regions in the north. To counteract this, the government is driving large-scale investment in the North’s transport and regional-connectivity: this includes £161 million to accelerate the transformation of the M62 into a ‘smart’ motorway, £60 million development funding for the Northern Powerhouse Rail and £161 million to uphold the rollout of smart and integrated ticketing systems across the North.  

The North has seen inward investment skyrocket by nearly a quarter from the previous year, creating more than 13,000 new jobs in the region. To further support this progress of investment in the North, the government provided £7 million to establish a Northern Powerhouse Investment Taskforce and £15 million to support Northern Powerhouse trade missions.

The Northern Powerhouse initiative continues to pick up momentum with JLL forecasting house prices in Manchester to grow by up to 28.2 per cent, and the North West to rise 18.1 per cent until 2021. The HS2 and HS3 high speed train lines will also close the gap between the North and South and between Manchester and Leeds. This, along with the Northern Powerhouse, will encourage business in the north and further boost economic prosperity

Current and projected figures paint a promising future for the Northern housing market and Greater Manchester. Investors may be wise to turn their focus away from London and more further up north.

Where Are We Now?

By 2014 and 2015, the housing market had fully recovered and has continued to grow ever since. In 2016, the housing market, was so strong that reports were emerging of people making more money from the increase in the value of their homes than from their day job.

Ten years on from the financial crisis, prices are holding steady with a wealth of new rules and regulations in place to prevent a repeat of 2007. This year prices are reaching up to an average of £209,971 from 2007 levels of £181,180 – a 16 per cent increase (Nationwide, 2017).

House price crashes are rare in Britain and it’s not hard to see why. The UK is a small country with tough planning laws and a tax system that creates incentives for people to invest in bricks and mortar as opposed to renting. Mostly, limits on supply plus strong demand equals rising prices.

Forwarding to 2017 and the UK economy is performing strongly as this month, the employment rate has ticked past 32 million people, the highest rate since comparable records began in the Seventies. New figures also show wage growth is up 2 per cent in the last three months alone (Independent, 2017).

Record low interest rates have also been good news for borrowers – those with mortgages and credit card debit have enjoyed a prolonged period of very low rates.  The only move in rates since the March 2009 cut – the lowest since the central bank was founded in 1694 – has been in the opposite direction.

Policymakers cut the base rate by another quarter per cent back to a new all-time low of 0.25 per cent in August 2016. There is an entire generation of homeowners who have never experienced an interest rate rise since buying their first homes.

The UK’s banking sector is now safer than in the run-up to the crisis, with greater capital reserves at the big institutions, meaning that if we were to encounter another financial crisis it wouldn’t have the same determinantal affects. Investors and home-owners alike can feel assured in the today’s current market, that despite the picture of uncertainty that is being portrayed there is plenty to feel positive about.

 

Leasehold ban proposed for new-build houses

Buy-to-let Mortgages Reach Highest Level Since 2007

The number of buy-to-let mortgages available has reached its highest level in almost a decade, providing new and existing landlords with more choice than ever.

The figures, taken from the latest Moneyfacts UK Mortgage Trends Treasury Report show that the number of buy-to-let (BTL) products has increased by 7% in just one month to total 1,725, up from 1,613 in August and the highest figure seen since December 2007, when 1,942 products were available.

Charlotte Nelson, finance expert at Moneyfacts said: “The BTL market has had an understandably bumpy ride of late, considering all the regulation and tax changes it has had to contend with.

“Despite this, the market seems to be buoyant, with the number of available products reaching its highest point since the 1,942 products that were recorded in December 2007, almost a decade ago.

“The market has clearly recovered from the tougher affordability rules that were put in place on 1 January, when it saw a dramatic drop in the number of products available to landlords. Since then, the number of deals on offer has gone from strength to strength, culminating in a rise of 7% this month, the highest month-on-month growth Moneyfacts has seen in 2017.

“This leaves borrowers looking for a buy-to-let mortgage today in a good position. Providers are now starting to get ready for further changes at the end of September, which will see lenders apply stricter standards to those with four or more properties.

“It is still uncertain how providers will choose to react to the new changes, but product numbers could climb as providers start to target their products to the two different types of borrower.”

Five steps to saving for a deposit

Saving for a deposit for a first-time buyer can be one of the toughest hurdles. Acting quickly can you an advantage, letting you seek government help, signing up for high-interest savings accounts where your hard earnt money will grow the fastest. Below are tips to help you get on the property ladder faster.

 

Help To Buy ISAs

Help To Buy ISAs can be one of the best ways to save for a deposit. The government will add 25 per cent to your savings, up to a maximum of £3,000, you can also receive anything up to four per cent in tax-free interest over the duration of your saving.

Help To Buy ISAs don’t only apply for first-time buyers, they can also be used if you already own a home or if you’d like to save as part of a property club.

  • Savings are capped at £200 a month
  • A maximum £1,000 initial deposit
  • It will take more than four years to save £12,000
  • After four years you’ll be able to unlock £3,000 of government help

Bank Smart

When saving for a house you don’t want to be wasting your time on banking gimmicks and unwanted services so don’t waste your money on monthly subscriptions. On the other hand, perks such as money back on purchases can be worth it so shop around before choosing your bank.

Manage Debt

If you have a credit card, we recommend you pay any debt off to avoid hefty interest charges.

Loyalty Cards

Don’t dismiss how advantageous loyalty cards can be. Shop with loyalty cards regularly. Take advantage of extra-points deals and money off coupons.

Go Outdoors

Take advantage of your local parks, design yourself a free outdoor training program instead of going to the gym. You can also join many outdoor local sports clubs, their subscriptions are often much cheaper than most gyms.

Finding the perfect location

Picking an area to live in isn’t easy or just about your available budget, it’s all about choosing a location that suits your family and your lifestyle. Read on to find out what to look for when choosing a new area to live in.

