Monthly Archives: March 2011

Property investors look to put their funds into London office properties.

The latest data has shown a large increase in demand for office investment properties in London in the first 3months of 2011, looks like investors are looking for high quality tangible assets. Many are looking for quality investments to hedge their bets against inflation. Reports show that London office investment property demand has risen by 6% and West End office 11% with the ultimate City office space jumping by 12%. There is defiantly a gap appearing between quality supply and demand for top London office space. This will of course lead to increased rents, with many surveyors predicting rents topping the ?100 per square foot mark within the next six months. Many in the property industry watch top end London office space as a good indicator of the direction of the rest of the UK property market.

UK budget looks to support property REITs

There has been no clear signs on the abolition of the crippling 2% conversion charge on the UK property REIT but there are increasing mumberlings in the corridors of power in the government. The issue is that the 2% conversion is prohibitive to offshore investment funds considering UK property investment. Fingers are crossed in the property sector for the informal consultation that is set to take place soon.

Grandeur of stone Regency facades for a fraction of the price, Stucco the Georgian bargain?

What is Stucco? It is a term used widely to describe various types and styles of external masonry coverings or as many today wrongly describe it render. The technique became popular in the Georgina and Regency periods, the cost of a Stucco building fa?ade was roughly a quarter of the price of real stone. The tradesmen of that period had extensive skills and experience and even old original Stucco still requires close inspection to distinguish it from stone facades. In England in the 19th century Stucco was really used purely to describe lime based renders that were applied in two or three coats, often with deep ?V? shaped incursions scribed into it to give the appearance of stone blocks. There are various places you can see good examples of Stucco, from Harrogate down to Brighton. If you really want to see it at its best? Go to West London, Holland Park Estate and see some of the finest work of William and Francis Radford who built the estate between 1860 and 1879.

Green building specialists disappointed at missed opportunity

Many in the green building or environmental building industries have been disappointed by a lack of initiatives in this week?s budget. The government has introduced the green deal but many environmentalists believed that this scheme would have received more funding in the budget. One popular incentive was for energy efficient repairs to become VAT free. The building industry is suffering a period of contraction and the announcements on changes to the UK planning system were welcomed. The challenge for property developers and small house builders is now funding speculative development deals. The banking crisis is still affecting progress in the development sector.

Residential developments sites starting construction falls by over 40%

Residential property development has declined by over 40% in the last three months with the prospects for 2011 looking challenging. This has been worsened by a fall in new social housing projects, social housing has often been seen as a last stop for site sales in challenging times for the property market. With government cuts and reductions in other social housing schemes funding streams it looks like those wishing to sell development sites may have to look to joint venture. The advantage of joint ventures for site owners is that the experienced added to the development team can often assist with bank lending for development finance.

Wish you knew how to make your home greener?

Many people talk and debate the new building regulations and European initiatives for more environmentally friendly homes, but few seem to assist existing home owners make their homes greener. Yes there have been various initiatives like the warm front scheme, and discounts on insulation, but to me they seem a little disjointed. Many home owners are looking to make their properties greener, but have been bombarded with so much information they are unsure what is best to do? With such items as ground source heat pumps and micro wind turbines, what offers the best value and saves the most energy? Then throw in solar voltaic feeding tariffs and the poor home owner is bamboozled with facts and figures. The answer is before you consider spending a few thousand pounds on products to make your home more environmentally friendly, contact a home environmentalist specialist. If you would like further information we can put you in contact with a fully qualified professional. They could save you from wasting thousands of pounds on the latest green gadgets.

Government set to promote urban living as planning rules are set to change.

Planning laws for commercial to residential conversions are set to be relaxed in the coming budget. It is believed that developers will not need planning permission to convert commercial office space into residential use. The concept of mixed use commercial and residential units is not new to the UK but is far more popular in European cities. These changes to the UK planning system do make perfect sense, the number of new homes built in the UK is at its lowest level since 1923. Considering the increased population in the UK since 1923, these figures are both astounding and frightening. This comes at a time when around 8% of commercial properties are currently vacant. So it does seem a very sensible and green route to solving the housing shortage. So who are the losers in this planning change, well new house builders and developers will not be keen. Many have land banks built up over many years and they would not like to see the values of their development sites eroded. The interesting thing to watch out for over the next few months is the commercial property auctions. Will private investors and property investment companies start speculatively buying up certain types of commercial properties that are suited to conversion?

Savills profits jump after recovery in prime London property markets

The agency section?s group has seen profits increase by 13%, with the new homes sector seeing particularly strong growth. The commercial, rural and residential property management sectors also enjoyed strong growth. One of the sections of the business that did not fare as well was the planning consultancy business. The shortage of development funding and the cautiousness of developers will have undoubtedly had an influence on profits.

Lending to first time buyers set to improve as market confidence starts to return

This year has seen houses prices continue to fall and a mild thaw in bank lending conditions, and this is very gradually improving conditions for first times buyers. This comes as research shows 83percent of MP?s believe that first time buyers need some assistance in obtaining mortgage funding. The only other caveat is that interest rates must remain at their current low levels. If interest rates rise it will further affect the affordability of houses for first time buyers. This would not only have a negative effect on the situation of first time buyers but also place constraints on the rest of the UK housing market.

Commercial property investors keeping it safe

Many commercial property investors are focusing their attention and cash on the top end of the commercial property market. The majority of commercial property investors are looking for prime location and prime tenants, blue chip established tenants. The issue is that as real assets like gold and property become an inflation beating safe haven for cash, more and more investors move into the market. As the supply of quality commercial property and tenants is not growing at the same rate as demand from investors, more are looking at secondary commercial. This will have a gradual affect of increasing capital values and also increase the ripple effect. This is a favorite term for some agents and commercial surveyors, it simple means as some streets and areas are taken by investors and tenants. The next streets or locations suddenly increase in desirability and ultimately in capital values, the trick is to predict the next hot location or hot spot. This has made the best investors and speculators a lot of money.