Monday, 12 December 2016

Fantastic 8 bed semi-detached in Headingley

This huge semi-detached property on Cardigan Road is a great property located in a highly sought after part of Headingley. It appeals to students at all campuses in Leeds and is also an area popular with young professionals. 

The property is split in to two 4 bed flats, each of which boast plenty of space and both come with 2 bathrooms which always puts itself ahead of the majority of 4 beds that usually only come with one.

One of the flats has recently had a brand new kitchen installed so it looks as though it's in a lettable condition as it is but due to the space that comes with this property there is definitely the potential to add en-suite bathrooms to each bedroom in order to boost the rental income. Modern en-suite properties of this size and in this area often go for around £95pppw.

If you spent around £10-15,000 on the property and if you managed to get it for around £375,000 you would be looking at a return of 10% and be safe in the knowledge that it would let out all day long. 

Monday, 5 December 2016

Semi detached house in Headingley with 10% return

This semi detached house on St Annes Road in Headingley is a fantastic property in a brilliant location. It massively appeals to both student and professionals due to it's proximity to Headingley campus and it's position so close to Otley Road. Houses like these never fail to appeal to renters so there wouldn't be any doubt this would rent out all day long. 

If you spend around £8,000 updating the decor, fitting a new kitchen and bathroom suites you could easily achieve a monthly rental income of £2,392. All the rooms are already really good sizes so you wouldn't need to spend time and money on knocking any walls down so it wouldn't take long to get the property looking fantastic so there shouldn't be any void periods. 

The asking price of £290,000 in my opinion is little high so if you were able to haggle it down to around £275,000 you would then be looking at a good return of 10% and you'd have a house that wouldn't struggle to let all year round. 

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Great investment property in Burley

This 3 bed terraced house on Woodside Place in Burley would appeal to both students and professionals alike. It's in a great spot close to the universities and close to main transport links into Leeds City Centre. 

The house is already in a pretty good condition but there is definitely potential to add value to increase the rental income. There's space to create an en-suite bathroom next to the basement bedroom which is currently being used as storage. You could also move the door to the first floor bedroom to allow that room to utilise the current bathroom and then fit an en-suite shower room on the top floor. 

If the property was fitted with a new, modern kitchen and the decor was freshened up you could likely achieve around £14,040 per annum. The refurb work would likely cost around £8,000 so if you managed to get the property for somewhere in the region of £140,000 that would then give you good return of nearly 10%. 

Monday, 21 November 2016

Great investment opportunity in Headingley with 10% yield

Properties of any kind on Headingley Mount are always a good bet as they never fail to rent out. They are always hugely popular as it's located in the heart of Headingley. 

This property contains 3 flats; two 1 beds and one 2 bed and there is always huge demand for properties like these in this area so you could be comfortable in the knowledge that these flats would rent out all day long. 

If a bit of money was spent freshening them up and modernising them a little with new kitchens, carpets, decor etc you could easily achieve around an annual income of £24,000. The work would likely cost around £8,000 so if you managed to get the building for around £235,000 then that would give you a good return of nearly 10%. 

Monday, 10 October 2016

Fantastic house in Kirsktall with potential 13% return

This 5 bed house on Victoria Road is in a prime location for professional renters and an area that we always have big demand for.

The current rent achieved could easily be bumped up by bringing the spec up and wouldn't cost the earth to do so in my opinion is definitely worth doing. I would recommend putting in a new kitchen and updating the decor.

The room sizes are already pretty good and in fact you could take some of the space from the large first floor bedroom and convert what's currently just a toilet room into a shower room as this is one of the few things letting this house down. Tenants are never keen on only having one full bathroom to share with 4 others so by utilising this space you'd make this house a more desirable option to tenants out there.

By doing this you could achieve a monthly income of around £1733 (excluding bills) and the work would likely cost around £5-£8000. If you could get the house for around £155,000 that would then give you a fantastic return of nearly 13%.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Fantastic 4 bed house in Burley with 10% return

This 4 bed house set in the heart of Burley would make a fantastic investment. It's located just off Burley Road which is an ideal location for professional renters what with it being so close to plenty of main transport links such as Burley Park train station and the main bus routes.

We've recently let a lot of properties in this area to either groups of professionals or as houseshares so there really is a great demand for properties like this in this area.

The property already looks in great condition so it doesn't look like you'd need to a great deal - if anything to it to get it ready to let out.

For a property of this standard you would be looking at a monthly rental of £1400. If you managed to get the property for around £165k that would give you a very healthy return of 10%.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Fantastic buy-to-let opportunity in Burley with great potential

I've come across this great property on Haddon Avenue in Burley which looks to have some great potential. It's in a great spot which would appeal to either students or professionals. 

The property is in reasonable condition as it is and the advert claims it has a healthy monthly rent per room but I would definitely want clarification as to whether those rental amounts include the utilities as from my experience as it's a house share and from those figures I would imagine it does. You wouldn't want any surprises when it comes to your predicted return. 

