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LettingFocus

Unbiased buy to let, property investment and letting coaching, mentoring, advice and seminars for landlords from top selling property author and media commentator.

A Word on the Best Property Commentators

I thought it best to qualify my forecast about house prices in my pre-Christmas blog post.
Those forecasts I made don’t allow for any really crazy stuff that may happen – like the UK deciding to waste more money (and sadly more lives) in yet more unwinnable wars, a terrible pandemic or an earthquake leveling some major financial centre or other.
Or indeed, the so called “Masters of The Universe” in their red braces up in the square mile could come up with some other daft financial instrument that no one, not even their own bosses and certainly no financial journalist either knows about or understands – which leads to another economic meltdown.
Stuff like that is hard to quantify, allow for or to take account of in one’s calculations mainly because the probability (of it happening) is so hard to predict.

Personal Finance and Journalism
Talking about predictions, one of the curious things in 2007-8 was the fact that so few financial journalists saw the credit crunch coming.
Hardly any of them had an understanding of how the financial alchemy being practiced in the city (the CDOs and the like) worked and how it could end up hurting all of us so much.
You cannot blame them too much for this though.
As I have said before, it was pretty obvious that tne directors of the banks did not have a clue either.
The FT was better than most though at seeing that something was amiss and I am very indebted to whomever at the FT wrote that it would be best to pass up on the Royal Bank of Scotland’s ludicrous rights issue at 200 pence a share (now the subject of legal action against directors).
Thanks FT.
Thanks to you, I passed up on that rights issue and have you to thank when RBS sold my rights at 227 pence - a profit of 27 pence a share.
When it comes to personal finance investments I highly rate the commentary of John Authurs and Mathew Vincent (both at the FT), David Smith (Sunday Times), Nick Hasell (Times) and David Kuo (Motely Fool).
Many other commentators leave a lot to be desired.

Property Experts
And what about the property experts?
I have to say that when it comes to property predictions over the years I have noticed that there are some regular journalist-commentators who are always more right than wrong and whose analysis of the true situation in the residential property market is first class.
They are David Smith again (of the Sunday Times), Claer Barratt (of the FT and Investors Chronicle), Anne Ashworth (Times), Jeremy Gates (PA) and Michael O Flynn (FindaProperty.com).
There are some other good people too - but these are the regular writers whose work I most admire.
Many other writers, I’m afraid, are often terribly wide of the mark with one “quality paper” in particular always hopelessly wrong about property. (Sorry, cannot name them in case they read this and get mad at me.)
Non journos who also understand the market well are Ray Boulger, anyone at Savills and Knight Frank and Stuart Law of Assetz.
In the professional landlord magazine / website arena you will know that I greatly admire Tom Entwistle (of Landlord Zone) and Richard Bowser (of Property Investor News)
Listen to all these experts and journos for your tips and you won’t go too far wrong.

Here We Go Again

More snow is expected today and we will no doubt see the usual hopeless response as some City Hall staff and schools up and down the land take the opportunity for yet another day off. (Is it me but do kids get more days off anyway for holidays than when I was a nipper?)
Last year our brilliant Mayor of London walked off from a grilling when someone suggested that perhaps it might have been a bright idea to have the gritting and snow plough people staying somewhere close to their vehicles ready to work overnight as soon as last years' snow started.
They weren’t and so the whole of London ground to a halt for 2 days.
Pathetic!

MORE ABOUT LETTINGFOCUS AND WHAT WE DO

LettingFocus.com is the home of landlord information.
Hello, I’m David Lawrenson.
I have been a landlord and property investor myself for over 25 years and am author of “Successful Property Letting” – which has been the UK’s top selling property and buy to let book for the last 3 years.
At LettingFocus.com, we help landlords and property investors make money in property by coaching them in ways that work, which are ethical and which involve minimal risk to the investor.
We pride ourselves on giving independent unbiased buy to let advice on either a one to one mentoring / coaching basis or through our occasional group seminars.
Unfortunately, in the UK today, property advice in the UK is still largely unregulated and what counts as “good advice” is too often more about making the promoter money than giving useful information to the investor.
With no links to property firms, developers or bridging loan providers we can advise on where and what type of property to buy for investment and when to buy it. We also show you how to manage tenants properly.
At a corporate level, we also provide consultancy for banks, local authorities and social housing providers – helping them with their landlord facing or buy to let product strategies. We also write for property websites and are regularly quoted by the media.
We have written articles for numerous publications including The Independent, The Telegraph and quality landlord websites.

AT OUR WEBSITE LETTINGFOCUS.COM:

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Buying an Investment Property - A Checklist and a word on Inflation

It still amazes me how some people blindly believe what they are told by property firms.
So here are some things you should keep in mind….
1. Find out whatever you can about the property company you are buying through. What does it say about them on the Internet?
2. Do they stand to lose money if it turns out to be a bad investment?
3. Get your own valuation for both rental potential and property value. Don’t ever trust theirs.
4. Even with your own valuations, you must still do your own research - remember, lots of surveyors working for banks once thought all the shiny new builds going up 5 to 10 years ago were worth 50% more on both rental potential and value more than they are actually worth now.
5. To avoid making the same mistakes these valuers and mortgage lenders did back then, you should think about supply. If there are ten thousand more units going up locally and they are just like yours and are all chasing a limited pool of tenants, I suggest you get a text book on GCSE level Economics from your library and re-read the bits about demand and supply.
6. Visit the area!

Inflation and Property Outlook

If you don’t study history you are bound to repeat the mistakes of the past.
If you do, you’ll just make new mistakes.
I’m not sure who first said those things but looking at investment - whether investing in property or anything else – it is always interesting to look at the past.
Twenty years ago, in 1989, the Japanese main stock market index, the Nikkei, was roughly four times higher than it is today.
Since then there has been a steady deflationary trend in asset prices in Japan and despite a few short lived revivals the Nikkei stays as low as ever.

