8 Reasons Why Bristol is One of the Best Places to Live in the UK

Bristol has been named as the best place to live in Britain, according to a 2017 guide by the Sunday Times. The annual list considers such factors as crime rate, school performance and house prices, with Bristol seeing off stiff competition to take this year’s prize.

Buy-to-let investors looking at Bristol property should hereby be confident that demand for rental homes is strong. A high-quality of life creates jobs, increases commerce and boosts the local economy, meaning you’ll attract tenants who’re willing to stay in the area long-term.

We’ve put together eight reasons why Bristol topped the Sunday Times poll to become the best place to live in the UK.

1. Quality of Life

Bristol has something for everyone, from idyllic landscapes to a host of trendy bars and restaurants. In recent years, this has been supplemented by low unemployment, excellent public services and falling crime rates.

Fantastic views are only a step away from trendy bars in Bristol.

Image credit: Harshil Shah via Flickr

2. Local Economy

Continued investment in Bristol shows confidence remains in the area. The local economy grew by 2.4% in 2016 to be worth £13.6 billion, with a further increase of 15.7% expected by 2026. One example comes with the Bristol Temple Quarter development, creating nearly 20,000 jobs and adding a further £100m a year to the city’s already booming economy.

3. Jobs

The Sunday Times poll found that Bristol offers a “glamorous, creative, hi-tech and professional” variety of jobs, with an above average UK wage of £23,000 per annum. Graduates are increasingly likely to find work in the region and then rely on the rental sector for somewhere to live.

4. Universities

Bristol comprises two major universities, the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England, as well as a host of colleges. This creates fantastic demand for accommodation, especially in areas near to university buildings, bars and local amenities.

University of Bristol buildings are scattered throughout the city.

Image credit: Andrea Vail via Flickr

5. Location

Bristol was praised for being “handily placed for seaside and scenery” but “hardly cut off at the same time”. You’re only a short drive away from gorgeous beaches and holiday resorts, whilst journey times to London, Cardiff, Plymouth and Birmingham can all be made in under two hours via train.

6. Transport

As noted, Bristol isn’t cut off from the rest of the UK despite its ‘independent’ attitude. The M32 runs directly into the centre, with the M4 and M5 close by as well. Buses serve the city centre well, with an impressive number of urban cycle routes also.

Bristol is surrounded by motorways, had a good bus network, excellent cycle networks and two major train stations.

Image credit: Hugh Llewelyn via Flickr

7. Culture

There are plenty of attractions in the city, notably Bristol Zoo, Brunel’s SS Great Britain and the Clifton Suspension Bridge, along with a host of parks, museums, religious sites and activity centres. Looking for somewhere to eat? Bristol can compete with any city in the UK for its cuisine options, as noted on the Visit Bristol website.

8. Property Hotspot

With a steady supply of students and young professionals, the buy-to-let sector in Bristol is booming. As the city continues to attract investment and provide a high-quality of life, the likelihood of people remaining is strong. The property market as a whole is forecast to perform well in 2017 and is currently outpacing London with a 9.2% annual price growth.


Bristol isn’t the only city in the South West that is hot for property investors right now. Check out these 5 Reasons Why Now is the Time to Invest in Plymouth.

Landlords! Here’s What You Need to Know About Right to Rent

One of your responsibilities as a private landlord is to check if prospective tenants have the ‘right to rent’ in the UK. It stems from the Immigration Act of 2014, a measure designed to make it difficult for illegal migrants to remain here undetected.

The 2015 Immigration Bill builds on this, granting increased eviction powers for authorities and criminal penalties for non-compliance.

Investing in property comes with more responsibilities than you may think.

As a landlord, these ‘right to rent’ responsibilities can only add extra weight to an already stressful workload. In addition, some tenants make it difficult to obtain their personal information or simply produce fake documents.

This is why we recommend making your investment through a professional lettings agent such as Aspen Woolf. We’ll take care of these requirements on your behalf, using a team of legal specialists to verify documents and even take liability if financial penalties do arise.

By doing so, this will help secure your investment and maximise its potential earnings.


Official Legislation

Landlords must check that their tenants can legally live in the UK.

Details of the ruling can be found under Section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014, which declares that landlords: “must not authorise an adult to occupy premises under a residential tenancy agreement if the adult is disqualified as a result of their immigration status.”

