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Brexit property boom..? A week on from artice 50 and what do we know?

Over a week has passed since Article 50 has been triggered and confidence in the UK property sector seems to have been reaffirmed. 

Investment is continuing to come in from overseas buyers, especially an influx of enquiries from the Middle East and the Far East, and furthermore, news that house prices in the UK are expected to rise by at least 25% over the next four years has enforced confidence in the UK property market.

This week the Finance Minister for Qatar, Ali Shareef al Emadi , announced plans to invest £5bn in UK property, transport and digital technology, further bolstering the sector. Its clear to NPP that UK and overseas investors are undeterred by Brexit and continue to seek investment opportunities in the UK property market and recognising it as one of the safest asset classes.

This increased demand for property has seen a steady incline in house prices around the UK, with Manchester showing the biggest year-on-year change. Last year nearly a 9% increase was reported, far outstripping the capital where unsustainably high house prices and changes to the stamp duty regulations have put pressure on people’s ability to buy.

New research announced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research has this week claimed that as a whole, house prices across the UK are set to rise by 25% over the next four years.

So whilst there are some uncertainties around how exactly we’ll leave the EU and what deals we will strike with the bloc, we know for sure that confidence remains in the UK property market and the development and growth looks set to continue.

Manchester is Europe’s third most influential city

Manchester has been named as one of Europe’s top influential cities.

Thanks to a combination of factors including top scores for talent, location, the cost of living, Manchester ranked third in Colliers International Cities of Influence TLC index.

The city’s work within the Northern Powerhouse initiative has also given it kudos on an international level.

London and Paris hold the top two spots, primarily because of their size, while Stockholm and Dublin feature fourth and fifth place, respectively, while the bottom ranking markets features Milan, Budapest and Brussels.

Andrew McFarlane, director and head of the Manchester office of Colliers International, said: “Manchester has worked hard to build its reputation as an international city.

“Over the past 20-plus years it has steadily grown and developed into the global player that it is today and that momentum is still building as Manchester cements its place at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse.

“What is encouraging about this report is that what has been clear to many in Manchester for several years is increasingly being recognised by a global audience. Manchester’s best days lie ahead.”

The report’s ‘TLC’ index features 20 major individual economic cities which are ranked in terms of talent, location and cost.

These factors have been categorised based on the size and orientation of economic output and the workforce; the capacity and skill-set of the latent and emerging talent pool; the cost and affordability of the city – as a place to live and save, and in terms of the cost of labour and total cost of office occupation; and finally, the country risk associated with the market, and the inherent risk/challenges presented by labour laws.

Damian Harrington, director head of EMEA Research at Colliers International, added: “Some occupiers will be more focused or interested in one component over another and thus the overall weightings and scores could change according to these preferences.

“For example, occupiers driven by cost may see the southern European and CEE markets as more attractive than their northern and western European counterparts. Alternatively, occupiers focused on a digitally sophisticated workforce will be more tempted by Stockholm and Prague than Barcelona or Brussels.”

The top 20 influential cities are as follows:

  • London
  • Paris
  • Manchester
  • Stockholm
  • Dublin
  • Munich
  • Amsterdam
  • Madrid
  • Vienna
  • Prague
  • Frankfurt
  • Berlin
  • Zurich
  • Hamburg
  • Warsaw
  • Barcelona
  • Lisbon
  • Brussels
  • Budapest
  • Milan

Source: Manchester Evening News

Photo Credit: Rikki Chan

Manchester on track for high speed success

Prospects for trade, investment and jobs in Manchester have received another significant shot in the arm with Government confirmation that the new HS2 rail service will connect Crewe and Manchester.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has announced that the Phase 2 western leg of the high speed rail link will include a stop at Manchester Airport and continue to the city centre, where a new HS2 station will be built next to Manchester Piccadilly. The airport is already set for a £1 billion redevelopment which will transform the site over the next decade.

The decision to press ahead with the project is a major boost for economic prosperity and will underpin plans for a Northern Powerhouse with Manchester at its heart. These initiatives will serve to rebalance the economies of the north and south of England.

HS2 will cut journey times between London and Manchester by nearly half, creating a wealth of opportunity for North West businesses. There will also be a connection to Liverpool and to the existing west coast mainline, allowing HS2 services to continue north, serving stations to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Oliver Conoley, Director of National Property Portfolio, welcomed the announcement: “This is great news for Manchester and marks another milestone in the relentless rise of the city. We can now look forward to high speed services from London to the heart of Manchester, igniting further investment and economic growth.”

Manchester: the main attraction

Manchester’s relentless rise has been brought into sharp focus in recent weeks with a succession of stories highlighting this dynamic city at the heart of the government’s plan for a Northern Powerhouse.

An authoritative global survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit named Manchester – ahead of London – as the best UK city to live in and this appeal is reflected in the burgeoning demand for property, with some estate agents recently reporting a ratio of 15 prospective tenants for every home to rent.

Lack of supply in the market is driving rents and house prices, with rents across the whole of Manchester rising by over 20% in just 12 months last year. During that period HSBC named Manchester as the UK’s buy-to-let hotspot with landlords here making the biggest rental yields.