How to choose an area to relocate to

Before you look for your dream property, you need to decide on what area works best for your lifestyle needs. Choosing a location to move to can be one of the most important decisions you make, make the wrong decision and you will either be unhappy with your move choice or you will have to face the cost of moving once again.

There are plenty of reports available on the web on local house price reports – we recommend that all customers do their due diligence, however, this guide aims to create a checklist of factors to consider before moving that look outside of the box and from a home-seekers perspective.

Choosing an area within your budget

First and foremost you need to decide on an area that is within your budget and the type of property you’d like to live in. Decide roughly how much money you want to spend and how much equity (if needed) you can raise. See here for further advice on mortgages or finding the right time to buy.

What to consider when moving to a new area

If you’re moving to a different region, part of a town, country, or the world, then choosing a specific area is more difficult. It came take the time to get to know the area well enough to truly know whether you want to live there. Many factors cannot be made apparent when only being a visitor to the area. The UK housing market is highly dependant on the local market. Thorough research into individual streets can ensure that you are confident enough to when considering a potential offer for a property.

Decide on the type of property you want to move into

There are a number of things to consider:

  • What is the minimum number of bedrooms the property needs to have for you to consider?
  • Would you prefer garden space or a prime city centre location?
  • Would you like a new build property, a conversion or a property you can renovation?

Choose what type of area you want to live in

There are a number of things to consider:

  • Would you like a lively place with lots of life?
  • Do you want to be somewhere more rural and quiet? Do you relish the country lifestyle?
  • Are you willing to drive far to reach local amenities or do you want to be in walking distance of local shops?
  • How long does it take to get to work? To see friends?
  • Do you need to be in the local school catchment area?
  • Are there community grounds and leisure facilities available?

Look Into Transport Options Are To You

Undoubtedly popular housing areas tend to have excellent transport connections whether that be nearby access to the train station, bus and tram stop or good access to the motorway and aren’t too far from the airport. Noise pollution is something that should be considered especially if you prefer living in a more tranquil area of the country. Check the local flight path and motorway prevailing wind direction as any noise pollution will travel with the wind.

Opting For Areas With Reputable Schools

Where there are better schools there are more desirable properties on offer. There is a direct correlation between higher house prices, lower crime rates and overachieving school statistics. Well-educated children believe in their capability to be successful outside of the school environment and their ability to land a good job when they leave school.

Are there good employment opportunities available

Ambitious people may require access to larger cities with greater employment markets available. Moving to a big city, however, is not for everyone, if you’re moving from the countryside, consider how you are going to have to adapt your work-life balance.

Before relocating for a job or relocating to find a job make sure you do your research.

There are a number of things to consider:

  • Are you going to be forced to a long time commuting?
  • Are there alternative transport options?
  • Does the job provide the work-life balance you desire?
  • Have you done research into industries needing workers?

Average House Price Rises to £211,671 as Property Market Growth Continues

The shortage of homes coming to market is leading to a rise in house prices across the UK, according to Nationwide Building Society’s latest house price index.

Average house prices rose by 0.3% in July, the second month in a row that prices have risen, as a 1.1% growth was recorded in June. The average house price hit a new record of £211,671 in a new record for Nationwide’s index.

Commenting on the findings, Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist, said that “a lack of homes on the market appears to be providing support, with annual house price growth remaining only just outside the 3-6 per cent range, that has been prevailing for most of the past two years.”

He also said that while housing market developments are dependent on the UK’s broader economic performance, which slowed in the first half of 2017, “constrained supply” is likely to mean house prices continue to rise.

British summertime is usually considered a quieter time for the property market as many buyers/sellers go on holiday. However, the fact the market has shown signs of growth is welcomed news for many, a view that was shared by by EMoov.co.uk chief executive who said, “UK homeowners will have their fingers crossed that this turn around in price growth will be more consistent than the British summertime.

“At a glance, it looks as if the dark clouds of buyer and seller uncertainty are finally starting to lift from the UK housing market, with welcome signs of positive property price growth beginning to shine through.

“The summer months can generally be a slower time of year with many taking a break from their sale to go away, so it is promising that the market has bounced back despite the slump in transactions and mortgage approvals witnessed in June.

“Although buyer demand may take some time to return to normal levels, a sustained shortage of stock should continue to stimulate an upward price trend.”

9 Reasons to Live in Bristol

1. The Best Place to Live

The Sunday Times Best Places to Live Guide chose Bristol as the best city to live in Britain in 2017. The city was also been named as one of the The 10 happiest cities to work in the UK by The Guardian.

2. A City Full of Creativity

The city has a rich creative background, home to the Oscar award-winning Aardman creators of Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run and Creature Comforts. The infamous Banksy also helped to put Bristol on the map for street art, which has lead to the city hosting the biggest street art festival in Europe, Upfest.

3. Rich and Interesting History

Bristol is the global capital of natural history programme making. Over 25% of the world’s natural history films are made in Bristol, with the majority of these at the BBC’s Natural History Unit.

4. A Night to Remember

The city’s nightlife has a proven reputation, the club Motion has been named as one of only two UK venues to reach the top 20 clubs in the world.

5. Shopping Capital of the South West

Bristol has all of the shops you could ever want, but without the cramped mayhem or huge crowds you’d get in London. There’s something for everyone, whether it’s the huge 4-floor Primark, fancy Quaker Friars or the independent shops of Gloucester Road.

6. Unrivalled Views

The Clifton Suspension Bridge’s spectacular setting on the cliffs of the Avon Gorge has made it the defining symbol of Bristol, drawing thousands of visitors a year just to stroll across for views of the ancient Avon Gorge, elegant Clifton and the magnificent city beyond.

