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Superb Investment Opportunity on the North Wales Coast

This 8 bed house is a perfect investment opportunity.

Set over 4 floors, with 2 kitchens and 4 bathrooms, this property includes a 2 bed self-contained basement flat.

Just 5 miles from the historic Conwy Castle and with beach views.

Asking price £285,000

Call our office on 0151 200 2102 for more information

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Best areas for property investors in Wirral?

Many of our clients are from out of area and want advice on the best areas to invest in the Wirral. When investors come to our offices for the first time we sit them down in front of the large Wirral wall map and discuss what the area is like, highlighting the areas that are probably of most interest.

Not everyone can make it to us in Hamilton Square, so for those investors from further afield here are the main highlights of my regular introduction to investing in the Wirral.

The peninsula is an oblong shape, roughly 15 miles long by 7 miles wide, bisected by the M53 motorway which runs north to south through the middle of the area.  The major towns are Birkenhead and Wallasey to the east and Heswall and West Kirby to the west.

 

Although a bit of a generalisation, the east tends to be older, higher density and lower value properties whilst the west has larger higher value property.  To get a higher yield from your investment property you should be looking in the east, and this is where we will be concentrating on this post.

Major areas of interest:

Central Birkenhead, around Laird St and Park Road North.

North Birkenhead (locals call it The North End), but selective parts only.

Tranmere, especially the area between the parks.

Rockferry and parts of New Ferry.

East of Wallasey and Liscard, but not Seacombe.

New Brighton, especially the south and older properties in the east.

Parts of the Noctorum, Beechwood and Woodchurch estates.

The Wirral is unusual in that it is fairly common to have some very high value property enclaves abutting run down areas and particularly difficult streets.  Local knowledge is key to ensure you buy in the right areas to maximise your rent and avoid the known problem areas.

Contact Andrew@hamiltonsquareestates.com for more information

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New build property investment returns: Liverpool V’s Manchester V’s Birkenhead.

We have all heard a lot over the past months about the death of new build buy to let investment in the UK. Undoubtedly the second homes SDLT surcharge has caused investors to carefully consider the maths for new purchases. Likewise, the upcoming changes to the taxation of mortgage interest relief will cause many landlords with existing portfolios to reconsider their position. So with these changes already known, why is BTL still considered not just a viable, but a desirable investment?

My area of interest is the North West of England, particularly the areas around Manchester, Leeds and Merseyside. We presented a couple of investment seminars at this year’s Homeowner and Property Investor Show in Docklands Arena. They were standing room only, so we know there is plenty of interest from out of (our) area investors wanting to buy here. We also run tours for investors around the local area to highlight the vast range of projects currently underway (see Liverpool and Wirral Waters, the new Liverpool 2 port, China Town, Salford Quays, et al in my previous posts). We have around 2 groups a week here from London for our own Grand Tour – think Clarkson, Hammond and May but with fewer car crashes and more coffee.

The most regularly asked question is about the comparative returns available on new build between Manchester, Liverpool and Wirral, and what are the prospects for the 3 areas.

My own view is that they all have their own merits, depending on your aims. There is no space on this short post to go into too much detail, but in brief:

    Manchester

Manchester offers the widest range of existing high quality provision. The market for better quality apartments is more mature than the other areas, and the job prospects for the city are very good. Unfortunately this is reflected in the prices, with current new build 1 bed flats achieving around £2,100 per M2. Prices start around £110,000 per unit for mid-range developments on the periphery of the city centre. Rents are high compared to the wider region, but so are prices. Despite this gross yields are around 5.5%, with net yields of 4.2% in better quality new-build sites.

    Liverpool

Liverpool has seen very rapid development, in the past 5 years particularly, driven by the rapidly improving local economy and some major infrastructure investments. Prices are still far below Manchester levels but rising quickly, as are rental rates – 1 bed flats close to the river regularly go for £685 pcm. If you are looking for an absolute bargain you are probably 18 months too late, although there are still some very good buys available if you know where to look. Prices range from £1,500 – £2,000 per M2, with the prices rising the closer you get to the River Mersey, particularly in the L1, L4 and L69 postcodes. Gross yields are averaging at 7%, or 5.6% net.