It's a 5 bed house but as you can see from the advert, it's only been let to 4 tenants as the fifth room is small so there's currently wasted space. In order to maximise the space I would recommend spending some money to bring the property up to a high spec where you could command a higher rent. I would suggest turning that small bedroom into a either a house bathroom or en-suite for the larger bedroom. I would also suggest knocking down the wall in between the living room and kitchen to make a more open space, fit a new kitchen and update the decor. 

This work wouldn't cost a huge amount; maybe in the region of £10-15,000 and then you'd be able to rent the property out for around £1650pcm. If you were able to get this house for around £150,000 that would then give you a great return of over 12%.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Great house in Burley with a potential of 10% return

This semi-detached house on Burley Wood Lane is ideally located for professional renters. Located in between Burley Road and Kirkstall Road it's a prime location for transport routes straight into Leeds City Centre.

Due to some of the room sizes there is definitely the potential to reconfigure this house and to create a great 4 bed house to maximise the return.

Firstly I would suggest knocking the wall down in between the kitchen and dining room to open up the space and to create an open plan living room and kitchen. The current living room could then in turn be turned into a bedroom. On the first floor I would suggest taking out the current bathroom and toilet and moving it to where the current small bedroom is. This then allows you to use this space to create a longer bedroom and then you could use some of the width to create another bedroom if you also made the current bedroom 2 a little smaller.

To reconfigure the property and to also update the decor with new carpets etc you would be looking at around £35,000. Once updated, a property of that standard and in this area could likely achieve £1,560pcm which is you managed to get the property for around £150,000 would give you a good return of 10%.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Brilliant 3 bed house in Burley with 11% return

Houses of this type are always hugely in demand for professional renters. This spacious 3 bed house located on Wetherby Place on with Moores is a fantastic property that would rent out all day long.

It's ideally located just off Burley Road and with all the main transport links it offers, as well as not being far from Burley Park train station. There are plenty of shops only a stones throw away and it only takes around 10 minutes to get in to Leeds City Centre.

The property itself is already in great condition so there wouldn't be any need to spend any further money on it so it could be rented out straight away. Three beds in this area of this standard rent out for around £1155 per month which would bring in an annual rent of £13,860. If you were able to get the property for around £125,000 that would give you a great return of 11% which would definitely be a great addition to any landlords portfolio.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Brilliant house in Burley with potential for over 12% yield

In it's current condition, this 5 bed house on Stanmore Street wouldn't really knock anyone's socks off but it definitely has great potential. Looking at it, there is quite a bit of wasted and unused space and with some clever 're-jigging' of the current rooms you would create a 6 bed property that would be a sound investment. 

Firstly, it's in an area that appeals to both student and professionals. It's located just a short walk away from Headingley and is also close to all the main transport routes that Burley offers.

You could best make use of the space by converting the unused basement in to two bedrooms with a shared 'Jack and Jill' bathroom. The first floor is far too crowded and the bedrooms are too small in it's current layout so I would suggest taking out the current bathroom and toilet, losing a bedroom on that floor and creating two larger bedrooms with a shared bathroom. On the top floor you would just need to add a 'Jack and Jill' shower room. 

Updating the decor and putting in a new kitchen would really finish it off and you would create a desirable property that would likely let out for around £90pppw. The refurb cost would likely cost in the region of £45k so if you managed to get the property for around £175,000 this would give you great return of over 12%. 

Monday, 18 July 2016

Brilliant 5 bed house in Burley with over 10% return

This 5 bed terraced house set in the heart of Burley is in a prime location for professional renters. It's just off Burley Road which provides great links to the city centre. It's a short walk to plenty of convenience stores and is only a short distance from Cardigan Fields.

The property consists of 5 bedrooms and the kitchen, living room and bathrooms all look to have been recently done out so there's not a great deal of work, if any, that need to be done for it to be fully rented out.

The rents quoted in the advert are inclusive of all the bills but a property of this type in this great area could easily achieve a rent in the region of £350pcm per room without bills. If you managed to get the property for around £195,000 that would then give you a return of over 10% which would definitely be a great addition to your portfolio.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Potential 12% Yield in Burley

This 6 bed house on Stanmore Street in Burley is in a fantastic location for both students and professionals. It's located a few minutes walk away from Headingley stadium and in the other direction it's a few minutes walk away to Burley Road and all it's main transport routes. 

This is a very popular area and we have let many properties of this type in this area due to the high demand.  

In it's current condition and with the varied room sizes it might be a struggle to let all the rooms but by investing in a refurb you could make this property really stand out and ensure a fully let property consistently and achieve around £2,210pcm.  

Firstly, I would recommend altering the ground floor to convert this as the communal space with the living room and kitchen. I would then convert the large basement in to two bedrooms with a Jack and Jill bathroom. On the first floor where you currently have too many bedrooms squeezed in, I would suggest taking out the bathroom and toilet and create two larger bedrooms also with a Jack and Jill bathroom and you also have the option of installing another Jack and Jill on the top floor.  

For the refurb you would be looking at spending around £30k which if you managed to managed to get the property for around £195,000 that would give you a fantastic return of nearly 12%. 

If you would like any advice on buying a property to let, feel free to give me a call on 0113 2743488.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

£160,000 inheritance - Is buying Burley Property still the best place for my windfall?