UK Inflation and Government Policy
Could we see a long term low inflation or even continuous deflation in the UK? Where are we headed on inflation in the UK?
This is an important question to ask for anyone investing in property, because as a real asset, the neat thing is that in an inflationary environment, property should go up in value.
And so, the thinking goes, it can make sense to borrow a bit to buy property because in time your loan becomes worth less relative to the capital asset, the property.
I am asking this question right now because there was a small tick up in inflation in the last round of figures (although many think this could be temporary and is simply a reflection of very fast falling prices a year ago starting to fall out of the figures.)
If we have inflation coming back, how good inflation is for property investors depends, I think, on whether the Government uses fiscal (tax or spend) or monetary (money supply and interest rates) policies to control it.
Given the weak state of the corporate sector my bet is that, whatever Government is in power, they will be more likely to cut public spending and raise personal taxes than put up interest rates.
Although this will keep a lid on property prices a bit, it won’t hurt property as much as if we had to face hikes in interest rates.
If we saw a sustained period of deflation, property prices will make headway much less fast, but will still be underpinned by lack of supply.

ABOUT LETTINGFOCUS.COM and DAVID LAWRENSON

LettingFocus.com are the buy to let experts and I’m David Lawrenson, the author of “Successful Property Letting” – which has been the UK’s top selling property and buy to let book for the last 3 years.
We help landlords and property investors make money in property by coaching them in ways that work and which are of minimal risk.
I have been a landlord and property investor myself for over 25 years.

At LettingFocus we offer independent unbiased advice for landlords and property investors on a one to one mentoring and coaching basis as well as through occasional group seminars.

You should know that property clubs and property advice in the UK is still mainly unregulated and advice is often poor.
With no link to property firms, developers or bridging loan providers we at LettingFocus can give unbiased independent advice on where and what type of property to buy for investment, when to buy and how to buy property at a low price.
We also show you how to manage tenants properly and in ways that take up as little of your time as possible.

CHECK OUT THESE PAGES AT OUR SITE LETTINGFOCUS.COM:


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For general info on our SEMINARS AND CONSULTING click here: Property Seminars, Networking Evenings and Consulting
ONE TO ONE PRIVATE CONSULTING click here: Property Mentoring
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Lack of Social Housing Will Force House Prices and Rents up by Lawrenson of LettingFocus

Our Quarterly Newsletter will be coming out later this week. Let me know if you haven’t received yours in your email inbox by Saturday or if you have any problems opening or viewing it.
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I See Few New Houses
Imagine you are Gordon Brown. You have survived the election and its tough times. Or, if you prefer, imagine you are David Cameron, the perennially smoothly shaven new PM.
You know the dire state of public finances and you know that some government spending has simply got to be cut – but where do you cut?
Public sector pensions will be a candidate, sure, but that will take years to bear fruit in terms of lowering the burden on taxpayers.
I would guess that while all areas could come under the knife the two areas that are least likely to be cut will be health and then education.
Why? Well, health is an area where the government can arguably claim to have made some progress since 1997. Education is a big priority area too.
In both health and education I would guess that anything near the front line services will be spared anything much in the way of cuts.
So once all the many Questionable Quangos with their well paid Execs have been cut down a bit where else do the big cuts come?

Social Housing
I would guess social housing would be one area that’s very likely to see cuts because the savings could be quite big here and the government can always do what they have been doing for years – which is look to private landlords to take on the role of “Provider of Housing of Last Resort” through the Housing Benefit/ LHA system (at least until the public finances are back in shape.)
With not much new housing stock being added – whether private sector or public sector - this will only put further pressure on house prices and rents to continue their inexorable rise, at least in those parts of the country where the economy is still reasonably strong.

ABOUT LETTINGFOCUS.COM and DAVID LAWRENSON
We are LettingFocus.com - the property experts and I’m David Lawrenson, the author of “Successful Property Letting” - the UK’s top selling property book for the last 3 years.
What’s unique about LettingFocus is that I offer independent unbiased
property seminars covering property investment and letting because unlike most people in the buy to let and property “advice” business I am not linked to a property company, developer, agent or bridging loan financier.
I can tell you where to buy (which areas), what type of property to buy, when to buy, how to buy property at a low price, how to make sure you get tenants who are going to pay the rent and how to manage a rental property to make money.
I can also comment on “No Money Down” Schemes and “Buying Below Market Value” methods too.
I can answer most questions on letting property because I have been a landlord and property investor myself for over 25 years.

LINKS
Find out about GREAT DEALS we have arranged for landlords by clicking here: Services for Landlords and seeing our Landlords’ Affiliate page. If you sell products to landlords and property investors and you have national coverage, get in touch!
For SEMINARS click here: Property Seminars, Networking Evenings and Consulting
For the NEXT SEMINAR AND NETWORKING EVENT for Landlords and Property Investors click here:
Next Seminar Event
For ONE TO ONE CONSULTANCY help click here: Private One to One Consulting
For TESTIMONIALS from past customers click here: Testimonials
To BUY THE BOOK click here: Buy the Book at Amazon
For THE HOME PAGE OF THIS BLOG click here: Blog
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To JOIN our Free QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER simply send an email to [email protected] - Please note we WILL NOT send spam or sell our mailing list to advertisers!
Copyright of Blog: David Lawrenson 2009.
This blog is updated roughly once a week usually on a Monday or Tuesday.

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Bad Time to Buy Property as an Investment? By Lawrenson of LettingFocus

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A weird thing happened last year.
An old pal of mine from Merseyside bought a house right next door to the place where we used to live on the Wirral when I was just a small kid. This next door house was identical to our one.
He paid about half a million for it. My father paid £30,000 for ours back in 1971.
Not a bad increase in price over time I guess.

Don’t Compare Oranges with Bananas
But when comparing property prices over time don’t forget that properties need to be maintained which costs money.
And, of course, the quality of what’s in today’s properties is so much better than what one would have put up with in the 1970s.
Bleeding obvious I know - but often forgotten by many commentators.
So when comparing property prices today with what they were some years ago and saying “Gosh, how much things have gone up” we must always remember that we are not exactly comparing like with like because maintaining and improving property costs real money.

Inflationary Hedge
But all the same, those kind of figures really does show how property is a great inflationary hedge.
Money left in the stock market over the period 1971 - 2009 would have done pretty well too.
An investor friend of mine - Rochdale Andy - noted that he rather fancied gold at the moment but then added “Unfortunately I can’t leverage up to 70% buying gold.”
And nor can you borrow money to buy shares either.
Just go to your bank and see if they will loan you money to buy shares without any asset to back it and see how far you get.
And I imagine that, even if it were possible to borrow money to buy gold or shares, it would not normally be tax deductible either in the same way as investing in let property is .
And neither would gold produce a rental income.
These factors, for me mean that the right type of let property will beat shares most of the time.

