What is behind Dubai’s strength as a real estate proposition?

Over 30,000 properties are expected to be added to the market in early 2018.

Dubai’s real estate growth is driven mostly by a combination of overseas investors living all over the world, and foreign nationals living in the UAE.

For 2017, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) recorded a total of 69,069 completed real estate transactions. The combined value of these transactions is more than Dh 285 million ($77.6 billion). This figure breaks down as Dh107 billion ($29.15 billion) invested by 39,480 investors making 52,958 transactions, and more than 65% of this is by foreign investors.

The total value of the land transactions in Dubai in 2017 is worth Dh285 billion. To put this figure into context, this is higher than the GDP of an astonishing 144 countries from the 211 recognised by the United Nations.

Figures show that around 23,000 non-GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and non-Arab investors completed 30,000 property transactions worth about Dh56 billion. Around 9,790 nationals completed or were involved in just over 14,380 transactions with a combined total of more than Dh37 billion. Almost 7,000 investors from Arab states but non-GCC completed 8,644 real estate transactions worth more than Dh14 billion.

Where are overseas investors from?

The largest number of foreign investors in 2017 came from India, making Dh15.6 billion worth of property transactions in Dubai. Next on the list was Saudi Arabian nationals who collectively invested more than Dh7 billion, then British and Pakistani investors whose investments came to Dh6 million and Dh5 million respectively.

Other nations investing increasingly in Dubai real estate are China, Egypt, Jordan and Canada.

Why is Dubai attracting this amount of investment?

These figures are extraordinary, particularly when it’s considered the total investment is higher than many countries’ GDP (gross domestic product), as mentioned earlier. The reasons behind this phenomenal overseas investment lie within the unique advantages Dubai offers as a global investment region.

The biggest reason for the investment specifically for the real estate sector is the very attractive RoI (Return on Investment) that can be earned by investors. This is a main consideration for any kind of investor before making a decision.

Rental income is an important consideration as part of the RoI as it matures straight away, when compared with capital appreciation that can only be achieved through the sale of the property or by releasing equity through a mortgage.

Average RoI in Dubai

The average amount of RoI earned on apartments in Dubai in 2017 was 7%. Villas achieved 5%, despite a general softening of sales prices and rent amounts. Research shows that for a two-bed apartment costing Dh1 million, an investor could net rental returns of Dh80,000. This is an 8% annual return on investment and would lead the investor to recover the entire investment within just 12.5 years even without inflation.

However, it’s worthwhile taking the post hand-over payment plans that are used by some people. This is where the buyer/investor pays 50% or Dh500,000 when the property is handed over, with the rest due within three to five years. As the rent from the very first day would remain the same, it would mean a RoI of 16% for the investor.

World-leading real estate sector

Dubai leads the real estate sector globally in terms of major cities offering investment hotspots. Returns average between 7 and 8% per year, which is high when compared with other high performing cities.

The sector is also helped with the solid regulatory environment. This reassures investors and ensures protection. During the last decade, the DLD has strengthened the regulatory and legal framework to make sure best practice is in force at every level of property management, from development to sale.

In addition to these positive points, Dubai has an accessible and liberal foreign exchange regime that promotes strong connectivity with investors from overseas. As it allows the free movement of profit and capital with little to no restriction, it’s obviously an attractive proposition for major investors.

This infrastructure is being refined all the time and is consistently improving. The progressive economy, consistent and continuous expansion of major infrastructure and world-class attractions has completely transformed Dubai into the five-star property investment destination it is today.

Aspen Woolf on 2018’s top ten property hotspots in the UK

Leeds City Skyline view

We’ve had a look at the best UK hotspots for property investment across the UK. Our top ten shows where it’s best to invest money for guaranteed demand and the highest capital growth.

The market has become used to inflated prices in the south east and London and savvy investors are looking away from the traditional investment regions towards the north. Infrastructure improvements courtesy of the Northern Powerhouse are starting to show results. Recent reports from KPMG show that the North West, North East and Yorkshire will all see some of the highest average house price growth over the next ten years. Check out our top ten.

  1. Bradford

Just five miles from Leeds, Bradford is often in its shadow, but it’s an affordable area going through its own period of regeneration. It’s more of a large town than a true city and is full of typical northern-street terraced houses and Victorian homes with bay windows. You can buy a one-bed flat for just £40,000, while a stone-built terrace will cost about £70,000. Landlords can expect yields of 8% on two-bed homes in the affordable postcodes BD7 and 8.