7. One of the Best Universities in the UK

Whether you are planning to move there for your own education, or will inevitably start a family there, then you will be pleased to hear that not only have the city’s secondary schools been named among the best in the country, but it is also home to two universities – including the University of Bristol, which has been ranked among the Top 20 in the UK.

8. European Green Capital of the Year

Bristol was the first UK city to win the prestigious award of European Green Capital for the year 2015. The city’s 40 years of pioneering environmental efforts were rewarded along with their willingness to take risks, look at new ideas, and  make ambitious plans for the future.

9. The Floating Harbour

Once a busy dock where sailors and merchants would trade goods and set sail for voyages of discovery, Bristol’s Harbourside is now an attractive, modern development filled with restaurants, bars, shops and hotels.

Leasehold ban proposed for new-build houses

The government is seeking to end ‘long-term financial abuse’ by some developers who are selling new-build homes on a leasehold basis.

Leaseholders typically pay ground rent to the freeholder, but can be caught out by clauses allowing for dramatic increases in these fees.

Ground rent typically rises in line with inflation, but in some cases, the owner of the freehold has set a faster pace or has sold the freehold to a private investment company without informing the homeowners.

A recent government report found that 4 million private homes in England are leasehold, which equates to 1 in 5 five homes.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid today proposed the plans for all developers to be prohibited from selling all houses as leasehold.

“What we’ve seen, in the last few years especially, is a huge increase in the number of houses, not flats but houses, that are being sold on leasehold terms for no good reason.” He Said

“And worse still, once they’ve been sold, those people that have bought those houses are then subject to ground rents that are ever escalating.

“These are just being used as another income stream by developers, not in the interest of consumers.”

The leasehold system that has been around for many years, typically applies to blocks of flats but the trend for new-build houses being sold on the same system has risen in recent years.

The House Builders Federation, whose members deliver around 80% of the new homes built each year said: “The industry is committed to working with all parties to ensure that the terms on which leasehold homes are sold are fair and work for the homeowner”.

“Buying and selling apartments on a leasehold basis is a long accepted form of ownership and provides security for people with communal facilities. There are instances where houses need to be sold on a leasehold basis, for instance where land has been acquired from local authorities, other public bodies or the Crown on a leasehold basis.”

While there is an acknowledgement from the Government that where there are shared facilities, such as in the case of apartments, there is a justifiable reason for them to be leasehold; MCR Homes have for a while now, recognised that some developers aggressively ramp up ground rents.   All of our leasehold apartments however, are in line with RPI and therefore only increase in line with inflation.

MCR Homes welcome any new industry legislations ensuring that all of our clients can feel confident when using our residential or investment services.

Essential home packing tips

 

Tip 1 – Declutter

It might sound like the last thing you would want to make time for before you move house, but a good declutter can be a useful exercise.

If you declutter all areas of your house including; loft, garage, the shed etc then you will get to grips with exactly what you own. Having a new beginning like a move tends to help us focus on what’s got to go.

If you need any further encouragement to do this, then financially it will really help you during a very expensive time. The more things you remove then the less it will cost you to move your possessions.

 

Tip 2 – Plan what will live where

After a good declutter you should have a great idea of what’s in your home and what you will need to move into the new home.

A great tip here is to sit with a plan of your old house and a plan of your new house and write down what you want to move where – this will help with how smoothly your move-in day goes. A quick sketch of the floor plan will suffice for the job.

Tip 3 – Colour code your move

From the rough plan you’ve created, you can add a bit more clarity by colour coding what items need to go in which room. Now you need to make that a reality. A tip is to use sticky dots on the floor plan you’ve drawn up of the new house and colour code each room a different colour. Then go round the house and colour code the items I want to move into each of the rooms.

 

Tip 4 – Create a hierarchy of boxes

It is all well and good having colour coordinated boxes piled up in the correct room however what do you do when you find yourself in a room full of boxes? This is where we suggest you take labelling to the next level so you can find the ‘essentials boxes that you need to unpack immediately vs. the ones that can wait.

Our tip is to pack the essentials for each room and label them up with a star or some icon that make it’s clear that it’s an essential box.
Ensuring that you have what you need first; opened and ready to go.

Tip 5 – Keep the valuables and essentials with you

On moving day itself, you don’t want to run the risk of not being able to get your hands on what you need when you need it.

You never know what might happen when moving home, you might experience delays and you don’t want to be trying toiletries, bedding etc in an unfamiliar house when you’re tired and ready to sleep in your new home.

Tip 6 – Prioritise

Now you have got all the boxes in the right rooms in the new house – it’s time to work out what you’d like to unpack first! At this point the mammoth task can seem daunting.

Prioritising can really help with this as you want to be sure that you don’t spend half the day unpacking all your best china when you are better off spending time on what matters. After all, you can get the rest of your family to help with those items when they arrive!

 

Tip 7 – Use momentum

Although leaving boxes for another day is very tempting the trick is to not to stop where possible. Try and unpack while you have the energy and momentum to do so.

Leaving boxes for too long means they are likely to become invisible to you – before you know it, it’s three months down the line and your boxes are still lying around the house.

A guide to mortgages

In order to buy a home, you may require borrowing money from a lender. Often this process can appear complex, but in fact, there are only some basic things you need to take into consideration.

These are the main considerations when applying for a mortgage:

What Is A Mortgage?

Understanding the different types of mortgages available and the mortgage process can help you know when you might be ready to reserve a property or make an offer. There is a wide range of borrowing products and mortgages available to pay for a home. In fact, there are hundreds of types of mortgage products and several mortgage types depending on your circumstances. Getting a mortgage will be one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make, so it is important to get it right.

This guide aims to help you decide where you can best source helpful advice from mortgage specialists and advisors.