To comply with these requirements, you must view original immigration documents, make copies and keep them for 12 months after the tenancy expires. If these documents are held by the Home Office, a landlord’s checking service can be accessed online here.

If you’ve made these checks and discover your current tenant is living in the UK illegally, you must report this as soon as possible. Once this has been done, the process falls out of your hands and you’re under no obligation to force an eviction.

However, if you don’t make sufficient effort to report a tenant without the right to rent, you may face a civil penalty up to £3,000.

Although there are various stipulations to adhere to, the legislation does not apply to the under 18s or those not renting the property as their main home. If you’re unsure of anything, additional details can be found on the official government website here.


Managed Lets

An agency can handle these checks and legislation for you.

One useful aspect of the legislation is that an external agency can carry out these ‘right to rent’ checks on your behalf.

Aspen Woolf can recommend fully licensed companies to do so and can draw up a written agreement which passes responsibility onto them. We can also recommend the correct due diligence platform that will perform detailed background checks and credit reports on all potential tenants before they move in.

This is of great help to landlords who don’t always appreciate the extra hassle that comes with some independent buy-to-let investments. If you need any further information regarding our ‘right to rent’ compliance, please feel free to get in touch today.

As a landlord, you may be interested in whether Build-to-Rent is the future of property investment.

What’s the Right Age to Start your Property Portfolio?

Although age provides no barrier for a property investment, it’s best to make your move as early as possible. This is simply because the longer you hold real estate for, the more likely long-term gains will be made.

This shouldn’t necessarily deter older investors, however. Some managed lets within the buy-to-let sector provide guaranteed rental yields over 3-5 years’ time – a perfect way to strengthen your retirement funds with no hassle and very small risk involved.

Either way, the basis of a successful property purchase remains the same; location and demand. Your age shouldn’t be too much of a decisive factor in the investment, especially if you have an experienced estate agent on side who’ll oversee the process.


Younger Investors

Many experts recommend getting on the property ladder as early as possible.

Many property experts recommend getting on the ladder as soon as financially possible. The UK property market tends to hold up, even after significant events such as Brexit, so the chance of you losing money in the long-run is relatively small.

According to PwC, one of the world’s leading professional services network, house prices will increase by an average of 6% by 2019. This will placate to around 5% growth by 2025, fuelled by persistent supply shortages. Property looks a safe bet in the UK.

With the typical length of a mortgage being 25 years, this is more reason for younger investors to swoop early. Once paid off, you’ll have more time later in life to relax without the constant strain of bank repayments.

As your intention is to start a portfolio, there’s increased opportunity to acquire further properties down the line. Doing so means you’ll have the equity to obtain additional buy-to-let mortgages, as well as providing income if one property sits vacant between tenants.

Of course, the property game is one with a series of ups and downs, and you may not get everything right straight away. However, starting early means you’ll gain experience as time goes by, recognising when to invest and when to sell throughout positive and negative property cycles.


Older Investors

Older investors are more likely to have the funding to start their property portfolio.

As noted, there’s nothing to stop middle or pension-age investors starting a property portfolio as well, although obtaining a buy-to-let mortgage will be trickier. Lenders impose stricter regulations for older borrowers, with a typical age limit of 75.

Older buyers are more likely to have expendable funds at their disposal, negating the need for a mortgage in any case. Most sellers prefer a cash payment route, providing you an extended pool of options and a far quicker transaction time to boot.

For those in retirement, playing the property market is an exciting venture and can provide a fantastic boost to your quality of life. As well as initial short-term rental income, you’ll also have something concrete to leave behind for your loved ones.

In conclusion, age shouldn’t be a factor if you’re looking to begin a property portfolio. However, taking the plunge as early as financially viable is recommended as it provides better access to a buy-to-let mortgage, more chance to recover from a downturn, and increased opportunity to grow your portfolio over time.

Older investors shouldn’t be put off however, especially if they’re cash rich. As many investment opportunities for managed lets are cash-only, this provides you access to properties that guarantee short-term rental yields as high as 10% in some areas.

Still need convincing that property is a great place to invest? Take a look at Why Property is Still the Most Lucrative Investment in 2017.
If you’re ready to invest in property, take a look at the opportunities we currently have on offer.

Is it Worth Furnishing Your Residential Rental Properties?