  1. Manchester

Manchester is the fastest-growing city outside of London and is home some impressive regeneration projects. These are led by the Salford Quays media complex and the digitally-orientated Northern Quarter. There’s no doubt that 2018 is a good time to invest in property in Manchester, with high ROIs in areas such as Chorlton, Salford and Fallowfield. Prices are rising fast and yields are around twice those in London. About half of the housing stock is private rents, and the massive student population underpins demand for flats.

  1. Liverpool

Another northern city benefiting from inward investment and large-scale job creation, Liverpool is also on the up. Flagship projects include the Liverpool Waters scheme, which has cost around £5 billion. This will transform a massive brownfield site into five new neighbourhoods. Property investment in Liverpool centres around a young, keen workforce looking for long term rentals. Average house prices are on the lower end but are increasing.

  1. Leeds

Leeds is a shining star of the Northern Powerhouse, having come to the end of a long process of gentrification. It’s now a stylish, ultra-modern city with an impressive amount of housing. As it shares an airport with Bradford and will benefit from HS2, it has garnered the attention of overseas investors buying up new builds. However, there are good capital growth opportunities, with areas LS1 and LS11 working well for city workers, and the further out LS6 and LS8 achieving high yields.

  1. Birmingham

The second biggest city in the UK is the heart of the country and home to 4.5 million. There is a real shortage of rental accommodation, which is pushing property prices up. Demand is particularly strong in areas like Edgbaston and Halesowen, and any cash buyers could do well out of non-traditional properties in areas like Kings Norton.

  1. Sheffield

Demand is outweighing supply at the moment in this South Yorkshire city. It’s likely that Sheffield, along with Bradford, will benefit from prices increases in Leeds as first-time buyers become priced out of the market. The S1/S2 postcodes offer some of the highest rental yields in the country.  Prices have tripled since 2001, but it’s perfect for investors looking to add to their portfolio with on-street terraces for £50,000 or three-bed ex council houses for £75,000.

  1. Hull

Hull has one of the highest proportions of young people in the UK, thanks to the investment in digital tech and windpower the city has enjoyed since it was 2017’s City of Culture. Student lettings return high yields and it’s likely that price growth and steady demand for rentals will continue to make Hull popular for buy-to-let investors.

  1. Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Analysis last year suggested that Newcastle and the North East (including Gateshead, Sunderland, North and South Shields) will house England’s most affordable properties over the coming decades. While capital growth isn’t an incentive here right now, it could be a wise long-term portfolio investment.

  1. Nottingham

Nottingham is often overlooked but has the UK’s seventh biggest economy and is likely to benefit from the proposed HS2 station. Extensions to the tram network have seen prices increase in suburbs like Wilford, Beeston and Clifton.

  1. Leicester

Leicester’s economy is bigger than Nottingham’s and is home to many household brand name companies. This means inward migration of young professionals, and house prices rose throughout 2017. Semi-detached and terraced houses are particularly in demand, with the best areas to invest in buy-to-let include LE3, where you could get a terrace with yields over 5%.

Ten things you never knew about Bradford

bradford city centre

Bradford is a resilient community and a city that has been through the mill, in more ways than one. Now enjoying a cultural renaissance, it’s a true Pennine city with lots in common with the nearby towns of Huddersfield and Halifax in particular.

It’s also one of the biggest cities in England by population size, coming in fifth after Sheffield, Leeds, Birmingham and London. Many first-time visitors are surprised by the sheer number of attractions and a newly emerging leisure scene. Here are ten facts about Bradford that you might also find surprising.

Bradford is:

  1. Officially Britain’s ‘curry capital’

Bradford has been named Curry Capital of Britain for five years running, annually soaking up praise for its fine curry restaurants.

  1. Home to the biggest water fountain in the country

Bradford City Park was conceived as part of the 2003 masterplan to regenerate the city centre. A large public space right in the centre of the city, the park is very near the Grade 1 listed Bradford City Hall, and its main feature is a mirror pool containing the highest fountain in any British city.

  1. Home to the largest former industrial building in the world

Salts Mills was designed by Lockwood and Mawson for Sir Titus Salt in 1853. Today it’s a shopping centre, art gallery and restaurant complex and houses many paintings by local artist David Hockney.

