How to Succeed in Student Property - Tip 4:  Deciding if Student Room investment is right for you..

Posted by Graham Turrell on Tue, Dec 05, 2017 @ 10:28 AM

Student room ownership through Purpose-built Student Accommodation can provide some interesting returns from rental income, but they're certainly not for everyone.Here's a handy checklist and some expert notes to help you decide if they're right for you.

So why not sit down with a nice cuppa or a sandwich at your desk, and ask yourself ...

Is hands-free income appealing to me, or do I like to be in full landlord-style control of my property?


For active landlords, managing and improving their properties is part of their "job" and they embrace and on the whole enjoy it.

Purpose-built student property (or PBSA) on the other hand is by necessity managed entirely by expert specialist facilities management companies. Having research the investment, PBSA investors are satisfied that the management company know exactly what they're doing and to let them get on with it. If you think you'll have "ants in your pants" at this and would want to be involved in the running, furnishing, tenant finding, refurbishing, then PBSA is definitely not for you - because you simply can't do that!

Do I have the time to regularly keep an eye on my property or do I prefer to set and forget?

Those with the considerable time and inclination to be a landlord have the choice of whether to spend it on their properties. For those who simply cannot spare the drain of time in their busy lives to run a buy-to-let property portfolio, PBSA probably wins hands-down.

Is my investment background primarily property ownership or mainstream investment such as stocks and bonds or companies?

PBSA In many ways sits between the two. You have the benefit of ownership of physical property assets with the advantage of being able to sit back and enjoy the income. However, property is not a liquid asset like stocks and shares, and your capital is tied up in the asset. Admittedly you can sell the asset but this would take time. So what are you comfortable with?

Am I able to pay for and own the property outright (typically £50k-£75k)?

Off-plan PBSA is predominantly a cash purchase, although we do have access to a lender willing to look at offering a mortgage, subject to status and the PBSA development itself.

Am I looking primarily for income or capital growth?

PBSA should be considered primarily a long-term reliable income generator. As it is effectively commercial property, its value is based on achievable rental income, which will rise steadily with inflation over the years. Don't expect residential-style price movements (either up or down). As leverage (a mortgage) is not available at purchase, high percentage capital gains should not be realistically expected and will likely not be the key reason you invest in PBSA.

Do I enjoy researching property investments?

    1. There is a little more upfront research to do with PBSA that with buying buy-to-let, especially if this area of property is new to you. But as a fully-managed and maintained asset, the rewards of time-saving come quickly.
    2. Whether you do or you don't, seek out a good partner who can help you with your research (it's what we and other top-notch investment property brokers will do for you). 

Am I willing to retain the asset for at least 5 years?

If you think you may need your invested capital back at short notice, then at this stage of your investment life, direct property investment of any kind including buy-to-let and PBSA, is probably not for you, sorry. Property Bonds may be more suitable though, take a look at our blog topic on that subject.

If you still think you're the right type of investor for Student Property, take a look through our Student `Property market Industry Report, to discover the strong case for investment...


Download Student Property Market Review 2016-18 

Tags: Property Insight, pbsa

How to Succeed with Student property - Tip 3 : The subtle art of comparison !

Posted by Graham Turrell on Sat, Dec 02, 2017 @ 10:22 AM

They say that size isn't everything , but for investors when it comes to student rental income it's usually at the top of every list. But how can you confidently predict what that income will be from what is currently still a construction site? Fortunately help is at hand...

graduation-day-hats.jpgThe vast majority of PBSA on the market are offered to investors "off-plan" which means agreeing to purchase a property before its built and therefore before it has a track record of being a successful student development. The rewards for this include relatively low purchase costs and usually a good selection of student rooms to choose from .. off the plan.

But without a proven income from the development, how can you be satisfied that your investment is going to give you the income you expect and have been "promised" by your sales agent?

The answer as usual is to do your own homework but seeking out the closest established student halls, closest in a number of ways. When choosing your comparisons, consider:

  • Location - proximity to the development you're considering
  • Age and design
  • Target audience (Undergraduate, overseas, postgraduate)

Often the developer will provide you with a set of income projections. That's fine, but scrutinise these for accuracy. Ask yourself:

  • Are these sufficiently detailed - is there a spreadsheet breakdown of costs and rental income, or just headline figures with little or no justification?
  • Do these figures come with citations or references to justify them?
  • Can the figures be easily verified?

The more data the developer or agent provides you on request the better: it shows there confidence in their development and their commitment to you as a serious investor.