Is It a Good Time to Buy Now?
It’s better to buy now than it was in 2007 right? House prices are down so it has to be better to buy now. Isn’t it?
Well, I bought 2 places in 2007 and where I have invested prices are down between 5 and 10% on 2 years ago.
Should I not have waited? Should I not have seen what Sir Fred and the other banking eejats were up to and held on through the credit crunch to buy now.
I disagree. At least not for one who needed mortgage financing to complete the purchase.
Why?
Well, back then I could get an 85% loan to value at a buy to let mortgage rate of just .69% above base rate FOR LIFE for a mortgage fee of about £500.
Now, the best loan to value is a measly 75%, the best buy to let mortgage rates are a whopping 4.5% above base for just 3 years followed by 2% above base for the rest of time.
And the fee is a whopping 2.5%, )which would have been £2,500 on that particular property.)
I’ve done the maths and because of the effect of the cost of money, it still looks like 2007 was a better time to buy. That said, I think 2009 will also prove good in the long run too partly because I think inflation will come roaring back within 2-3 years.
But I will look in more detail at why I think today is a good time to buy to let in a forthcoming blog.
To come to the NEXT SEMINAR AND NETWORKING EVENT for Landlords and Property Investors on 4th November click here:
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To read blogs on related topics, please click on a suitable Category button at the bottom of this post.
ABOUT LETTINGFOCUS.COM and DAVID LAWRENSON
We are LettingFocus.com - the property experts.
I’m, David Lawrenson, the author of “Successful Property Letting” which for the last 3 years has been the UK’s top selling property book.
What’s unique about LettingFocus is that I offer independent unbiased
property seminars covering property investment and letting because unlike most people in the buy to let and property “advice” business I am not linked to a property company, developer, agent or bridging loan financier.
I can tell you where to buy (which areas), what type of property to buy, when to buy, how to buy property at a low price, how to make sure you get tenants who are going to pay the rent and how to manage a rental property to make £s at my one to one consulting service.
I can also comment on “No Money Down” Schemes and “Buying Below Market Value” methods too.
I can answer all your questions on letting property too because I have been a landlord and property investor for over 25 years.
LINKS
Find out about GREAT DEALS we have arranged for landlords by clicking here: Property Investors’ Affiliate and seeing our Affiliates page.
More products will be added over the coming months. If you are a merchant with national coverage, get in touch!
For SEMINARS, click here: Property Seminars, Networking Evenings and Consulting
For the NEXT SEMINAR AND NETWORKING EVENT for Landlords and Property Investors click here:
Next Seminar Event
For ONE TO ONE CONSULTANCY help click here: Private One to One Consulting
To BUY THE BOOK click here: Buy the Book at Amazon
For THE HOME PAGE OF THIS BLOG click here: Blog
For THE HOME PAGE OF OUR MAIN SITE click here: LettingFocus Home Page
For GREAT OFFERS ON Products for Landlords, click here: Landlords Resources
To JOIN our Free QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER simply send an email to [email protected] - Please note we WILL NOT send spam or sell our mailing list to advertisers!
Copyright of Blog: David Lawrenson 2009.
This blog is updated roughly once a week usually on a Monday or Tuesday.
WANT TO BE KEPT UPDATED WITH OUR LATEST BLOGS?
Over on the right hand side under all the previous blog entries you will see a button which says “Site Feed.” Simply copy the site feed link into your News Reader or News Aggregator.
We suggest you search Google to tell you more about what a “News Aggregator” or “News Reader” is. It’s dead easy, honestly. Even a non techie like me managed to do this in a few minutes.
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To add a comment to this post, you just click on “link to this post” then simply add your comment. To view past comments, again and rather oddly (we think), you’ll need to click “link to this post” and view the comments (which will appear at the bottom of the post.)

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Time to buy property to let - from Lettingfocus.com.

If I had a pound for every time in the last two weeks some journalist or other contact said to me “Ooh dear, buy to let looks in for a bit of a fall now,” I’d have, er…. about £21Well, sorry folks but actually this year is the best time for the last 6 years to buy property to let.Every experienced residential property investor knows that you make a lot of the money in property when you buy. So when you buy, you have to buy cheaply.
When property prices are booming like they were in 2004 to 2006, vendors will not listen to offers and it will be a struggle to get value.However, in the current market, with vendors struggling financially, you CAN buy cheaply because vendors will listen to offers.And this scenario is made all the more attractive to property buyers because the credit crunch means there is a real dearth of buyers, especially first time buyers. This is because of two things. Either buyers believe all the guff in the press about a huge imminent house price fall and choose to stay on the sidelines or they simply don’t have access to mortgages.