I had an interesting email from someone in Burley a few weeks ago that I want to share with you (don’t worry I asked his permission to share this with you all). In a nutshell, the gentleman lives in Kirkstall, he is in his mid 60’s and still working. He has a decent pension, so that when he does retire in a couple of years’ time, it will give him a comfortable life. He had recently inherited £160,000 from an elderly aunt. One option he told me was put it into a savings account. The best he could find was a 2 year bond with the Post Office which paid 1.9%; meaning he would get £3,040 in interest a year. One of his other options was to buy a property in Burley to rent out and he wanted to know my thoughts on what he should buy, but he had concerns as he didn’t want to take a mortgage out at his time of life. He was also worried about all the tax changes he had read about in the papers for landlords.

Notwithstanding the war on Burley landlords being waged by George Osborne, the attraction of bricks and mortar endures for many. As our man is a cash buyer, he would not have to deal with the intricate cut to mortgage interest tax relief that will diminish, or even eradicate, the profits of many Burley landlords. It’s true he would face the extra 3% in stamp duty to buy a second property, but with some good negotiation techniques, that could soon be mitigated.

I told him that buying a Burley buy to let property is all about the total return on investment. True, he could put the money in the Post Office bond and receive his interest of £3,040 a year or, as he rightly suggested, invest in property in Burley. The average yield (yield being the equivalent of the interest rate on the property) at the moment in Burley is 4.41% per annum, meaning our potential F.T.L (First Time Landlord) should be able to, depending on what he bought in the area, earn before costs £7,056 a year. (However, I told him there are plenty of landlords in Burley earning half as much again (if not more), if he was willing to consider more specialist investment types of properties – again, if you want to know where – look at my blog or drop me an email).

The bottom line is that the success of investing in Burley buy to let property versus a savings account with the Post Office (or whatever Bank or Building Society is offering the best rate) will depend on the performance of those assets. Unlike with a savings account, with property the capital you invested can also go up (and yes, it can go down as well – more of that in second). Property values in Burley have risen in the last twelve months by 3% meaning, that if our chap had bought a year ago, not only would he have received the £7,056 in rent, but also seen an uplift of £4,800 …meaning his overall return for the year would have been £11,856 (not bad when compared to the Post Office!).

..  but the doom mongers amongst you will say, property values can go down, as they did in 2008, and in 1988 and 1979. Yes, but after 1979 prices had bounced back to their ’79 levels by 1984 and went on to grow an additional 58% in the following four years. Then again, they dropped in 1988 and did take 13 years to reach back to those ’88 figures, but the following six years (between 2001 and 2007) they then increased by an additional 66%. Now, according to the Land Registry, average property values in Leeds currently stand 12.02% below the January 2008 level, and anecdotal evidence suggests that in the nicer parts of Burley, we are well above these sorts of levels.

… and what would that £160,000 get you in Burley? A very decent 4 bed end terrace in Armley, a lovely 2 bed apartment on Victoria Road or a 3 bed apartment in an established student complex on Hyde Park Road  .. in fact, the world is your oyster. But which Oyster? Well, my blog reading friends, if you want to read similar articles like this and what I consider to be the very best of buy to let deals in Burley, irrespective of which agent is selling it, then you need to visit the Burley Property Blog  

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Headingley’s ‘Generation Rent’ to grow by 1,672 households by 2021

The growth of the private rented sector, and the arrival of an investor class of buy to let landlords within it, is an issue that won’t be going away anytime soon, no matter what you read in the Daily Mail. Whether you are a landlord of mine (or not as the case maybe), I am always happy to look over any properties you are thinking of buying for buy to let purposes and more so over a coffee!

Some commentators are saying buy to let is about to die, with the new stamp duty changes and how mortgage tax relief will be calculated. Some say 500,000 rental properties will flood the market nationally in the next 12 months as landlords leave the rental market. Have you heard the phrase ‘Bad news sells newspapers’? Let me explain why buy to let in Headingley is only going in one direction – and not the direction the papers say they are going.

According to Sheffield University, buy to let landlords will continue fuelling the growth of the private rented sector in the coming decades. By their estimates (and they are considered a centre of excellence on the topic), the rate of homeownership nationally will fall to 50% whilst the rate of private sector renting will increase to 35% by 2032.  Although in Headingley and LS6 area homeownership has already dropped below that estimated 2032 national figure, with only 32% of properties being occupied by homeowners ... as one would expect because of our high density of rental properties, which interestingly, in Headingley and LS6 area, currently stands at 48.1% today.

Therefore, the demand for rental accommodation in Headingley and LS6 will grow by 1,672 households in the next five years ... and these are the reasons why, irrespective of the distractions set out in the newspapers
Headingley property values over the last six years have risen a lot more than average wages/salaries, meaning as homeownership and mortgage availability is dependent on your ability to pay has served to push home ownership further out of reach for many, at a time when the stock of council houses has actually withered. (Nationally, the number of council houses in the last ten years has dropped from 3.16m to 2.18m households - a drop of 31.1%).

