London’s Urban History

London and the Greater London ideology defined urban and regional planning.

Post the Second World War, London, was the most damaged city with substantial monumental, industrial, and residential damage. Due to its large role in society as a region for international trade, society and neighbors pushed for the era of reconstruction.

Different plans were proposed, with several planners being attracted to the capital than in any other city in England. However, it was Sir Patrick Abercrombie who changed the cityscape and influenced the thoughts of urban planning that shape the world today.

1A digital composite of a wrecked Humber car on Pall Mall street after an air raid during the London Blitz, October 15, 1940, overlaid on a Pall Mall street scene in Piccadilly on May 1, 2016. (theatlantic.com)

The most important regional-scale planning plans were regarding The London County and the Greater London plans.

2Then: September 14, 1940, a crater and damaged railings outside Buckingham Palace, London, after the explosion of a German bomb dropped in an air raid the previous day. Now: Tourists gather outside Buckingham Palace on April 26, 2016 (theatlantic.com)

In 1943, Abercrombie presented the Country of London Plan in collaboration with H.J. Forshaw, an architect in the London County Council.

The following year, The Greater London Regional plan was introduced and described as a ‘big adventure’. Abercrombie’s idea for the gradual evolution of boundaries and zoning principles was to remove over 1 million civilians from the city to beyond the Green Belt. The idea to decentralize the city, control population growth, intermixing social classes, and removal of the young middle-class families from the city centre. London’s industrial sector was to blend with housing instead of remaining in isolation of lower areas in the city; leaving room for new towns, a larger green belt area, and maintaining London as a low-density city.  Abercrombie stated that “Adequate open space for both recreation and rest is a vital factor in maintaining and improving the health of the people”, on his mission to create a coordinated Park System. The system proposed that for every 1 person there must be 4 acres of open space with parkways on existing and new roads. Civilians must be able to open their door and be able to breathe in fresh air while looking at scenic, relaxing views.

Almost all of Abercrombie’s plans were implemented, such as the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, still being funded today. His award-winning designs and planning have shaped the London we know today.

The UK’s Hottest Investment Locations

New research according to The Property Hub has listed cities in the north of the United Kingdom as property hotspots for 2018 and the next decade.

The list was concluded based on locations with the highest capital growth, guaranteed demand, and affordable housing.

Savvy investors looking north of the United Kingdom should possibly consider the following cities:

  1. Liverpool
Liver building with copy space
Liver building in Liverpool with copy space

On a mission to advance the cityscape, Liverpool is one of the UK’s fastest growing cities with an economy worth over £30 billion.

Located on the River Mersey in the North West of England, Liverpool is known to be a capital of culture and diversity with a young and growing population. With over £1 billion a year in investment, the city is open to a range of businesses and projects, offering the lowest real estate prices and affordable housing.

  1. Manchester

Manchester City Skyline at Night

Manchester is identified as the second fastest growing city after London. The city’s regeneration has boosted Manchester’s economy, creating new opportunities and employment. Property demand is on the rise as the city continues to grow.

The city has a student population of 105,000 with some of the world’s prestigious universities including the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan, and the University of Salford.

Manchester is well connected to London by road, rail, and air.

  1. Leeds

iStock-625010768.jpg

Construction of the High Speed 2 Railway commonly known as the HS2, keeps Leeds in a prime area. The city shares an international airport with Bradford keeping the need of accommodation on the rise.

  1. Birmingham

Birmingham Panoramic Cityscape, England, UK

Birmingham, a metropolitan city in the heart of England, has an economy worth over £90 billion and is home to almost 5 million people.

An ongoing housing crisis and a shortage of rental accommodation have property prices rising with strong capital appreciation and return on investment.

  1. Sheffield

Sheffield Town Hall, Sheffield-England

Home to the most expensive postcodes, Sheffield is a popular investment hub in the United Kingdom. Due to rising house prices in surrounding regions, tenants and potential homeowners are diverting their attention towards Sheffield.

At Oxford Property Investments, we value and accommodate your needs in the market.

