Shared Ownership vs. Buy to Let

The British property marketing is booming at the moment with many eagerly applying for buy to let mortgages. Landlord loans have become extremely popular as a means of investment for aspiring property owners who may be retiring in a few years. On the other hand, those finding it difficult to get into the property market due to the drastic property increases have turned to shared ownership as a means to get a foot in the door. It’s clear that the two are suited to two different demographics.

Buy To Let

This is a highly attractive option for buyers, but without looking at the statistics and areas many property owners are set to lose money in the long-run. The buy to let market has forced many first-time property purchasers into private rentals because the mortgages are too high. At this stage the buy to let market is a win-win situation for investors who have done their homework and research.  Buy to let properties are extremely popular amongst the older generation who are able to afford the increased prices, but the rentals are too expensive for those who can’t afford the expensive mortgages.

Shared Ownership

This is the perfect scheme for first-time buyers who don’t want to be forced into the private rental sector and pay the exorbitant rental prices set by landlords. Shared ownership mortgages are steadily increasing as the younger generation want to find their feet in a market they can’t get a grip on. Buy to let may not be readily available to the younger market, but it means that as they use the staircasing scheme they will eventually own their home, just without the pocket-battering financial demands.

Shared Ownership mortgages and landlord loans are easier to apply for with the ease in restrictions by banking institutions. Many banks have dropped their interest rates to unbelievable lows to entice buyers into the fold. Many are jumping on the bandwagon because many of the rates will never be repeated again. It seems that there is a clear divide between who can afford what and why. As buy to let continues to climb, the younger generation will continue to look at shared ownership as their most viable options to assist them with secure long-term investments.

Investment in London Office Space Spiked in 2012

The property market may be tumultuous, but investment in London office space appears to be picking up the slack as pundits step forward to report massive growth in this sector specifically. Many international business people have lauded London as a location to locate a company headquarters for years and those voices have apparently been heard as, despite international economic uncertainty, businesses swarm into ‘The Big Smoke.’ There are many options, enough to fill a guide, when considering a London office; two of the most popular is attempting this privately while the low-maintenance option is approaching an agency like Instant offices to take all the difficulty out of the establishment.

Statistical Evidence

Meticulous research from BNP Paribas Real Estate has revealed investment in Central London office space rose a whopping 33% in 2012 to the tune of £12.5 billion. That figure is an overall comparison when looking back to 2011 but Q4 2012 figures did see a knock of 14%; although this still puts it head and shoulders above any figure from 2011. In terms of raw investment, the West End saw the greatest amount of attention which is telling and educational to anyone looking to break into investment of offices; it can get quite competitive so avoiding the West End might even be a good idea. While globally investors feel as if they’re walking on egg shells, the London office market has proven itself to be a sage and viable investment option for them.

Anecdotal Evidence

Further proof of London making the jobs of investors in office space easier is one of the largest fund management and investment firms in the world, Goldman Sachs, setting up a giant 1.2m square feet office in London; this supplies more anecdotal than statistical proof but in this case the result is loud and clear. With the leaders in business around the world filing for a London office, you can be clear that 2013 is going to mark even great gains in this sector of the market.

The Most Expensive Street in London and the UK has been Crowned

The most expensive street

The most expensive street in London, England and Wales has been crowned just a short distance from the ever exclusive- Harrods. The residential properties lining the street of Egerton Crescent in South West London are some of the most expensive in London and in the UK. The most expensive street boasts properties worth millions including a four bedroom home at an astounding £12 million and the average £8.1 million is rivalling Hyde Park properties.