Now it’s true the Tory’s efforts to fix the deficiency of affordable housing have focused on those who want to buy a home, ranging from Help to Buy and their much vaunted Help to Buy Isa, and Starter Homes Scheme, an initiative offering a 20% discount for first time buyers … but if you are unable to save for the deposit ... none of this means anything to the ‘20 something’s’ of Headingley ... and they still need a roof over their heads!

Currently, 25,282 people live in private rented accommodation in Headingley and LS6

These are big numbers and a sizeable chunk of the electorate. So whilst it appears Headingley “Generation Rent” youngsters will continue to rent and to not to buy for the reasons set out above, Headingley buy-to-let landlords will be lifted by the projections of greater rental demand. Headingley and the area around it still offers the prospect of strong economic growth forecasts and has a reputation as a lively and desirable place to live. You see, with the new rules on tax, more and more landlords will be looking to move away from the previous honeypot of central London, because its higher prices meant lower rental yields. With the new tax rules and central London’s cooling of house price inflation, more and more landlords will look further afield, including Headingley (interestingly, I have already been chatting to a few central London landlords after they read the Headingley Property Blog).

So, by 2021, the number of rental properties in Headingley and LS6 will rise to 11,500

This prediction in growth of the Headingley rental market is even on the back of the government clamping down on tax reliefs for landlords. The point is this, gone are the days of making guaranteed returns on BTL property. For the last 20 to 30 years, irrespective of which property you bought, making decent money on buy to let property was like shooting fish in a barrel – anyone could do it  - but not now. You must take a more considered approach to your existing and future portfolio, especially in Headingley. The balance of capital growth and yield, especially in this low interest rate world we live in, means Headingley landlords need to do more homework to ensure the investment in property gives the desired returns.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Only 54,122 Council Houses in the Headingley and Leeds area left – opportunity or problem?

The ‘Right to Buy’ scheme was a policy introduced by Maggie Thatcher in 1980 which gave secure council tenants the legal right to buy the Council home they were living in with huge discounts. The heyday of Council ‘Right To Buys’ was in the 80’s and 90’s, when 1,719,368 homes in the country were sold in this manner between October 1980 and April 1998. However, in 1997, Tony Blair reduced the discount available to tenants of council houses and the numbers of properties being bought under the Right to Buy declined.

So what does this mean for Headingley homeowners and landlords? Well quite a lot in fact!

Looking at the figures for our local authority, whilst the number of ‘Right to Buys’ have dwindled over the last few years to an average of only 217 ‘Right to Buy’ sales per year, one must look further back in time. Looking at the overall figures, 20,476 Council properties were bought by council tenants in the Leeds City Council area between 1980 and 1998. Big numbers by any measure and even more important to the whole Headingley property market (i.e. every Headingley homeowner, Headingley landlord and even Headingley aspiring first time buyers) when you consider these 20,476 properties make up a colossal 10.9% of all the privately owned properties in our area (because in local authority area, there are only 186,467 privately owned properties).

Headingley first time buyers and landlords can now buy these ex-council properties second hand (or the PC brigade like to call them ‘pre-loved ex–local authority dwellings’) as those original 80’s and 90’s tenants (now homeowners) have more than passed the time of any claw back of the discount they received (council discount was repayable if the first owner sold within a stipulated time period - usually 5 years).

Now let us all be honest, some (not all), but some ex-council properties lack the vital KSA that some landlords crave. The new homes builders know all about KSA (or Kerb-Side-Appeal) as they dress up the exteriors of their new homes to make them more appealing to buyers ... and if you don’t believe me ... why do Show homes exist? Going on the exterior looks of a modern property might be a theoretically good way of choosing a Headingley buy-to-let property, but in a challenging market, some Headingley investors are finding a more no-nonsense down to earth approach brings the largest returns.

Yes, the modern stuff being built in Headingley is lovely, but too many landlords purchase buy to let property solely based on where they would choose to live themselves, instead of choosing with a business head and choosing where a tenant would want to live ... because remember the first rule of buy to let property … you aren’t going to live the property yourself. What an ex-council property lack in terms of KSA, they more than make up for in other ways.  Tenants more worried about how close the property is to a particular school or family members for child care matter to them far more than the look of a property.

Whilst ex-council properties tend to increase in value at a slower rate than more modern properties, that is more than made up in the much higher yields – and those built between the wars or just after are really well built. Tenant demand for such properties is good since Headingley property values are so expensive, a lot of people can’t get mortgages to buy, so they will reconcile themselves to renting, meaning there is a good demand for that sort of property to rent. Also, the very fact the council were forced to sell these Headingley properties in the 80’s and 90’s, means that today’s younger generation who would have normally got a council house to live in themselves, now can’t as many were sold ten or twenty years ago.

So to Headingley landlords I say this … don’t dismiss ex-council houses and apartments – but remember the 1st rule of buy to let (see above). However, those very same Headingley landlords should go in with their eyes open and take lots of advice. Not all ex-council properties are the same and even though they have good demand and high yields, they can also give you other headaches and issues when it comes to the running of the rental property. 

One source of advice is the Headingley Property Blog... that just leaves the 54,122 council houses still owned by the local authority to be sold to their tenants in the coming years!