CASH PILES
The smart investors have built up cash piles which mean they can access at least 20% of a property’s value – and they can get good mortgages deals too. They also know that the tenant pool has just got bigger and will continue to do so because all those buyers who are too scared to enter the market and all those who can’t get a mortgage will have to live somewhere. So, they are going to have to rent! This will further push up rents which have been increasing by almost 19% over the last year.It’s tough and I feel sorry for the first time buyers, but that’s the economy folks. And it’s brutal.Now, I have to say, here that I don’t think the property crash will be that severe (though in the Me-too-Identikit Buy-to-Let-Ghetto-Flats which were flogged years ago to hapless novice investors it will be hard – very hard indeed)
In most other places, I don’t think prices will fall far or for too long because interest on mortgages expressed as a % of average incomes (the affordability argument) is not that stretched.Yes really!Right now mortgage interest payments are gobbling up about 18.5% of peoples’ incomes.
This is above - but not much above - the long run average according to the council of mortgage lender’s stats.And even though they are a shade above the long run mean, with earnings still going up at over 4%, this figure will soon come down to about 15% and buying a property will start to look very cheap again.And finally, as we get wealthier, surely it should not be a surprise that people choose to spend a higher % of their income on property.
Why not? After all, clothes, CDs, computers, cars are all cheaper today than they have ever been -leaving more to spend on property.So, whatever the stats say, I think it is perfectly possible for a wealthier economy to live with spending more of its income on property. If by 2010, we look back and the year of 2008 did not turn out to be a belter of a time to buy property to let, then I’ll buy a big round of drinks and cook a great meal at my house for all the journalists who say otherwise.
I’m David Lawrenson from property investment mentors lettingfocus.com.
I’m the author of the buy to let book “Successful Property Letting - How to Make Money in Buy to Let” the UK’s top selling property title.
It is fully up to date with all the recent changes to tenancy deposit schemes, HMOs, licensing, capital gains taxes and it has new sections on buying below market value. I’m an expert on the UK property market and a well known property investment blogger and I contribute to newspapers and a host of property websites, write a property investment blog, a number of columns in the press and run a landlords advice service.
I also work as a consultant helping banks, building societies, housing associations and web portals with their buy to let and property products and services.You can read more of my property investment blog and details of my networking, advice, buy to let networking programme at my website.My next London meeting is coming soon. Click here for details: Property Investment Advice
What’s unique about lettingfocus.com is that we offer independent property mentoring because unlike most people in the buy to let and property “advice” business we are not linked to a property company, a developer, an agent or bridging loan financier and do not receive commissions from any of these sources.If a property investment is lousy – We’ll tell you straight and we will tell you all about buy to let and property investment - the good and the bad and we won’t make silly promises that you’ll become a millionaire overnight.Copyright: David Lawrenson 2008. This blog is updated once a week. Permission must be sought before using the material in the blog.

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Don’t believe this talk of a housing crash says LettingFocus

The media is still doing their best to talk up a recession and a fall in house prices.
However, out in the real world, the real market (outside the awful oversupplied and in places fraud ridden new build sector) is stubbornly staying relatively strong.
Indeed, the UK property market is gaining momentum according a preview of figures from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) monthly housing market survey. Buyers on books, housing stock and sales all increased in January in an upward trend.
They say that after a seasonally slow December, the market is beginning to pick up again, with the number of house buyers up 11% in January and first time buyers accounting for 14.5% of all sales, a rise of just over 3% for the same period last year. Well, of course the NAEA’s job is to talk up the market, naturally.
But even if you look behind the figures you still don’t see a big fall off in activity.
OK repossessions are up and filling the auction rooms, that is true – and yes the papers love to scream this from the rooftops. It sells papers after all.
But the fact is that repossessions are low by historic measures.
OK, they are almost three times up on 2004, buy hey interest rates were unusually low at that time, so that’s kind of what you would expect.

Repossesion Rates
But according to the FT “the increase merely takes repossessions from an extremely low level to a pretty low level”
They highlight that as a proportion of outstanding mortgages, only 0.11 per cent (one in a thousdand) were repossessed in the second half of 2007 – exactly the same proportion as in the first half and actually four times lower than the peak of repossessions which occurred in the second half of 1991.
The FT goes on to say that analysis of the figures show that “at no point in the 1990s was the rate of repossession any lower than it is today.”
So, those are the real facts behind the tabloid headlines.
What’s my take on all this.
Well, I was hoping for a stalling hosuing market so that I could get some good property deals.
At the moment there is only a slight slowdown and vendors will listen to offers but so far the market is still staying relatively strong. That may change during the year.
Meanwhile to find out what’s really happening in the property market, do what I do, stick to the FT and avoid all the nonsense and hype in the other papers. And definitely avoid the Get Rich Quick in Property courses and companies.

About David Lawrenson
If you need more advice on where to buy investment property ask me. I’m David Lawrenson from independent property investment experts www.lettingfocus.com
I’m the author of the landlords bible “Successful Property Letting - How to Make Money in Buy to Let” the UK’s top selling property title.
I’m an expert on property letting and a well known writer on buy to let and I contribute to newspapers and a host of property websites, write a property investment blog and run a landlord and tenant advice service - check out my columns for FinancialExpress.net and Archant’s “The Guide” magazine
I also work as a consultant helping banks, building societies, housing associations and web portals with their buy to let and property products and services.
You can read more of my landlord blog and details of my networking, advice, property investors seminar programme at my website www.lettingfocus.com.
What’s unique about lettingfocus.com is that we offer independent property investment mentoring because unlike most people in the buy to let and property “advice” business we are not linked to a property company, developer, agent or bridging loan financier and do not receive commissions from any of these sources.
If a property investment is lousy we’ll tell you straight and we will tell you all about buy to let and property investment - the good and the bad and we won’t make silly promises that you’ll become a millionaire overnight.
Copyright: David Lawrenson 2008. This blog is updated at least twice a week. Permission must be sought before using the material in the blog.

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RICS predicts a soft landing for house prices says Lawrenson of Letting Focus

In the last blog I said that repossessions are on the up – and explained how to buy repossessions at auction.
However, as I predicted throughout last year, unless you are in an area that is oversupplied with a particular property type, the fall off in house prices could be short-lived.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) believes that the heaviest falls in house prices are behind us, going against current opinion of more house price falls
They said that the Bank of England's commitment to keep the market liquid will mean that interest rates will be cut back to five per cent during the first 6 months of 2008, making any negative price growth in the market short-lived.
They also said that repossessions will rise from 30,000 to 45,000, but that the current employment situation is strong enough to keep the market resilient and avoid any repeat of 80,000 repossessions back in the 1990s.
I agree.

Credit Availability - Mortgage Loans Harder to Get
Despite the RICs predictions for next year, they still see tough times ahead in 2008, with tighter lending conditions that are likely to impact on the buy-to-let market in particular. So, unless you have good credit, it could be tough to be an investor.
However, they also state that their research shows "little evidence of widespread sales of investment properties taking place".
The effect of the credit crunch will dissipate slowly meaning that those seeking to obtain finance in the first half of 2008 may struggle.
But the employment picture should be OK throughout the year, helping to prevent significant numbers of repossessions and the subsequent influx of supply into the market.
This should ensure that house price growth remains broadly flat over the course of the year.

