Wow – what a start to the year! We normally get a slow down in this business around 10 December when everyone turns their mind to Christmas, and not buying, moving or renting houses. Last year was an exception and we were busy right up to 24 December 2015. Having got through that we were expecting the normal fairly flat January, and I could have not been more wrong. The doors at Hamilton Square Estates have been open to visitors from around the world.
At the time of writing we have had investor groups visiting us from Dubai, Russia, UAE, Singapore and Ireland as well as countless others from London and the south east of England. We have had our busiest sales month by quite some margin. On lettings, we have welcomed a number of clients from eastern Europe, Turkey and France, along with numerous new faces from the local area (and a few familiar faces returning to rent from us again). You are all very welcome.
The reason for some of this increased business is obvious – the imminent tax changes to the BTL environment. I will write more about this in one of my next posts. All I will say here is that if you are serious about investing then call us within weeks if you want to pick up an investment property without paying the extra 3% SDLT (stamp duty) which comes in to force on 1 April.
Another less obvious reason, to some, is the changing market in Merseyside. The Sunday Times newspaper wrote on 24 January that they viewed Merseyside as one of the top 2 places in UK for BTL investment in 2016. If you have read my previous blogs you will know about Liverpool 2, Wirral Waters, et al and the affect this is likely to have on our local housing market. These plans, along with Wirral Council’s announcement this week of a further £150 million investment targeted at bringing businesses and jobs to the CH41 postcode (ie. Birkenhead), have started bearing fruit already. Sites that were mothballed now have cranes working on them again, other sites that everyone wrote off 5 years ago suddenly have several bidders vying to purchase and develop them.
Life for us is suddenly very busy, and 10pm finishes are not uncommon during the week. The Government in its wisdom has increased the burden on landlords. The legal requirements placed on us as both landlords and agents are greater than ever and I do not see it getting anything but more complex over the coming years. If you own a BLT and self manage then please do keep up to date with the changes. There are weekly reports of fines being levied on well meaning landlords who simply were not aware of the changed environment.
I continue with my landlord training sessions, either 1 on 1 or in small groups. These are free to attend, as I see it as important to be dealing with investors who know about different investment strategies and have the knowledge to consider tax planning implications, net yield calculations, etc. You now need a clearer view of your objectives than ever if you are to make a good go of this business. Hopefully my sessions will give both novice and experienced investors some ideas on how to structure their business for maximum profitability – and how to keep within the law whilst doing it!
I will be blogging in the next few days on Wirral and Liverpool investment hotspots. As ever, the data can be confusing. I try and combine the latest figures from the big portals with local knowledge and sprinkling of fairly dust to come up with a few suggestions. As a taster on my thoughts; HMO’s are all the rage, student lets are less popular with smaller investors as the segment becomes dominated by PLC’s, built to rent will change the whole market over the medium term and you will be hearing a lot more about the Merseyside investment market in the national press in 2016.
With knowledge and integrity – together we can build a great property investment business for the future. Best wishes to all our friends and clients for 2016.