Investor demand for UK student property alive and well - The Laceworks proves it

Posted by Graham Turrell on Thu, Jan 18, 2018 @ 07:02 AM

When you look at the figures, you don't need a degree in economics to conclude that property investors worldwide are seeing UK purpose-build student property as solid investment and are ready to snap them up.

Internal 2.jpgProvided that is, that the location is right, the developer has years of experience and track record, and the right company is signed up to run it.

Our latest student offering, The Laceworks, serving Nottingham's two universities, fits the criteria better than most.

As a result, of the 222 high-spec student suites in the development, over 200 have been sold since Christmas. That's close to a record.

Demand for exceptional UK student developments has never been higher, and continues to be the highest performing real estate asset class in the UK.

Take a look at The Laceworks, tell me what you think and, if you're an agile cash investor you may even still be quick enough to secure one or more of these suites for your own portfolio.

The Laceworks Investment Brochure

 

Tags: Student Accomodation

How to Succeed in Student Property - Tip 5 - Understand about capital growth and exit

Posted by Graham Turrell on Fri, Dec 15, 2017 @ 10:27 AM

As we've seen, purpose built student property can offer consistent rental income that buy-to-letters can only dream of - when the right development is chosen and invested in. But the question that so often comes up is ...

"what if I want to sell the property later?"

A fair question because unlike with regular buy to let property, there is generally no residential resale market: your potential buyers will all be property investors. This is because purpose-built student accomodation (PBSA) can only be occupied by students - there will be a covenant or equivalent on the property deeds to stipulate this.

Not your regular property market

house-with-moving-up-arrow-small.jpg

Without a residential resale market, the future value of the apartment is likely to differ from an equivalent residential development. As the buyers are investors, the property value will be determined in a very similar way to traditional commercial property, where that value is based almost exclusively on the Yield - the achievable student rental income from the property.

This commercial element to the investment is often seen as an advantage over the rises and falls in popularity of the residential property market and somewhat easier to predict on a spreadsheet. For that reason too, PBSA can offer a convenient "hedge" to have inside a traditional buy to let portfolio. 

OK, so more about this "usage thing"...

Only students can live in your property. There are advantages to this occupancy restriction though: officially-designated purpose-built student property is treated as a special case by the UK Government, with potential tax advantages for the owner. For instance it is exempted from the recently-concocted Second Home Stamp Duty Surcharge, which for buy to let buyers with a residential property already, adds a 3% hike on to their SDLT bill.

How to resell your student property

Student hall property has traditionally been the domain of buy-and-hold strategies, and those investors planning to hold their property as an income cash-cow for the long term had not been especially concerned about selling. 

The good news about resale though is that what was once a very niche property marketplace with just a few student developments, has in recent years exploded in the into the most popular specialist property market in the UK. Many estate agents with significant property investor databases now recognise the secondary (resale) market and it is MUCH easier to resell a good student room property.

And a part of that market prefers to buy room in halls with a few years track record under their belt. So provided you choose to invest in the a new-build student hall that ticks all the right boxes, the ability to sell you property on is perfectly possible, with some capital growth to boot.

Many investors have gone on to build substantial portfolios of purpose-built student property and as confidence continues to build on the success of the market this is set to continue.

Growth tips from the trenches

The secret to building any successful property portfolio is doing your research when you buy, and this is especially true of student room investments. So become your own purpose-built student property expert, and learn the right questions to ask the developer before making a decision to buy. Use an agent, broker or consultant with as much experience in this field as possible, and pick their brains mercilessly!

For example our team purchased their first student room investment way back in 2005 when the market was in its infancy. Whether you speak with us, or any other excellent, experienced agent about student property, make sure they're independent and as unbiased as possible towards the developer or the development. Above all you need to trust that they have your interests at the heart of all they do. 

With our ten years' experience, we carefully select every development we offer and are beholden to none. If we aren't 100% satisfied, we won't offer it, period.

A great example

Here's Canterbury Hall, our current favourite with just a few suites now remaining to buy. If you would like, drop me a line and I'll be happy to go through why we think it's the best of breed right now to add to your own portfolio.

