[eBook] Property Bonds - a brave new world of property investment?

Posted by Graham Turrell on Wed, Sep 14, 2016 @ 02:25 AM

There is a lot of talk about Property Bonds as a new, simple and secure way of enjoying bank-beating returns without the hassle of direct property ownership. But choosing from the growing list of advertised products can be a minefield.

So to help you learn about this new approach to property investment, I'm delighted to announce we've written a brand new guide which you can download now for free.

12-shutterstock_291201419.jpgOver the last couple of months we've been very busy behind the scenes studying the Property Bonds market place. As bonds become more and more popular with medium-sized property developers as a way of generating finance for their projects, we are set to see more and more bonds and loan-note investments being offered.

Our findings have been fascinating.

The choice of property bonds is already somewhat bewildering, and the range of quality and safety is wide. We have discovered that there are some excellent offerings available today with very reputable property developers, business models and bond structures that offer investors strong but realistic returns, with investor security at the forefront.

But not all such bonds are equal. It has concerned me greatly that very high rates are being advertised in some cases to attract investor interest but when we apply the weight of our due diligence processes, many leave a great deal to be desired.

We're sharing our knowledge with investors, and showing them how to discern the good products from the mediocre as well as providing our own critique and expert guidance to them. 

To find out more about the world of Property Bonds, you can download our brand-new Special Report today. Just click the image below to receive your copy...

Download HighGround Property Bonds Special Report


Tags: property bonds

[news] Report reveals facts and hotspots for UK student property

Posted by Graham Turrell on Mon, Jul 11, 2016 @ 08:40 PM

STUDENTS-INDOORS.jpgPurpose built Student Accommodation (PBSA)  in the UK remains an incredibly popular asset class for a whole host of reasons.

When it comes to looking for reliable growth and passive income through property, fully-managed student property is hard to beat. 


Here are 9 fascinating facts about student property!

Did you know that ...

  1. It's Big Business. In 2015, a massive £5.1b's worth of PBSA transactions took place - the largest yearly figure ever.
  2. It's Popular. Just over 49,000 PBSA beds were bought and sold last year.
  3. The Big Boys are playing. Nearly half of these were bought by institutions, including major pension funds such as Aviva and BlackRock.
  4. If a certain brewery built property, it would be this. PBSA has again outperformed all traditional property classes.
  5. Students are in love. PBSA is more popular with students than ever before, and this is set to continue
  6. It can be T.A.X Friendly. Most Purpose-built student property is exempted by HMRC from capital gains tax (but seek professional tax advice to confirm for your situation)
  7. More buyers love second-hand. With increasing yields (average rent in 2015 was up by 3.64% - well above inflation), the resale secondary market is becoming lucrative. Some buyers are prepared to pay a premium for PBSA blocks with years of trading history.
  8. It's still growing. Growth is set to continue, with growth outside London expected to be greatest.
  9. There's a "Brexit Bonus". With a lower £ following the Brexit decision, the overseas student market could be set to enjoy another further boost in the medium term. PBSA is even more popular with non-UK students so demand could see another further shift from traditional privately let shared houses (HMO) and university-owned accommodation. 

If large institutions such as Aviva are buying PBSA for their managed funds, it may be worth considering taking a leaf out of their book? Especially when individual student suites can be owned for less than a deposit on some city centre apartments.

Discover more facts and figures in the latest PBSA report from Knight-Frank, including some expected PBSA UK hotspots.

To get your complimentary copy, just click the link below. 

Download Student Property Market Review 2016

What do you think of the report contents? Post your thoughts below, we'd love to discuss!

Tags: news, Student Accomodation

Interested in intelligent property investment?  Join me in central London on Thursday 9th June

Posted by Graham Turrell on Fri, Jun 03, 2016 @ 09:34 AM


I'm really excited about a seminar we’ve arranged for next Thursday the 9th June with Jeff Hankin, director of Best International presenting their investment strategy including information about their new UK car park offering along with their highly successful range of property bonds. 

This will be a highly informative event in a relaxed setting and presents a welcome and secure alternative to traditional buy-to-let property investment currently under unprecedented attack from the UK Treasury.