There are many mortgages on the market and they are very competitive so it can be hard to understand what is on offer. It is a good idea to get advice from your bank as well as a number of independent mortgage advisors before coming to any decisions. An independent mortgage advisor is a specialist with in-depth industry knowledge of the industry. They’ll look into a range of mortgage products made available by the different lenders to find you the best mortgage to suit your needs at your budget.

What To Look For In A Mortgage

It is important to understand all factors associated with a mortgage product, it is not always a case of looking for the lowest interest rates but elements that will benefit your needs.

There are other factors which also contribute to the total amount you pay back to the lender over time.

APRC: (Annual Percentage Rate of Change) takes some mortgage fees into account as well as the interest rate and expresses it as a percentage.

Deposit Amount: The higher the deposit you put down the lower the interest rate you are likely to get.

The Standard Interest Rate: Your mortgage will switch once your fixed rate deal ends.

The Frequency Of Interest Charged: Daily interest tends to work out cheaper, however, there are options to pay it monthly or annually. will it be paid daily, monthly or annually? Daily interest works out cheaper.

Flexibility: Would you like to have the flexibility of being able to overpay your mortgage or being able to take a break from making payments without being charged.

Length Of Fixed Rate Vs. Variable: Are you happy with having an interest rate that is fixed for a long period or would you like to have more flexibility? Charges will be issued if you choose to switch your mortgage deal before it ends.

Mortgage Advice: Lenders and financial advisors are closely regulated and when they recommend a mortgage to you they must offer advice. When recommending a mortgage they will assess your income in order to establish your ability level to meet mortgage repayments. Mortgage advisors will look into your day-to-day spending. The process is there to protect you and to ensure you purchase a mortgage that suits your needs.

Despite the fact that mortgage advisors and lenders must offer advice, you can choose to reject advice and find your own mortgage deals based on your research and decision process.

Choosing to apply for a mortgage without advice is called an ‘execution-only’ application. Getting advice when moving forward with a mortgage will enable you to have more rights if the mortgage turns out to be unsuitable for your needs. If it came to a stage where you needed to make a complaint regarding your mortgage then you could make a complaint for financial miss-selling if the advice you were provided with turned out to be unsuitable for your circumstances.

If you don’t take advice then you take full responsibility for your mortgage decision. You could therefore potentially end up with a costly mistake in the long run.

If you don’t understand restrictions properly when applying for a mortgage then you can potentially be rejected by your chosen lender.

Reasons To Use A Mortgage Advisor: 
-They have vast experience in completing mortgage paperwork and therefore will be able to complete your application faster
-They will assess your finances to see if you can afford a mortgage
-The advisor will have access to exclusive deals with lenders which are not otherwise available to the general market
-An advisor will help you understand the costs and features of a mortgage that go beyond just the interest rates
-They will only advise you on a mortgage that they believe is suitable for you and will inform you on which mortgage you are likely to get

Mortgage Advisor Fees: Mortgage brokers might charge you depending on the service and product you choose. In some cases, other advisors will be free to you but they’ll receive a commission from the lender.

Typical Mortgage Fees:
There are some upfront fees that you must consider in addition to mortgage costs. Mortgages can vary therefore ensure you take into consideration all fees in addition to the interest rate. Typically you will pay interest on the capital you borrow and possibly other charges as well. These include solicitor’s fees for the purchase, insurance for the property and sometimes but not always, ground rent. In order to not pay interest, it is recommended to pay the fees upfront rather than adding them to your mortgage as you’ll pay interest on the fees applied for the length of the mortgage.

Mortgage Fees:
A booking fee of £99 – £250
An arrangement fee of up to £2,000
A mortgage valuation fee (typically £150 or potentially more)

How much can you afford to borrow for a mortgage? 
Before applying for a mortgage, you need to think about more than just whether you can afford the monthly repayments. Mortgage providers will look at your income and outgoings to see if you can keep up with repayments if interest rates rise or your circumstances change.

There are some major upfront costs that also need to be factored in when deciding whether or not you can afford a mortgage. You’ll need to ensure that you have enough money saved to cover all the costs demanding by a mortgage product.

Below is an overview of costs you are likely to incur when buying a home

Stamp Duty: Is a government tax paid on homes sold at £125,001 or more. As of April 2016, for people who are purchasing a second home, there has been a 3% increase for those buying a second home or buy-to-let property.

Deposit: This is the amount you put towards the cost of the property when you buy your home.

Valuation Fee: Mortgage lenders will need to value of the property you will be lending against this is to establish how much the lender is willing to lend to you against the value of the property. Typically, a valuation fee can cost anything between £150 – £1,500 based on the property’s estimated valuation. The valuation conducted by the lender will not encompass a full structural survey so the valuation may not identify areas where repairs or maintenance that might be needed to be done. The full report is conduction by a surveyor – mentioned below.

Surveyor Fee: Before you buy a property it is vital that you get the property checked by a surveyor. Any potential issues will be flagged up by the surveying report. The extent of the report is dependant on your requests and the lender’s requests. There is a range of surveys, from a basic ‘Home Condition Survey’ (around £250) to a ‘Full Structural Survey’(around £600). When considering the period of time you are likely to live at your new home and the potential money you could save on repairs in the long-run then it pays to conduct a good survey.

Legal Fees: It is the norm to need a solicitor or licensed conveyor to carry out all legal work when buying and selling your home. Legal fees can differ vastly depending on the law firm and the level of work needed to be conducted. Some of the work will also include; local searches to find if there are any plans in place that may cause an issue for you.

Electronic Transfer Fees: Is the lender’s fee for transferring the mortgage capital from the lender to the solicitor.

Estate Agent Costs: These are costs incurred by the seller to cover the costs of the estate agent’s services. Typically these costs range from 1% – 3% of the sale price plus 20% VAT.

Buildings Insurance: The lender will require you to take out buildings insurance to protect your new home against damage from floods, fire, subsidence and anything else that may cause damage to the property.