Contact us today to know which city in the United Kingdom is right for you.

Real Estate Trends to Follow

Emerging trends in the UK real estate are set to influence a shift from regional to global focus.

According to JLL UK, seven trends identified as the low carbon economy, technological advancement and innovation, change in the workforce, urbanization, health, availability of resources, and social ethics and values, are set to influence the market, the economy, and sectors from around the globe for the upcoming years.

City stylized background

Climate Change

Climate change is a global crisis with impacts unfolding despite attempts of change. The value of real estate is significantly dependent on climate change. Extreme and often sudden weather changes are an imminent threat to financial rise or stability. With real estate developers foreseeing the future, adjustments are slowly coming in order to navigate the challenges. Developers are embracing the “green”, with an abundance of pay-off and benefits with insurers and investors publicly committing to the latest policy of recommendations for environmental related issues by the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force. Another corporate interest, is the development of smart cities. Long-term investors and real estate professionals understand the value of smart and sustainable properties in the market.

Technological Advancements

Technological advancements and innovation are not only changing the world but changing the real estate industry. Intelligent buildings and smarter technologies are pacing the tenant or occupant for an easier experience, along with the building manager and developer. Technical advancements are now being used in the building sensors and building mobile applications (could we be more specific on technical advancements).

Workforce

Changes in the workforce is another trend to watch out for. The sharing concept or co-working spaces is a flexible environment that aims to benefit everyone. 30% of all workplace environments are predicted to be shared by the year 2030. Developers and investors catching on to the concept will be able to further develop their commercial property portfolio and embrace the change.

Urbanization

The urban shift from rural areas to city-centers is commonly known as urbanization. The United Kingdom has revived city-centre living with younger generations leading the way. The phenomenon is seen dominantly in Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham. With urban cores growing in size, the economic performance catapults, providing more opportunities for growth and development.

Health

Real estate design and the surrounding community is a major contributor to personal health and well-being. Understanding the principles necessary for proper building design is essential to combat the negative effects of the environment.

Resources

Sustainability practices and strategies are vital in the real estate industry to decrease the chance of project failure, increase the acceptance to tenants and the community, and limit the usage of limited or expensive resources.

Social Ethics and Values

Property developments that drive the same social values and ethics as the surrounding community are instantly accepted and encouraged. While it is difficult to measure social ethics or values, identifying the local needs, local engagement, social metrics, and creating an approach that is outcome focused, developers will be able to reign several benefits.

City Centre Living Makes a Come Back

The long trend of suburban living is slowly coming to an end. UK cities are now reviving city-centre living lead by the younger generation.

Young, single, and highly educated millennials ranging from the ages of 22-29 years old have rapidly increased throughout the years, with the population of large city centres in England and Wales between 2001 and 2011 almost doubling.

Happy multiracial friends walking on Brick Lane at Shoreditch London - Friendship concept with multicultural young people on winter clothes having fun together - Soft focus with warm contrasted filter

While there is no definitive method to determine a region’s city centre, it is usually identified as:

-0.8 Mile radius from the centre of the city.

-Occupation of the residents will range from 500,000 to 4 million.

-0.6 Mile radius from the centre of the towns with 135,000-550,000 residents.

-0.6 Mile radius from the centre of neighboring cities with 135,000-550,000 residents.

Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham are now home to smart new high-rise apartments and street corners bustling with the trendiest cafes, bars, and restaurants-appealing more to millennials. This has been come to be known as an urban renaissance, creating a major demographic shift in daily living.

Urban renaissance is massively seen in Manchester, the urban area’s core has grown seven times faster compared to the remaining metropolitan area between the years of 2006 and 2016.

Manchester’s regeneration, a plan set by Manchester Millennium Limited-a public and private partnership aimed to ensure redevelopment in the region, is the main drive for the change leading it to become the second hottest market after the capital, London. High standard of living combined with UK’s largest companies including the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Barclays, and BNY Mellon, drive the young generation further into the region.