This finding was fuelled by one of the largest student populations in Europe, strong demand for private rented accommodation and, by comparison with other regions in the UK, cheaper housing. Now, a new report analysing best performing cities for property investment has confirmed Manchester remains at the top of the national league table for rental yields.

Potential investors are also encouraged by the city’s thriving economy and growing young workforce. Financial services and creative industries, helped by the relocation of the BBC, lead the way. Now, Media City in Salford is scheduled to expand, aiming to double in size by 2026, generating even more jobs. There are a growing number of young professionals seeking the convenience and appeal of inner city living with access to some of the best nightlife, restaurants, bars, football teams and jobs in the UK.

Oliver Conoley, Director, National Property Portfolio said: “This is an exciting time for Manchester, powered by the government’s renewed commitment to the Northern Powerhouse and the prospect of HS2 providing a further engine for growth – reducing journey times from London to about an hour.

“Media City is a shining example of what can be achieved by combining the talents of people with ambition and vision – and serves as a beacon for the future growth potential of this great city. The continuing investment in Manchester presents a positive outlook for investors and homebuyers alike.”

Hong Kong Can Turn Brexit Challenges Into Opportunities, Says CY Leung

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has led top officials in expressing confidence Hong Kong can seize advantages while facing up to any financial turmoil triggered by the British vote to leave the European Union.

“I have every faith and confidence in Hong Kong business people and investors in turning challenges into new opportunities,” Leung told the Post in an exclusive interview.

“Just in the last couple of hours, I had a couple of phonecalls and emails from Hong Kong-based business people saying, now that the pound has devalued to a level that’s the lowest in about 35 years, real estate and shares in the UK, particularly London, have become very attractive because they are now that much cheaper.”

Leung said as long as they were not complacent and remained watchful of volatility, Hongkongers should be able to seize opportunities for themselves.

“I have every confidence in the UK economy. It has survived many challenges and has grown bigger and stronger despite them.”

Leung said the government and local financial regulators had prepared for the turmoil that saw the Hang Seng Index plunge nearly 1,000 points intraday while the pound plunged 12 per cent intraday.

“I am happy to say we are pretty well prepared for this outcome. The financial institutions in Hong Kong have passed their stress test; we have enough liquidity in the system,” Leung said. So far we are alright.”

Leung said while Hong Kong financial officials would exchange views with the mainland, they would handle it on their own.

“Managing the financial markets and economy of Hong Kong is very much part of the high degree of autonomy of the Hong Kong SAR government; so we don’t take instructions as such from Beijing.,” Leung said.

The city’s central banker, Norman Chan Tak-lam, had a similar message, saying the banking system was highly liquid and the financial system robust and resilient.

But the Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief also urged caution.

“The UK will negotiate arrangements for leaving the EU with Brussels in the months ahead,” he said. “The outcome is highly unpredictable, and will lead to great uncertainties. Hong Kong people should stand ready to cope with continued market volatilities and to manage their risks prudently.”

While the Exchange Fund was expected to take a hit in its investments in British property, Chan said the effect would be minimal.

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said in Beijing that Hong Kong was bound to feel the impact of market volatility and uncertainty.

“We shall continue to monitor the situation closely,” Tsang said, noting that trade between the UK and Hong Kong was relatively small.

Yue Yi, vice-chairman and chief executive of Bank of China (Hong Kong) did not see significant damage to the city.

“Instead, Brexit may benefit Hong Kong as a leading offshore yuan centre. We should not worry too much about Brexit,” Yue said.

Britain is now the second-largest offshore yuan trading centre after Hong Kong, and analysts believe the vote will hurt London’s role because the UK can no longer act as an effective gateway to free trade with Europe.

CK Hutchison, which has invested heavily in telecommunications and infrastructure in the UK, said in a statement that it was “confident our UK businesses, which are strongly focused on providing vital goods and services to UK communities, will continue to thrive”.

Property tycoon Lui Chee-woo also did not foresee any significant change for Hong Kong’s financial and currency markets.

*Source – South China Morning Post 

The Great Manchester Run 2016


A few stiff legs in the office this morning, but a huge congratulations to the members of our team who ran in and completed the Great Manchester Run yesterday! We’re very proud!

A special mention to Thomas Chappell in our sales team who completed the 10k in just over 51 minutes!

Not only that, a little over £1200 was raised to support Manchester’s homeless charity Barnabus.

A great day had by all!

House prices rocketed 9.5% in 2015 and Britain’s biggest mortgage lender warns shortage of property for sale will keep pressure on market

  •  House prices up 1.7% in December, says Halifax
  •  Average property hit £208,286 by the end of 2015
  •  House price-to-earnings ratio rose to highest level since 2008

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Smart Property Investors Set Their Sights on Manchester

Across the UK the buy-to-let sector is flourishing, but a combination of affordable living costs, excellent domestic and international transport links and opportunities for education and employment are attracting residents to Manchester to make it a smart and profitable choice for property investors.

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June mortgage figures suggest it’s full steam ahead for the property market

The number of mortgages taken out to fund house purchases increased in June, according to figures from lenders which suggest that new rules on loans have not dampened the property market. Continue reading