The former textile mill was the largest industrial building in the world when it was built and didn’t close its doors as a manufacturer until 1986. Entrepreneur Jonathan Silver bought it a year later and turned it into a retail, cultural and business centre.

  1. Experiencing a large population boom

Excluding London, figures show that Bradford is currently undergoing the biggest population growth in the UK. The city also has the largest proportion of under-fives and under 19-year olds, and the largest average household size.

Between 2001 and 2011 when the last censuses were taken, the overall population grew by 11% to 470,800. The next census is due in 2021 and is expected to show a massive increase in general population.

  1. Home to the oldest concert hall still in use in the UK

St George’s Hall opened on 29 August 1853 and it’s still going. Not only is it the oldest in the UK, but also the third oldest in the whole continent. Originally designed for a capacity of 3,500, it now seats 1,500 and was financed by German Jewish wool merchants who moved to Bradford for its textile industry. It was temporarily closed in 2016 for an £8.5 million restoration project and is due to reopen later this year.

  1. Also home to the Alhambra Palace theatre

Right in the centre of Bradford, the Alhambra is much loved within the theatre community. Built in 1913 at a cost of £20,000 as the project of a local impresario, Francis Laidler, it opened on 18 March 1914. Over the last century it has welcomed many big names, including Laurel and Hardy, Morcambe & Wise, Peter Sellers and Rik Mayall onto its stage and was awarded Grade II listed status in 1974.

It’s one of the finest theatres in England, and now hosts large-scale touring theatre companies of all kinds to an audience of up to 1,456.

  1. Known as the former ‘King of Wool’

The 19th century was a golden time for Bradford, when it rose to prominence as an international centre for quality textile manufacture and, in particular, wool. It was a classic boomtown of the Industrial Revolution years and quickly became the wool capital of the entire world.

As the wool and textile manufacturing grew, so did the population and investment in the city. You can still see it today in the architecture of Bradford City Hall. In more recent times, the textile manufacture has moved abroad but the city’s rich past can be seen in its landmarks, including Salts Mill and Manningham Mills.

  1. The ‘City of Film’

In 2009, Bradford roundly beat Cannes, Venice and LA to be named the world’s first UNESCO City of Film. Bradford was awarded the title for its long association with filmmaking, going back to the very start of cinema. Today, Bradford hosts a number of high-profile and internationally recognised film festivals and film related events.

  1. Bursting with entrepreneurial spirit

Bradford has a young and dynamic workforce, and a host of creative entrepreneurs looking to take advantage of the unique culture and global business links in the city. There is a high level of self-employment and business start-ups. The fact that it’s the youngest city in the UK, with almost a quarter of its population under 16 years old, suggests that this youthful spirit will continue to revitalise the city going forward.

  1. Home to major company headquarters

In Bradford and the surrounding district, a number of major companies have their headquarters, including Yorkshire Building Society, Morrisons, Provident Financial, Hallmark Cards, Arris (Pace) and Yorkshire Water. More than 40 large companies have their headquarters in the district and employ more than 370,000 with a combined turnover of around £30 billion.

Aspen Woolf on the recent boost in offplan sales in Dubai

Foreign investment in Dubai property has seen record levels in 2017.

During the last week in May, a seven-day selling spree gave Dubai its best monthly offplan sales in 2018 so far.

According to data from GCP-Reidin, the overall offplan sales during May came to 1,830 units against the previous best number of 1,752 units racked up in January.

Combined value

Collectively, the May offplan deals were worth Dh2.28 billion. This beat April’s combined total of Dh2.05 billion and 1,461 units, despite the widespread assumption that this was the peak.

Usually sales would decrease during Ramadan and continue to do during the summer. However, it seems 2018 will buck this trend.

Seven City success

Much of the high number of sales is down to a developer called Seven Tides, who released 661 units at its high-rise project located in Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT). This development is called ‘Seven City’ and all 661 units were bough over a span of seven days.

In total, the developer took bookings worth Dh300 million and is now gearing up to release another job lot of units at Seven Tides at some point in the future. The CEO of the developer said that… “if you offer investors a compelling proposition, based on ROI (return on investment), location and quality, they will invest irrespective of overall market sentiment and that is essentially, our three-pronged marketing strategy.”

A studio apartment at the development went for Dh354,000, while one-bed apartments went for Dh683,000.