Taking the lead as one of the fastest growing urban cores is Liverpool. According to the Office for National Statistics, population has increased to a whopping 181% between the years of 2002 and 2015.  Student population alone grew by 208% due to their regeneration program and focus on The Knowledge Quarter. With 1 billion pound investment pumped into The Knowledge Quarter, it aims to house science, technology, and education in a single space to drive further prosperity and flag the city as an international hub.

Other cities in the playing field for urban revival are Birmingham with a population growth of 163%, Leeds and Sheffield by 150%, Bradford by 146%, Leicester by 145%, Milton Keynes by 113%, Southampton by 94%, and Cardiff by 88%.

Economic performance is tied with urban revitilization.  A vital and booming urban core creates new job opportunities for millenials, driving the economic engine into full blast.

To become a part of the urban renaissance, Oxford Property Investments offers you exclusive commercial investments in London, Manchester, and Liverpool.

Visit our website to know more.

www.oxfordproperty.com

 

 

The Need for Accommodation with the Rise of Student Population

Our parents are so proud of us
Shot of a group of cheerful university students on graduation day

The United Kingdom has seen a significant rise in student population with almost half of all young adults moving on to higher education.  In the year of 2017, there were around 2.32 million students studying at institutions of higher education with 1.76 million undergraduates, 551,585 post graduates, 1.8 million full-time students, 518,930 part-time students with 1.87 million from the United Kingdom, 134,835 students from the European Union, and 307,540 students from non-EU countries. (Universities UK , 2017 ). Rising numbers and the influx of international students is largely due to the shape of the UK higher education sector and the impact of the universities on society and the economy.

New undergraduate funding implementations, or the introduction of the 9000 GBP tuition fees in 2006, caused significant change in England’s and Wale’s education sector. However, the rising age of millennials and Generation Z, have led to more participation of students in higher education with their recognition on the importance of the matter. World-class universities attract international students with a market share of around 13% recorded in 2011 and is only second to the United States globally with 16%.

The ongoing trend is expected to continue with London’s full-time student population expected to rise by 50% alone in the next decade (JLL, 2015), causing a great demand on student accommodation. Recent reports and data have confirmed the health of the asset class with a 2.9% increase in rents per bed between the 2017-2018 academic years, a 0.2% increase from 2016-2017 (Student housing in demand , 2018).

Student accommodation in the United Kingdom is set as a secure, profitable asset class with high guaranteed returns. The market is recession proof, indicating that whether the economy is facing a downturn or not, individuals tend to further their education to improve the current situation.

Benefits of Investing in Student Accommodation:

  • Secure Asset
  • High Returns
  • Increasing Student Population
  • Recession-proof
  • Hassle-free
  • UK is an international hub for local and foreign students

Oxford Property Investments offers Natex, a new student accommodation development in the heart of Liverpool. It is a 556 unit student scheme with two blocks of 10 and 16 storeys compromising of 472 clusters and 94 studio apartments, offering several choices for post graduate and older students at a variety of price points.

The development offers:

  • 9% Net assured returns for 5 years.
  • Prices starting from 62,500 GBP
  • 5-minute walk away from the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores
  • Exclusive amenities and services for the tenants

 

You can find out more by contacting us at, +971 4 4403100.

 

The Progression of the UK’s Buy-to-Let Market

Mature couple standing in front of house

Britain’s buy-to-let market has seen a tremendous development since the 80’s, causing a complete transformation in home ownership.

Public residential housing, referred to as ‘council housing’ by the local government in the United Kingdom, was a policy implemented from the 1920’s and onward to house families in rented accommodations. World War 2 bombings and a slum clearance policy created a demand for affordable housing with limited supply. The Land Acquisitions Act in 1946, gave the right to local authorities to develop land, giving way for the rise of council houses with a queuing mechanism and with priority to families with low income or special conditions. Relatively low rents gave incentive to the tenants to never leave the council houses, even if their monetary conditions were to improve. With high maintenance costs on the government due to cheap construction, the local government was required to take immediate action to keep the economy afloat.

