UK Student Housing has better returns than residential & commercial

Student Housing: Is it a good investment?

This week Savills published their student housing report. Here are some key findings from that report and some of personal experience and observations from working with our clients.

“Student housing continues to perform well as an asset class with higher yields than both residential and commercial property” – Savills

In the past the student market has been steered clear by investors due to the reputation of how students treat your property. However in recent years and the massive influx of students, the shortage in student housing has created a market where the returns are far higher and secure than residential and commercial property.

According to HESA between 1999 and 2012 the number of full-time students in higher education grew by 540,000, an increase of 46%.

With university halls of residence just about able to cope with the increasing numbers of first year students and private sector student accommodation operators racing to scale up, most students ended up in the private rented sector.

Average student housing rents by rightmove

Many landlords ceased the opportunity, some to accommodate for their own children and their friends. The use and availability of Buy to Let mortgages made it even easier.

Where to invest in Student Housing?

According to Savills, Bath, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Oxford and St Andrews are at the top of the list for investors.

Where to invest in student housing

 PropVestment’s clients have shown interests in south coast universities like Southampton and Portsmouth. In the past favourites have included Manchester and Nottingham and of course London, with investments south of the river.

 Demand for Student Housing & increase in Fees?

It was thought that student numbers would fall after the fees jumped to a maximum of £9,000 from 2012. But this only applied to domestic students.
In 2013 demand from within fell by 2.7%, However, demand from outside of Europe has continued to grow during this period, particularly from the Far East, which has seen average annual growth of 8.5% over the last 6 years.

The overall 0.4% fall in domestic student numbers between 2010-11 and 2011-12 was counterbalanced by a 1.7% increase in international students keeping student numbers
fairly stable.

Is London still the place to invest?

London Student Housing Market

London has 300,000 full-time students, and 110,000 part-time students. It is the student
accommodation market is both the largest and most active in the country.

With private sector rents forecast to continue growing, affordability for domestic students,
who make up 75% of the student body, will continue to be stretched and drive demand
into surrounding more affordable markets.

Therefore there is much opportunity in Zone 1 and Zone 2 areas of London. However in London there are many other factors that also effect the market.

PropVestment Top Tips

Invest and convert larger properties into HMOs to house multiple students. The returns are higher for the landlord, and the greater space can provide more affordable alternatives for students rather than renting a studio on Oxford Street.

Sell off expensive council property beneficial to UK property market

Why selling expensive council property is beneficial for the UK property market & economy

Policy Exchange Proposal will boost UK Property Market

Policy exchange proposal for UK property marketLast week the Policy Exchange think tank issued a proposal for councils to sell expensive properties on their asset sheet, and utilise the money raised to build new affordable housing.
Here is a summary of the main points in their report. Expensive housing is categorised by above the average house price.

THE FACTS: Property market & economy benefits

  • – Generate £4.5Bn a year
  • – Create 340,000 jobs
  • – 170,000 new homes, halving the council waiting list
  • – 816,000 houses that are above the national average
  • -The total value of expensive social housing is £159bn (£71.9bn of it in London)

However despite all these positive benefits there has been much protest in the press over the last week. Here are PropVestment’s counter-arguments in favour of this proposal

Sell off expensive council property beneficial to UK property market

Council House worth £2 million

1. Frees up houses for young buyers

If the council sells up certain properties in areas, often they are still reasonably priced than private sector properties. This way younger people can more easily get on the property ladder.
Here is our own example as featured in the Daily Mail a couple years ago. Click here

2. Jobs will be created in the construction sector.

As long as there is a minimum requirement for locally employed people in the construction of the new houses, many jobs will be created, in turn boosting the local economy from the multiplier factor. In essence this proposals releases trapped money stuck in bricks into the local economy, taking funds from private sector into the local economy.

“In essence this proposals releases trapped money stuck in bricks into the local economy, taking funds from private sector into the local economy. “

3. Increase Housing supply

As building a new house is cheaper than buying a new house, this will mean that the money raised from selling one property will mean more than one property being built. Hence relieving the pressures on the housing market. It will mean private landlords having less opportunity to rent to council tenants and therefore, increase supply on the private market reducing the rents in the process. This will benefit the average person who is not a home owner.

4. Argument of disrupting communities is wrong!

New build developments will create new communities with modern facilities too.
There will be more environmentally friendly estates, planned better to provide for the community better.