Millions and millions

The most expensive street in the UK is located close to the Victoria and Albert Museum and the expensive shops of Knightsbridge. The street is also located in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea which is also home to 5 other streets that made the most expensive list. Residential property prices continue to soar even more then was evident this past year, which is further fuelled by overseas investors seeking a safe investment haven in London property. The list of the 10 most expensive streets after a study conducted by Lloyds TBS is as follows:

1. Egerton Crescent, Kensington and Chelsea, London, £8.1m

2. Parkside, Merton, London, £5.2m

3. Campden Hill Square, Kensington and Chelsea, London, £4.9m

4. Blenheim Crescent, Kensington and Chelsea, London, £4.7m

5. Lansdowne Road, Kensington and Chelsea, London, £4.7m

6. Home Park Road, Merton, London, £4.7m

7. Drayton Gardens, Kensington and Chelsea, London, £4.4m

8. Eaton Square, Westminster, London, £4.4m

9. Lancaster Gate, Westminster, London, £4.4m

10. Duchess of Bedford’s Walk, Kensington and Chelsea, London, £4.2m

With the rise of central London properties, and with the increasing interest from overseas investors, the property market poses both opportunities and a place to spend an enormous amount of money.






Festive or Festering? Christmas Retail Sales Shed Light on UK Economy

Financial experts situated in serviced offices from around the world have labelled the UK’s Christmas retail sales as underwhelming. A crucial period for the trading sector, December failed to deliver the significant boost that was hoped for. Despite speculative whispers that the UK economy contracted at the close of last year, sales weren’t completely disastrous.  Not all retailers suffered the same fate however.

Here are 2012’s Christmas retail winners and losers:

  1. House of Fraser: This department store announced a 6.3% rise in like-for-like sales, with a 50% rise in online revenue. House of Fraser attributes its success to early discounting, as well as its focus on fashion.
  2. Next: Online sales and fewer clothing markdowns were behind the triumph of the UK’s second biggest clothing retailer this Christmas, which made a whopping £625m in sales.
  3. John Lewis: Like-for-like sales jumped by 13% in the five weeks leading up to Christmas day, with £1 out of every £4 attributed to the website orders.
  4. Morrisons: Christmas retail sales were recorded as dropping 2.5% for the grocery store as consumers migrated to cheaper rivals and online substitutes.

A clear trend of online consumerism could be seen in the overall festive spend, with brands that had online stores faring a lot better than their offline competitors. Retailers who failed to make the transition over Christmas missed out on the growing opportunity presented by the Internet to make more money.

Thinking of Purchasing a Shared Ownership Property?

Buying your own in home with the current economy is akin to climbing a financial mountain, and immediately people are put off at very thought of it. As a result of these financial hardships, shared ownership schemes are becoming more and more popular for people looking to get into the property market. These affordable housing schemes offer a couple of options for home-buyers looking to take part in the shared ownership property market.

Shared Ownership & Staircasing

This works on staircasing whereby buyers can look at initially purchasing 25% of the property and renting the additional 75% from the housing association. If you apply for a shared ownership mortgage and are approved for more than 25% of the buying price, you may buy more and rent the rest. As time goes on the shared ownership association gives you opportunity to buy more until eventually you own your entire property. This works according to what you can afford and what you qualify for.

Shared Equity

This is a Government scheme that works slightly differently in that it is slightly more complex. If you wish to purchase a property, the shared equity loan under the HomeBuy Direct Scheme, you can purchase a newly built property with a loan of a certain percentage. This particular shared ownership scheme means the mortgage is partially covered by the government, and developer, however it is completely essential that this point is discussed and understood when applying for shared equity. Each housing association working with shared ownership may have slightly different terms and conditions applicable to their council or borough, and these would need to be determined beforehand.

Shared ownership properties are meant to give people a start in a market that is infamously difficult to get into. The entire concept is there for assistance. With the shared ownership mortgage, payments and area, there is no reason why you can’t have the home of your dreams.

It’s common knowledge that London is one of the safest cities for property investment across the globe. However it is also common knowledge that the capital city dwellings are mainly reserved for high society – bankers, brokers, celebrities, chief executives etc. This is not necessarily true, though thanks to regeneration areas providing more inclusive investment and part buy part rent schemes supporting affordable living.

