Coutts London Prime Property Index


According to Coutts in their latest quarterly review of the London prime property market, the sight of cranes across the capital is an accepted phenomena. More than 26,000 new units are currently under construction or have received permission to start building in post codes covered by the Coutts London Prime Property Index as at December 2017.

This latest report is an interesting read for any property owner or potential speculator, to see the report click here. Current development in parts of the City of London reflects demand in these sought-after areas but is there a risk of a potential over-supply of luxury new builds leading to an increase in listing times for them and higher discounts than on existing homes?

Simon Hills
Autumn Budget - Property Highlights

The Chancellor's Autumn budget certainly had housing as a central issue, how to answer the questions around housing supply and affordability?

In this Budget we saw additional funding, further changes to SDLT (stamp duty), planning reforms and increases in the cost of keeping homes empty. All of these measures could help move things in the right direction... Grant Thornton has issued a very useful guide to the Autumn Budget's Property Highlights  If you have any questions on this or any other property matter including raising finance or releasing capital contact us

Simon Hills
Why 2017 is a good time to invest in property

Prices for homes in the UK have recently shown signs of slowing down, with prices rising by just over 1% in June, following three consecutive months of falls. This national average, along with the annual rate of price inflation up to 3.1%, could appear to be a significant downturn in the housing market. However, like many statistical figures, the national average is in fact hiding regional variation across the country, as well as a lack of new housing, the ever-present demand for rental property and the cheap pound.


The lack of new housing

Despite political promises and first-timebuyer incentives, the lack of housing in the UK remains. There are fewer houses per person now than at any point in the past fifteen years, with more of the UK population looking to rent than ever before. This makes the rental market very attractive, given how lucrative buy-to-let options can be. 


The demand for rental property

Despite government intervention in recent years, rising rents and more regulation for lettings agents and landlords, the private rental sector in the UK continues to thrive. Almost 60% of 20 to 39 year olds will be looking to rent by 2025, accounting for a fifth of UK households (source: ONS). These are figures that have been rising steadily since the 1980s, suggesting that the rental property is a safe and lucrative market to invest in.


The cheap pound

Since the results of the Brexit vote were announced, the pound has plummeted in value, losing 15.1% of its value in the past year (link). While this may not spell good news for UK-based investors, this highlights a fantastic opportunity for foreign investors, whose savings are now in an advantageous position to the pound. To put this in to perspective, buying a £300,000 property in November 2015 would cost around €425,000, whilst buying a similar £300,000 property in August 2017 would cost €331,000, a saving of just under €100,000. With this in mind, the current property market is fantastic for foreign investment.


The opportunity

This slight pause that the property market is seeing may spell disaster for some, but can be a perfect opportunity for someone with the opportunity to invest in the market, and particularly so for UK expatriates. However, this can involve a lot of bureaucracy and legal work, and we would always suggest seeking specialist advice when it comes to investing in UK property. If you have any queries or would like to Brunswick about any aspect of investing in UK property, please contact us.

David Mackenzie
Brighton and Hove - it's not only the football team that's on its way up.

Having been born and brought up in Brighton I was delighted to see the Seagulls clinch a place back in the top flight next season. The last time they were there was 1983 and I remember standing on the terraces of the North Stand as they beat the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham but still managed to finish bottom of the league and hence get relegated. It took me back to when I lived in Withdean and used to walk to the Goldstone Ground (subsequently sold off to property developers). We lived in a four bedroom detached house that my dad agreed to pay £23,000 for (a tad more than the current cost of a beach hut on Hove seafront!) before the foundations had even been laid. Similar houses in the vicinity change hands for in excess of £500,000 these days. I have always been of the opinion that a long term view pays off when it comes to property and that certainly appears to have been the case in the last 30 years or so.

I therefore read with interest a BBC article entitled Hove's BN3 postcode the most sought-after for 'young urbanites' which highlights research carried out by Lloyds Bank that suggests young professionals are heading to the seaside. According to the report from 17 April 2017, both Brighton and Hove appear amongst the most popular destinations in the country for young professionals purchasing a home, with Hove topping the rankings for the third successive year.

Of the top 20 areas with most property sales to young professionals, Brighton and Hove fill two of only four places outside of London. This suggests that both represent interesting propositions for investment whether you are looking for a main residence or a buy to let investment opportunity. Either way, Brunswick international Finance would be pleased to help with your mortgage requirements.

David Mackenzie
Do You Need Life Assurance?

There was a very useful article in MoneyWeek's 31/3/17 issue written by Ruth Jackson. It starts by talking about how essential life insurance can be for family financial security and asks "whether you should have it and if so how much cover do you need?" This is sometimes easy to calculate or it might be driven by a budget, either way talking around the subject with a protection specialist at Brunswick is well worthwhile. It is not just the amount of cover but the types of policy available and how to protect payouts against Inheritance Tax (IHT) that are among the key points for discussion.

Read the full article on life assurance to get a better idea of the considerations and if you want a friendly and informative conversation or have any questions contact us as we would be happy to assist

Simon Hills
The "Snow Sure" Premium

At Brunswick International Finance we believe that we can provide lending solutions for all sorts of clients in all sorts of locations.