As a landlord, furnishing your rental property or leaving it empty is entirely up to you. It all depends on your budget, how much rental income is desired and the kind of tenant you’re looking to attract.

There’s also the middle ground to consider. This is where you provide basic furnishings such as a bed, sofa, oven and washing machine, but require the tenant to supplement this with their own belongings.


What Counts as a Furnished Property?

Providing a dining table and chairs might be expected in furnished rental properties.

There’s no legal definition for a furnished property in the UK, but tenants will expect some or all of the following items to be provided:

  • Bedroom: bed, chest of drawers, wardrobe
  • Living Room: sofa, armchairs, television
  • Dining Area: table, chairs
  • Kitchen: fridge, freezer, oven, microwave
  • Utility appliances: washing machine, dryer, dishwasher

Of course, it’s also advised to spruce up the property as best you can. Ensure flooring is solid with carpets or wood installed to the proper standards. Curtains and blinds are another expected feature, as well as attractive paint jobs or wallpaper. Another recommendation is to provide access to a Wi-Fi internet connection.

As a side note, consider your legal responsibilities as a landlord when furnishing the property – these can be found on the government website here. Landlord contents insurance is also highly recommended.


Furnished Rental Properties

It's up to you as the landlord to decide how far to go if furnishing your rental property but many tenants may expect there to be a bed.

Kitting out the property is likely to attract more enquiries. Modern renters don’t tend to have their own furniture so will be actively searching out furnished homes, especially in the case of students or young professionals.

If you’re worried about the added expense, consider it as an investment. Tenants may come and go, but your furnishings will always be there. In addition, you’ll now be able to charge higher rents to offset these initial costs.

Inexperienced landlords may not be aware of the tax benefits of furnishing your property. Although the ‘wear and tear’ tax has been reformed, the new relief system still enables residential landlords to deduct costs on replacing furnishings, appliances and kitchenware.


Unfurnished Rental Properties

If you're aiming your rental property at families who may already have their own furniture, you may choose to leave your property unfurnished.

Unfurnished homes may attract less interest overall, but much depends on the expected tenants. For example, families – whose reliance on the rental sector has rocketed over the past decade – are likely to possess their own furniture anyway. Rents will be generally cheaper also, meaning more enquiries from lower earners are likely to come in. Families, on the upside, tend to stay in the same property for much longer. Ensuring your rental income remains stable for the foreseeable future.

Landlord’s want the least hassle possible and unfurnished properties offer that. There’s no removal fees to contend with (now or in the future), less concern over general deterioration and no insurance requirements.

However, remember that some basic amenities will still be expected by potential tenants. These will include sufficient heating, electric and gas supply, along with flooring, curtains and perhaps a washing machine, oven, refrigerator, etc. You can add to this ‘inventory’ as time goes by as your budget increases.

Whichever option you decide upon is entirely up to you and much depends on your finances and rent expectations. However, investing in a managed let via an estate agents provides the best of both worlds. You’ll receive a fully furnished property with all the potential hassle taken care of.

Whether you’re a first time property investor or already have a portfolio, you might be interested in whether Build-to-Rent is the future.
You can find out about managed let opportunities available throughout the UK over on our Investments page.

What Size Property Should You Buy for the Best Investment?

The bigger the property, the better the investment. Or so you would think. In fact, smaller properties and flats are more likely to generate a rental income because rents for larger, more expensive homes are often unaffordable for average earners. Not to mention the other costs involved in owning a larger property.

With this in mind, investors should consider all types of property for the best investment. Much depends on your personal circumstances and budget of course, but ruling out a house just because it has limited space isn’t necessarily a wise move.


Flats and Apartments

Investing in low entry priced flats provides a fantastic route onto the property ladder, especially if situated in prime city centre locations or areas with high student numbers. Many post-grads seek out premium-quality, low-rent apartments as they begin their working life, especially those with built-in utilities and high-speed broadband.

This is something echoed by Camilla Dell of consultancy firm Black Brick, who says:

Generally speaking, flats make better buy-to-let investments than houses, especially two-bedroom, two-bathroom flats which many young professionals favour and can share with a friend, partner or co-worker.”

Flats and apartments are a great way to start your property investment portfolio.