Are you able to make the event? The venue is the Thistle, Kingsley Hotel Holborn (2 minutes walk from Holborn station) with reception and light refreshments at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. There will also be opportunity for networking with like-minded property investors.

This is a free event, but it's value to you is likely to be immense. Due to populatirity and venue size, seats are now very limited so I recommend reserving your place today.

Happy for you to invite anyone you think would benefit from listening to Jeff. Please let us know number of seats needed by reserving them below (I'll get notified automatically). Any questions beforehand, drop me a comment on this post and I'll answer each one personally.

To secure your seat(s) now just click here:

Register Now

Look forward to hearing from you, and seeing you next Thursday!

Kind regards,

Graham Turrell

CEO HighGround Property Investment

Tags: Property Insight, property bonds

Business & Pleasure combined? - Investing in Luxury Beach Front property with confidence

Posted by Graham Turrell on Tue, May 31, 2016 @ 08:58 PM

As anyone who know us well will tell you, when it comes to choosing investment property, we never let our hearts rule our heads.  

llana_12-nice.pngThat said, once we've thoroughly interrogated the developer, the business model and the numbers stack up firmly in favour of the investor, we allow ourselves to let our hair down a little. 

When the down-side of a deal is covered, its time to celebrate the up-side and get a tiny bit excited. Time to take a good fresh look at Cape Verde property investment...

Something .... unusual

A decade of experience tells me this: it's really rare in property to be offered a minimum net rental income and to be able to keep everything above that minimum too.

Think about that for a moment. When the resort is doing well you get the full benefit of that. Should  there be a problem, you're covered, saf and secure. Of course the reason you're offered this is that the developer knows from experience that actual rental income from your hotel suite will always be well in excess of the minimum.

So it's a no-brainer to offer this to investors, but it kind of speaks volumes, doesn't it?


Control is good. Should you wish to sell up an no longer want the income and free personal usage, you can even demand that the property be resold for you after five years at market value.

Here's what you could have, for a £10k investment upwards:

  • Receive an assured 7% annualised income until the resort opens;
  • Benefit from the guaranteed minimum net return of 5% per year thereafter;
  • Any income above 5% is earned based on your hotel suite income;
  • Assured resale of your property any time from the fifth year;
  • Tax friendly environment;
  • Free personal usage options are available to enjoy every year should you wish;
  • Huge choice of ownership across two idyllic Cape Verdean islands.

Begin this journey of discovery today and grab a copy of our Llana Beach Hotel guide:

Download Llana Beach Hotel Investment Prospectus


Tags: Hotel Investment, Cape Verde, Llana Beach Hotel

Property Investor Report : London Breakfast Briefing with the NLA - Part 2

Posted by Graham Turrell on Wed, May 25, 2016 @ 10:31 AM

Welcome to Part 2 of our coverage of The Property Breakfast Briefing at London's Royal Academy of Arts, organised by the UK's National Landlords Association.


The first part of this report generated a real buzz from readers earlier this week. Here's the second and final installment of my report on this enlightening May morning in central London, focussing on the future of the UK residential market and the prospects for the private rental sector (PRS) in the new political world of taxed business expenses  for some sectors of UK property investment.

prime-central-london.jpgIn the second of this two-parter from the Briefing are key comments from the panel and in particular Jim Pickard, the Political correspondent of the Financial Times, who gave his views on the recent Mayoral changes in London and its likely effects on the PRS.

Part 2 : Speaker - Jim Pickard, Financial Times' Chief Political Correspondent

Here are the key topics covered by JIm during his presentation at the gathering, followed by some animated Q&A...

On the impact to housing of the new London Mayorship

The new London Mayor Sadiq Khan won the election with two key issues in his manifesto : transport and housing, so expect reform of both of these to feature highly (and quickly) during his term. At the end of the day London is a basically a labour city, so such a vote for a labour Mayor during a mid-conservative national term comes as no great surprise.

Issues with private lettings agencies are in focus and the mayor looking at setting up a public run letting agency. No details are available yet but we watch with great interest.

London has a population of 8.6m and this is widely expected to rise to 10m by 2030. The private sector is nowhere near meeting this with new build construction.

Another area of concern has been the proliferation of Iceberg basements (the construction of very large living spaces below existing high end properties, in prime central London - Moves are afoot to tighten up on planning permissions for these.