Over the winter months we always experience increased activity in enquiries regarding ski chalets. This has led us to meeting with various banks and other industry professionals who have significant expertise in this area. One such company is Hindle & Baldock who are experts at sourcing property including ski chalets in the French Alps and Switzerland. They recently wrote a very interesting blog entitled The “Snow Sure” Premium which explores the premium applicable to ski resorts where snow is right on your doorstep. The article can be read in full here.

In terms of lending on ski chalets, we have a number banks who we deal with in this sector so if you are interested in further information regarding the lending packages available please contact us.

David Mackenzie
What Now For Buy-To-Let Landlords?

Thinking about buying a rental property?  There is a lot more to think about than there used to be. How good a proposition is it these days?

Is property at a price that allows a reasonable yield?  Is rental demand high in the area you are looking and will there be capital appreciation?  

House price growth is expected to slow in the short term but recover as real household disposable incomes recover at the turn of the decade (source: The Week UK ) “The OBR recorded house price growth of 7.6 per cent last year but reckons this will fall to 6.4 per cent this year. By 2018 it will have almost halved. From there, house prices will increase slowly to 4.6 per cent by 2021.” Read the full article here

This is not like the double digit growth we have seen but it is growth nonetheless.

What about the taxation changes from April this year? As we know, starting with the 2017/18 tax year only 75% of mortgage interest will be allowed against rental income to calculate profit. This decreases annually by 25% until 2020-21 when the level will be zero. Tax will be on turnover and if interest rates rise landlords will feel the effect.

There are a number of things to consider which it is why it is wise to seek qualified advice. Maybe a good fixed rate mortgage is the answer so that interest rate costs are set.  It could make sense for some to look at using their main residence as the source of finance as these rates are often lower still.

For the “professional” landlord, the use of a Ltd Company or other special purpose vehicle (SPV) may help with tax planning. If you are currently an expat or overseas resident there are other considerations and for everyone a working knowledge of IHT and CGT is a must. We would always recommend taking specialist tax advice if you feel you may benefit from setting something up and can refer you to accountancy firms we work with for an initial assessment. If you want to chat any of this through, contact us

Simon Hills
Feel Like You Got A Great Deal On Your Currency?

If you are off soon on your first holiday of the year, what are you going to do about getting some spending money? There are a number of methods open to you: pick up some cash when next in your bank for example. The problem is that we visit the bank less and less these days so it might require a special trip. If you do venture out, then what about visiting the bureau de change in town or the post office instead? Maybe just leave it until you arrive on holiday and use your debit card in the first ATM you see - probably at the airport on arrival...

All of these will work of course but none of them are going to leave you thinking you have just got a great deal. The only way to guarantee the absence of a grimace is by using a low margin on-line service such as the one we recommend provided by moneycorp. For details of how easy it is to carry foreign cash around in the form of a prepaid currency card and all the associated benefits, such as competitive rates, free ATM use and the ability to top it up whilst away, click here

Simon Hills
Using a Broker For Expatriate Home Loans

It used to be a relatively simple process to obtain a mortgage as an expat or foreign national wishing to purchase in the UK. A number of High Street banks offered mortgages via branches in the key expat markets and others were happy to look at overseas earnings and take a view on the overall credentials of each case. That all changed with the credit crisis in 2008. Suddenly many banks started to withdraw from expat business in its entirety, or at the very least, would apply far more stringent criteria than they had in the past. Proof of income, country of residence and whether or not a prospective client was employed by a multinational company became far more significant factors in whether an expatriate could find a mortgage.

The best approach for expatriates wishing to organise a mortgage these days is to seek the services of an independent mortgage broker who not only understands the mortgage market but also the challenges facing expats and foreign nationals when seeking to purchase or remortgage say a buy to let property in the UK. All lenders differ in terms of their maximum loan to value, who they will lend to, country of residence, expat or foreign national, type of property purchase and the list goes on. In the UK, lenders will only deal through FCA regulated brokers for regulated business such as house purchase/remortgage or residential buy to let so, if you are taking out a regulated mortgage in the UK and FCA regulated mortgage broker who deals with expats is the best route to take.

Wesley Ranger, Technical Director of Brunswick International Finance has many years experience of dealing with expats and foreign nationals buying in the UK. He says “I often find that overseas clients are surprised at the level of scrutiny required to obtain a UK mortgage and indeed, it is not uncommon for a client to think they want a certain type of loan, only to find that when we analyse the facts in detail, there may well be a more efficient way to approach their borrowing requirements than they previously thought.”

“Our role is to utilise our experience, knowledge, independence  and wide ranging contacts in order to come up with the most suitable and cost efficient arrangement for the client. Frankly, I don’t think many overseas clients have the time or inclination to track down some of the non-mainstream lenders such as private banks who can be extremely useful in the right circumstances. When it comes to the fees we charge, we firmly believe that we provide excellent value for money given the service we are able to provide.” For more information contact us here

David Mackenzie