    Wirral

Wirral is still the wild west for new build investors. Until recently there was not much good quality stock to buy into, although things are now changing. A number of schemes are completing and there are other interesting developments in the pipeline around the Birkenhead and West Kirby areas in particular. The area benefits from being only 10 minutes by train from Liverpool centre. We see more people moving from Liverpool to Wirral to take advantage of the lower prices whilst still retaining access to the big city experience. Good quality stock goes for around £1,400 per M2. Gross yields are holding at 8.5%, Net around the 7.2% level.

conway-st-to-tunnel

So, who comes out top? For range of options Manchester is difficult to beat. If your target investment is only city centres then Liverpool is a very good bet, especially the area south of the Albert Dock and into the Baltic Triangle.

However, our winner is Birkenhead. Our view is that east Wirral in particular offers the best opportunity for price increases in the next 1 – 5 years, coming off its current low (some would say undervalued) base.

With low but rising prices and high yields, coupled with the 10 minute transit time to Liverpool city centre for both work and leisure, Birkenhead is our top tip for property investors in the region.

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Merseyside tops Property Investment league table

I post regularly on some national blogs, and have included a copy below of something that affects all local investors.  It is a map showing likely investment returns for all areas of England, and Liverpool has done well as expected.  However, my gripe was with the mapping which put Wirral in with Clwyd for some reason.  Extracting this and combining all Merseyside as one entity puts our area firmly at the top of the table.  A link to the original post is below, with my comments under this.

https://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2016/5/revealed–where-the-highest-rental-yields-will-be-in-2020-apparently

 

Interesting article. My only complaint is with whoever drew up the mapping and their reasons for drawing the boundaries as they did. My area of interest is Merseyside and North Wales and so took particular note of this part of the map. Three points to note are:

1. Wirral is part of Merseyside and should have been included within their boundary, not Clwyd. Wirral currently has some of the highest yields of anywhere in the country, even higher than Liverpool. Inclusion of Wirral within the Liverpool map would have pushed Merseyside to the very top of the returns table. Prices in Wirral are some 10- 15% lower across the range than comparables in Liverpool, but rents are almost identical for all property types outside the immediate Liverpool city centre area.

2. Wirral will be included within the area of the Merseyside metropolitan area under control of the new Metro Mayor from next year. So far, so dull. However, Wirral will then be subject to the policies of new Mayor, with devolved powers that affect housing, transport and inward investment. The Mayor is likely to be Joe Anderson, the current Labour party Mayor of Liverpool. You may or may not like some of his policies but he has a good track record of leveraging in funds for the city region. His policies for housing and transport in particular look credible, and he has a very good track record of representing the Liverpool region on the international stage, bring in more investment.

3. There are huge programmes of infrastructure improvements and inward investment on both sides of the Mersey that should push values on at pace equally in Liverpool and Wirral. These are being instigated by Peel Group (owners of pretty much the whole of both banks of the River Mersey) under the banners of Liverpool Waters and Wirral Waters. House prices do not yet reflect these major upcoming changes and so yields will remain high in the medium term until prices reflect these improvements to the Mersey basin area.

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Property Investor Show April 2016 – Hamilton Square Estates, CH41 Wirral, UK

Invest Northwest Seminar - Hamilton Square EstatesHamilton Square Estates recently attended the Property Investor Show at London ExCel and were overwhelmed by the interest shown in our seminar on “Invest Northwest” and at our Stand in the main Exhibition Hall.

Over 200 delegates attended our seminar, with many having to stand, and the general consensus of the audience was the amazement at the exciting infrastructure and property projects already completed and planned in the Northwest. The presentation describes many of these projects, provides an overview of the region, and identifies some of the considerations in investing in the area. This presentation is available to view and download here: [button link=”https://hamiltonsquareestates.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Seminar-Presentation-Pack.pdf” target=”_blank” arrow=”button”]Seminar Presentation[/button]

 

Hamilton Square Estates - Stand 1Our stand had a constant flow of visitors throughout the two days with over 100 delegates registering their interest in Hamilton Square Estates and our extensive services.

Our brochure is also available to view and download here: [button link=”https://hamiltonsquareestates.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Brochure-v4.2-FINAL.pdf” target=”_blank” arrow=”button”]Brochure[/button]

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Maritime Hub – Wirral’s new Innovation Centre

Yet more about improvements to the local economy, this time the Maritime Hub Innovation Centre at Four Bridges.

