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Estate Agents & Letting Agents in Leeds

Here you will find the latest Hudson Moody Wass and property news.

‘Buy-to-Let investor surge plugs rental stock gap’ – Waterfords Lettings

For many, improvements to the sales market resulted in a dip in supply of rental properties towards the end of last year, but Waterfords lettings department says it has experienced a surge of enquiries from buy-to-let investors in Q1 which has started to plug the gap, as well as a rise in demand from ‘older’ tenants.
 
Rents are still 8% higher than this time last year, however, it’s likely that the increased investment in buy-to-let properties will soon filter through to benefit tenants by helping improve supply and stabilise rents, whilst providing a greater level of choice in properties.  
 
Despite the upturn in sales off the back of improved mortgage lending, which would historically lead to adjustments in rental demand, applicant levels for good quality rental properties across Surrey and Hampshire remain strong with tenant enquiries outstripping available stock 10:1, according to Waterfords. 
 
Waterfords says there is a rise in the number of older tenants entering the rental market for the first time, notably those that don’t require a retirement residence, but who wish to release the capital on the property they own. 
 
Brendan Cox, Managing Director at Waterfords commented: “Improvements to the sales market did impact the supply of rental properties in Q4 of 2014, as those who became ‘accidental landlords’ during the ‘downturn’ chose to sell up and take advantage of more favourable market conditions.”
 
“We are experiencing a large number of buyers viewing properties and subsequently enquiring about letting them the same day. It would seem rising house prices are once again encouraging investment.” 
 
He added: “As a nation I think we have also adapted and renting is much more ‘the norm’ nowadays. The flexibility and convenience it offers enables the likes of young professionals to follow job opportunities and families to secure desirable school places for their children, without the expense and responsibility of home ownership.”
 
“Lifestyle changes mean there is a much greater diversity of people opting to rent nowadays, and this shift in living arrangements is reflected in the change of demand for property type. Previously one and two bedroom properties were in greatest demand, whereas now there is interest across the board, from one bed apartments right through to larger five bedroom family homes. We are experiencing particularly high demand for 3 bedroom homes at present,” Cox concluded. 
 

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Is There A Green Premium? – Retrofit challenges lie ahead, says report

Legislative demands are driving the need for buildings in the UK to meet carbon emission targets over the next decades but there isn’t yet a clear answer on whether green buildings can command a premium, new research from Bidwells has revealed.
 
‘Is There A Green Premium?’ which has just been published – and previewed at the recent Retrofit Conference held at Queens’ College, Cambridge – sets the scene in terms of the huge challenge retrofit will pose over the coming years.
 
The report states that the scale of the challenge is daunting. For the UK to hit its national carbon reduction target of 80% by 2050 almost every building in the country will need a low energy makeover, which equates to one building being improved every minute. 
 
The research highlights the fact that commercial property is currently lagging behind the residential sector and presents the greater challenge as it is fragmented.
 
Whilst residential is leading the way, with all new-build having to conform to EPC ratings, this sector will still present a challenge. Over 80% of the 2050 housing stock has already been built, there are around 8.5 million dwellings more than 60 years old. In total over 25 million properties will need a degree of retrofit by 2050.
 
A major contributor to the task ahead is emissions which are described as a ‘huge issue’. Energy and emissions vary dramatically with building type – and most landlords have yet to complete an energy/emissions audit. There have been recent improvements in the total number of emissions but the research concludes that this reduction is likely to have been driven by the banking crisis/recession rather than a lowering in real terms.
 
Ian Peck, Partner at Bidwells who presented the research at the recent Retrofit Conference said: “So is there a green premium? It’s a big question and we don’t have an answer – yet. There is no reliable, long-term evidence of a green premium in the UK – although there appears to be more in the residential market than commercial. 
 
“However we do know how the market perceives the key benefits of green building from a 2012 survey: lower operating costs, higher building value, certification/accreditation, future proofing, tenant education, higher rents, tenant productivity and higher occupancy rates. 
 
“There’s no doubt that Retrofit has yet to take hold in the commercial market although awareness, accreditation and attitudes are gradually shifting. Some people have likened it to the building equivalent of the seat-belt, requiring a sea-change in attitude which will need to happen to meet the current targets set,” he added. 
 

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Keystone reduce fixed BTL mortgage rates

Keystone Buy to Let Mortgages has reduced its fixed rate prices just two months after introducing its Classic and Premier Ranges.
 
The changes include:
 
Classic & Premier fixed rates re-priced
5 year fixed rates from 5.04% (5.4% APR)
3 year discounted trackers from 4.59% (5.3% APR)
 
Commenting on the re-price, David Whittaker, managing director of Keystone said: “Since February, investors have responded well to our improved offering, particularly the 80% LTV rates in the Classic Range and the higher loan amounts – to £1m – in the Premier Range. 
 
