In the UK property market over the last 12 month Student accommodation has been the best-performing asset with average double-digit returns these have been driven by strong rental growth.
Over the last 10 years the student housing sector has grown to a market worth in the region of £103bn. This growth has been driven by a rise in the number of students enrolling on university courses, up from 100m in 2000 to over 150m last year.
According to the property index student housing funds have returned close to 12% since the start of the year this compares with an average return of only 1.3% across the rest of the property market and an average 6% for other investments.
Over the last year a number of large investment funds have bought into the sector as
they believe that the sector is not greatly affected by the present economic downturn and lenders are also turning to student accommodation as one of a handful of property types which they view as low risk: vacancy rates run at about 5%, less than one-third of the figure elsewhere in the property sector.
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Buy to let mortgage lenders are sighing with relief after the European parliament voted to exclude landlord loans from tough new lending rules.
The UK’s Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has campaigned long and hard for
buy to let to be treated as a commercial loan rather than a residential mortgage, which was the initial thrust of the European directive on credit agreements relating to residential property (CARRP).
After intensive lobbying, the European Parliament’s ECON committee voted to
leave buy to let lending outside of the directive.
“We’re pleased to see that many of the long standing issues we have been
lobbying on have reached a positive outcome for the UK. So for example, the UK
would be able to exempt buy to let from the directive,” said a CML spokesman.
“However, some provisions have been included which only emerged at a late
stage of negotiations but which may not have had their full implications considered and we will continue to work on these issues as the directive goes into its next stage of discussions.”
CARRP is aimed at implementing a Europe-wide mortgage policy, but UK lenders
claimed this was unfair on buy to let landlords as the UK market differs significantly from the rest of Europe.
In most European countries, the buy to let market is either fledgling or developed through lending to companies rather than individual investors.
UK residential mortgages will come under the CARRP rules.
As a result, mortgage lenders will have to strengthen underwriting for loans, offer a cooling off period to borrowers and will have less power to repossess properties if homeowners fall in to arrears on mortgage repayments.
“Parliament has given a qualitative breakthrough regarding the initial text. We now have more ambitious legislation which establishes the international golden standards bringing in the principles recently adopted by the Financial Stability Board”, said the directive’s main champion Antolin Sanchez Presedo after the vote.
“We introduced a new chapter on financial education, strengthened information
to consumers, established a reflection period and the possibility to receive
good advice as well as fair principles for crisis situations.”
House prices and the state of the property market have probably hit rock bottom, according to banks and building societies.
Property values are about to level out and then show a modest increase, says the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), which speaks for all Britain’s major mortgage lenders.
Mortgage availability is also ‘broadly stable’ and has remained at around the same levels for two years, adds the CML.
The housing market analysis is based on the latest economic figures released by the government and the Bank of England.
The CML backs a Treasury forecast that suggest house prices have bottomed out and will stabilise over the next 18 months or so before beginning to rise in line with wage inflation.
“Despite the weakness of consumer sentiment associated with ongoing pressure on household incomes and the uncertain economic outlook, there are no signs of significant house price falls,” said CML chief economist Bob Pannell.
“Values continue to be strongly underpinned by the limited volumes of new build and forced sales. While current survey data suggests that house prices nationally may be drifting modestly lower in nominal terms, the prevailing view among economists is for house prices to stabilise through 2012 and then revert to growth of four to five per cent per year from 2014 onwards.”
Meanwhile, research by the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), the trade body representing lenders that market products through brokers, has revealed 34 per cent of intermediaries believe standard mortgage business levels will improve during the fourth quarter of the year, with 26 per cent expecting business levels to increase between three per cent and seven per cent.
IMLA chairman John Heron said: “This positive attitude from intermediaries is a reflection of the general improvement seen recently in the mortgage market. The pickup is slow but market conditions are gradually improving, particularly in the buy-to-let and remortgage markets.”
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