Friday, 13 May 2016

Has owning a home become an unattainable dream for the 9,887 Leeds 28 year olds

My parents bought their first house in the early 1980’s, they were in their early 20’s. Interestingly, looking at some research by the Post Office from a few years ago, in the 1960’s the average age people bought their first house was 23. By the early 1970s, it had reached 27, rising to 28 in the early 1980’s.

This year alone, 9,887 people in Leeds will turn 28 and 11,236 in 2017... and dare I say 13,191 in 2018... year in year out the conveyor belt carries on... where are the Headingley youngsters going to live?

Ask a Headingley ‘twenty something’ and they will say they do not expect to buy until they are in their mid thirties - seven years later than the 1980’s. Some people even say they will never be able to buy a property and the newspapers have labelled them ‘Generation Rent’ as they are people born in the 1980s who have no hope of getting on the property ladder. One of the major problems facing young Headingley people is the large deposit needed to get a mortgage... or is it?

The average price paid for an apartment in Headingley over the last 12 months has been £124,500 meaning our first time buyer would need to save £6,225 as a deposit (as 95% mortgages have been available to first time buyers since 2010) plus a couple of thousand for solicitors and survey costs. A lot of money, but people don’t think anything today of spending a couple of thousand pounds to go on holiday; the latest iPhone upgrade or the latest 4K HD television. That amount could soon be saved if these ‘luxuries’ were withheld over a couple of years but attitudes have changed.

Official figures, from the Office for National Statistics, show the average male in Leeds with a full-time job earns £536.60 per week whilst the average female salary is £445.20 a week, meaning, even if one of them worked part time, they would still comfortably be able to get a mortgage for an apartment.

I was reading a report/survey commissioned by Paragon Mortgages from the autumn of last year. The thing that struck me was that when tenants were asked about their long term housing plans, some 35% of participating tenants intend to remain within the rental sector and 24% intended to buy a house in the future, with the proportion of respondents citing the “unaffordability” of housing as the reason for renting privately increasing from 69% to 74%.

However, time and time again, in the starter home category of property (ie apartments), nine times out of ten the mortgage payments to buy a Headingley property are cheaper than having to rent in Headingley. It is the tenant’s perception that they believe they can’t buy, so choose not to. Renting is now a choice. Tenants can upgrade to bigger and better properties and move up the property ladder quicker than their parents or grand parents (albeit they don’t own the property). Over the last decade, culturally in the UK, there has been a change in the attitude to renting so, unless that attitude changes, I expect that the private rental sector in Headingley (and the UK as a whole) is likely to remain a popular choice for the next twenty plus years. With demand for Headingley rental property unlikely to slow and newly formed households continuing to choose the rental market instead of purchasing a property. 

I also forecast that renting will continue to offer good value for money for tenants and recommend landlords pursue professional advice and adopt a realistic approach to rental increases to ensure that they are in line with inflation and any void periods are curtailed. One such place for advice, comment and opinion is the Headingley Property Blog 

Monday, 9 May 2016

3.0% rise in Headingley Property Values adds weight to the suburb’s Housing Crisis

Headingley’s continuing housing shortage is putting the suburb’s (and the Country’s) repute as a nation of homeowners ‘under threat’, as the number of houses being built continues to be woefully inadequate in meeting the ever demanding needs of the growing population in the suburb. In fact, I was talking to my parents the other day at a family get together; the subject of the Headingley Property market came up. My parents said it used to be that if you went out to work and did the right thing, you would expect that relatively quickly over the course of your career you would be buying a house, you would go on holiday every year, & you would save for a pension. Now things seem to have changed.

Back in the Autumn, George Osborne, used the Autumn Statement to double the housing budget to £2bn a year from April 2018 in an attempt to increase supply and deliver 100,000 new homes each year until 2020.  The Chancellor also introduced a series of initiatives to help get first time buyers on the housing ladder, including the contentious Help to Buy Scheme and extending Right to Buy from not just Council tenants, but to Housing Association tenants as well.

Now that does all sound rather good, but the Country is only building 137,490 properties a year (split down 114,250 built by private builders, 21,560 built by Housing Associations and a paltry 1,680 council houses). If you look at the graph (courtesy of ONS), you will see nationally, the last time the country was building 230,000 houses a year was in the 1960’s.

How George is going to almost double house building overnight, I don’t know, because using the analogy of a greengrocers; if people want to buy more apples (i.e. houses) in a greengrocers’, giving them more money (i.e. with the Help to Buy scheme) when there's not enough apples in the first place doesn't really help.

Looking at the Headingley house building figures, in the local authority area as a whole, only 1,510 properties were built in the last 12 months, split down into 1,350 privately built properties and 140 housing association with only 20 council houses being built.   This is simply not enough and the shortage of supply has meant Headingley property values have continued to rise, meaning they are 3.0% higher than 12 months ago, rising 0.2% in the last month alone.