More significantly it is likely that foreign off-plan investments into London will be made more difficult, to level the playing field for UK based buyers.

Indeed a recent survey on behalf of KPMG indicates that 2/3 of foreign investors are concerned about potential policy changes following the Mayoral election.

Despite a widespread concern, the Mayor has no direct power to place a cap on rental income. 

The mayor is expected to encourage all London boroughs to introduce landlord licensing, based on the results of the "test case" in the Borough of Newham. But there are government restrictions on how widely this can be implemented. If a borough wishes to have more than than 20% of its rental stock to be under license, it would need to seek direct permission from the housing minister, who can refuse this.

On Brexit

Pickard believes there would likely be an Immediate depreciation of sterling in the event of a vote to leave the EU.

This would further increase the popularity in London and elsewhere for foreign property buyers.

Panel Q&A

Not surprisingly much of the discussion centred on the impact of the new world of tax legislation for private landlords.

One audience member, a landlord of 30 years, commented that despite the many challenges during that time, she has never felt so gloomy.

The panel commented on methods likely to be used by landlords to survive in the new climate. Landlords will need to carefully control their costs.

Notably, there was a prediction that landlords are likely to shop for better letting agent deals. In particular they will be more critical of tenancy renewal charges. They expect the market to become less complacent and more competitive, good news for those relying on agents.

Landlords are expected to be more likely to self manage their properties to improve cashflow. Whilst professionally-minded landlords will respond to the challenge appropriately this is seen by some to represent a danger to the quality of property management in the PRS in the near future.

One final sobering word came from Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association: Given the track record, and the current political and popularist sentiment, It's quite possible that rent controls could be introduced by the present conservative government.

For that, we will just have to wait and see...

Please post your comments or questions on any of the issues raised, or if you'd like more detail with a one-to-one chat with me over the next few days, contact me directly using link below. 

     Let's talk !     


Disclaimer : all stated remarks in this article are my personal interpretation during the event and should not be taken as direct quotations from panel or audience members.

Tags: UK investment

Property Investor Report : London Breakfast Briefing with the NLA - Part 1

Posted by Graham Turrell on Tue, May 24, 2016 @ 12:43 PM

Along with distinguished guests,  I was recently invited to a Property Breakfast Briefing at London's Royal Academy of Arts, organised by the UK's National Landlords Association. Here's the first part of my report on what was a valuable insight on the present and future of the UK residential market and the prospects for the private rental sector (PRS) in the new political landscape for UK property investment.

royal-academy-of-arts.jpgHere in this two-parter are some rather insightful observations from Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlord's Association and Jim Pickard, the Political correspondent of the Financial Times, who gave his views on the recent Mayoral changes in London and its effects on the PRS.

Part 1 : Speaker - Richard Lambert, CEO National Landlords Association

Here are some insightful observations from Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlord's Association, made during his presentation at the gathering.

Based on a recent UK-wide NLA survey, Landlord confidence has collapsed as a result of the UK government's tax assault on private landlords. As many of us know, since April this year a "second-home" stamp duty surcharge of 3% has been in place on all second homes and traditional buy-to-let residential property investment. 

From the survey it appears that George Osborne has had the equivalent effect on confidence in the PRS as the Property Crash during the Great Recession of 2008/9. Quite an accomplishment!

More feedback from the NLA PRS survey- Landlord Sentiment

The more properties owned by a landlord, the more likely the landlord is to expect a forthcoming crash in the residential property market. This is as expected though since landlords with larger portfolios statistically tend to be more highly geared.

A prevailing comment from landlords was on the lines of  "I was going to buy more property, but because of the taxation changes, now I won't". Some are reported to be selling off property immediately or planning to sell up completely.

The number of buyers are falling, and sellers increasing. In the first quarter of this year a cross-over was reached where the number of selling landlords exceeds the number of those buying.

Tenant Demand remains high

A piece of good news for landlords was there is no evidence of weakening in tenant demand across the UK. Therefore a common response to the forthcoming "landlord Tax" on mortgage interest for those landlords staying in the game, is to consider simply raising the rents to stay profitable.