Larger Homes

One advantage of larger properties is that you can convert rooms into additional bedrooms, thus increasing your earning potential. Modern-day professionals, especially in London, are increasingly willing to house share. Mainly because they simply can’t afford to rent a property on their own.

There may also be an oversupply of flats in some areas, which combined with a housing shortage, will assure that house prices remain secured. Additionally, nearly 250,000 families chose to rent in 2016 according to Alliance & Leicester, meaning there is definitely demand out there in certain areas.

However, buyers should take note that the more expensive a property is, the higher building surveys, conveyancing fees, service fees, and arrangement charges will be. Increased stamp duty incurred over multiple brackets will also affect your short-term profits. A lot of city centres are also lacking in space, meaning land is very expensive. The more land your property will take up, the higher the premium you’ll pay for it. This is another reason flats defeat singular homes in big city centres.

Larger houses can make great investments but come with risks and additional expense.

Multiple Investments

Investing in a large, costly property may eat away at your disposable funds, thus restricting the chance to grow your portfolio. Acquiring multiple homes has fantastic benefits for buy-to-let investors, helping relieve a lack of earnings if one property sits empty between tenants, for example.

Once on the market, you can offset the value of your existing property (or its expected capital gains) to pay a deposit on a second property, and so on. Likewise, obtaining a new buy-to-let mortgage is easier with this collateral in your name, especially whilst interest rates remain low.

Investing in multiple properties can spread the risk and give you some security.

Further Advice

As an investor, you must evaluate which area has the strongest and fastest growing level of tenant demand for a particular type of property. How big the property is doesn’t matter too much, as long as enquiries are guaranteed. For example, young professionals are likely to rely on one-bedroom apartments near to their work or transport links and students will opt for the cheaper studios closer to their place of study and city amenities. Then you have the couples that want more space, but aren’t ready to commit to a home yet, who will opt for a 2-bed apartment. It all really depends on the area and the target market for the property.

As rents are expected to rise across the board through 2017, even a smaller property can generate yields as high as 10%. This is especially the case in buy-to-let hotspots around the UK such as Manchester, Liverpool, Plymouth, Leeds and Edinburgh. Seek professional, managed lets to secure your long-term investment strategy, with guaranteed rental income along the way and a secured exit strategy if required. Keep in mind your target tenant and apply that rule to the size of property purchased.

You can take a look at our investment opportunities in the current UK buy-to-let hotspots here.
If you’re unsure of where you’d like to invest in property, you may be interested in why 2017 Is The Year to Invest in The North.

Posted in UK

5 Reasons Why Now is the Time to Invest in Plymouth

Plymouth is on the up with a spate of multi-million pound regeneration schemes set to be completed through 2017. It shows a high degree of confidence lies in the city, augmenting an already high quality of life in the wider South West region.

For prospective investors from both the UK and abroad, this is a very encouraging sign. Redevelopment projects sustain growth for small businesses, create jobs and provide employment stability, leading to a healthier property market and better quality of tenant.

Despite recent clampdowns on the buy-to-let sector, low interest rates should hold for a while yet. However, according to a chief UK economist Howard Archer, the Bank of England will feel compelled to raise these rates at some point. This means that, if you’re looking to take out a buy-to-let mortgage, the time to act is now.

We’ve put together five further reasons why Plymouth in particular is looking ripe for property investment this year.


1. Major Investment

Plymouth's transport links are undergoing a large regeneration which is beneficial to property investors.

Image credit: Nick Rice via Flickr

Plymouth is to be subject to a vast array of investment projects over the forthcoming months and years. A massive £266 million investment programme is set to transform the city centre, including the £24.6m Northern Corridor transport scheme, £13m Science and Technology hub and highly-anticipated train station revamp. A new tram-style Metro system is also being earmarked to reduce congestion.


2. Student Sector

Buy-to-let is always boosted by the presence of local universities and Plymouth has two of them in close proximity, as well as three prominent colleges. Students are always in need of accommodation and post-graduates are also likely to remain in the area to find work. Plymouth University is one of the largest in the country with over 20,000 students in attendance every year.


3. Port City

Plymouth is a port city which plays a big part in the city’s tradition, history and culture. Much of the new regeneration fund will be spent on the waterfront, primarily with the regeneration of Millbay docks, increased investment in the Oceansgate marine hub and a new £5 million cruise terminal. In 2020, the launching of the Mayflower will celebrate its 400-year anniversary, which will further boost the tourism sector.