 

I have blogged about this in past weeks but now have a good video clip that explains more.

 

I drive past this site every day and can see what is happening.  Things are starting to come together and this new training and knowledge centre will no doubt become an important driver for the higher tech / higher quality jobs that are the future of any major economy.

 

Peel Holdings, who own the site, have a strategy to develop the Mersey basin.  Both local and national government have latched on to the possibilities here and there actually seems to be some joined up thinking going on.  The possibilities to redesign the city region’s economy are immense.  This Maritime Hub will no doubt play an important part in supplying the training and support needed to achieve this.

 

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What is Wirral Waters?

A client has just been to view 3 of our investment properties currently on the market.  They are all in an area close to East Float in Birkenhead.  After showing her the houses we chatted about what was happening locally and I was surprised to hear she was unaware of Wirral Waters.  So what is Wirral Waters and how will it affect you?

Wirral Waters is Peel Holdings plan to develop the Wirral side of the Mersey into an international trade and development area.  Allied to that are plans to also build a technology and innovation centre, with the whole thing centred around the East and West Float areas between Wallasey and Birkenhead.  It will be Europe’s biggest building site during construction and will transform the Wirral when complete.

I have attached a video link which explains things in slightly more detail, although there is much more about Wirral Waters available on-line for those who want to know more.

 

 

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Wirral Property – House Price News

 Latest data on house price changes in Wirral make interesting reading.  The headline figure is that prices are up an average £8,653 or 4.21% across the area.  This is slightly below the national average of a 5.2% increase.

This shows an average sale price of £199,017 for Wirral, with 2,035 sales taking place in our area within the past 12 months.  Property prices are now higher than before the property crash of 2008 – 2011.

Within Wirral the usual areas remain popular, with Heswall and West Kirby doing well according to our friends at Zoopla.  Less expected is the resurgence of values within the Noctorum area.  Vyner Road South has done particularly well in the past year, but so has the whole area between Noctorum Lane to West Rd.  Clatterbridge has out performed the local market and looks set to continue the trend, with some good quality properties coming to market.

The most surprising data related to parts of New Brighton.  The area around Warren Drive has seen substantial activity and has done very well.  There are a number of large, well appointed houses and there seems to be an increased interest in the market.  It is about time that all the fantastic improvements in New Brighton are reflected in the local house prices.  I am sure this trend will continue.

My tips for the coming months?  Upton and New Brighton for owner occupiers.

For investors, however, things are very different.  Demand remains high for single bed flats, and for 2 and 3 bed houses.  Rents are stable in Wirral despite reports of a slowing trend in other part of UK.

The Council’s selective licencing scheme is about to come into effect.  The expectation is that it will drive down prices in the affected areas for a few years, as more properties are “forced” on to the market.  We should then expect prices to rise again, fairly sharply I suspect, as the benefits of the scheme become manifest.  Avoid buying in those areas for now.

Central Birkenhead, Tranmere and Rock Ferry continue to offer some of the best yields for investors.  That’s where my money is going.

 
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Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone – East Float expansion confirmed

A DISUSED Grade II Victorian building on the banks of East Float, by Twelve Quays, is set to receive a new lease of life.  It will become an education and collaboration campus for advanced manufacturing and engineering skills in a £20m scheme.

The historic Hydraulic Tower building, which once used to drive the lock gates and bridges in the Birkenhead Docks, is the centre piece of a new project that aims to provide the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to support the Northern Powerhouse agenda.

A private and public sector consortium behind the initiative, including Mersey Maritime, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and the Peel Group, have revealed a vision for the site at an event held as part of London Shipping Week.

It is expected to take three years to complete and aims to benefit the local economy with skills development and opportunities for knowledge-sharing.

The tower, which is modelled on Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio, is located in the heart of the Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone, part of which is focused on advanced manufacturing and engineering, automotive, energy, maritime and business services.

Mersey Maritime acting chief executive Chris Shirling-Rooke said:“This is a real partnership between local private and public sector organisations, working towards a common cause.

“We have a unique chance to create a lasting legacy by developing knowledge, increasing productivity and driving our economy forward.

“As well as the direct benefits to employers, we see the knowledge hub as having huge potential to act as a catalyst for other developments, both in creating an environment that fosters entrepreneurship and in helping to regenerate this part of the community.”