“Our products have always been criteria rather than rate-led offerings but we have been in talks with Aldermore, (which funds Keystone), and are delighted to announce that the Bank has found room in its margins to re-price downwards. This should make both ranges even more attractive to landlords,” he added.
 

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CBRE appointed to manage London’s St. Botolph Building

CBRE has been appointed by Deka-Immobilien Europa (“Deka”), the real estate fund, to provide property management services to The St. Botolph Building, the 558, 500 sq ft landmark, in the City of London.
 
The global property advice firm will be responsible for day-to-day property management of the building which represents Deka’s largest global asset and is regarded as one of the leading new developments in the capital.
 
This appointment adds to CBRE’s existing suite of Premier Properties in the City of London including the iconic Gherkin, the Lord Rogers designed 88 Wood Street and the grade 2 listed No. 1 Finsbury Circus and increases the tally to seven for properties managed on behalf of Deka.
 
Brigitte Steinmetz, Head of Property Management, at Deka, commented: “Given the high profile nature of the St. Botolph building we appointed CBRE as they are already a trusted partner providing property management services to other properties within our ownership.”
 
Richard Williams, Managing Director, UK Property and Asset Management, at CBRE, added: “The St. Botolph building proudly sits in our portfolio and we are immensely honoured to be entrusted with Deka’s largest global asset. The world of property and asset management continues to evolve and is now recognised as a key driver of adding value to a building. With globally connected, centrally located buildings in vogue, we look forward to adding true value to St. Botolph’s with our first class service.”
 

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‘Figures show auctions continue to grow as a method of property sale’ – Network Auctions

Network Auctions, the auction firm who work with over 50 estate agency offices across the UK, are hailing the latest figures from EI Group. 
 
EI Group reported that over £400 million was raised across 128 UK auctions in March - an increase of 50% on March 2013.  Furthermore, lots offered last month rose 18%, to 2,880 lots, and perhaps most interestingly, lots sold increased 25% to 2,235 lots.
 
Historic figures from EI Group reveal that the 2,235 lots sold is the greatest number ever recorded in March, surpassing the previous high of 2,220 lots sold in March 2007 when the market was at its peak.
 
At Network Auctions specifically, the March auction saw 76% of lots successfully go under the hammer, with a total of £3.3m in sales value raised.
 
Network Auctions next auction is on May 1st at the Cumberland Hotel in Marble Arch and commences at 2pm. 
 

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Online rental auction website completes first tenant and landlord transaction

AuctionLets has this month completed its first landlord and tenant transaction, with both parties expressing their satisfaction at the outcome.
 
The property finding site, which has combined rental auctions and competitive bidding, invites landlords to upload their vacant properties whilst pre-referenced tenants can bid for the rental of the property they desire. 
 
Aiming to provide a safe environment for landlords and tenants to interact directly, the website offers tenants a 90 day online reference, as well as providing landlords with the opportunity to control the starting price and end date of their listing.
 
After launching in January, the site has welcomed a steady stream of auctions and the first full transaction has recently taken place with positive results.
 
The landlord involved, commented: "I was pleasantly surprised that I found an individual to rent my property so quickly with AuctionLets. Their service was really helpful in helping me, as a first time landlord, with the details of placing my property on their website and with their additional services.”
 
Whilst the tenant, Wendy Simpson, of County Durham, said: “Considering AuctionLets is a new up and coming online business I have been highly delighted with the service.
 
“The registration was very clear and easy to use and there are many very useful pages that explain the full process from start to finish so that you know exactly how the process works.”
 
“Auctionlets.com keeps you up to date along every step of them way with frequent emails. You feel safe in knowledge that your money is being handled in a professional and secure way. My landlord is wonderful too.” 
 
“I always felt I was in very good hands. I chose my perfect property, put in the details and hey presto! I now have the home of my dreams thanks to Auctionlets.com,” she added.

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Stables and 2.7 acres up for offer at Romans’ latest auction

Romans is holding its next property auction next month, featuring 22 properties including a vacant 6 bedroom maisonette in central Guildford, neighbouring cottages in Henley-on-Thames and a bungalow with 2.7 acres of land near Basingstoke.
 
The auction, taking place on 7th May at 1.30pm at the Blue Mountain Conference Centre in Bracknell, expects to attract 500 attendees from first time buyers to experienced investors.
 
Having recently joined forced with Jacksons Residential, Romans isp auctioning two neighbouring cottages in Henley-on-Thames - both have a guide price of £250,000. 
 