4. Property Boom

Various property speculators expect Plymouth property values to rise through 2017. Despite some uncertainty post-Brexit, the market held up well and Plymouth will always attract buyers looking for a high quality of life. Foreign investors from as far away as the U.S and Japan are snapping up homes in Plymouth because they see Devon property as a sound investment. This has been reported by local estate agents Luscombe Maye, who have also reported high levels of viewings and sales early in 2017.


5. Favourable Rental Sector

The private rental sector in Plymouth is looking a great bet at the moment. It favours cash investors who will get more value than savers would, especially when taking advantage of Plymouth’s steady stream of post-graduates and young professionals who rely on the rental sector. As an investor, scout around for low-entry properties that guarantee healthy yields of between 7-8%, particularly near the city centre and main university campus.


In you’re interested in investing in Plymouth property then Beaumont Square could be ideal for you. Get in touch to find out more.
If you’re still not convinced about why Plymouth is a great place to invest right now, check out our overview of the city.

Is Build-to-Rent the Future?

Build-to-rent (B2R) is a subdivision of the UK’s booming private rental sector and, as the name suggests, concerns new builds designed specifically for renting rather than for sale. They tend to lie at the top end of the rental market and achieve a high volume of enquiries when eventually placed on the market.

B2R numbers aren’t as high as the government would like and so an online consultation has recently been opened to encourage authorities to plan for build-to-rent schemes, closing on 1 May this year. This is in line with a wider £1 billion fund to support private investment, planning and construction within the industry.

As a property investor, they are something worth taking a look at, especially if schemes are taking place in areas of interest to you. The British Property Federation have produced a digital map detailing current build-to-rent projects here, many of which are located around London, Manchester and Liverpool.


Housing Shortage

The appeal for more B2R projects echoes the greater demand for more homes across the country. Some reports suggest a staggering 250,000 new properties are needed annually to keep up with demand.

The government has pledged to build an additional 1 million properties by 2020, although this is looking increasingly unlikely with such a big national deficit and debates over green belt construction still waging on.

This is why there’s been encouragement for build-to-rent schemes, essentially as the government seek to pass more responsibility onto the private sector.

There is a shortage of homes in the UK but a high demand from homes.


Demand for New Builds

New properties have always been favoured by the general public, mainly because they’re constructed to the latest specifications, less likely to fall into disrepair and also designed to be energy efficient – this brings down utility bills in the long term.

In B2R accommodation blocks, facilities can include gyms, swimming pools, games rooms, communal gardens and free Wi-Fi. This will not only attract residents in the first place, but also ensure they’re happy to stay for many years.

There's a high demand for new builds as they're built to the latest specifications.


Rental Sector

There’s a recognition that prospective first-time buyers and young professionals are being pushed into the rental sector. Investors thus know that building homes specifically for rent is a safe investment as the demand is more resilient.

This is a view endorsed by Edward Douglas, Policy Manager at the think tank ResPublica, who says:

Those building-for-rent can do so with more confidence that they will have customers to move in when they are finished. In 2017, we should see a huge shift towards B2R, with tens of thousands of rented homes expected to be built.”

More people are being pushed into the rental sector, creating a demand for rental homes and build-to-rents.


Build-to-Rent 2017

As ‘generation rent’ become increasingly likely to seek out high-quality new build accommodation, this makes build-to-rent a safe bet in 2017. Location and amenities are still the key, especially if you can find a B2R scheme in one of the UK’s buy-to-let hotspots such as Manchester, Leeds or Liverpool.

The process is made far easier if you hand control of matters to a qualified letting agent, usually part of the developer’s offer, who will find and manage tenants on your behalf.

If you’re unsure about where to invest, you might be interested in why the North is the best place to invest in property right now.
If you’re ready to invest, why not take a look at what investments are available right now or get in touch to find out more.

A New Railway Station at Plymouth Shows the City is On the Up

Plymouth Railway Station is to be completely transformed after securing multi-million pound Government funding.

The project comes as part of a £43.5 million cash boost for the wider South West region to help improve transport links, support local businesses and encourage growth.


Station Revamp

Plymouth train station will be going through a complete transformation to create a new welcome to visitors.