Leaseholders’ Cost: If you purchase a leasehold property then you will have to pay ground rent and service charges to the company that own the freehold. Service charges and ground rent admin fees are dependant on the property. Leasehold costs are an important factor when running a property so it is important that you do your research into charges demanded by the freehold owner.

The right time to buy

Learn to determine when it is the best time for you to buy a home.

Several factors can influence whether it may be the right time for you to buy a home. You need to make sure you consider the complete picture before deciding.

Your Personal Situation

Owning your home requires a lot of commitment when considering managing a mortgage, on going maintenance, insurance, taxes and utility bills. Before you are ready to take these financial responsibilities you need to ensure you are ready to buy. Purchasing a home is a long-term decision that can make the homeowner less flexible in future, for example moving locations for a new job becomes more complicated when you own a home. So, before you commit to any financial decisions, be sure to determine that the location or neighbourhood you choose to search around is where you are most comfortable living in.

Interest Rates

Ideally, you want to take advantage of lower interest rates to reduce monthly payments and the total amount paid over the lifetime of your mortgage. The interest you pay is dependant on the current market, the lender you choose and the type of mortgage product you get and many other factors. Generally speaking, mortgage lenders will offer lower interest rates to borrowers with a stronger credit score.

The Property Market

Many regard ‘A buyer’s market’ as the right time to buy a home as there are more homes for sale than buyers looking to purchase them – giving the purchaser more bargaining power. Sellers in these markets tend to offer more competitive pricing, meaning that you are more likely to get more home for your money plus, more homes to pick from.

Up Front Payments And Final Costs

Home buyers are expected to make a down payment also known as ‘deposit’ for the home. Typically, a larger down payment will result in lower monthly payments. In order to qualify for a mortgage, you will need to save at least 5% – 20% of the cost of the home you would like. If your deposit is lower than 20% then your mortgage provider may require you to pay insurance or fees.

The Time Of Year

According to market trends, more homes tend to go on sale during summer and spring months – when the weather is better and children are not in school. Looking for a home during these months will give you a broader choice of homes to pick from.

It is almost impossible to pinpoint the ‘perfect’ time to buy a home or to apply for a loan as it is dependant on the market situation as well as your personal situation. In most circumstances, people don’t have the option to put their life on hold whilst looking for the perfect time to buy. If you consider the long term benefits of buying a home and the longevity of the period that you are likely to live in the home then the positives will almost always outweigh the negatives. If you do, however, get a comprehensive financial plan that takes your individuals needs and goals into account then you’ll be able to reach this major personal decision at a right time for you.

Make the most of viewings

Use the information available to you to find out as much as you can about a property, such as; using the photographs, floorplans, virtual tours, online brochures and local information that is available with most properties.

As soon as you have established the property is of sufficient interest for you, book a viewing with the agent.

Also, don’t forget to take a camera and tape measure on every viewing you go on – the camera is so you can avoid having to rack your brain about which property had the features you remember it doing. With cameras built in as standard on most mobile phones, this is easier than ever. But remember to always ask permission with the agent or owner before taking any pictures. The tape measure is for you to see if your current furniture will fit in the rooms.

Before you have even chosen to view a property, it may be worth spending time creating an image of your perfect home. Make a list of the various features you want this perfect house to have. These features should cover the obvious check list such as the rough size of the house and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms but also criteria relating to the location or house type in which your home will be located.

If you’d like to know more about our developments prior to viewing then please get in contact with our sales consultants will be more than happy to help.

Increase in Buy to Let Landlords Looking to Limited Companies for Lending

For the first time, landlords who have a limited company established for their buy to let business are lending more than ‘classic’ individual investors who do not.

According to research from Mortgages for Business ‘Buy to let Index’, more than half (51%) of all lending in Q2 2017 was provided to limited companies. Nearly three quarters (73%) of buy to let purchases were with a limited company, up from three in five (61%) in Q1.

The index report suggests that the recent increase in lending has been caused by high volumes of purchase applications from limited companies, making up on average 77.5% of all buy to let applications in 2017.

‘Landlords are increasingly looking to limited company structures because of the benefits they bring in the form of tax efficiencies and softer affordability testing. The structures are not without their hurdles, however, and we recommend all our clients take professional tax advice before deciding how to proceed,’ said Steve Olejnik, chief operating officer of Mortgages for Business.

The Mortgages for Business measure also shows pricing improvements, particularly three and five-year fixed rates, as buy to let lenders seek to compete in the ever-increasing limited company space.

‘The changes to mortgage tax relief have only added to landlords’ growing tax burden and the buy to let sector has seen a definitive shift towards limited company lending, with 24% of investors considering incorporating or transferring property to spouses,’ said John Eastgate, sales and marketing director of OneSavings Bank.

‘Against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty, investors’ confidence has also been knocked by weakening house price growth and new lending restrictions which will fundamentally alter the mix of landlords,’ he pointed out.

‘We are already seeing signs of amateur landlords leaving the market, paving the way for committed landlords, which will lead to greater stability and professionalisation of the sector he added.

Property Investment Preferred for Prosperous Retirement

Employer pension schemes are viewed as the safest way to save for the future, however according to the latest national figures, many believe property investment is the best option for a prosperous retirement.

A survey conducted in 2016 by the Office for National Statistics and Assets Survey of UK adults, discovered that 38% of people perceive company pensions as the most secure investment choice.

This is a 2% fall from 2014 revealing that opinions on employer pension schemes, which are of course compulsory, are now faltering.

The most popular option was property investment which was chosen by over 49% of those surveyed, a figure that has continued to increase since 2010 suggesting growing confidence in property prices.

Nathan Long, senior pension analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, suggested the figures pointed to confusion with pension planning being worryingly on the rise.

“Investing in property is seen as the best way of making most of your money despite it being one of the least tax efficient ways to invest.