Ready available properties

For properties that are ready and available in the secondary market, overall demand is steady. In May there were 1,028 of these sold, compared with 986 in April and 1,121 in March 2018.
There is a steady allocation of funds to this secondary market, which is something that offplan developers need to keep an eye on. It’s difficult to know how much unsold inventory is backed up from previous offplan launches, as not every developer makes this information available.

Most successful locations

The locations that did well in the May offplan sales are as follows. JLT drew a lot of offplan investor interest in May, but there were also increases for the Medan master-development MBR City. This ended up with total sales of 314 units.

Developers including Azizi and Sobha have launched focussed and sustained campaigns surrounding MBR City. Added to this, steady progress on the Meydan One Mall is also interesting investors.

After Meydan, Jumeirah Village Circle sold156 units, the Downtown sold 119 and Dubai Marina sold 118. In the ready property space sector, Dubai Marina did the best with 170 deals sewn up in May 2018.

Aspen Woolf looks at whether Bradford could become the Shoreditch of Yorkshire

Bradford is growing quick although prices are still quite low.

With so many north western cities and towns undergoing a revival, with government support and mass-redevelopment, could it be Bradford’s turn for the same?

There are undeniably high levels of unemployment in Bradford, and some have dubbed it the most struggling city in Britain. But there is a movement to turn all of this around and kickstart its revival as a creative, thriving city with much to offer.

Creating alternative Bradford

Today, Bradford is no longer home to mills and mansions, as it was in Victorian times. Around 30% of adults in the city are out of work, and 40% of the wards are among the poorest in the country. While it does have the UK’s youngest population, it also has high levels of child poverty. Bradford is actually larger than Newcastle and wants to shrug off its reputation as the country’s most struggling city.

The CEO of Bradford Council, Kersten England, is very much behind this as she aims to ‘make Bradford the Shoreditch of Yorkshire’. However, Bradford is not asking for subsidies from London, nor is it competing with the recent boom in places like Leeds and Liverpool, instead there is a movement to revive an ‘alternative Bradford’.

Sunbridgewells success

While it seems an uphill struggle in some ways, there is definite hope for the future. At the moment, around 90% of property in the very centre of the city is apparently vacant. But there are many signs of life and progress.

In among a warren of old storage tunnels and caves there’s an area called Sunbridgewells. A local developer has invested £2 million in gin bars, craft beer pubs, food outlets and music venues and it’s seen as ground zero of the ‘creative hub’ of the city.

As with Shoreditch in London, when it became a hipster paradise, it’s hoped that people will begin flocking to Sunbridgewells. Nearby is the Assembly warehouse, a creative space for freelance publishers and designers. Run by David Craig, who reckons the space costs a fifth of what it would in Leeds, the Assembly is home to a few creative companies that have a passion for regenerating the city.

Another voice behind the new Bradford is architect Amir Hussain, who wants to persuade third generation Asians to move to the centre of the city and help to revitalise it.

Past town planning

There are generations of poor town planning behind Bradford’s current state. In the 1980s, the Victorian buildings were destroyed, and during a misguided rescue attempt in 2003, post-modern architect created what he called ‘dispersed centre’.

The council then added a massive shopping mall called Broadway, which took business away from any other retail outlets in the city. Today, there is a strong determination to restore Bradford back to its best, but with a different slant.

They aim to make central Bradford a place where people want to live and work, rather than a place from which people try to escape. This will take a massive effort as the city faces cuts of 40% to its budget over the last decade. Bright spots include the City Park, which cost more than £20 million, the relaunch of the Art Deco Odeon cinema and the annual literary festival.

Following examples

However, arts festivals and music venues don’t tend to draw residents, which is what is needed. The people behind the regeneration of Bradford aim to bring life back to the city. It’s been done before all around the world. In NYC, Manhattan’s Greenwich Village came back from the dead, as did Shoreditch in London and Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco.

They did it by taking enterprise and activity from nearby cities and regions. By attracting designers, writers and artists into some of the derelict buildings, others will also arrive. Today, Bradford looks to attract the digital entrepreneurs that are spearheading regeneration across the north. It will be exciting to see it happen.

What are the benefits of buying new in the Northwest?

Liverpool waterfront

Whether you choose to invest in new builds or buy something more established, Leeds and the wider Northwest region offers a wide range of choice. From mansions just selling for just under £1 million to 1 beds going for around £35,000, it’s easy to see why this region is becoming more popular to property investors and first-time buyers alike.

The choice between a new build or established property is often down to personal circumstances and subjective tastes, but there are some reasons why new can be to your advantage.