Image credit: Steve Jones via Flickr

The joint Great Western Railway and Network Rail proposal will see brand new shops and offices constructed, along with an open public space for improved accessibility to facilities and platforms. The current multi-storey car park is to be demolished with a new one built in a different location.

Not only is the current station in much need of a facelift, but so too is the view greeted by new visitors to the city. This is something Ian Bowyer of Plymouth City Council has noted:

“When people arrive here by rail, their first view is a 1960’s multi-storey car park and a very dated and tired impression of the city.

We want to change this and to overhaul the railway station completely. This project will provide a new gateway and the station will be designed so that the first image of the city will be of the view along Armada Way towards the sea and Smeaton’s Tower.”


Plymouth Regeneration

Plymouth's new train station is only one many regeneration schemes aimed at boosting Plymouth.

Image credit: Chris Sampson via Flickr

The new railway station is only part of a number of regeneration schemes centred on Plymouth and the wider Devon region. This shows that both the government and investors are confident in the area’s potential for growth.

Other local projects include Phase 3 of the Somerset Energy Innovation Centre, numerous youth education schemes and a £9.4 million cash injection in superfast broadband to help rural areas stay connected.

Overall, this brings the Heart of the South West Growth Deal, along with match funding of £115 million from the public and private sector, to a whopping £723 million in total.


Investment Opportunities

The regeneration schemes in Plymouth look set to boost the city's economy which will have an impact on house prices and rents.

Image credit: Herry Lawford via Flickr

The station revamp is set to act as a catalyst for further regeneration projects in and around Plymouth. The local economy will be massively boosted and SMEs given a better chance to expand. In turn, this creates new employment opportunities, job stability and higher wages.

This is a positive sign for property investors as it helps guarantee enquiries when selling and more reliable tenants if renting. Furthermore, mortgage applications are more likely to be granted in this current economic climate, especially whilst interest rates remain at record lows.

Property specialists Savills forecast that the South West will see house prices grow by nearly 30% by 2018, above the expected national average, and the chief benefactor of this growth will be Plymouth.

For buy-to-let investors, it’s worth looking into fully furnished, managed lets near the city centre for assured yields over a set period. This way, all the hassle of finding tenants and dealing with potential problems is managed on your behalf.

Beaumont Square is one such investment that provides a low-price entry route, with potential to tap into the rewarding private student rental sector. Construction has already begun at this site and is due to complete before 2018.


Find out more about investment opportunities in Plymouth here, or by getting in touch for a chat.

If you’d like to know more, you might enjoy our article, Why Invest in Plymouth.

How to Protect Your Property Portfolio in 2017

A successful property portfolio requires ongoing investment and long-term maintenance to sustain performance. Without protective measures in place, its market value and rental returns will be threatened.

Be it for just one or a string of properties, there are certain ways to ensure your portfolio sustains long-term capital growth and provides healthy yields along the way. Here are some ways to protect your investment through 2017.

Landlord Insurance

Landlord and Income Protection insurance are both important to investors.

Landlord insurance is specifically manufactured to suit the buy-to-let market. However, specialised cover is needed depending on the type of property and tenants in question.

Basic landlord insurance typically includes the same type of protection as your usual house insurance, covering against fire and flooding, for example. However, additional extras will be required to safeguard against such actions as unpaid rent, malicious damage, loss of income and legal disputes.

For furnished properties, contents insurance should be taken out to cover such items as kitchen appliances, furniture, utilities and carpets, etc.

Income Protection Insurance

Many investors rely on personal income to maintain mortgage payments, especially if they’re self-employed. However, should you lose work through no fault of your own – due to illness, for example – then income protection provides a regular monthly salary for a specified period in replacement of the expected wage.

Know your Interest Rates

Do your research and keep an eye on interest rates as a landlord.

For buy-to-let mortgages, you have the option to lock in your interest rate or use a variable rate over a set period of time. Whilst the fixed rate won’t budge over the repayment period, the variable rate tends to follow the Bank of England’s base rate and so can be changed at any time. Knowing which option to choose depends on the current market conditions.

For 2017, it appears there is pressure from Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney to raise interest rates, although many lenders haven’t succumbed as yet. At time of writing, there are still ultra-low rates available and many people are taking long-term, 10 year fixed deals due to current uncertainty post-Brexit.

Tax Planning

Changes are coming to taxes in April 2017 so landlords should research their options and plan accordingly.