“More people are now citing a lack of understanding as the reason they are not in their workplace pension, even though auto-enrolment means most will not make any decisions whatsoever to join.

“The tail end of the retirement journey also is starting to show signs of people expecting to work longer, but with more than a quarter of older people not properly planning their retirement the reality could be even more severe. As people live longer and the cost of social care rises, the likelihood of inheritances acting as additional income in retirement falls.”

UK Property Prices up 3.35% Since Brexit Vote

Since the historic vote to leave the European Union many predicted a huge slump in UK property prices. This lead to some investors adopting a “wait and see approach” on the property market over the past year. However, recent research by eMoov found that in the last 12 months prices have actually increased 3.35%.

The recent research shows prices have grown from an average of £212,950 to £220,094 in the past year, dispelling any preconceived assumptions made by many before the result to leave the EU.

Former Chancellor George Osborne predicted an 18% fall in house prices last year at the G7 summit in Japan, warning the vote to leave would hit hard on the value of people’s homes.

The newly released figures show that regions where a majority voted to leave the EU saw the biggest increase, from an average of £191,611 to £195,957, up 2.27%.

Surprisingly, the top five regions that experienced the largest price growth were actually all home to a majority leave vote.

The East Midlands saw the most substantial increase of 3.84% followed by the West Midlands at 3.62%, the East of England at 3.46%, the North West at 2.92% and Yorkshire and the Humber at 2.92%.

According to Russell Quirk, eMoov chief executive officer, ‘The research makes it clear that those areas that voted to remain were home to a much higher average house price in general and it would seem that it is this upper end of the market in each region that has seen price growth slow the most.

‘What it certainly does highlight is that there are still swathes of the market, even in London, where the UK property market remains immune to any external political uncertainty, and this should stand us in good stead as we exit the EU and with the recent general election in mind,’ he added.

Why is the UK Property Market So Popular with Foreign Investors?

There are numerous factors that make property in the UK a wise investment. Since 1996, average house prices have risen by an extraordinary 281% across the UK according to Nationwide house price index (2016).

As a country with small landmass, an ever-increasing population, coupled with a housing shortage and an increase in single person households, it is clear that the price of homes will continue to increase in the same vein and provide a return on investment for both foreign and domestic investors.

The British property market has long been attractive for foreign investors who are drawn to the UK by a robust legal framework and rising house prices. The UK property market is a benefactor of controlled planning and strict regulations that ensure a degree of legitimacy that cannot be found overseas.


Over the past 20 years residential property has been a lower risk, less volatile and more profitable investment than investing in the whole basket of UK companies. (FT Adviser)


Now is a great time to be a landlord in the UK. The International Trade Secretary confirmed that more than £16 billion of investment in 2016 came from overseas. Additionally, the lag on property building activity seen over the past two decades translates into a housing shortfall keeping prices at an attractive high.

As the UK becomes progressively more crowded, it is set to eclipse the population of Germany in the coming years, despite the fact the UK is three times smaller in size. These two factors present investors with the opportunity to secure long-term investments providing predictable return on investment (ROI) for years to come.

In the last decade, the overall population of the UK has increased by 7% to just over 63 million, this increase alongside the lack of new homes available on the market has created a shortage of ‘Build To Rent’ property. Equally as favourable for potential investors is the increased regulations and borrowing criteria following the financial crisis in 2007, making borrowing harder for first time buyers.

Buy-to-let landlords who have significant capital readily available, can cost effectively invest in one or more properties. In addition, interest rates are at an all time low, with the Bank of England deciding to keep interest rates at a steady, low figure for some time. The decision was also taken to keep interest rates on hold in the aftermath of the brexit vote and recently this continued after the UK general election, ensuring that the investment market continually ripens. It could be said that the equilibrium between the factors mentioned, make current economic climate the perfect time to invest in the UK property market.

MCR Homes’s team of experts, utilise their extensive property expertise to provide international investors with a service that allows them to safely invest capital in properties from overseas without ever stepping foot inside the unit(s). Our Business Development team has a collective 60+ years experience in the property market, with bi-lingual staff that consult around the world on a daily basis. Since launching, MCR Homes has experienced a vast influx of foreign investment, with overseas investors capitalising on the favourable environment the UK market offers to them.

Overseas Investors Offered Golden Opportunity to Purchase UK Property

The result of last week’s general election led to the pound falling to an eight-week low and demonstrating once again the vulnerability of Sterling in the current economic climate.

Sterling tumbled around 0.6 per cent to 1.1311 against the euro and 1.2689 against the US dollar after losing around 1.5 per cent on Friday after the UK election ended in hung parliament.

Although the currency recovered once Theresa May announced her intentions of forming a coalition with the Democratic Unionist party (DUP), overseas investors may look to take advantage of the pound’s depreciation value against other major foreign currencies.

Since the vote to leave the European Union, many international property investors have been attracted to the UK property market. This further decline in the pound coupled with a lack of supply and ever-growing demand could encourage further investment.

Hong Kong and China, both corporate individual investors, will remain a magnet for UK property investment despite future uncertainty.

“The worst-case scenario for overseas investors, including from Hong Kong, was a Labour victory,” said George Brock, a political analyst. “Its manifesto promised to raise corporation tax from 19 to 26 per cent. To fund its very ambitious objectives, it would have to raise taxes. The easiest targets are foreigners, the wealthy and property. It could have imposed taxes on second properties and those purchased but left empty.”

“Since Britain is leaving the European Union, it needs foreign investment even more than ever,” said Brock. “China and Hong Kong are important sources of such investment. So Theresa May cannot afford to upset them.

“The UK has many attractions as an investment destination. It has a strong legal system and excellent lawyers which protect your asset. If you buy property in France or Spain, you discover there is a law or regulation you did not know about. London remains a global city that attracts and will continue to attract investment from around the world. You are buying a liquid asset.”