I was taught at school that it’s all about supply and demand, this economics game.   The demand for Headingley property has been particularly strong for properties in the good areas of the suburb and it is my considered opinion that it is likely to continue this year, driven by growing demand among buyers (both Headingley homebuyers and Headingley landlords alike). You see Headingley’s economy is quite varied, meaning activity is expected to remain relatively strong into the early Summer of 2016, especially as some Headingley buy to let landlords try to complete purchases ahead of the introduction of new stamp duty rules in April.

... and of supply, well we have spoken about the lack of new building in the suburb holding things back, but there is another issue relating to supply.   Of the existing properties already built, the concern is the number of properties on the market and for sale.   The number of properties for sale last month in Headingley was 253, whilst 18 months ago, that figure was 282 whilst three and a half years ago it stood at 337… quite a drop!

With demand for Headingley property rising, minimal new homes being built and less properties coming onto the market, that can only mean one thing ... now is a good time to be a homeowner or landlord in Headingley. 

Friday, 29 April 2016

4,494 Spare ‘Spare’ Bedrooms in Headingley – Is this the cause of the Headingley Housing Crisis?

That isn’t a typo, of the 16,943 households in Headingley, 4,494 of those properties don’t only have one spare bedroom, but two spare bedrooms! … and it is this topic I want to talk about this week, my Headingley Property Market Blog readers – because this could be the cure for Headingley’s housing crisis.  The fundamental problem of the Headingley housing ‘crisis’, is the fact that the supply of homes to live in has not historically met demand, increasing property values (and in turn rents), thus ensuring home ownership becomes an unattainable ambition for the twenty something’s of Headingley.

Call me a realist, but it’s obvious that either demand needs to drop or supply needs to rise to stop this trend getting worse for the generations to come.  Don’t get me wrong, I admire Downing Street’s plans to build 200,000 starter homes which will be offered to first time buyers under 40 with a minimum 20% discount price.  However, the building of starter homes on current building sites, where new homes builders already have to build a certain number of affordable ‘starter’ homes at the moment under a different scheme, does not increase the stock of new ‘starter’ homes, it simply replaces one affordable scheme with another.

One option that could resolve the housing crisis is if the Government literally looked closer to home, concentrating on matching households with the appropriate sized home.

In Headingley, 9,799 households have one spare bedroom and of these, 4,494 have two or more spare bedrooms.

This compares to 957 households in Headingley that are overcrowded (i.e. there are more people than bedrooms in the property).

Looking specifically at the homeowners of Headingley, 1,989 owner occupied Headingley houses have one spare bedroom.  Now having a spare bedroom is not considered a luxury.  However, in addition to those 1,989 households with one spare bedroom, there are on top, a further 2,522 owner occupied Headingley households with two or more spare bedrooms.  

Therefore, I am beginning to see there is the spare capacity in the Headingley housing market.  Principally, I will concentrate on the group that makes up the bulk of this category, the owner occupiers of large properties, in their 60’s and 70’s, where the kids flew the nest back in the 80’s and 90’s.  They call it ‘downsizing’, when you sell a big property, where the extra bedrooms are no longer required, to move into a smaller and, usually, less expensive property.

However, there are many explanations why these individuals do not downsize.   These people have lived in the same house for 30, 40 even 50 years, and as one matures in life, many people do not want to depart from what they see as the family home.  Much time has been invested in making friends in the area and it’s nice to have all those rooms in case every grandchild decided to visit, at the same time, and they brought their friends!  But on a more serious note, more and more people are beginning to downsize earlier, but in my opinion, not at a fast enough rate.  As the years go one, we will have a situation where younger families will be living in smaller and smaller houses, whilst all the large houses with a couple of 70 something empty-nesters rattling around them!  I believe the Government should put more weight behind downsizing, because with the right incentives, many could be encouraged to think again and make the spare rooms available.

.. and it would have to be incentives, as the using the stick (instead of the carrot) would be political suicide for any party, especially the Tory’s.  One option is to allow retired downsizers not to pay stamp duty on the new property, saving them thousands of pounds and another for the planners to work with builders to build not only starter homes for under 40’s, but also have housing built just for retired downsizers ... or is this one step too far in ‘social engineering’?

The fact is not enough properties are being built in Headingley, and with population rising at a faster rate, something needs to be done.  However, I believe the Headingley population (and in fact the whole of the UK) is slowly turning into a more European model of house ownership.  In Europe, most people rent in their 20’s and 30’s, only buying in their 40’s and 50’s, when they inherit money from the sale of their late parent’s property.   That works particularly well in Germany and I can’t see why it can’t work here.  In the meantime, there is an opportunity in the coming 20 years for people to supplement their pension by buying smaller properties to rent out, as that is where the demand will be in the next few decades in Headingley.  For even more thoughts on the Headingley Property Market just give my other articles a read!

Monday, 11 April 2016

Headingley House Price Monopoly: How do Prices vary?

Well as the nights draw in, if there is nothing on the telly, the significant other and myself like to play the board game Monopoly. The buying and renting of property, it’s like a busman’s holiday for me! 

Interestingly, the game was originally invented at the turn of the 20th Century (in 1903) and the game was initially called ‘The Landlord’s Game’!  Anyway, after a few years in the wilderness, the current owners of the game renamed it in 1935 and so began Monopoly as we know it today.