Being phased in from April 2017, tax relief on residential properties will be restricted to the basic rate of income tax. This will push higher rate payers into the 20% relief bracket. To cope with the additional pressures, some buy-to-let landlords have moved their portfolio into limited companies or transferred properties to family members in a lower tax bracket.

Tax repercussions are a complex matter so it’s recommended to use the know-how of a professional accountants or letting agents to protect your property portfolio from tax inefficiency.

Further Advice

Before settling on a purchase, research the expected 2017 property hotspot areas such as Manchester, Edinburgh and Liverpool, which are backed up with vast student numbers and young professionals who move into the rental market.

Other measures are to acquire high-quality home security equipment, such as CCTV cameras and intruder alarms, to deter crime and satisfy insurance requirements. For additional protection, consider how your Will deals with your portfolio.


If you’re looking to expand your property portfolio, you may be interested in the UK’s Top 10 Best and Worst Areas to Invest in 2017.

Major Investment in Plymouth’s Economy is a Good Sign for Property Investors

Generally speaking, when a local economy is performing well, so too will the property market. In the case of Plymouth, economic indicators such as manufacturing activity and employment data are showing encouraging signs as we move into 2017.

In turn, real estate becomes a safer investment, ensuring a high-quality of buyer or tenant is more likely to stay in the area and thus enquire about property.

Investment Schemes

£50 million is being invested into a new railway station for Plymouth.

Image credit: Reading Tom via Flickr

Plymouth Council has recently announced plans to inject a massive £266 million on numerous development projects within the city. This has been aided by a £43.57 million investment as part of the Growth Fund across the South West LEP area.

A new £50 million railway station will be constructed, aided by a £4.3 million government investment, which includes new shops, offices and a modernised multi-storey car park. Likewise, a new cruise terminal is also set to receive the required council funding and could be completed by 2020.

To alleviate the lack of internet signal over the South West’s rural areas in particular, a £9.4 million investment in superfast broadband across Devon and Somerset is expected to provide comprehensive coverage by 2020.

Focusing on education, other multi-million pound projects include the South Devon College Hi Tech Centre and ‘Devon Communities Together’ youth skills scheme. £2 million will also be spent on two of the city’s primary schools to deal with an expanding population.


£2 million is being spent on Plymouth's primary schools to deal with a growing population.

Image credit: Reading Tom via Flickr

Any fears after the EU Referendum have quickly subsided in the South West as the latest Business Trends Report by business advisers BDO LLP reveals manufacturing optimism has hit a 20-month high.

Likewise, the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) last report shows that manufacturers are increasingly optimistic over their exporting prospects and reporting strong growth in domestic orders.

Plymouth voted strongly to leave in the referendum – 59.9% against 40.1% – meaning that any doom and gloom over invoking Article 50 isn’t likely to affect local business decisions either.

Property Forecast

Property experts predict that Plymouth’s house prices will rise throughout 2017.

Image credit: Robert Pittman via Flickr

With stable economic growth and increased investment, the local employment sector is lifted. More people are likely to stay or migrate to the area, and so more people will need somewhere to live. For buy-to-let investors in particular, this is a fantastic confidence boost.

Property experts predict that Plymouth’s house prices will rise modestly throughout 2017, fuelled by these impressive economic forecasts and increased investment. Representatives of the local estate agents’ Julian Marks, Lang Town & Country and Luscombe Maye have all remained optimistic and anticipate a return of buy-to-let investors, many of which have now adapted to the new stamp duty regulations. However, one word of warning is to act quickly whilst interest rates remain at their current low levels.

Whilst house prices in Plymouth are below the national average, there is still great demand in the lettings market as there are a vast number of students in the area. The demand for campus accommodation outstrips supply by 6-1, forcing many students to seek alternative accommodation. Because of this, one such project to consider is the new Beaumont Square apartments offered by Aspen Woolf. They’re located in a prime city centre area, guaranteed to produce NET yields of 8% for three years and construction has already begun, due to complete this year. Because the University of Plymouth and various campus buildings are located close by, you’re also ensured of student enquiries in the build-up to term time.


If you’d like to know more about the new Beaumont Square apartments, click here or get in touch today.
Did the mention of student enquiries catch your eye? You might be interested to know that student property investment is still hot in 2017.