Many boroughs have welcomed the commitment of their councils as they collaborate with developers to create reasonably priced housing that will attract more diverse income groups. Read the rest of this entry »

Further Investments to Transform Tech City

Tech City

In the recent London business news surrounding the exciting Tech City development, David Cameron and Boris Johnson are making huge plans and investments to transform Tech City in East London. Plans have been unveiled that aim to transform Tech City into a centre for technology start ups and entrepreneurs. Tech City will see many visitors and investors from Manchester office space to other locations around the world.

Tech City transformation

Tech City is set to become the largest civil indoor space in the whole of Europe, which will play home to classrooms and workshops that will all be sporting the latest 3D printing technology. The transformation of Tech City will create an epicentre for business opportunities for companies to come together in the technological sphere. It will form a local community space where entrepreneurs can learn and create future business prospects, all centred around technological innovations and advancements. The investments pledged by Boris Johnson and David Cameron, as well as other individuals will also fund the building of a 200 person auditorium that will host an array of events from training activities, technology conferences, exhibitions, and workspaces.


Tech City is due to be completed by 2016 and many individuals in the technology field are incredibly excited about what Tech City represents and the opportunities it offers. With the success of this future development, the surrounding areas of Tech City may see many prominent companies rent office space to be in the action.


Property investment in London

Over the last year, property investment by foreigners in London has increased significantly. There are numerous reasons for foreigners seeing London as a viable option for property investment, including that it is relatively affordable for them and more importantly, that it is seen as a safe haven for investments, compared to the dire economic situation many countries across the world are faced with. In recent property investment news, Singaporeans are the new addition of Far East investors and their presence in the market is increasing many estate agents Paddington have said.

More foreign interest

The private sector is still demonstrating signs of strength with capital growth still having an excellent track record. The rush to purchase property investment real estate in London does not show any signs of slowing down, and next year may see even more investors join the Singaporeans in their interest. Singaporeans are the newest addition to the property investment movement because of the strength of the Singapore dollar opposed to the Sterling, making London real estate about 30% cheaper for them then it was 5 years ago.

Types of properties

Central London Estate Agents have said that the main trend in types of properties purchased or rented are one bed or two bedroom, two bathroom properties, as these are in highest demand by renters, but they are flexible about location. The new developments around London are also quite popular for property investment in London.

All-Time High for Landlord Loans

Good news for aspiring property investors – banks in the UK are currently issuing the highest number of “landlord loans” ever recorded in the country. Loans for buy-to-let properties have reached an all-time high, with as many as one in eight loan deals granted to those looking to become buy-to-let landlords.

According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the number of buy-to-let landlord loans in the UK currently stands at 12.7% (1.44 million loans), which is a significant increase compared to figures from ten years ago, when these loan deals stood at only 2.4% (275 500 loans). What has prompted buy-to-let and part-rent part-buy property investments to become such a large part of today’s property market? Read the rest of this entry »

Sale of Luxury Homes Decreases due to Stamp Duty

Luxury home news

In interesting luxury property news in London, the sale of luxury homes has significantly decreased. The main reason behind this slow down explained by many Central London Estate Agents may primarily be due to the government’s hefty new stamp duty tax.

New stamp duty

New Land Registry numbers have shown that homes worth more than £2 million have dropped almost a third compared to last year’s October month. The slow down and significant drop came after the announcement from the chancellor, George Osborn on the raise of stamp duty land tax in London, UK. The stamp duty applies to the sale of houses worth £2 million. The Land Registry Figures depict 262 transactions on homes priced £2 million or more in London in the third quarter of this year, opposed to a higher 370 transitions in the same period last year. The stamp duty tax change has significantly affected the property market, as well as both the domestic and international market. The future of the luxury property market in London may see a bit of change and possibly uncertainty.

Specific movement

There has been a generalised movement of estate agents distancing themselves from the property market regarding expensive, luxury homes such as certain Hyde Park property over the past few months, but it will be short lived.