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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.

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New Stations and Property Investing by Lawrenson Letting Focus

From Ebbsfleet in North West Kent, Paris is just two hours and a bit away - and it looks on the face of it as though all these areas will surely benefit, inevitably pushing up prices of houses and rents.
Northfleet, Gravesend and surrounding areas near Ebbsfleet have been cheap for quite a while compared to the rest of the South East but I think there is a risk that the abundance of new houses planned for this part of Kent, could lead to an over-supply developing.

New Housing Supply
In fact there will about 30,000 houses built in the area between Dartford and Gravesend which is all part of the Thames Gateway regeneration scheme.
The scale of the development is big, including, in Ebbsfleet Valley next to the station itself, a massive development that will hold shops, offices and over 6,000 of these houses.
The new station is about 36 miles from London, next to the A2 and the village of Swanscombe and only about a mile from Northfleet which is in turn joined up to Gravesend. Dartford town centre is about 6 miles away to the west.
Trains are now running to the continent but it won’t be open for local people to get to London until December 2009 when it will slash the journey time to London by a massive half an hour to just 17 minutes – though as yet no one knows how much this fast service will cost.
Property prices have been edging up surely and steadily.

House Prices Now
A standard 2 bed terrace house in an ordinary part of Gravesend last year was about £135,000 a year ago but a quick look at Rightmove shows they are now around the £185,000 mark.
Rent in Gravesend give a good guide to the area – a standard 2 bed terrace goes for about £550 per month and a 4 bedroom property would be anywhere from £800 per month upward.
Average prices for all properties in Gravesend were about £145K in 2003 and are about £215K now (source: upmystreet.co.uk) a rise of about 48%, and not far off the London rate of increase.
Amongst the new developments coming into Dartford are Barratts and Crest Nicholson who are building apartments and homes priced from £210,000, £240,000.

House Prices and Rents
But will the international link and its position do the trick for house prices and rents in the area?
Obviously, other new transport links in London have driven forward new frontier areas such as Canary Wharf - and East and South London have already felt the benefits of the Docklands Light Railway and the extension to the Jubilee Line - and the soon to be extended East London line is already pushing up prices in places on the new line especially in areas like Forest Hill, Brockley and Hackney.
Of course, there is a risk that people hoping to get in on the back of the transport and other developments at Ebbsfleet could fall victims to developers over-hyping and over-supplying a location and setting prices above what an area can really sustain with adverse consequences for home owners and investors.
This phenomenon was well illustrated in the “Truth about Property” TV programme screened on 25th October where investors in flats in some areas of the north 3 years ago are now facing big losses.

Too Many Houses
It could be worth investors taking a look, however a local agent I know says the area is stuffed full of landlords chasing a small supply of tenants, so watch out - this could be a buy to let ghetto in the making.
Another factor to watch out for in some of these areas that are near the Thames and other low lying areas is that of floods and flooding. For more on that see this article: http://www.lettingfocus.com/pages/myarticles_Flooding.html


ABOUT LETTINGFOCUS.COM and DAVID LAWRENSON
We are LettingFocus.com - the landlord experts 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.
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I can advise where to buy (which areas), what type of property to buy, when to buy, how to buy property at a low price, how to eliminate the risk of getting a bad tenant and more. I have been a landlord and property investor myself for over 25 years.

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