Where this isn't immediately to hand, all is not lost. Comparative data can be obtained by desktop searches, speaking to university accommodation offices and speaking to the student management company that has (hopefully) already been signed up to run the development.

Armed with this data and some nifty spreadsheet work it's then much easier to make your own realistic projections on income and see how this squares with the developers' own.

When HighGround looks for a suitable student hall to offer our investors, we carry this out as a matter of course, regardless of the volume of figures given to us by the developer. We insist on independently checking every assumption to our total satisfaction before we offer it to our investors.

If it doesn't stack, we reject the development. But hey that's just us.

Find out more about why UK student rooms remain so popular with investors. Here is a great introduction, backed up by some solid facts and figures. Download our Student Property Guide today:

Download Student Property Expert Guide 2017-18


Tags: Property Insight, Student Accomodation

How to succeed with Student Property - Tip 2 : Look Beyond the Headlines

Posted by Graham Turrell on Tue, Nov 28, 2017 @ 09:09 AM

Welcome to our second post with tips on what to do when considering purpose-built student property investments.

You've likely heard the phrase "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is", right ? (I could spend a whole book chapter unpacking that piece of received wisdom, in fact I shall do soon - it's fascinating !).

Being objective

But objective investment research requires put aside the scepticism as well as any giddy excitement. It's a stoic activity, but one we all find difficult to some extent, as most buying decisions involve emotion at some level !


When it comes to a passive investment such as buying a student room in Purpose-built Student Accommodation (or PBSA for short), one should approach the claims of the property developer or agent with a curious mind.

Here's an example: "Fixed returns of 6% for 5 years". These terms are often offered by the developer as an incentive to buy the student rooms. This is a reasonable idea as it provides some comfort for the buyer whilst the student hall ramps up to speed in the first few years of operation.

That said, these offers are largely irrelevant for well-run new halls, as good student facilities companies of halls built in the right location should enjoy full occupancy at market rent from opening. It can however, mask problems with poor location and bad management

So, as an intelligent investor, here are some key questions to ask yourself:

  1. is the student hall in the right town or city, and the right location?
  2. is the student demand there? - some good signs are: investment being made into university facilities and infrastructure; an excess of private student houses of multiple occupation; strong postgraduate programme; growth in local student numbers over the last 5 years.
  3. looking at similar private or university-run halls in the area, do the rents match the estimates provided by the developer's estate agent to the investor? Get out the spreadsheet - real numbers reveal the true story!
  4. does the company set to manage the hall have a strong, long track record of experience with running student halls and advertising them to students to drive the best rents and highest occupancies.

Intelligent investment involves looking beyond the juicy headline figures, being neither carried away by them nor dismissing them out of hand.

Black and white or shades of colour?

Investment due diligence seeks to simply get to the truth and make an informed decision. It's harder work than just accepting or rejecting the headline figures, but ultimately far more helpful.

At HighGround Property, we operate unusually detailed due diligence on every student hall investment we consider and, as a result tend to reject around 80% of all investments that appear on our desk. Only those that pass our exacting standards are one's you'll see from us.

Our classic example of the moment is Canterbury Hall  service the UNiversity of Central Lancashire in Preston...

Canterbury Hall Preston Investment Handbook


Tags: Property Insight, Student Accomodation

Property Investors: why you should follow the UK Government money

Posted by Graham Turrell on Fri, Nov 24, 2017 @ 05:29 PM

In this week's November Budget, the UK Chancellor has left us in no doubt - punish landlords and reward property developers.

Warning: this is a lengthy but important post. If you are at all involved in property investment, or thinking about it, read on.

philip-hammond-nov-budget-2017.jpgBuilding good, renting bad

The UK Chancellor Phillip Hammond this week made it very clear that a key objective of this government is to build houses. And build at a rate last seen in the 1970's. Substantial funding and support is being offered to developers to build the 300,000 annual homes construction targets. We applaud this but we as investors need to adapt - and quickly.

This government strategy includes continued support for corporate "Build to Rent" (B2R) developments, which we believe puts further long-term pressure on small private landlords to compete and make a living.

"Hooray! It's not worse"

Some commentators are suggesting that because no further punitive measures have been placed on Landlords this time round, this is to be celebrated. Unfortunately the reality is, in the last two years so much damage has been done the message to private BTL investors is sadly clear: "you're not welcome".