 

This latest announcement builds on the current construction already taking place around Twelve Quays.  The new Wirral Met campus is shortly to open, and the new offices for The Contact Company open next month in the same area.  With around 400 new jobs this has to be great news for the Wirral as a whole and central Birkenhead in particular.

 

There is a definite buzz around the docks and Hamilton Square that I have not seen before in my 22 years in the area.  The business climate seems to be changing, and more importantly I believe that people’s perceptions of Birkenhead as a potential place to do business are also changing.  At Hamilton Square Estates we have seen a marked upturn in interest in rental of commercial premises in the area.  Could we be at the tipping point – increasing numbers of businesses looking for space locally, and a virtuous circle of more jobs and investment (and increased commercial property prices) around the corner?

 

I think we will know the answer within the next 12 months.

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Liverpool Property Investment

Details of the latest Liverpool housing developments are below, which may be of interest to our landlord and developer friends.

£10.5m conversion of an empty office building in Liverpool into 136 “micro apartments” looks set to get the go ahead from councillors on the city’s planning committee next week.

Rich Link Investments’ plan for 2 Moorfields for the change of use of the first to fourth floors to residential apartments has been brought back to planners following a disagreement with the city council in October over the payment £388,340 for nearby public art and the provision of off-site space ahead of the start of development work.

Planning officers have recommended approval of the project on grounds that the proposed conversion “will regenerate a vacant building and contribute to the local economy by providing new residential accommodation and increasing football across the area”.

When the development was originally presented to the planning committee in October, councillors voiced their concern about the smallness of the apartments – 25sq metres – with one member reported by the Liverpool Echo describing them as “like rabbit hutches”.

Councillors at the meeting on Thursday June 9 are also being advised to nod through plans for a nine-storey development of 101 apartments including ground floor commercial use at Riverside on Sefton Street and Stanhope Street.

The application from X1 Developments is for 0.2 hectares of land which forms part of a larger development site covering land bounded by Parliament Street, Stanhope Street, Caryl Street and Sefton Street.

The site has been partially developed by Vermont Developments after it was given permission for a mixed development comprising five blocks – one 22-storey and four others seven to 10-storeys high containing 374 units, a 145-bed hotel, a 1,200sq m leisure centre/spa and a 1,400sq m restaurant bar and 600sq m of retail space.

However, Vermont went into administration early in the build, leaving phase one (Block 3) complete and occupied, phase two (Bock 2) under way, but the remainder of the site in an unfinished state for a number of years.

Late in 2013, construction works re-started and Block 2 is now complete and Block 4 is under way. XI Developments’ application replaces the previous 22-storey (Block 1) proposal.

Councillors will also be asked to give the green light to plans for an eight-storey office building with flexible ground floor space at Princes Dock.

The application for the development on what is currently a 0.18 hectare car park has been made by Peel Holdings and will include retail financial and professional, as well as food and drink and office use.

Elsewhere in the city, a plan has been brought forward to demolish the four-storey Cressington House employment office in St Mary’s Road.

Applicant Trillum (Prime) Property GP was to build 32 houses on the rectangular plot in the Cressington Park Conservation Area.

The outline permission request seeks only to establish the principle of residential development and means of access from St Mary’s Road, but specifies it is for 32 two-storey houses.

A scheme for 74 apartments on the site of a large former canal side warehouse last used as a BMW Garage and workshop at Vauxhall Road in Liverpool has also been recommended for approval.

Two four-storey blocks will house 35 flats (14 two bed, 21 one bed), 23 flats (12 two bed and 11 one bed and a three-storey block 16 flats (nine two bed and seven one bed). The applicant is MV Canal Ltd.

Also under consideration is a plan to convert Liverpool City Mission in the Kensington Fields Conservation Area on the corner of Jubilee Drive, Edinburgh Road and Leopold Road into a development of 42 apartments for working at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and at the city’s universities.

Internal works would create six floors within the property with each apartment operating as a duplex.

Officers are once again recommending approval with a report to the committee stating the “application would bring the whole building back to use and secure investment to the exterior of the building”.

Exciting times for the city, as developers once again pile money into large scale new build and conversions.  As those readers of last weeks Sunday Times will know, Liverpool was rated as one of the cities generating the highest yields on BTL investments.  Add in what it happening to the city as a whole (and the macro economic data) and I am expecting house prices to start climbing more rapidly throughout the city region.