Canterbury Hall Preston Investment Handbook 

Tags: Student Accomodation, Canterbury Hall

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 !

canterbury_hall_lounge.jpg

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

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

Frustrated Property Investors: how to bank 40%+ and make the tenants someone else's problem

Posted by Graham Turrell on Tue, May 16, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

If you're someone on the look-out for intelligent, hands-free UK property opportunities, I believe this new investment has to be worth your serious consideration.

MDC027_Chester2_V03_Lobby_FINAL_JPEG_Small[2].jpgWith our rigorous selection process, I know we offer only the Best in Class student property investments. If you're considering hands-free student property then Northgate Studios in the beautiful English city of Chester is a truly exciting opportunity.

Placed in a fantastic student location, Northgate Studios is just a short walk away from the Chester city centre and the University campus. Its 150 luxury studios are fully-managed on your and the other owners' behalf, making this an easy ‘hands-off’ investment for you. 

Your key ownership benefits at Northgate Studios:

  • 40%+ Assured Net income over 5 years
  • 5% interest paid on all deposited funds
  • No stamp duty to pay
  • Perfect location for 100% occupancy
  • Hassle-free : full property management by a highly experienced student management company.

Why Northgate Studios and Chester?

Location. Location. Location:  in the historic walled city of Chester, successful planning permission for such developments is rare, ensuring that there will always be a strong student demand for your property. The first phase of this project has enjoyed 100% occupancy from opening, just as I expect to see at Northgate Studios.

This is a truly unmissable investment opportunity for investors, offering a superb 8% MINIMUM net rental income assured for 5 years, and 5% interest paid on deposited funds. 

Get your copy of our investor guide today...

northgate point brochure download

Tags: UK Investment, Student Accomodation

At last - commercial finance for student property - here's how

Posted by Graham Turrell on Sat, Apr 29, 2017 @ 03:41 PM

With the dreaded "Landlord Tax" now upon the UK, many more property investors have been considering Purpose Built Student Property which are exempt from the extra taxes. But those who like to gear up with mortgages have been disappointed that none is available. Until now.

PBSA_Studio_Interior.jpgStudent accommodation is still the most successful property asset class in the UK, but before today, investors have needed to pay for their investment outright. 

We've got Finance:

We can now offer 50% finance* on selected student developments, such as Preston's unique Innovation House development (see below). Now, investors can halve the investment capital they need to own a student suite "cash cow". Our FCA-regulated financiers are already helping investors to double their spending power in this way.

if you'd like to find out more, just drop a note in the comment box below with the word "finance" in it and I'll pop you an email showing how this groundbreaking product could work for you.

Innovation House Preston Investment Prospectus*Subject to Status

Tags: Student Accomodation, Innovation House

[Property Insight] The importance of being thorough

Posted by Graham Turrell on Wed, Feb 08, 2017 @ 02:23 PM

Purpose-built student accommodation can be a remarkably effective way to put your cash to very good use in property investment - all without the hassle of having to deal with the "tenants and toilets" of the buy-to-let world. But why should student hall  property investors speak to us first?

Innovation_House_Preston_Exterior.jpgWe're a bit different from many other companies in this field. Before we offer any development or investment to our buyers, we carry out our own extensive detailed research. Not just desktop research which seldom provides the essential full picture (although of course we do this as well)...

In the case of purpose-built student accommodation this includes the following:

  • Visit the site and the city, checking the location is completely right for the proposed student market.
  • Have discussions with the University about supply and demand from their perspective.
  • Interview the Student Management company appointed to run the student hall being offered for investment. The correct management company is crucial for the long-term success of an investment. We make sure this is the case before we approve.
  • Meet with the builders or their appointed representative for a thorough investigation of the development and their ability to deliver .
  • Speak with occupants living in existing private halls in the city for a "students' eye view" of living there, what they look for and what they'd like to see improved.

(This is not normal. After speaking to us, ask some other companies if they have done all this for the projects they offer and then ask for their full findings and you'll likely see what I mean).