A fascinating debate around this is : can landlords really define the rental market in this way? Aren't business-centric landlords already achieving this? In other words, charging the most the market can stand already?

Specialisation and going "Ltd"

Other landlord responses to the impending changes are equally interesting: a trend is being seen towards specialisation and segmentation in the PRS. This presumably is borne out of the idea of adding value to a tenant's experience with greater expertise in specialism that comes from a vertical and/or niche market. That is my take though - this wasn't reported in detail.

The survey showed that 1/3 of landlords questioned are looking at incorporation.

In his summary, Lambert concluded from the survey that property still seen as the best investment option by most landlords, but a growing number are no longer convinced. 

Please post your comments or questions on any of the issues raised, or if you'd like more detail with a one-to-one chat with me over the next few days, contact me directly using link below.

     Let's talk !     

(Watch out for second and final part of this article which will cover the presentation from Jim Pickard, Financial Times' chief political correspondent as well as lively questions from the audience).

Disclaimer : all stated remarks in this article are my personal interpretation during the event and should not be taken as direct quotations from panel or audience members.

Tags: UK investment

Four myths you thought you knew about Purpose-Built Student Property

Posted by Graham Turrell on Wed, May 18, 2016 @ 09:31 PM

Lets face it, some property investors have a problem with purpose build student property (PBSA) investments. Here are the most common objections:students-chester-university.jpg

  • Tenants are restricted to students only (usually by covenant)
  • There's seemingly a restricted secondary market so how do you sell up when you need to?
  • There's no control over the running of the property.
  • These guaranteed rents being offered are just paid directly from inflated purchase prices.

Hands-up if you recognise at any of these?

Truth or urban myths? Lets take a look at each of these comments in a bit more detail.

Tenants are restricted to students only (usually by covenant). That is indeed usually the case, but for good social and business reasons, and to the benefit of the owner. One key reason that PBSA is so popular with today's demanding students is that they offer a safe secure community of like minded individuals. That's why rents are higher and often demand exceeds supply when in the right location.

You can't sell PBSA apartments on. This was perhaps the case, or at least a fear a few years ago when the asset class was emerging and the secondary market untried. The worry was that PBSA would be a flash in the pan and owners would be left with property that no student wanted and that no-one else was allowed to occupy.

That worry has proved unfounded, provided property buyers were careful to select the right development in the right location. Exactly the same level of buyer research is needed here as with choosing any residential investment property, it really is no different. Fundamentally the problem is when unwary investors are led to confuse passive investment with passive research.

What I mean by this is that the promise of hands-free property ownership does not imply there is less work to do when choosing which PBSA property to buy. It seems obvious but inexperienced investors can have their heads turned by over-zealous and perhaps less-than-well-informed sales and marketing. And this is compounded when buying off-plan when computer generated images are relied on to some degree to make a purchasing decision. But find a good reputable independent broker and help is at hand.

Today there is a proven track record in the resale market amongst the best developments, and with rents increasing from the second year, a decent capital gain can be made in a short space of time. There is now an established local and overseas investor market for UK PBSA. Because they are hands-free this is a great asset class for overseas buyers. The secondary market has arguably an even wider appeal than the initial one.

There's no control over the running of the property. Managing a PBSA is a specialist activity and involves decisions that affect the entire development. Letting the experts do what they do best is really the power of this asset class. that's why researching the facilities management company before investing in a PBSA is crucial. Again an experienced broker will help massively with that. Such facilities managers charge a relatively high level of rental income percentage (around 20% of income), but this covers everything from routine maintenance to finding tenants compare this with the combined costs of running a rental apartment. And gross yields are usually much higher than standard residential lets, meaning your net income is way higher and without all the hassle.

What about guaranteed rents - aren't these a number-juggling exercise? Assured rental income for the first few years is very common in PBSA and do offer the advantage of a secure income in the early years of a commercial property in operation. They also make sound commercial sense for the developer. A benefit to an investor is that it smooths the ramp-up of rental income and occupancy to ensure positive cash flow from day 1. A good location should expect to see actual net rents in excess of the guaranteed figure within a couple of years, so the developer can retain the excess in the latter years of the guarantee period, after which the investor gets to enjoy those benefits for themselves.