Strict regulations

Over recent years, building regulations have become increasingly strict. New builds are built to a high spec with a ten-year guarantee. This gives an obvious advantage over an older property in terms of potential repairs and upkeep. With brand new fittings and features, a new-build property means there’s less need to make allowances for the potential cost of repairs and ongoing maintenance. Whether you’re looking to invest as a landlord or as a first-time buyer, this can make a huge difference in terms of what you can afford.

This is a good choice for investors looking to build up their buy-to-let property. By investing in new-builds in Leeds they are taking advantage of a city that is very much on the rise. The government’s Northern Powerhouse scheme has meant it’s front and centre in terms of investment and regeneration.

An increasingly popular choice for investors looking to boost their portfolio, cities such as Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester are offering more diverse options that in London and the South East. They’re also offering strong ROI and rising, rather than falling, property prices.

Energy efficiency

Even if an older property has been lovingly restored, it’s almost impossible for them to compete with the energy efficiency built in to new properties. Modern building methods have been developed to prevent damp, while double glazed window units, improved insulation and cavity walls provide energy savings on a long-term basis.

Heating systems are always improving and will significantly reduce monthly outgoings when compared with an older property. If you are investing in a buy-to-let property, then it’s your responsibility to ensure it’s safe and fit for purpose. From April this year, it has become illegal to rent out a house with an energy efficiency (EPC) rating of F and G – the lowest possible ratings.

Modern living

New builds are designed with modern living in mind. They tend to have smaller rooms, less floorspace by square foot and be of simpler design than more established properties. While this can come down to personal taste, for investors, new builds offer the best of both worlds.

Property developers look to minimise wasted space in new builds, ensuring they’re as efficient as possible. This has a knock-on effect on monthly outgoings as energy is saved and costs are as low as possible. And, as they’re designed for modern family life, there are always people ready to rent. Investing in judiciously placed new builds in the Northwest of England this year guarantees a steady ROI and hassle-free management.

Flexible options

While there can be a premium attached to buying a new-build property, so that they can cost more than a comparable older property, there are often more flexible buying options. First-time buyers may be able to take advantage of the government’s Help to Buy scheme, for example. As this only needs a 5% deposit, it opens the door to new home owners. Older properties often need a higher deposit and you’ll likely need more funds for alterations.

Buying off-plan also allows people to plan their move with more confidence. When buying an older property there is a huge amount of uncertainty concerning the seller and other people in a buying chain. This uncertainty can last right up to exchange and is the cause of a lot of stress. Buying a property off-plan removes all this uncertainty.

Buying property in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Bradford or other cities in Northwest is fast becoming the option of choice for savvy investors. Both new-build and established properties offer advantages that just don’t exist in London and the South East currently.

Aspen Woolf looks at the most expensive versus the cheapest property in Leeds

For Sale Signs - Aspen Woolf

The North of England is having a resurgence in terms of regeneration, property development and a growing job market. There are more reasons than ever to invest in property in cities such as Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester, led by the Northern Powerhouse initiative.

Particularly since the vote to leave the European Union in June 2016, property investment across the UK has experienced a sea change. More and more investors are turning away from London and the South East as economic and political uncertainty shake a previously unwavering property market and setting their sights further up north.

Property hotspot

Leeds has become a prime property hotspot, thanks to a steady stream of city-centre regeneration and funding, along with a solid and thriving job market. Add in a bustling city centre packed with all the amenities young professionals look for, and a strong student population, it’s not surprising that investment in Leeds is constantly increasing.

At Aspen Woolf, we keep an eye on all the property investment news across cities including Leeds and have examined recent sales to get a picture of the kinds of prices people can expect.

Variety of property

The cheapest residential property that completed in March this year sold for just £36,500. At the other end of the scale, the buyers of the most expensive property sold in March paid more than 26 times this price.

This shows the sheer variety of options for people looking for property in Leeds. Whether investors are searching for the perfect buy-to-let property, or families are looking to move into a larger house, there is a scale of pricing available that isn’t seen in regions further south.Land Registry figures

The figures from HM Land Registry for March 2018 show that some property investors paid a lot of money for truly stunning properties situated in the city’s suburbs, while other people sought out and found bargains closer to the city centre.

The most expensive home sold in March was a detached house in the Boston Spa area of Leeds. It was sold for an impressive £975,000, providing a stark contrast with the cheapest flat sold for just £36,500.