Property has shown for time and again that it will hold and increase its value in the face of political and economic turbulence. This latest general election makes it the third consecutive year where the British public have been required to turn out to the polls, following the EU referendum last year and a General Election in May 2016. The truth is that UK property, once again, is more than likely set to be the constant for those looking for safe haven for their money whether domestic or overseas.

Buy-To-Let Landlords Expand Portfolios Despite Uncertainty

New research from Mortgages for Business revealed that almost half (48%) of buy-to-let landlords are still looking to expand their portfolios despite recent tax changes in the industry and tougher lending conditions.

The existing phasing out of mortgage tax relief and the introduction last year of the 3% stamp duty surcharge for those acquiring an additional home, has not been enough to deter investors in the property market with figures rising from 45% in November and 41% a year ago.

The report also found that when it comes to buy-to-let mortgages, there has been a significant shift with 42% of landlords now opting for a five-year fix, up from 33% in November and twice the level recorded in May 2016.

Steve Olejnik, chief operating officer of Mortgages for Business, said: “Although we expect buy-to-let lending to reduce somewhat this year, these results demonstrate that landlords are a resilient bunch, capable of adapting their investment strategies to successfully accommodate the new fiscal and regulatory landscape.”

“Incorporation is becoming a standard practice and the move towards five year fixed rates allows landlords to maximise their borrowing options,” he added.

Mortgage Application Approvals Rose To More Than Two-Thirds in Q1

The rate of mortgage applications resulting in completions has risen to 69% in Q1 2017, up from less than half (48%) a year earlier.

This is welcome news to first-time buyers who fear that getting a foothold on the property ladder would become increasingly difficult for years to come. Research suggests that intense competition between lenders has forced them into making it easier for borrowers to access loans.

The figures published by Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) looked at mortgage applicants’ interactions with brokers from the first point of contact to completion of a loan. It found that 84% of applications by first-time buyers resulted in a mortgage offer, up from 70% in the first three months of 2016.

Peter Williams, IMLA executive director, said: “First-time buyers’ struggles have been highly publicised, with affordability stretched by rising house prices and modest income growth. However, rising levels of mortgage inquiries, applications and completions shows that a significant number of first-time buyers are still both willing and able to get a foot on the property ladder.”

“Low mortgage rates have contributed to this improving outlook for first-time mortgage borrowers.”

Separate lending figures, released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), suggest the first time buyer market is in improving health, showing that first time buyers borrowed £12.3 billion in the first quarter of 2017, up 10% from the first quarter of 2016.

Overall there is an improving picture for residential buyers who are taking their first steps in the road to purchasing their own home. At MCR Homes, we understand that finding your perfect home can be a difficult process and we are here to help. We have an expansive choice of properties, any of which could be just perfect for you. Click here to find your new home.

 

Asking Prices Hit a Record High in May

The average asking price for a property in the UK hit a new record high this month, despite speculation around the housing market slowing down in light of the snap election and Brexit.

Following on from our most recent article, How Will The Snap Election Affect The UK Property Market?, figures released by Right Move reaffirm the strength in the property market with the election run-up and Brexit uncertainty failing to knock market momentum.

RightMove House Price Index reported a 1.2 per cent rise on the average price of a UK home, making the average, a high figure of £317,281, an increase of £3,626 from the previous peak in April 2017. Asking prices have been on an upward trend for the past five years and during that time the average price tag of a home is up by £60,000.

Director of Rightmove, Miles Shipside said: “Whilst all-time high asking prices or economic and political uncertainty could be deterrents to would-be home buyers, this month shows another strong set of figures.”

Pre-election periods often cause a pause in housing activity, but the number of sales agreed by estate agents was 2% higher in the year to date than the same period in the previous election year of 2015, Rightmove said.

“Demand is exceeding supply in many parts of the country and continues to push up the prices of newly-marketed homes. Spring is in the air and home movers are springing up the housing ladder.

The strongest sector for price growth appears to be typical family homes and the report from Rightmove states typical family homes have seen the biggest price rise, recording a 5.4% year-on-year jump.

“What seems to be happening is that moving pressures are understandably taking priority over electioneering and Brexit worries. For many in this group, it seems that moving is definitely on their manifesto.”

At MCR Homes, we understand that finding your perfect home can be a difficult process and we are here to help. We have an expansive choice of properties, any of which could be just perfect for you.

How Will The Snap Election Affect The UK Property Market?

Last month Theresa May announced a snap election scheduled for June 8th, with the vote approved almost unanimously by MPs in the House of Commons. This call for a snap election will mark the third consecutive year where the British public have been required to turn out to the polls, following the EU referendum last year and a General Election in May 2016.

The announcement caused concern for property owners and investors who felt they could be affected by instability in the market. This coupled with recent increases in Stamp Duty and continuing Brexit negotiations, would suggest that the property market would be feeling the pressure. However, this isn’t necessarily the case.

If the bold move made by Theresa May goes as planned – a Conservative Party win with an improved majority – it would provide smoother Brexit negotiations, leading to higher consumer confidence and a boost in housing market activity in the near future.

Regardless of the snap election result however, the demand for property in the UK will continue to rise. As a country with small landmass, an ever-increasing population, coupled with a housing shortage and an increase in single person households, it is clear that the price of homes will continue to increase in the same vein and provide a return on investment for years to come.

Since the vote to leave the EU, the UK property market has seen a huge surge in overseas investors looking to capitalise on the drop in value of the pound, and the market has remained remarkably resilient ever-since. The Telegraph reported that, “Middle and Far Eastern buyers have been particularly active in the last year, almost doubling the amount of money they have spent in the UK’s regional markets in 2016 to around £1.9bn. In total, foreign investors accounted for nearly one third of all investment that took place in the UK regional commercial property market last year.”