ABOUT LETTINGFOCUS.COM and DAVID LAWRENSON
We are LettingFocus.com - the property investment experts.
I’m, David Lawrenson, the author of “Successful Property Letting” which for the last 3 years has been the UK’s top selling property book.
What’s unique about LettingFocus is that I offer independent unbiased
property networking seminars covering property investment and letting because unlike most people in the buy to let and property “advice” business I am not linked to a property company, developer, agent or bridging loan financier.
I can tell you where to buy (which areas), what type of property to buy, when to buy, how to buy property at a low price, how to make sure you get tenants who are going to pay the rent and how to manage a rental property to make money.
I can also comment on “No Money Down” Schemes and “Buying Below Market Value” methods too.
I can answer all your questions on letting property because I have been a landlord and property investor for over 25 years.

LINKS
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More products will be added over the coming months. If you are a merchant with national coverage, get in touch!
For SEMINARS, click here: Property Seminars, Networking Evenings and Consulting
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This blog is updated roughly once a week usually on a Monday or Tuesday.

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Are buy to let yields and incomes set to go up asks Letting Focus?

A new report out from Mortgage Express says that nine out of 10 landlords plan to either increase their portfolio or leave it untouched in 2008 and about 95 per cent think gross rental yields - which are at 5.7 per cent - will stay the same or increase.
Meanwhile, the Council of Mortgage lenders latest set of stats shows that 20.6% of first time buyers income is going on interest payments on property – which is quite high and certainly well above the nadir of 1994 when it was about 11.3% (and property as we now know was as “cheap as chips”)
However, today’s figure is well below the 1990 peak of 27.3% - the last time house prices fell a lot.

Property Crash
For these reasons I don’t really see a big property crash coming – though I do see a choppy time for house prices - which is a situation which will be taken advantage of by clever experienced landlords who will be adding to their holdings now by buying property from financially overstretched sellers.
These smart investors also know that first time buyers, many of whom have been spooked by the headlines of a property slowdown will be renting instead – which is one reason why these landlords know that rental incomes and yields will increase.
If you need more advice on investing in property or buy to let in general please ask me.

About LettingFocus.com
What’s unique about LettingFocus is that I offer independent unbiased
property seminars covering property investment, landlords isues and buy to let because unlike most people in the buy to let and property “advice” business I am not linked to a property company, developer, agent or bridging loan financier.
I can tell you where to buy (which areas), what type of property to buy, when to buy, how to buy property at a low price, how to make sure you get tenants who are going to pay the rent and how to manage a rental property to make money.
I can answer most questions on letting property because I have been a landlord and property investor myself for over 25 years.

LINKS
Find out about GREAT DEALS we have arranged for landlords by clicking here: Services for Landlords and seeing our Landlords’ Affiliate page. If you sell products to landlords and property investors and you have national coverage, get in touch!
For SEMINARS click here: Property Seminars, Networking Evenings and Consulting
For the NEXT SEMINAR AND NETWORKING EVENT for Landlords and Property Investors click here:
Next Seminar Event
For ONE TO ONE CONSULTANCY help click here: Private One to One Consulting
For TESTIMONIALS from past customers click here: Testimonials
To BUY THE BOOK click here: Buy the Book at Amazon
For THE HOME PAGE OF THIS BLOG click here: Blog
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Copyright: David Lawrenson 2007. This blog is updated at least twice a week. Permission must be sought before using the material in the blog.

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Will House Prices Continue to Go Up asks Lawrenson of Letting Focus

A report by the National Housing and Planning Advice Unit (NHPAU) estimates that despite government plans to build 240,000 new homes per year, house prices will reach nine times average earnings by the year 2020.
This is way up on the current figure of around seven times earnings - with wide variations nationally.
The report also said that properties in the southeast, southwest and east of England could become even more expensive compared to local salaries than those in London.
This will be due, they said to the fact that whilst “lots of jobs are being created in London, an increasing number of people are choosing to live outside the capital and commute in from surrounding areas, thus further driving up house prices across the south of England.”

Not a House Builders Lobby
This is worth taking note of because the NHPAU is not a house builders’ body. It was set up by the government last year in response to a recommendation in the housing supply review that found that, house-building rates halved while demand for new homes rose by a third over the last 30 years.
In my view, as long as you avoid flats those cities in the north which are clearly oversupplied with apartments right now, you will do OK buying property now over the long term.
If you are a first time buyer or an investor in the South, I would use the current weakness to buy property.

The Truth About Property
Finally, at last! A decent programme on the property market! Congratulations to the team who made “The Truth about Property”
It is sensible, balanced, well researched and thoughtful. The only minor criticism is that they have overlooked the affect of inward migration and inter-regional migration on the market. These are both huge factors in rising rents and house prices. But, still well done for a good programme!

ABOUT LETTINGFOCUS.COM and DAVID LAWRENSON
At LettingFocus.com, we are the landlords’ expert and I’m David Lawrenson, the author of “Successful Property Letting” - the UK’s top selling property investors and buy to let book for the last 3 years.
A landlord and investor in proeprty myself for over 25 years, at LettingFocus we offer independent unbiased
seminars for buy to let investors and landlords as well as one to one advice covering all aspects of being a landlord and investing in property.
Unlike many in the still largely unreguated buy to let and property “advice” business I am not linked to a property company, developer, estate agency or bridging loan provider.
As such I am able to give unbiased independent advice on where to buy (which areas), what type of property to buy, when to buy and how to buy property at a low price. I can also explain how to reduce the risk of getting a bad tenant.

Info About LETTINGFOCUS.COM:
Our Events only take place twice a year.
For our NEXT SEMINAR AND NETWORKING EVENT for Landlords and Property Investors click here:
Next Property Investing Seminar and Networking Event
We have GREAT OFFERS for landlords too, Click here: Services and Products for Landlords to see our Landlords Resources (Useful Links) page. (Selling services to landlords and property investors and have a national coverage? You could be a partner, please get in touch!)
For general info on our SEMINARS AND CONSULTING click here: Property Seminars, Networking Evenings and Consulting
ONE TO ONE CONSULTING click here: Property Consulting
CLIENT TESTIMONIALS from past customers click here: Testimonials
BUY THE BOOK click here: Buy the Book at Amazon
THE HOME PAGE OF OUR MAIN SITE click here: LettingFocus Home Page
To JOIN our Free QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER simply send an email to [email protected] - Please note we WILL NOT send spam or sell our mailing list to advertisers!
IF YOU HAVE A SITE WHY NOT LINK TO THIS BLOG OR OUR WEBSITE?
Copyright of Blog: David Lawrenson 2009. This blog is updated roughly once a week usually on a Monday or Tuesday.