With the best of breed PBSA's the rental income will usually exceed the guaranteed figure from opening day. Whilst this can be slightly irksome to the investor at first, it shows they have backed a winner and they will receive greater rewards in the years to follow. So with the well-chosen development everybody truly wins.

A Real Live example:

With our rigorous property selection process, we pride ourselves on offering only the Best in Class and that applies not least to student property investments. If you're considering hands-free student property then Northgate Point in the beautiful English city of Chester is a fine example of what is available from us today.

Placed in a fantastic student location, Northgate Point is just a short walk away from the Chester city centre and the University campus. Its 121 luxury studios are fully-managed on the owners' behalf, making Northgate Point an easy ‘hands-off’ investment. 

Why Northgate Point?

Location is key, and in the historic walled city of Chester, planning permission for such developments is rare, ensuring that there will always be a strong student demand for your property. Similar past UK projects by this developer have enjoyed in 100% student occupancy from Day 1 and already rental increases are being accepted in just the second year of operation. We expect the same story in Chester. Unlike most UK student developments, the secondary market is anticipated to be strong, with good capital growth, allowing owners good prospects to resell on the open investor market in years to come, should they wish to do so.

And ... there is no Stamp Duty / SDLT required by HMRC on this property.

This is a truly unmissable investment opportunity for all investors, offering a superb 8% Net rental yield guaranteed for 5 years and 6% interest paid on all deposited funds.

Investment Highlights :

  • Furnished luxury Studio Apartments
  • 40% Assured Net returns over 5 years
  • 6% interest paid on deposited funds
  • Fantastic city-centre student location on university doorstep
  • Full property management
  • Managed by SFM, one of the UK's top student facilities companies
  • Developer has excellent UK student build pedigree
  • Completion September 2016
  • Available from just £72,888

Discover more about Northgate Point today by requesting your brochure below:


northgate point brochure download

[news] Chancellor announces lower Capital Gains Tax for non-residential property

Posted by Graham Turrell on Wed, Mar 16, 2016 @ 03:03 PM

In Today's UK Budget, Chancellor George Osborne announced that Capital Gains Tax is to be reduced significantly. But the Chancellor said that Residential Property is EXCLUDED, meaning that residential landlords could pay up to 8% more in tax than commercial property owners when they come to sell.

george-osborne.jpgCapital Gains tax will reduce from 28% to 20% at the headline rate and from 18% down to 10% on the basic rate. The chancellor made it clear this afternoon in his speech that this reduction excludes residential property.

Investors buying commercial property such as Purpose Built Student Accommodation and Hotel Rooms will however benefit from this 8% reduction, as well as already being immune from the 3% second-property stamp duty surcharge that buy-to-let investors now have to pay when they buy.

So when our investors come to sell their property they will stand to save up to 8% of the sale price in tax.

Another black day for Buy-to-Let

This comes as a further death-blow for support for buy-to-let residential landlords from the government. Residential Landlords already face very significant income tax increases from next year.

We now expect to see a further significant shift of property investors from purchasing residential to buying commercial property, and HighGround are well placed to meet this demand.

The residential assault continues - its no joke

Many had hoped that the buy-to-let Stamp Duty surcharge of 3% starting on April Fool's day this year would only apply to landlords with less than 15 properties. But no, it was announced today that there will be no such limit. We're all in this together it seems.

If you have not considered affordable commercial property investment, perhaps now really is the time. Our expertise in sourcing fully managed commercial property gives us a unique perspective.

I welcome your comments and for a one-to-one chat about how we can save you money when you buy and sell investment property, book a call with me here. (You should of course also speak with a qualified tax adviser as your circumstances will be specific to you).

Saving tax

One perfect example of where you could save tax when you buy (no stamp duty for commercial property purchased at under £150,000), when you sell (lower capital gains tax) and while you own investment property is our flagship student property investment, Northgate Point. Commercial purpose-built student property as this already has key advantages over residential Buy-To-Let, and now these financial benefits are even more clear.

northgate point brochure download


Tags: news

[news] Our property viewing trip to Liverpool - residential restorations for profit

Posted by Graham Turrell on Mon, Mar 14, 2016 @ 10:49 AM

Continuing our property Road Trip to the North, we discovered a gem in Liverpool and had ourselves something of a "road to Damascus" experience. In a city where historical architecture is second only in the UK to London, our eyes were opened to the great opportunity for refurbishing beautiful city centre buildings for residential use. No finer example of this exists today than The Produce Exchange.