Usually, an election is announced much further in advance, giving the market at least six months to consider political uncertainty. However, given the short notice, there has been little chance for an impact on activity. The view that some predicted of a slump in property sales this year, hasn’t transpired and in fact we have seen a rise, meaning that buyers and sellers have continued to go about their business as usual. In a report by the Telegraph earlier this year they found that, “The average house in Britain will be worth £220,000 this year – up £9,000 on 2016 levels”. Despite high profile elections in each of the past two summers, the housing market has remained strong which is testament to the population’s desire to move home and not be put off by uncertainty.

At MCR Homes, we feel that property sales show no signs of slowing up. Regardless of the result, the UK will continue to prioritise the demand for housing and drive forward the performance of the already buoyant property investment market, for both domestic and international investors.

At MCR Homes, we provide clients with our expertise in both the private rented sector (PRS) and residential markets, imparting our advice to aid you in making key decisions at every stage of each purchase process. Whether you’re buying a home or investing, MCR Homes’s offering is distinctive, in that we offer secure stand-alone investment property in the UK and international markets.

The Northern Powerhouse: Investing in Manchester

Over the last few years, The Northern Powerhouse term has made headlines across the world and is key topic for discussion regarding UK Investment. The strategy has made huge strides towards changing the UK property market, shifting the focus away from London towards the North of England, attracting high-profile overseas investors from China and the Far East.

The Northern Powerhouse strategy, first proposed by Chancellor George Osbourne, revolved around pooling the strengths of northern towns, cities and counties and tackling barriers of productivity to liberate the full economic potential of the North. The aim was to address the economic imbalance between London and the south east and the rest of the UK. The strategy encompasses some of the largest regional economies including Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle

Since 2015 the North has seen inward investment skyrocket by nearly a quarter from the previous year, creating more than 13,000 new jobs in the region. To further support this progress of investment in the North, the government provided £7 million to establish a Northern Powerhouse Investment Taskforce and £15 million to support Northern Powerhouse trade missions. Theresa May’s government is continuing in the same vein delivering pledges to transform the north into a major economic player; with £13billion in transport-investment promised over the course of this Parliament.

Since 2011 nearly 500,000 workers made a 30km commute into London, this figure is double the amount that travelled the same distance to work across all six of the major city regions in the north. To counteract this, the government is driving large-scale investment in the North’s transport and regional-connectivity: this includes £161 million to accelerate the transformation of the M62 into a ‘smart’ motorway, £60 million development funding for the Northern Powerhouse Rail and £161 million to uphold the rollout of smart and integrated ticketing systems across the North.  

Foreign investment is key to building the Northern Powerhouse and in June 2016, Manchester Airport began running direct flights to Beijing to encourage Chinese investment in the region, as well as increasing trade and tourism between the two cities and the attraction of prestigious universities for chinese students. As a result of this, Chinese inquiries into Manchester property has jumped by more than 50%. The government also published a Northern Powerhouse Investment Portfolio, showcasing projects worth over £5 billion and keeping investors up-to-date with the most exciting opportunities available across the North.

The Northern Powerhouse strategy continues to surge forward making Manchester and other cities property investment hotspots for domestic and international investors. According to reports, Manchester is currently the strongest UK property market outside of London, with the highest rental yields and house prices rising faster than any other city in the UK.

Known as the ‘Capital of the North’, Manchester is increasingly becoming more and more recognised as a compelling proposition for overseas investors, not just the most attractive option outside London but a genuine alternative to it. Its economic performance, its demographic of renting young professionals, and its ever-rising population. According to the Telegraph, Greater Manchester’s population of 2.8 million is expected to surpass three million by 2035 which ultimately means, 10,300 new homes are required every year until 2035.

The current performance of property in Manchester looks promising for the future and over the last three years 45 per cent of residential sales across the city were completed for less than £125,000. Also, a recent report from LendInvest, an online property investment company, found that Manchester provides the most profitable rental returns in the UK for landlords. The rental yield on buy-to-let properties in Manchester from 2010-2016 was 6.8% compared to an average of 5.7% in London.

With the city experiencing huge investment in its infrastructure, including a £1bn airport project due to be completed over the next ten years to further encourage foreign investment, it’s clear to see that Manchester will go from strength-to-strength, creating new employment opportunities and bolstering the local economy. 

Swindon Development Shortlisted For Another Award

We are delighted to announce that our Swindon-based development, Electra & Guild House, has been shortlisted as a finalist for the West of England LABC Building Excellence Awards 2017 for the ‘Best Change of Use of an Existing Building or Conversion’ category.

MCR Homes was delighted to turn the disused office space into much needed homes and earlier this year, Electra & Guild House was awarded with the LABC award for ‘Best Flat Conversion of 2017’. This was for our work on the contemporary development that boasts modern interior layouts in all of its Studio, One and Two-Bedroom apartments.

The Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Building Excellence Awards celebrate the vital elements needed for the creation of excellent buildings. The largest business to business awards in the building control sector, the LABC awards recognise quality in all types of building projects. They reward excellent buildings, outstanding companies, and partnerships and individuals that go that extra mile.

What LABC look for:

• High levels of compliance with building regulations

• Effective working relationships with LABC surveyors

• Outstanding craftsmanship

• Technical innovation

• Sustainability and high performance

• Ability to solve technical problems with creative solutions

• Use of innovative products and the skills to overcome difficult site conditions

The MCR Homes team are looking forward to attending the West of England LABC Building Excellence Awards ceremony in Bristol on July 14th where the winners will be announced.

The award-winning development, now with 80% sold, is projected to be a very strong investment both in terms of yields and capital growth. Swindon town centre continues to expand through inward investment, new infrastructure and a growing commuter population; which provides the perfect opportunity for savvy investors.