Located in Cliddesden, a rural village three miles south of Basingstoke, is a former smallholding offering a four bedroom detached bungalow, paddocks and stables in 2.698 acres. 
 
Simon Clayton, Auctions Director at Romans, said: “Demand from buyers is extremely high at the moment and we’re already seeing a lot of interest in the properties available at our next auction. With an abundance of investment opportunities and some real gems available in rural locations I’m expecting a busy sales room.”
 
“With an extension this bungalow will make someone a perfect family home in a beautiful, private location, with a guide price of just £750,000 I’m expecting a lot of interest in this one of a kind lot,” he added.
 
To find out more about the other lots available at Romans’ next auction visit: romans.co.uk/auctions

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England and Wales development land values continue to rise

Development land values in England and Wales rose for the fifth consecutive quarter in Q1 2014, although the pace of growth was slower than that seen in the three preceding quarters, at 0.8% compared to a 2.4% increase between October and December last year. 
 
The direction of travel is still upwards however, with the annual rate of growth rising from 7.1% in 2013 to 7.3% in the 12 months to the end of March. Land prices are rising as the housing markets in many parts of the UK are gaining momentum for the first time since the financial crisis. 
 
The latest Knight Frank/Markit House Price Sentiment Index shows that households in every region of the UK felt that the value of their home rose in March. Transaction levels in February this year were nearly 32% higher than in February last year, and at levels not seen since 2007. The structural undersupply of homes in the UK is well documented. But demand was constrained in the years following the financial crisis because of a lack of mortgage finance.
 
This problem has been addressed through Funding for Lending, and since March last year, via the Help to Buy Equity Loan. Help to Buy broadened the scope for buyers to climb onto the property ladder, as well encouraging a step up in development activity. So far it has helped more than 16,000 buyers purchase a new home – the regional take-up of the loan is shown in figure 2. The Chancellor’s announcement last month that this scheme would be boosted by £6 billion and extended by 4 years to run to 2020 was broadly welcomed in the industry, as it will allow developers to commit to larger-scale projects which take longer to build out. 
 

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Strathspey Captial enhances Edinburgh residential factoring offering with new acquisition

Strathspey Capital has acquired the factoring business of Edinburgh based Aspect Residential Property Management, extending its footprint by 50% to cover in excess of 7,500 properties across the Scottish capital.
 
Strathspey Capital was formed in December 2011 as an acquisition vehicle for factoring businesses aimed at maximising the opportunity for consolidation in this specific area of the property market.
 
The Aspect deal compliments Strathspey’s existing factoring operation - James Gibb Residential Factors. After a brief transition period, the James Gibb and Aspect businesses will be merged and located at James Gibb’s office in Atholl Place, Edinburgh. The combined business will trade under the James Gibb banner.
 
Strathspey’s Chief Executive, Douglas Weir, commented: “This is a very exciting time for us. Since Strathspey’s acquisition of James Gibb Residential Factors two years ago we have achieved significant organic growth, principally the result of our passion and commitment to deliver exemplary customer service and value for money. Introducing the Aspect portfolio will now allow us to embark on the next stage of our journey whilst retaining and further improving our service package.”
 

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Fusion Students exchange on Cardiff’s Windsor House for £5 million

Fusion Students has exchanged on a deal to acquire Windsor House in Cardiff for a reported £5 million from a client of Aberdeen Asset Management. 
 
The city centre office block will be demolished, and a new 100,000 sq ft state of the art student accommodation block will be built, with CBRE advising Fusion Students on the transaction.
 
The new scheme will house 322 boutique hotel-style rooms, a gymnasium, game zone and private student lounge. Fusion Students already accommodate almost 1,000 students in Bristol and Hatfield, while work continues on similar student developments in Newcastle and Nottingham.
 
Cardiff currently hosts approximately 35,000 students, and the addition of purpose-built student accommodation such as Windsor House will ease the pressure on housing demand elsewhere in the city, taking the strain from traditional shared housing in the Roath and Cathays areas of the city and freeing up existing housing for families and professionals.
 
James Trant, Associate Director at CBRE, commented: “The purchase of Windsor House is a demonstration of the strength of appetite for regional development in the student accommodation sector. Towns and cities such as Cardiff, with a structural undersupply of student accommodation, can expect to see further multi-million pound investments.”
 
Warren Rosenberg, Co-Founder of Fusion Students, added: “Student accommodation is a vibrant and emerging market and Fusion Students aims to be in the vanguard regarding quantity and quality. We aim to give students more than a bed in a box room while they are studying at university. We create a real home from home environment, living spaces that are practical and competitively priced but boasting a very high spec and crammed full of luxuries.”
 

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