Related Article: If you are an investor who does not want to give up the day job, then read this: http://www.lettingfocus.com/pages/myarticles2.html

TO BE KEPT UPDATED WITH OUR LATEST BLOGS, if you look over on the right hand side under all the previous blog entries you will find a button which says “Site Feed.” Simply copy the site feed link into your News Reader or News Aggregator.
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Copyright: David Lawrenson 2007. This blog is updated at least twice a week. Permission must be sought before using the material in the blog.

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IMF Reports on House Prices but Ignores Supply and Demand says Letting Focus and David Lawrenson

You probably saw those headlines from early last week where the IMF claimed UK house prices were 40% over valued and were due a “correction” accordingly.
Reading further, the IMF admits this estimate is based on the US property market and makes no allowance for the scarcity of land supply or influx of demand from new immigrants in the UK.
It is kind of weird that the International Monetary Fund could ignore something us fundamental as supply and demand when they do such an outlook.
Economists from Marshall to Marx would surely look down from on high with disbelief.
Of course, the press, and the UK public loves property headlines like this, so expect more of the same soon.
If you need more advice on investment property or letting property please ask me. I’m David Lawrenson from property investment consultants http://www.lettingfocus.com/
I’m the author of “Successful Property Letting - How to Make Money in Buy to Let”
I’m an expert on buy to let and a well known property speaker and I contribute to newspapers and a host of property websites, write a property investment blog and run a property investment and mentoring service
You can read more about me and details of my networking, advice, property seminar programme at my website http://www.lettingfocus.com/
What’s unique about lettingfocus.com is that we offer independent property investment advice because unlike most people in the buy to let and property “advice” business we are not linked to a property company, developer, agent or bridging loan financier and do not receive commissions from any of these sources.
If a property investment is lousy – We’ll tell you straight and we will tell you all about buy to let and property investment - the good and the bad and we won’t make silly promises that you’ll become a millionaire overnight.

ABOUT LETTINGFOCUS.COM and DAVID LAWRENSON
CHECK OUT THESE PAGES AT OUR SITE LETTINGFOCUS.COM:
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Next Property Investing Seminar and Networking Event
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ONE TO ONE CONSULTING click here: Property Consulting
CLIENT TESTIMONIALS from past customers click here: Testimonials
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WANT TO BE KEPT UPDATED WITH OUR LATEST BLOGS?
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Why Are London Rents Going Up by Letting Focus

All this talk of a credit crunch and housing market slowdown has meant many first time buyers are staying on the sidelines and continuing to rent.
This is normal behaviour and one that I explain in the first chapter of “Successful Property Letting – How to Make Money in Buy to Let”
I have already observed on this blog that these first time buyers may be mistaken in some areas, particularly in London, where I don’t expect house prices to fall much at all, though there will be a slight increase in opportunities to buy below market value from desperate sellers.
I now see that Savills has reported annual growth of 8 per cent in rent levels in the more up market areas of London while Cluttons, puts the figures at 15 per cent .

More Demand from Tenants
Anecdotal evidence from my estate agent friends at the more down market end of the London rental market, indicates the same thing is happening. Indeed, most London agents are now seeing an increasing business from prospective tenants - and landlords & are putting up rents in line with this increased demand.
This is good news for landlords whose rental yields are now low (though that is of course, itself a function of rising house prices and rents that have failed to grow as fast)
It is bad news for tenants!
In London, expect more rental growth and steadyish house prices for the next year.

ABOUT LETTINGFOCUS.COM and DAVID LAWRENSON
I’m David Lawrenson, the author of “Successful Property Letting” - the UK’s top selling property and buy to let book for the last 3 years.
I have been a landlord and property investor myself for over 25 years.
At LettingFocus we offer independent unbiased seminars for buy to let investors and landlords as well as one to one advice covering all aspects of buy to let, finding and managing tenants and investing in property.
The difference with me is that as I am not linked to a property company, developer, estate agency or bridging loan provider I am able to give unbiased independent advice on where to buy (which areas), what type of property to buy, when to buy and how to buy property at a low price. I can also explain how to reduce the risk of getting a bad tenant.

CHECK OUT THESE PAGES AT OUR SITE LETTINGFOCUS.COM:
Our Events only take place twice a year.
For our NEXT SEMINAR AND NETWORKING EVENT for Landlords and Property Investors click here:
Next Property Investing Seminar and Networking Event
We have GREAT OFFERS for landlords too, Click here: Services and Products for Landlords to see our Landlords Resources (Useful Links) page. (Selling services to landlords and property investors and have a national coverage? You could be a partner, please get in touch!)
For general info on our SEMINARS AND CONSULTING click here: Property Seminars, Networking Evenings and Consulting
ONE TO ONE CONSULTING click here: Property Consulting
CLIENT TESTIMONIALS from past customers click here: Testimonials
BUY THE BOOK click here: Buy the Book at Amazon
THE HOME PAGE OF THIS BLOG click here: Blog
THE HOME PAGE OF OUR MAIN SITE click here: LettingFocus Home Page
To JOIN our Free QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER simply send an email to [email protected] - Please note we WILL NOT send spam or sell our mailing list to advertisers!

LIKE THIS PAGE AND HAVE A LANDLORD WEBSITE , THEN WHY NOT LINK TO THIS BLOG POST OR OUR WEBSITE?

WANT TO BE KEPT UPDATED WITH OUR LATEST BLOGS?
Over on the right hand side under all the previous blog entries you will find a button which says “Site Feed.” Simply copy the site feed link into your News Reader or News Aggregator.
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Have You Seen this Article which looks at Letting to Students? http://www.lettingfocus.com/pages/myarticles_student_lettings.html
Lots more interesting articles on letting and buy to let at www.LettingFocus.com


Copyright: David Lawrenson 2007. This blog is updated at least twice a week

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Property prices and buy to let after the credit crunch by Lettting Focus

What will happen to property prices and what will happen to buy to let and property investment after the credit crunch?
Well, now we know that the Bank of England was now thrown a lifeline to the Northern Rock and has in effect underwritten its deposits.
And much money has been made and lost in the city on trading in the shares of NR as well as Alliance & Leicester, Bradford and Bingley and Paragon - which have all seen huge gyrations in their share prices. (Expect a wee enquiry into these gyrations at some future point! I can’t help but smell a rat here!)
But back to property!