Graham-at-liver-building-liverpool.jpgProperty Investment in Liverpool city centre...

The northern UK city of Liverpool has historically had its ups and downs socially and financially, and now is very much on the UP.

Property investment here is a real focus now, as substantial EU development grants and direct foreign investment have aided the renaissance of this great city.

The ball really started rolling when Liverpool was voted European Capital of Culture back in 2008, but was immediately stalled by the international credit crunch.

But over the last two years or so, the money is back.

One has only to tour the city centre to see the plethora of property new-build, serving both the student and the residential markets. The docks now boast chic and sophisticated dining and cultural experiences, including Tate Liverpool and the Museum of Liverpool by the waterfront close to the famous and iconic Liver Buildings (pictured).

Buying uniqueness - why The Produce Exchange?

But how rare it is to find a property investment opportunity like The Produce Exchange residential property development in the heart of the city and close to all the cultural and musical landmarks you could wish for. This historic former commercial building is being lovingly restored and converted to high-spec residential apartments. Beautiful architectural features are everywhere, allowing us to offer this unique opportunity to property investors with an eye for a great deal.

The Produce Exchange is set in one of Liverpool's most desirable places to live, work and invest. Is it passive investment through property? Certainly - the property will be operated for you by reputable asset managers (should you choose to appoint them), and for extra security the developer offers a guaranteed 7% net yield in the first year of operation. Mortgage finance is available subject to status. As a hassle-free and lucrative property investment, it takes a lot of beating.


Traditional Liverpool property is still we believe undervalued, but finding a bargain in property of this calibre is rare indeed. That's why we're excited to offer apartments at The Produce Exchange from as little as just £86,000 for a luxury studio and NET yields anticipated to exceed 7%. Ask me for the rental figures from our research and let's talk.

This is a small but beautiful development and will not remain on the market for long.

What to do next?

Discover more about this excellent property investment opportunity. Download our introductory brochure today. Just click the link below and we"ll take care of the rest. 

Download The Produce Exchange Investor Prospectus  

Tags: UK investment, property investment, Liverpool Property, Residential Property

[news] Latest site visit to Northgate Point Student Property Develeopment in Chester

Posted by Graham Turrell on Sun, Mar 13, 2016 @ 10:37 PM

Whereas many property brokers just pass on marketing material from property developers, we like to literally go the extra mile.


northgate-point-11-march-2016.jpgSeeing is believing - and our student development, Northgate Point in Chester was well worth the visit last week. We did this to satisfy ourselves that our investors should take a closer look. We are convinced they should. Find out why...

The view on the ground can be very different so we make a point of visiting sites to check progress, location and demand, and meet the key players in the development and running.

We do this to ensure our investors get the best possible deals available. Northgate Point in Chester is a superbly located purpose built student hall under construction, and here's why we think it has a very great deal to offer our investors...

Graham's on-site introduction:


Location and demand is crucial for a successful student development. As Chester is a beautiful historic city, availabilty of good locations near the city centre and the university are rare indeed. Northgate Point is literally a 2 minute walk from university buildings and just 5 minutes from the cultural city centre. Demand from students for Northgate Point is going to be very strong indeed when it opens for the 2016 academic year.

The developer has an excellent reputation for spotting great student locations, and the first of its two student halls in Leicester, which opened last year have full occupancy, and it is expected that rents will be rising this coming academic year. Great news for our investors there!

If anything, Northgate Point is an even better proposition, and I have no hesitation in recommending to any UK property investor looking for excellent rental yields consider this opportunity now whilst some availability still remains.

And as this is commercial property, George Osborne's 3% second home Stamp Duty Surcharge does not apply here!

Discover much more about this remarkable income-generating powerhouse of a property investment. Download our guide today - just click the image below.

northgate point brochure download

If you have any questions or would like to discuss more about this opportunity and my recent visit, get in touch and I'll be delighted to have a chat (07942 818 606)

Tags: UK investment, property investment, Student Accomodation

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