UK-wide, across the same period, more than 90,000 homes were sold. The most expensive residential property on record sold for £15 million and is located in the London suburb of Barnet. The cheapest of all went for £20,000 in County Durham. This provides a good scale to measure Leeds prices by.

Detached properties

A closer look at what buyers in Leeds secured for their money can be seen by detailing some of the sales below. As mentioned, the most expensive property was located in Boston Spa. For £975,000 the buyer enjoyed a five-bedroom detached house in this leafy suburb of Leeds. Next on the list was another five-bed detached property in Foxhill Drive, Leeds, which sold for £747,000.

Another five-bed detached family home, this time in the Adel area of Leeds, sold for £650,000 and a four-bed detached home in Boston Spa went for £521,555. A lovely four-bed home in the outlying Leeds village of Shadwell sold for £515,000 and another Adel four-bed detached went for £499,995.

Bargain buys

Turning towards the cheaper end of the market, the biggest bargain was the flat sold for £36,500 in the Hunslet area of Leeds. Another flat in Lower Wortley sold for £37,250 and a terraced two-bed home for £40,000 in Lascelles Place.

No matter what kind of property buyers are looking for, Leeds is a good place to look. From apartments close to the always improving city centre amenities, to large detached homes in green suburbs, the variety available is comparable to that in the South East, but for much more affordable prices.

Aspen Woolf On Why Property Investment In The North-West Has Doubled

Manchester town hall

There has been a huge rise in commercial property investment in the north-west of England. Investors have increasingly come to realise the value of some of the key areas in the north, including Liverpool.

Thanks to this awareness and understanding, along with the benefits from the Northern Powerhouse initiative, investors have increased their interest to a record high.

Figures Increased

During Q1 2018, the volumes of investment in cities like Liverpool has leapt to £965 million according to figures released by UK Investment Transactions. This is more than twice the amount achieved in Q1 2017, which peaked at £440 million.

This is a phenomenal start to the year in terms of property investment and is thanks largely to two main deals. The first came when L&G bought Liverpool’s India Buildings for £125 million, and the second with Aviva’s acquisition of 2 New Bailey in the Salford area of Manchester. The latter deal was worth £113 million, and both Liverpool and Manchester have contributed to this huge boost in investment.

Office Space

The top investment in the north-west region’s commercial property sector was office space. This accounted for 41% of all transactions in the first quarter of 2018. The retail sector continues to fall slightly behind, which is something mirrored across the whole of the UK as customer attention continues to shift online.

While retail is likely to continue to be more subdued, there seems no stopping the rest of the commercial sector in Liverpool and Manchester, as well as surrounding areas.

Build-to-rent Investment

We’ve also seen a significant increase in build-to-rent investment deals in the north-west. This was again boosted by a major deal in Liverpool. This was to create 383 build-to-rent unites and the development has been financed by forward-funding by Invesco and Manchester arena.

Both Liverpool and Manchester have enjoyed major advances in their build-to-rent market over the last year or so, and industry experts expect this to continue as an investment trend.

Comparatively strong

Overall, the north-west continues to perform strongly and this is shown clearly when figures are compared with the rest of the country’s data. A broad rage of investors, from the UK and overseas, are continuing to show real interest in investing in the region.

As we head towards Brexit and the uncertainty it brings, more investors are turning away from London and looking around at other viable investment hotspots in the UK. Liverpool and Manchester are continually surprising the market with excellent figures and its’ likely that this strong start to the year will continue throughout the rest of 2018.

Investment Property Price Growth For Leeds

Leeds City Skyline view

Property investment in Leeds is increasing, and a new report by property consultancy experts JLL reveals that it’s not going to slow down any time soon.

Average investment property prices in Leeds city centre will increase by 3.5% over the course of 2018, according to the New Housing Paradigm report. The outlook for the next five years is even more positive with expectations of strong price growth at an average of 3.7% per annum.

Proving its legitimacy as part of the Northern Powerhouse and a viable alternative for property investors now looking outside of London, the level of growth expected in Leeds is second only to that projected for Manchester.

Average Rents To Rise

Rents for apartments in Leeds city centre remained flat during 2017, but it’s predicted that they will increase by 3.5% by the end of this year. Again, over the next five years, it’s expected that they will increase by 3.5% every year.

Leeds is the standout market for investors to keep their eye on over the next few years, and housing markets across Northern England are going to be among the strongest too.