I'm of course talking about:

  • the 3% Stamp Duty surcharge for second homes (primarily affecting buy to let investors trying to grow their businesses);
  • the devastating changes to taxation of mortgage interest for private landlords;
  • the emergence of trial rent controls (expect this not to go away!);
  • the "demonisation" of landlords in the media;
  • the growing frustration of Generation Rent desperate to get on the housing ladder.

So it is clearly government policy: we can expect to see the rise of many small and medium-sized property developers, and the decline of small-scale private landlords as they are forced out financially and replaced on the whole by (albeit largely middle-class) first-time buyers.

The problem is that development funding is today still hard to find, and despite government money, this is likely to remain a major bottleneck for getting builders to build. The need for private funding for developers through crowdfunding, property bonds and good old-fashioned joint venture partnerships is going to become more important to the government vision than ever before.

"Whatever your political view on this, it would seen very sensible for property investors to recognise this sea-change quickly and look to either build property, or finance those who do."

Which team would you rather be on - the aided or the persecuted?

It is time for landlords to review their long-term strategies, especially if they do not currently include adding "asset value" by developing, extending or carrying out major refurbishments. For a growing number of property investors, buy-and-hold residential letting is no longer the Holy Grail it used to be, and may never be again.

In the light of government-backed "landlord persecution" some landlords have pledged to sell their portfolios, but may have no clear plans where to invest the profits.

As a business, our focus is set firmly in line with the government camp, at least as far as supporting development is concerned. We support small developers by connecting them with investors large and small through Property Bonds, Crowdfunding, and other collaborative ventures such as student room ownership in new purpose-built student accommodation. We have been doing this for a decade and long before it was fashionable. We believe in wealth creation through property now more than ever.

Here's one example of how investors can profit from great UK property developers today. It's possible to invest in midlands-based Godwin Capital from just £5k and enjoy double-digit fixed annual income through property plus your capital returned in two years. All without the need to lift even a hammer.

godwin capital no 2 brochure download

Tags: Property Insight, Property Bonds

How to succeed with purpose-build student rooms - Tip 1

Posted by Graham Turrell on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 @ 11:50 AM

There's no denying the success of Purpose-built Student Hall Accomodation in the UK. Demand for quality student living is still constantly outstripping supply, even as the number of new builds grows and competition between them is getting tougher.

canterbury_hall_roof_garden.pngIn this new era of student choice, it's more important than ever to have the facilities that students actually want to use and frankly "beat up" the competition with them.

These days we are seeing "student magnates" for helping the students - and crucially their parents - choose their digs. And that more often than not means comfort.

If the student apartment or block you own offers features like ...

  • self-contained apartments (no sharing kitchens, thanks!);
  • services - local newsagents and hostelries;
  • bragging rights - gyms, cinema rooms and even private roof gardens

... then you're onto a winner. That property when rented out by an experienced student facilities manager, is going to enjoy the highest possible rental income and occupancy (and therefore property value), for many years to come.

Shameless plug - here's a perfect example of what I'm taking about, UCLan Preston's Canturbury Hall, and a small number suites are still available to a few more property investors (I will be sold out very soon now). Not hard to see why.

Have a look now, and get in touch quickly if you would like to know more.

Canterbury Hall Preston Investment Handbook


Tags: Student Accomodation, Canterbury Hall

[property bonds] Why are Bonds growing in popularity with investors and developers?

Posted by Graham Turrell on Thu, Nov 02, 2017 @ 05:09 PM


7-shutterstock_288113666.jpgWith us living longer, pension funds are not giving many of us the financial future we planned for, and other ways are often sought to grow financial nest-eggs to top up that future income. Bank savings accounts aren’t delivering on that either.


So is there a place in a portfolio for Property Bonds - for those of us that would rather be the lender than the property developer?

With good Property Bonds, you team up with an established property developer in a Joint Venture. But there are none of the set-up costs for the bond holder that you would normally associate with a direct property development project, or the advisor fees that come with buying traditional regulated investments: all of your capital goes to work for you.

Here are a few other key reasons to consider profiting from Property Bonds:

  • Property is seen as a secure asset class and with not enough homes being built in the UK demand continually outstrips the supply.
  • There are more and more obstacles in directly owning investment property. Heavier taxation for residential investment property and reduction of tax reliefs for expenses; difficulty in raising mortgage finance for buy- to-let; dealing with tenants; licensing; regulation, the possibility of rent controls; the list goes on). Many property investors are looking for less hassle and more profit: being the lender, not the landlord.
  • As part of this movement, investors who are cash-rich and time-poor are looking to partner with developers by lending rather than getting directly involved in the day-to-day running of projects.
  • In uncertain economic times a predictable fixed income for a known period of time has much appeal.
  • Whilst no investment is risk-free and they're not for everyone, a well-chosen Property Bond can offer credible security and a practical exit strategy should things go wrong with the developer.