5. Argument that it will create ghettos is wrong.

There will be new development. It only becomes a ghetto if we make it a ghetto. That is not a flaw in proposal, but one in the people. As long as users respect each other and the community there will be no ghetto created. This is an issue for not for property divisions of government or councils but one for community support and education.

6. Argument that in HMO cases you can not leave a building half used- Wrong

HMO (Houses of multiple occupancy) mean that under the policy as people move out, their rooms will not be refilled as council will want to sell off the property. The argument goes that leaving rooms empty is waste. The rooms can be let on AST style contracts or used for temporary housing. The council uses expensive B&Bs for this currently, why not utilise empty spots in HMOs.

PROPVESTMENT CONCLUSION:  – UK Property Market

This new proposal by Policy Exchange think tank is highly beneficial to the UK property market and economy. It may need refining in a few areas, but the benefits of housing and job creation far outweigh any counter-argument raised so far.

PROPVESTMENT were featured in the TELEGRAPH newspaper on this very topic

READ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/9508685/Ex-council-homes-how-to-buy-a-bargain.html

Sources : Public Service

Impact of University Fees on your PropVestment

Tuition Fees

Since the announcement some time ago about raising of tuition fees up to £9,000, the pros and cons have been weighed up by the media, but mostly from the perspective of the students and their overall cost of university. At PropVestment we like to consider you, the Property Investors perspective or the “PropVestor” as we like to refer to you.

A recent report by Centre for Cities shows the economic impact of the rise in UK university fees. They suggest that some local economies will be seriously hit by the rise in student fees and the loss of student numbers.

In 2007/08,  the mean total expenditure of full-time English-domiciled undergraduates was £12,254 per student across the three terms.
If this held  true in 2008/09 for the 50,100 undergraduates in Leeds, then their total spending would have been around £624 million; while the spending of the 21,800 undergraduates in Stoke would have amounted to £267 million.
Undergraduate consumer spending alone accounts for up to 10% of the total economic activity of some cities and some of this, the report says, will definitely be lost.The impact will obviously differ across cities. Even though it is estimated for Oxford and Cambridge where students account for 8-10% of economic activity, the institutes will have full admission and places will not be lost therefore the volumes will not suffer. Other cities may fair much worse.
In terms of rental demand, this will change proportional to university places, students need a place to stay regardless. However the amount that students can budget for rents will be much lower and there will be a battle similar to the one with house prices at the moment, where landlords hold out too high rents and affordability is low, this could result in the most stubborn Landlords left with vacant properties, and students out of accommodation.Rising student numbers has been one of the reasons why the buy-to-let market has boomed in recent years, but will pricey tuition fees be damaging to landlords?Whilst the majority of students have historically moved away from home to study, will this practice continue in light of tuition fee increases?
The student population in major university towns could plummet, leading to a catastrophic decline in demand for student housing. Many Landlords have their portfolios quite concentrated on student housing and may suffer with lack of diversification across their portfolio in terms of property type and geographical locations.
Many student properties could be made available for the standard private rented sector, however, the yields on student properties do tend to be higher. Student landlords need to be aware of changing market conditions and to regularly review their business strategies in order that they do not get caught with a glut of unwanted property.

Students staying close to home

Home insurance company LV thinks that there could be flash selling of investment properties in university towns.
The UK university fee increase, together with declining numbers of 18 to 24-year-olds in the general population, will see a 14% fall in higher education numbers over the next decade.
They forecast that the number of students living in the city of Newcastle will slump by 52% in the next nine years – a loss of 15,000 students. It also predicts the student population of Sunderland will fall by 35%.
Other cities which will feel the impact include Swansea, Portsmouth, Stoke-on-Trent and Nottingham, with university student population forecast to decline by 40% in these areas.
Student life is set to be transformed over the next decade, as the impact of rising tuition fees forces university students to reassess their finances and living arrangements.
LV suggests that by 2020, 52% of students will choose a local university and stay with their parents. Only twenty-one per cent of UK full time students currently live at home.

PropVestment conclusion

Overall the rise in tuition fees will impact student landlords, and we are not here to argue the righteousness of university decisions. Like all the best in business landlords much take precautions and adapt their strategies according to changes in the market. In all fairness many landlords, our clients included have enjoyed the student boom and milked rents well, in particular those using HMOs. We advice landlord over exposed to certain geographical areas to research and find the up to date information about the universities future plans, fee charges and expansions. Being ahead of the game and well informed is the fore most priority to be successful. Use this information to adapt your target, maybe start advertising earlier or more strongly for the 2012 intake of students.