We call this process part of our "Investment Engineering" system. It's all about seeking to apply rigourous engineering principles to transform the art of property investing into much more of a science. This means that for those projects we offer our investors, not only have we ticked all the necessary boxes, but we gain a deep expertise in the investment that we can share with our serious buyers to help them make a thoroughly informed decision. The goal is peace of mind of secure and sustainable returns on investment in the most popular property asset class in the UK today.

For example, our recent visit to Preston and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is a case in point. Innovation House, the recently announced all-studio student hall is in the perfect location to benefit from the university's £200m investment programme, along with Preston's £400m regeneration initiative.

Discover more - download the Innovation House student investment guide today. You can then contact us for a friendly in-depth chat should you wish to find out more.

 

Innovation House Preston Investment Prospectus

Tags: UK Investment, Student Accomodation

New Launch Today - Superb UK Purpose-built Student Property with a big USP

Posted by Graham Turrell on Fri, Jan 27, 2017 @ 10:48 AM

We're delighted to announce today this brand new student property investment right on the main campus of the University of Central Lancaster. Welcome to Innovation House...


Innovation_House_Preston_Exterior.jpgThis newly-announced opportunity is available to investors from today and buyer demand is expected to be buoyant.

Why you may ask? For investors all the fundamentals are in place to ensure a secure investment in the most successful  property asset class in the UK for predictable hands-free income:

Developer track record - 35 years experience. 

Student demand - the only all-studio purpose-built student accommodation in the city of Preston. The size, design quality and location of Innovation House is set to ensure huge demand from students including those from the growing overseas student market with the desire for only quality self-contained studio living that the traditional "cluster flat" accommodation simply does not deliver.

Location - a major coup for Innovation House is that it's located on campus : quite a rarity for privately owned student property and a real pull for students who prefer the convenience and the feel of being close to all the university academic and social life that the campus offers.

Management - property owners need to be confident that their investment is looked after in the best possible way and know that occupancy will always be expected to be 100%. That's why one of the leading Student Management operators is on board to manage Innovation House perfectly for both students and investors.

All good news for property investors new to this asset class, and for experienced portfolio builders alike. Gross yields are confidently expected of 11%, and an 8% NET yield is contractually assured for the first 3 years. Our research shows that this should continue to be achieved or increased in the following years, making this an easy to own, income generating asset for the long term.

Discover more about Innovation House and the strength of the student property market. Download our handy guide to Innovation House today:

Innovation House Preston Investment Prospectus

 

 

Tags: UK Investment, Student Accomodation

Have your cake and eat it - Sheffield Student Property investment with a difference

Posted by Graham Turrell on Wed, Dec 07, 2016 @ 10:45 PM

Time to cut to the chase. If high-yielding student property investment is for you, this is a rare opportunity indeed.

There is an ever-growing list of great UK student investment success stories, and this niche asset class still remains the strongest performing in the UK.

Royal-Riverside-Exterior.jpgBut how many purpose build student property (or PBSA) investments offer you ALL these?:

  • 8% net rental yield assured for 5 years.

  • 5% interest earned during construction.

  • Fully-furnished.

  • Fully-managed by an experienced company.

  • Every student facility imaginable including concierge reception, gym and leisure facilities.

  • Preferential tax benefits associated with Purpose Build Student Accommodation asset class.
  • and uniquely ... a "Buy Back" option available to owners after 5 years at 115% of purchase price.

Sheffield city's high-specification Royal Riverside delivers all this. Assured returns, assured capital growth and hands-free - which means ownership from anywhere in the world is perfectly practical.

The Sheffield City Region is at the forefront of the UK's industrial and entrepreneurial development and was recently described by the Secretary of State as being 'at the heart' of Britain's continued economic growth.  With an economy bigger than some European countries, the Sheffield City Region is a significant financial power.  The area is home to almost 1.8 million people and has an output of more than £24.7 billion per year.

Ownership is available from just £64,500. Over 50% of available suites at Royal Riverside have already been sold so the time to research this opportunity is now, and we're here to help... 

To find out more about Royal Riverside download the full investor guide today:

Royal Riverside Sheffield Investment Prospectus

 

Tags: UK Investment, Student Accomodation, Sheffield Property