So whether you are a homeowner or landlord in Headingley, what would a Monopoly board look like today in the suburb? Property prices over the last 80 years have certainly increased beyond all recognition, so looking at the original board, I have substituted some of the original streets with the most expensive and least expensive locations in Headingley today.

Initially, I have focused on the LS6 postcode only, looking at the Brown Squares on the board, the ‘new’ Old Kent Road in Headingley today would be Holborn Street, with an average value £88,100 (per property) and Whitechapel Road would be Woodbridge Vale, which would be worth £91,000. What about the posh dark blue squares of Park Lane and Mayfair? Again, looking at LS6, Park Lane would be Stretton Avenue at £420,648 and Mayfair would be Moorland Road at £542,800. However, look a little further afield from the LS6 postcode, and such roads as Park Lane in Roundhay would claim the Mayfair card at £629,250! Also, I can’t forget the train stations (my favourite squares), and over the last 12 months, the average price that property within a quarter mile of the station sold for was £127,300.

So that got me thinking what you would have had to have paid for a property in Headingley back in 1935, when the game originally came out?

· The average Headingley detached house today is worth £345,700 would have set you back 625 Pounds 9 shillings and 6 old pence.

· The average Headingley semi detached house today is worth £253,800 would have set you back 459 Pounds and 4 shillings.

· The average Headingley terraced / town house today is worth £239,500 would have set you back 433 Pounds 6 shillings and 6 old pence.

· The average Headingley apartment today is worth £159,000 would have set you back 287 Pounds 13 shillings and 7 old pence.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this bit of fun, but underlying all this is one important fact. Property investing is a long game, which has seen impressive rises over the last 80 years. In my previous articles I have talked about what is happening on a month by month or year by year basis and if you are going to invest in the Headingley property market, you should consider the Headingley property you buy a medium to long term investment, because Buy to let is pretty much what it sounds like – you buy a property in order to rent it out to tenants.

As I reminded a soon to be first time landlord from Headingley Terrace the other week, Buy to let in Headingley (as in other parts of the country) is very different from owning your own home. When you become a landlord, you are in essence running a small business – one with important legal responsibilities. On that note, I want to remind landlords of the recent and future changes in legislation when it comes to buy to let. This year, rules have changed about tenant deposits, carbon monoxide detectors and early in the New Year, landlords will have responsibilities to do immigration checks on all their tenants. Failure to adhere to them will mean a minimum of heavy fines in the thousands or in some cases, prison ... it’s a mine field!  That’s why I write the Headingley & Burley Property Blog, where it has an extensive library of articles like this one, where I talk about what is happening in the Headingley & Burley property market, what to buy (and sometimes not) in these areas and everything else that is important to know as a Headingley & Burley landlord. 

Monday, 4 April 2016

House in Burley with fantastic potential for 12% return

This fantastic 2 bed house on Woodside Place in Burley is on with Manning Stainton for a great low price of £95,000. It's positioned in a part of Burley that it much sought after for professionals with it's proximity to Kirkstall Road which has great links into the city centre.

From the looks of things, the place does need modernising. It will need a new kitchen, flooring, decorating and new furniture but with such a low asking price you'd still be making a good return on your investment.

What's more is that this property definitely has the potential to be made into a three bed. It currently has a very large living room in the basement that could easily be converted to a spacious third bedroom. You would then be able to utilise what is currently a large dining room next to the kitchen as the living room and you still wouldn't be compromising on space.

Houses providing this much space along with 3 large bedrooms in this area can easily achieve £1,050pcm. Even if you paid the asking price of £95,000 and spend around £10k doing up the place, you'd still be looking at a fantastic return of 12%.

With all of this potential I can guarantee it won't be on the market for long!

Friday, 25 March 2016

Private Renting in Burley increases by 251.7% in 20 years

You find me in a reflective mood today as I want to talk about the future of investing in property in Burley. The truth is that we have got complacent, with many people having mistaken the ever rising Burley (and in fact the whole of the UK) property market since the 1960’s as the eternal gift that kept giving as property prices constantly rose and doubled every five to seven years.

The days of making money from property as easy
as falling off a log, like taking candy from a baby are sadly over

Whilst George Osborne has decided now is the time to milk the ‘Golden Cow’ of UK’s private landlords, with changes in taxation for buy to let property, many pundits are predicting the end of buy to let as we know it. However, it is still possible to make a reasonable, profitable and safe return on property with these changes. You see, I have always seen investing in the Burley buy to let market (as I would anywhere in the UK), as I might see mother nature, creating some truly wonderful stunning warm weather but at the same time, she will bite, creating catastrophic situations such as snowstorms and hurricanes.  You need to study the market, take advice and opinions from many people and then decide what the proverbial property weather will be … remember, tenants will always want a roof over their head and I don’t see the Government building the millions of houses required to house them.