London Market Stagnating

This rise of the Northern Powerhouse comes at a time when London is losing its grip as the number one choice for property investors. Its housing market is starting to stagnate, while market growth in the south of the country has been slowly starting to stabilise thanks to high property prices deterring potential investors.

London is still a key market of course, but there is no doubt that the rising interest in property investment across the north is signalling the start of a new phase for the UK’s property market.

Infrastructure Investment

Anyone who has been keeping an eye on developments across Northern England will have seen extensive redevelopment and investment in key infrastructure. Excellent and improving travel links, a relatively buoyant job market and much more affordable housing than in the south of England, have all combined to turn people’s attention to the north.

There is also a marked rising demand in Leeds specifically for the ‘build-to-rent’ market. This is fuelled by the influx of young professionals eager to enjoy the benefits of living and working in a major city, as well as a stream of affluent students willing to pay for a high level of accommodation.

Build-To-Rent Market

There are currently 3,500 build-to-rent units in addition to the 2,000 private sale units sitting in the development pipeline, all due for completion relatively soon.

Historically, this rental demand has been under-served, and this new influx of build-to-rent units will satisfy the need. Manchester has seen this particular asset class perform extremely well, and it’s likely that Leeds will follow suit.

Over the next few years, we expect to see landlords and developers working to optimise this market model.

Aspen Woolf On The Fluctuations In Dubai’s Property Market Since 2008

Dubai skyline at sunset - Aspen Woolf

It’s been ten years since the economic woes of 2008 that saw the biggest challenge yet for Dubai’s property market. Since then, the market has gone through various transformations as it continues to develop along with the city itself.

What kind of challenges did the imploding of the property bubble bring to Dubai’s market? In this blog, we look at the challenges that have been overcome as well as the biggest achievements of the industry over the last decade.

Sustainable Real Estate Market

While the immediate impact of the property bubble bursting in 2008/2009 were harsh, ten years on we’re looking at a more sustainable real estate market in Dubai. It boasts a more robust regulatory and legal framework and is generally much more mature.

One highlight of the last ten years is the development of the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), which started in 2007. Since then it’s come a long way in developing a standardised regulatory framework that protects investors and end users alike. It also helped to restore market confidence across the board.

Consumer Protection

The introduction of consumer protection measures has also helped the market to mature. The most notable of these is the introduction of mandatory escrow accounts for all developers involved in selling off-plan.

A significant amount of legislation has been implemented to further clarify the relationship between off-plan investors and developers should either party default. RERA also now has powers to cancel projects and there are guidelines in place concerning the process of liquidation.

A rental index came into force in 2013 and tenancy contracts were standardised in 2017. These are all positive steps forward in terms of tenant protection. Other legislation that legally distinguishes between residential and commercial property leashes is being discussed.

Regulating The Industry

Dubai’s real estate industry was very young prior to the crash, and this has meant regulating it from scratch. When you compare this to the UK’s property industry, which has had centuries to develop and refine legislation, you can see how challenging this is.

The city’s property market is evolving fast and the efforts of RERA and the Dubai Land Department (DLD) are really paying off.

Improving Market Transparency

‘Form A’ has been implanted to help with Dubai’s transparency problem. This is the standard contract mentioned above between broker and seller. The DLD is also planning to provide more up to date information to the market, which will help the drive towards transparency.

Restoring Investor Confidence

The main challenge after the crash of 2008 has been to restore investor confidence in Dubai’s property market. The city has introduced measures to make sure the market cannot overheat in the same way, and these have proven successful so far.

All the steps taken since 2008 have led to a solid foundation for the industry and should help to take the city to the next level over the next decade.

Market Maturity

Dubai’s real estate market in 2018 is much less speculative than it used to be. Investors are making measured decisions through the analysis of annual returns, and there is an increase of end-user demand. There are fewer speculative investors which has led to a more stable market, which means it’s a more attractive market.

The Youth Effect

Over recent years, younger people have settled in Dubai for the long term, meaning that more young people are prepared to invest in property. This is positive for the future of the market, and the city’s economy as a whole.

Future plans including the focus on tourism, developments and infrastructure in the lead up to Expo 2020, will continue to drive demand in the city for property. Despite the slight decrease in rental yields over the last few years, Dubai’s real estate market is widely thought to be one of the most reliable, attractive and sustainable markets in the world.