If the university has a high percentage of foreign students, circumstances may not change as much as they will still be paying the same higher fees. Alternatively if its one of the top universities or around London, there is so much demand for student living and also young professionals, the impact will be less extensive.
There may be a greater demand for less exclusive or ex-local rental properties and as students budget and trade down to affordable or larger properties with higher occupancy possibilities. From our experience these can be the most appropriate properties for students.
The impact on the whole UK property market will not be much and if anything may help local people afford rentals more, where in recent years they may have been out priced by the influx of students.

We at PropVestment are experienced in Buy To Let and Student rentals so for any advise do not hesitate to contact us, for a no obligation consultation. We have great means to advertise to students, manage lets, legal matters and HMO regulations as well as a tight network of letting agents. Read our buy to let blog.

Have a read of our other articles on Student Housing:

PropVestment in Daily Mail: Wise councils: Spacious and solid, ex-local authority houses can be a very good deal
PropVestment Guide: Top Tips for Property Listings
Today: New Laws for Landlords, All Tenancy agreements upto £100k become ASTs
HMO: Huge Money Opportunity
Landlords : How to protect against bad tenants

Sources:
http://www.centreforcities.org/assets/files/2011%20Research/11-05-05%20Starter%20for%20ten.pdf
http://planetproperty.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/university-fees-the-end-of-buy-to-let/
http://planetproperty.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/university-cities-will-be-hit-hard-by-student-fee-rises/

PropVestment in Daily Mail: Wise councils: Spacious and solid, ex-local authority houses can be a very good deal

By Graham Norwood.   Original article http://bit.ly/cjK5J9
Last updated at 9:56 AM on 5th November 2010

Thirty years ago, in October 1980, Margaret Thatcher introduced the right for council house tenants to buy their homes.

Millions took her up on the offer, and there are now around two-and-a-half million former council flats and houses in the private sector.

Read more

Today: New Laws for Landlords, All Tenancy agreements upto £100k become ASTs

Landlords and tenants should be aware of significant new changes around tenancy agreements as of October 1, according to The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS).

From Today, shorthold tenancies where the annual rental amount is above £25,000, but not more than £100,000 a year, will become Assured Shorthold Tenancies and this will apply retrospectively.

However, tenancy deposit protection should not apply retrospectively and, therefore, only new deposits and renewals taken on or after October 1 will definitely need to be protected. The advice from The DPS is to protect all deposits now as it is better to be safe than sorry.

Going forward, this closes a loophole that previously left many of the most vulnerable tenants with no protection. Higher rate tenancies were not originally included under tenancy deposit legislation, which only covered ASTs up to £25,000. Tenancies valued higher than this were seen as contractual tenancies and deposits did not need to be protected.

But this situation, according to The DPS, left some groups such as students or large house-shares vulnerable.

The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS) is calling for all landlords, and tenants, to be aware of this change and also to protect themselves until there has been clarity in this policy area.

This does mean extra paper work for Landlords but it is better to be safe than sorry, the procedure of registering and updating details on the DPS website is very easy and straight forward, http://www.depositprotection.com/

Your tenants can also check if they are covered and overall gives a Landlord a much more professional impression. Make sure you are registered and upto date with all the latest legislation. Do not hesitate to email us: info@PropVestment.com if require any advice, its free!

HMO: Huge Money Opportunity?

Although Multiple Occupancy can achieve huge rewards in the form of rents, in particular student lets, Landlords must take the required legal procedures to ensure it is all above board. In our experience it is easy to gain over 50% premium on rental income under HMO. There are now professional agents that can take care of the managements and legalities but here are some basics you must know. Licenses are only £335, so get them and don’t risk fines or prosecution when the outlay is so small.

The returns can significant, raising the ROI above any other residential investment, letting are very easy through university listing or sites such as www.spareroom.com.  Please get the relevant advice and don’t take short cuts in the pursuit of profits.

After reading this nitty gritty we offer a fantastic investment opportunity at the bottom of the article.

Here is the Basics

What is an HMO?

HMO stands for House in Multiple Occupation and generally refers to one of the following:

  • A house split into bedsits
  • A house or flat share where each tenant has their own tenancy agreement
  • Students living in shared accommodation Read more