Money Markets and Buy to Let
As you may know, not all lenders raise as much cash from the money markets as Northern Rock did.
Nationwide and Halifax Bank of Scotland only get about a third of cash in this way, though that’s still been enough for lenders like these to raise their standard variable rate by up to 0.2%.
Other banks who have used the credit markets more to raise money are Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Leicester – and their stock market prices have sea-sawed along with Northern Rock, though not quite as much.

Mortgage Trackers
If you took out a Bank of England base rate mortgage tracker for a long term, then you can sit back and relax. Your rate will not go up unless base rates do.
But if you are on a mortgage linked to the standard variable rate one or one where the fixed term expires soon, then be prepared for a hike in your rate right now.
Back in 1988 I took out a loan with a lender that raised funds on the money markets – and not linked to central bank base rates. There then followed a credit crunch and my rate went up.
I learnt my lesson way back then.
However, lots of landlords have borrowed from lenders who raise their funds in the money markets. I have not seen figures on this, but my guess is that it is a much higher proportion than on standard residential mortgages.

Mortgage Rate Hikes
Therefore, mortgage rate hikes for landlords could be particularly high and may force some to sell property, opening up an opportunity to others to buy property cheaply. (And if the private rented sector declines, rents will surely rise)
But what does this all stuff mean for house prices?
Well, lenders have already tightened up their lending criteria. They will look much more closely at (and may refuse) to lend on “risky” deals like ex council, new build flats with gifted discounts in oversupplied areas or at loan to values much over 75%.
It could also mean the “no money down deals” may only be available to experienced investors with good track records who are known to a lender.

Oversupply of Property
Now, for a long time I have said there is still an oversupply in some areas.
I forecast falls in house prices in areas that are heavily oversupplied with too much of one kind of property.
Sorry folks, but many cities in the North have too many flats for the current state of their local economies and I predict prices will come down by at least 10% in these towns over the next 12 months.
I’m not alone here. Anne Ashworth, writing in the Times today, cites Liverpool as a good case in point.
However, other areas which are not oversupplied will do well and see prices and rents hold up and indeed go up.
But while all this interest rates stuff is important it is actually a bit of a side show because the real factor that is driving up the UK’s house prices is the expanding population and the lack of housing supply.

Northern Ireland
Take Northern Ireland as an example. Why did prices surge 50% in 12 months in Ulster recently? True there was a bit of property speculation, and the peace dividend also played a part. But another story that you won’t hear about in the press (well you may in the Daily Mail) was a large migration to Ulster from mainland UK by workers mainly from the new EU.
Now, if the UK economy becomes less attractive to workers from the new EU relative to other places in Europe, then much of the inward migration could fast turn the other way as workers return home or move to other better economies.
I don’t think this could happen anytime soon, but if it did, that really could put the skids on house prices and rental levels.

ABOUT LETTINGFOCUS.COM and DAVID LAWRENSON
We are LettingFocus.com - the landlords’ expert and I’m David Lawrenson, the author of “Successful Property Letting” - the UK’s top selling property and buy to let book for the last 3 years.
I have been a landlord and property investor myself for over 25 years.
At LettingFocus we offer independent unbiased seminars for buy to let investors and landlords as well as one to one advice covering all aspects of being a landlord and investing in property.

MAIN PAGES AT OUR SITE LETTINGFOCUS.COM:
Our Events only take place twice a year.
For our NEXT SEMINAR AND NETWORKING EVENT for Landlords and Property Investors click here:
Next Property Investing Seminar and Networking Event
We have GREAT OFFERS for landlords too, Click here: Services and Products for Landlords to see our Landlords Resources (Useful Links) page. (Selling services to landlords and property investors and have a national coverage? You could be a partner, please get in touch!)
For general info on our SEMINARS AND CONSULTING click here: Property Seminars, Networking Evenings and Consulting
ONE TO ONE CONSULTING click here: Property Consulting
CLIENT TESTIMONIALS from past customers click here: Testimonials
BUY THE BOOK click here: Buy the Book at Amazon
THE HOME PAGE OF THIS BLOG click here: Blog
THE HOME PAGE OF OUR MAIN SITE click here: LettingFocus Home Page
To JOIN our Free QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER simply send an email to [email protected] - Please note we WILL NOT send spam or sell our mailing list to advertisers!

Have You Seen this Article on Tenancy Agreements - Is Yours Fair? http://www.lettingfocus.com/pages/myarticles10.html

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To add a comment to this post, simply click on “link to this post” to add your comment and to view comments of other people.

Click here to listen to me on BBC Radio 4 Money Box programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/podcasts/moneybox/ and then click on “Download episode for 22nd September”
What’s unique about lettingfocus.com is that we are unbiased and independent, because unlike most people in the buy to let and property “advice” business we are not linked to a property company, developer, agent or bridging loan financier and do not receive commissions from any of these sources.
If a property investment is lousy – We’ll tell you straight and we will tell you all about buy to let and property investment - the good and the bad and we won’t make silly promises that you’ll become a millionaire overnight.
Copyright: David Lawrenson 2007. This blog is updated every week.

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Why Tinkering with Pensions is Driving More People to Buy to Let

I see property expert Beeney was in the London Evening Standard yesterday saying that London house prices are due to fall heavily.
I agree they will fall, but I don’t think the fall will be too heavy – however after a recent strong rise, a pause for breath is well overdue in the capital.
But remember house price growth is very patchy and prices in many areas of the North and Midlands have fallen over the last 6 months.
The fact is that national house price stats have been skewed by massive rises in posh parts of London (driven by an unholy mixture of city money and the ill gotten gains from non UK domiciled overseas nationals attracted by our very lax tax regime)
Northern Ireland has also done well for reasons of “catch up” and a delayed impact of the peace dividend.
However, whether house prices rise or fall, in the long run this country is becoming more divided between rich and poor – and between house owners and tenants.
I predicted last year at the Property Investor Show that by 2026 half of all properties will be rented or second homes -and I still believe it.
That prediction got me a lot of press - and some stick, but let’s see shall we.I see one big lender has recently made a similar prediction.
If it happens, this will take us back to a mix of home tenure not seen in the UK since the late 1940s because without any change in the tax regime, buy to let will definitely continue to grow as a proportion of the housing stock.

