For centuries, London has been a magnet for property investment. That continues today but inevitably, property investors will need to take stock of the position at any given time.
So, if you are looking for a property finder’s advice on investing in London, here is our view on what you need to consider.
London is always attractive
In the most general terms, London will always prove to be an attractive prospect for property investors.
The city, of course, has the cachet of being the nation’s capital. Its cultural links with the development of England and then later Britain can never be dissolved because they’re carved into our history.
More importantly though, from the viewpoint of a hard-nosed investor, London also has certain natural advantages that are unlikely to ever be seriously challenged:
- Since Roman times, it has been a huge centre of commercial activity. True, the city was abandoned for a relatively short period after the Romans departed but it has a near unbroken track record as a major economic area going back nearly 2000 years;
- Today, it is one of the major global centres for financial services and related activities;
- For geographical and time-zone reasons, it is a logical bridging point between the Far East’s activities and those in North America. Whilst other such centres exist in the purely geographical sense, such as Paris and Frankfurt, there is blue water between London and them in terms of scale and expertise;
- The city sits at the centre of the most economically prosperous part of the United Kingdom. Whilst it can be an issue in terms of the national distribution of commerce and related wealth, the southeast of England continues to be a magnet for commercial investment;
- Many international corporates are relocating to London, attracted by a large talent pool, favourable taxation and, easy access to mainland Europe. This provides opportunities for corporate and short lets;
- It has a global reputation for pre-eminent excellence in education, thanks to its many world-class establishments, which encourages international students to study in London;
- Finally, it is a multi-cultural and international city that is exceptionally dynamic – something which attracts vast numbers of people from around the globe who would like to live and work there. That also means it attracts huge numbers of tourists each year.
All these are very powerful indicators as to why London has been and will probably continue to be, an area offering opportunities for property investment.
Supply and demand
It should be acknowledged that the overall UK property market has had some issues for potential investors in the last few years.
Over relatively recent times, the government has introduced tax changes and other legislation which has made it more difficult for some categories of buy-to-let type investment businesses and landlords. As a result, significant numbers of investors in that category have left the marketplace.
In London, in particular, there continues to be a significant shortage of property when measured against those people who are looking for accommodation – and with rising rents in the capital, investing could offer lucrative opportunities.
It is also appropriate to mention that Brexit and its, at the time of writing, unquantified impact has introduced a slight note of caution for some property investors. However, whatever the outcome, it seems unlikely that Brexit will seriously call into question any of the attractions of London as outlined above.
No property finder can ever guarantee what the property market in a given area will be doing in several years’ time.
What is clear though is that London is likely to continue to be a highly attractive place to live and work for the foreseeable future. Whilst that fact remains the case, there will be opportunities for property investors in the area.
It is perhaps clear though that a strategy of simply buying anything available in London in the expectation of being able to make money out of it would be a risky one. For example, some smaller properties of two bedrooms or less, showed a tiny price fall of 0.1% in October. On the other hand, the overall property market in London showed a modest 1% increase over the same period.
As some buy-to-let investors have withdrawn from the London market, it has left more room for property finders and their clients to manoeuvre. Yet if there are now more opportunities, there are also potentially more dead-end properties coming onto the market as well.
It is, therefore, more important than ever to be selective and target-specific when looking for property to invest in within the capital. That, of course, is where our expertise will be able to assist you in finding the properties that are ripe for investment purposes.
The property market in London has undergone significant change over the last one or two years. Overall, it might be fair to summarise the position today as “generally stable with modest increases and minor falls in specific sectors” compared to the “white heat” of a few years ago.
These changes might be leading to more consolidation in terms of the number of landlords operating in the capital and they might also have made available slightly larger numbers of properties than was the case say four or five years ago.
Nevertheless, the opportunities in London still appear to be extremely attractive, though the current situation demands an even tighter focus on securing the right type of property and in the right area for future security and a satisfying return on investment.
Please do not hesitate to contact us on +44 (0)207 099 2773 for more information on property opportunities in and around London.