Learn how to spot a good property bond, and those to avoid. All this and more is covered in our Property Bonds guide - grab your copy today:

Download HighGround Property Bonds Special Report

Tags: Property Insight, Property Bonds

Early Bird Last Chance : Property Network with the experts - crowdfunding special

Posted by Graham Turrell on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 @ 02:12 PM


As someone interested in understanding and growing in the power of property to enhance your wealth, I'm encouraging you to join us for an evening of excellent networking and informative & entertaining talks.

But I should warn you - to be fair to all our advance ticket fans our Early Bird discount tickets (just £15.00) will be withdrawn and the price will increase to £20.00 at midnight on Sunday.

We'll be filling up fast now, so I recommend getting the tickets you need right away to secure your seats.

Find out more and secure your seats

Discover More


These quarterly HighGround Investor Network events are attended by an exclusive group of experienced investors, ensuring you have the perfect opportunity to rub shoulders with like-minded people in a relaxed and friendly environment. 

RichardBush1.jpgThis month, learn about the fascinating world of property crowdfunding from leading expert Richard Bush, founder of the CrowdLords crowdfunding platform.

The venue is the gorgeous Thistle Hyde Park Hotel with networking and full hot & cold buffet.

Discover More


Tags: News, Networking Events

Today only - Property Network with the experts - with 90% knocked off

Posted by Graham Turrell on Wed, Oct 18, 2017 @ 11:12 AM


We want to give everyone the chance to "meet, eat, greet and learn" at our London Property Networking events. We're growing and we want to grow even faster.

That's why today, the 18th October,  we're offering tickets to next week's fabulous event at London Hyde Park - discounted to just 10% of tomorrow's price!

Tomorrow morning, the ticket fee will return to the full £15.00 (before going up to full price at the weekend), but today you can grab one (or two) for a frankly ridiculous £1.50 each.


Get 90% off Tickets - Weds 18th Oct ONLY


See you there - It's going to be an amazing evening rubbing shoulders with beginners and property experts alike.

Tags: News, Networking Events

Great property networking in October just got even better!

Posted by Graham Turrell on Fri, Sep 22, 2017 @ 09:24 AM

I'm delighted to tell about our London Autumn Networking evening - on Thursday the 12th October.

RichardBush1.jpgJoining us will be our very special guest Richard Bush, co-founder of Crowdlords, one of the UK's leading property crowdfunding platforms.  

CrowdLords enables High Net Worth and Sophisticated investors to access and invest in pre-screened, pre-packaged property developments and buy-to-let portfolios – directly from your computer, tablet or mobile phone.

 There will be plenty of time for quality networking and Q&A.

Richard will explain the current trends in disruptive finance for property developers, where crowd funding is going and what are the opportunities for the future.

These quarterly HighGround Investor Network events in London are attended by an exclusive group of property investors, ensuring you have the perfect opportunity to rub shoulders with like-minded people in a relaxed and friendly environment. 

Don't miss out! The venue is the stunning Thistle Hyde Park Hotel.  Close to the tube, and with networking and hot & cold buffet served during the evening.

Early Bird tickets are still on sale now but are limited in availability. I recommend you book your priority ticket(s) now to avoid disappointment:

Discover More

Looking forward to seeing you there for a great evening!

Tags: Property Bonds, Networking Events, Equity

Northamptonshire shows the biggest increase in property prices in the UK this year

Posted by Graham Turrell on Tue, Sep 12, 2017 @ 06:54 AM

Midlands Property is experiencing a 'Mini-Boom' with Northamptonshire outperforming any other county at 2.2% Month on Month & Nottingham experiencing 7% annual growth.

House-prices-006.jpgAccording to The Guardian UK newspaper, asking prices for homes in Northamptonshire have jumped by 9.1% over the past year, the biggest increase in England and Wales, Rightmove said today, as London’s unaffordable property market has driven people to buy further away and commute.

See the full article here

One property developer, midlands-based Godwin Developments has known this for some time and is set to take full advantage of this localised growth. You can find out much more about Godwin and how investors can enjoy this 'mini-boom' for themselves through their loan note investment from Godwin Capital.

More detail below:

godwin capital brochure download 



Tags: Godwin Capital