Pensions and Property
Of course, Gordon Brown and the big cheeses at companies who make the decisions on company pension funds are doing their best to make traditional pension fund investment more unpopular than ever (and hence driving more people to buy to let).
And half the time, the poor pension saver doesn’t even notice what’s happening.
After all, there has only recently been a big storm about GB’s decision 10 years ago on the pension tax credit.
But there is more too - if you have a traditional pension I would strongly urge you to read Rob Budden’s excellent piece in last Saturday’s FT. It’s an eye opener that few people who are toiling away and putting money in their pension will be aware of!
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/13d3413c-ef56-11db-a64e-000b5df10621.html
Back to main site http://www.lettingfocus.com/

MORE ABOUT LETTINGFOCUS AND WHAT WE DO

LettingFocus.com is the home of landlord information.

I’m David Lawrenson.
I have been a landlord and property investor myself for over 25 years and am author of “Successful Property Letting” – which has been the UK’s top selling commercially published property book for the last 3 years.
Our main business is at a corporate level for organisations - both public and private companies.
We provide consultancy for banks, local authorities, social housing providers and other organisations – helping them with their landlord facing or buy to let product strategies and services.

OTHER WORK

We also write for property websites and are regularly quoted by the media. In addition, we have written articles for numerous publications including The Independent, The Telegraph and quality landlord websites.

MENTORING
For private landlords, we also find some occasional spare time to help landlords and property investors make money in property by coaching them in ways that work, which are ethical and which involve minimal risk to the investor.
We pride ourselves on giving independent unbiased buy to let advice on either a one to one mentoring / coaching basis or through our occasional group seminars.
Unfortunately, in the UK today, property advice in the UK is still largely unregulated and what counts as “good advice” is too often more about making the promoter money than giving useful information to the investor.
With no links to property firms, developers or bridging loan providers we can advise on where and what type of property to buy for investment and when to buy it. We also show you how to manage tenants properly.

AT OUR WEBSITE LETTINGFOCUS.COM:

THE HOME PAGE OF THIS BLOG click here: Blog
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NEXT SEMINAR AND NETWORKING EVENT for Landlords and Property Investors:
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Copyright of Blog: David Lawrenson 2007.
This blog is updated roughly once a week usually on a Monday or Tuesday.

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Housing Statistics- Dig Around to Find Which Area is Hot and Which Is Not

Serious investors should be getting regular reports from all the main house price indices.
Sure, there is lots of stuff that’s on line these days – most is based on the land registry data - so you can look at an area and see if the house prices in that area have gone up, down or sideways.
Sites like upmystreet.co.uk also add in lots of other bits of useful data - so you can see crime figures, school performance and the like for a particular area.
But there is a lot to be said for getting on the actual mail list for stats and press releases from the likes of the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Nationwide, Halifax and Alliance & Leicester. They all produce great stats and press releases.
Have a dig in the detailed stats – there is some amazing and useful information that you can use when you are assessing an area to buy into.

MORE ABOUT LETTINGFOCUS AND WHAT WE DO

LettingFocus.com is the home of landlord information.

I’m David Lawrenson, a landlord and property investor myself for over 25 years and author of “Successful Property Letting” – the UK’s top selling commercially published property book for the last 3 years.


Services to Businesses and the Public Sector


Primarily I am a consultant to banks, local authorities, social housing providers and other organisations – helping them with their landlord facing or buy to let product strategies and services.

For example, I help banks improve their buy to let mortgage lending practices and I help housing association / local authorities find private landlords (private rented access schemes, local letting agency models etc.)
I also write for property websites and am regularly quoted by the broadcast media.


Services for Private Landlords


For private landlords and other investors in the private rented sector, we do just two
London seminars each year.
We also find some spare time to help landlords and property investors by coaching them in how to make money in the private rented sector using ways that work, which are ethical, fair to tenants and which involve minimal risk to the investor.
We pride ourselves on giving independent unbiased buy to let advice on either a one-to-one mentoring / coaching basis or through our occasional group seminars. With no links to property firms, developers or bridging loan providers we can advise on where and what type of property to buy for investment and when to buy it. We also show you how to manage tenants properly.

AT OUR WEBSITE LETTINGFOCUS.COM:

THE HOME PAGE OF THIS BLOG click here: Blog

THE HOME PAGE OF OUR MAIN SITE click here: LettingFocus Home Page


For general info on our CONSULTING click here: Consultancy and Seminars


ONE TO ONE PRIVATE CONSULTANCY click here: Property Mentoring


NEXT SEMINAR AND NETWORKING EVENT for Landlords and Property Investors:
Next Property Investment Seminar and Networking Event

We have OFFERS on a range of services and products for landlords too; click here including landlords insurance, tenant referencing, tenancy agreements and more: Services and Products for Landlords

TO READ CLIENT TESTIMONIALS – both commercial and private click here: Testimonials

BUY “SUCCESSFUL PROPERTY LETTING” click here: Buy the Book at Amazon plus anything else you fancy at Amazon.co.uk

To JOIN our Free QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER
simply send an email to [email protected] - Please note we WILL NOT send spam or sell our mailing list to advertisers!

IF YOU HAVE A SITE WHY NOT LINK TO THIS BLOG OR TO OUR WEBSITE?
IF YOU SELL SERVICES TO LANDLORDS, YOU COULD BE A PARTNER ON OUR AFFILIATE PROGRAMME.

PLEASE GET IN TOUCH!

See our TWITTER PAGE: http://twitter.com/LettingFocus

Copyright of Blog:
David Lawrenson 2007. This blog is updated roughly once a week usually on a Monday or Tuesday.

TO VIEW RELATED POSTS select a “Category” at the bottom of this page.



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