The buy-to-let market kicked-off with the Right to Buy (RTB), a movement introduced by the Conservative Party and lead by Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady and former British Prime Minister, in 1979. The Right to Buy law was implemented in October 3rd of 1980 to all residential properties where the landlord was a council, new town, or any other public sector and included the following:

  • 33% discount for tenants who had resided in their home for up to three years.
  • 50% discount for tenants who had resided in their home for up to 20 years.
  • Available and guaranteed mortgages by the local authorities.
  • £100 deposit to hold the sale for 2 years.

New housing policy gave advantage to ex-council tenants who could now afford the properties they lived in and tax payers, who thrived in a time of housing and economic boom.

The optimism of the market and increased consumer spending led to the UK recession in the early 1990s and in return a shortage of housing supply. Residential property prices dropped significantly and a large sector of the public could no longer pay their mortgages. However, in 2008, the market took a sudden demographic shift and over one million buy-to-let properties were purchased alone in that one year. Investors were seeing the rise of the private rental sector and were transforming the buy-to-let market into the strongest asset class.

In 2015, the Conservative Party committed to extend the Right to Buy and stated:

‘We will extend the Right to Buy to tenants in Housing Associations to enable more people to buy a home of their own. It is unfair that they should miss out on a right enjoyed by tenants in local authority homes. We will fund the replacement of properties sold under the extended Right to Buy by requiring local authorities to manage their housing assets more efficiently, with the most expensive properties sold off and replaced as they fall vacant’. (Conservative Home-https://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2018/04/the-conservatives-must-press-on-with-giving-housing-association-tenants-the-right-to-buy.html, 2015)

The private rental sector continues to dominate public housing with extremely low mortgage rates and an average gross yield of 5.3%. The asset class continues to stand strong and grow despite of all the challenges it has been throughout time and proves to be a profitable investment with financial security.

 

Investors Don’t Want London Anymore

Long has been the investor’s dream to invest in London real estate: the world’s financial center, the English capital, the prestigious and historic landmark. But this is no longer the case.

A proposal has been implemented in efforts to boost the UK’s economy and make the North the powerhouse of the UK.

The Northern Powerhouse is part of the UK’s recent industrial strategy. It is the regeneration of Northern England.

The cities included in this project are Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle.

The government is collaborating with local stakeholders to identify the cities’ limitations, and work accordingly to meet the citizens’ demands.

Because of this, the North is attracting major investments. It has become a hub for investors, from all over the world.

It aims to improve all amenities in these cities, from transport links, science, innovations, and the overall quality of life.

On The Northern Powerhouse official website, they state:

“If the Northern Powerhouse were a country, it would be among the biggest economies in Europe.”  

And that’s not an exaggeration. The businesses in the project include some of the world’s largest multinational corporations including Barclays, Vodafone, ATKINS, Colliers, and many more.

Since the proposal’s implementation, it’s been recognised worldwide as the investor hub. The investment projects in 2015/16 have increased at twice the UK’s national average – creating 13,700 new jobs.

The size of Media City UK will be doubled. 1,000 new homes will be built, adding to the UK property market. This means billions of pounds of investment.

The Northern Powerhouse also hosts 7 international airports, as well as 12 major foreign trading ports.

Trade also finds its home in the North of England. Over £54.5 billion of goods from 25,000 companies have been exported in 2016.

 

So why does all of this matter to investors?

 

If you’re considering investing in the UK’s buy-to-let industry, we highly suggest the Northern Powerhouse. This is because it is growing at a faster rate than any other area in the UK.

 

Thousands of jobs every year are being created, which means that the population in these cities will continue to increase. All of these people seeking new jobs will need somewhere to live, and with such high standards of living, they will want to live somewhere good.

 

For buy-to-let property investors, this is an opportunity not to be missed. The best time to invest is now. You’ll be able to receive your returns by letting out your property (in value of rent), and also benefit from the asset’s increased value overtime. The average returns are around 7-10% for buy-to-let investors, and these are NET returns, guaranteed.

 

If you’re interested, visit our website to know how you can partake in buy-to-let UK property opportunities.