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The weather this week has been hot, hot, hot and as a rarity, we have had many days where we have been hoping for the normal English rain to cool us down.

There has been a lot of commotion with quarantine measures for people returning from other countries causing a bit of havoc for holidayers. On the plus side, the government has reviewed the easing of lockdown measures which they put on hold a couple of weeks ago and have given the green light to go ahead which is good news.

We also had confirmation that the UK has ‘technically’ gone into a recession. However, what the media isn’t focusing on is the fact that month on month UK GDP is up 8.7%. Also, on a side note, recession does not mean property prices ‘crashing’.

Now onto the headlines that have caught our eye this week.

Property news this week

  • University operators hoping for flurry of leasing deals as students get their results– This article highlights that there are signs that activity is picking up in the student market with students looking at returning to university. It reports that JLL have noted 70% of private beds are already let for September 2020 which is a great sign. Knight Frank have also carried out research and Neil Armstrong, joint head of student property at Knight Frank, said: “The results of Knight Frank’s snapshot poll demonstrate students’ ongoing commitment to go to university this year, despite the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic. PBSA operators have seen higher levels of demand than first anticipated, and are going into the ‘clearing’ process with an average occupancy rate of 77%”.
  • Optimistic outlook for buy to let…except for one location– The website Homes has produced a house price index which reports an optimistic outlook for landlords and investors except for those in London. They have reported strong figures in the rest of the UK with strong rents and declining supply with the north and west rising around the 10% level. However, London (as we know from previous weeks’ articles) has declined with Greater London down 5.2% annually. Homes also makes the point that with Sterling still relatively low and the stamp duty holiday now a significant draw to investors, the UK property sector has become particularly attractive for expats and non-British investors.
  • Harlow and Reading are commuter towns offering best yields– Lettings management platform Howsy have found the two headline towns as having the best rental yields among commuter towns to London with annual yields at 4.6% in Harlow and 4.5% in Reading, while there are also strong yields in Luton (4.2%) and Crawley (4.2%). It seems that this commuter belt is popular among tenants that want affordable rental prices still in touching distance of the capital. This is something worth considering when looking at other city centre investments that have cheaper options slightly further out. As long as the amenities are there along with transport links, it can prove very profitable.
  • Top 10 property features to attract tenants in London – With the London rental market in a bit of trouble at the moment, London-based Benham and Reeves surveyed more than 1,700 tenants asking them to rank several rental property features on their importance to see what landlords should be taking into consideration. Number 1 was ‘fast broadband’ and then jumping up from 7th last year to 2nd this year was ‘outside space’. These results indicate the impact that COVID-19 has had in changing trends with how people now work and live which could be more permanent than we first thought. Although this survey was done for London, it is still something that can be taken into consideration for other areas of the country.

Get in touch with the team anytime to discuss your UK property investment plans through [email protected] or on +44(0)203 627 3987.

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