Nobody knows the future, and yes people can predict but I wouldn’t be afraid of this change... because as a famous French proverb says, (I told you I was a reflective mood today), ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’.  I mean, no one could have predicted how the property market has changed in Burley over the last couple of decades? Looking specifically at the Leeds West Parliamentary Constituency, twenty years ago, 19,618 households (meaning 52.86% of property) was owned and only 1,853 households were privately rented (meaning 4.99% of property was rented out by private landlords). Roll the clocks on twenty years and the change has been seismic …. Now only 21,185 of properties in the Constituency are home-owners (a drop to only 51.48% being owner occupied) and the jump in private renting has been out of this world, as 7,223 properties are now privately rented proportionally 17.55%). (NB Neighbouring Constituencies show similar changes as well)

Who would have predicted in 1995 the private rental sector in
Burley would have grown by 251.7% in the proceeding 20 years?

Also, if you had asked someone in 1995 to predict what would happen to property values over the proceeding 20 years (ie between 1995 and 2015), they might have predicted similar growth to the growth experienced over the previous 20 years (ie between 1975 and 1995), which was a very impressive 351.55%. Yes, property values in Burley have increased over the last 20 years (between 1995 and 2015), but by a more modest 133.99% (and most of that can be attributed to house price growth between 2000 and 2006.)

The property market is constantly changing and buy to let for too long has been heavily dependent solely on house price growth, where yield has been almost forgotten.  I see the changes in tax and landlord and tenant law in a different perspective to the doom-mongers and see it as bringing many opportunities. You might need to change your buy to let benchmarks, your approach to financing or even consider places other than Burley in which to invest your money, but this will shine a light on investing in properties with healthier yields and create more realistic long term buy to let opportunities, instead of short term growth bets and wagers.

The advice I give to my landlords, and you my blog reading friends is this; these changes will make some landlords panic, meaning competition for decent Burley buy to let bargains will reduce as fear of change kicks in and amateur investors flee the market. These opportunities will provide a more stable platform for knowledgeable and wise Burley buy to let landlords to thrive in. 

Friday, 4 March 2016

Fewer people are moving house in Headingley

Well the dust has settled and the General Election seems a distant memory, we can get back to a more normal property market, or that is what the London based ‘Fleet Street’ journalists would lead you to believe.  You see I have been talking to many fellow property professionals in Headingley (solicitors, conveyancers and one the best sources of info – the chap who puts all the estate agent and letting boards up in Headingley, and all of them, every last one of them told me they didn’t see any change over April in business, compared to any other month on the lead up to the Election itself.

I am now of the opinion that maybe in the upmarket areas of Mayfair and Chelsea, the market went into spasm with the prospect of a Labour/SNP pact with their Mansion Tax for properties over £2,000,000, but in Headingley and the surrounding villages, there has only been one property sold above £2,000,000 mark in the last 7 years.   

In a nutshell, the General Election in Headingley didn’t really have any impact on people’s confidence to buy property.  As I write this article, of 147 properties that have come on to the market in Headingley since the 2nd of April, 60 of them have a buyer and are sold subject to contract, that’s nearly one in three (40.82% to be precise).

I think that things are starting to change in the way people in Headingley (in fact the whole of the country as I talk to other agents around the UK) buy and sell property.  Back in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, the norm was to buy a terraced house as soon as you left home and do it up.  Meanwhile, property prices had gone up, so you traded up to a 2 bed semi, then a 3 bed semi and repeated the process, until you found yourself in a large 4 bed detached house with a large mortgage. 

Looking into this a little deeper like I have said in previous articles Headingley people’s attitude to homeownership itself has changed over the last ten years.  The pressure for youngsters to buy when young has gone as renting, not buying, is considered the norm for 20 something’s. This isn’t just a Headingley thing, but, a national thing, as I have noticed that people buy property by trading up (or down) because they need to, not because ‘it’s what people do’.  This does means there are a lot less properties on the market compared to the last decade.

A by-product of less people moving is less people selling their property. My research shows there are a lot fewer properties each month selling in Headingley (Pudsey) compared to the last decade.  For example, in February 2015, only 35 properties were sold in Headingley (Pudsey). Compare this to February 2002, and 45 properties sold and the same month in 2004, 69 properties.  I repeated the exercise on different sets of years, (comparing the same month to allow for seasonal variations) and the results were identical if not greater.  So what does this all mean?  Demand for Headingley property isn’t flying away, but with fewer properties for sale, it means property prices are proving reasonably stable too. 

Stable, consistent and steady growth of property values in Headingley, year on year, without the massive peaks and troughs we saw in the late 1980’s and mid/late2000’s might just be the thing that the Headingley property market needs in the long term.

Modern 2 bed apartment in Burley with nearly 9% return

This attractive and modern 2 bed flat located in Burley Wood Court is in a prime location for professionals. Located on Kirkstall Road it's just set back off the main road with a bus stop straight outside making it ideal for commuters with Leeds City Centre less than 10 minutes away. It's also just a stones throw away from Cardigan Fields which is home to a cinema complex, gym, bowling alley & bars and restaurants so location wise this property has fantastic appeal and would easily rent out.

It's currently only being rented out as a 1 bed but as the ad correctly states, if the living room was utilised as a second bedroom you'd create a spacious second bedroom so you could easily achieve a monthly rent of £750pcm without the hassle of having to knock down walls etc. The current kitchen and dining room could easily be used as an open plan living room and kitchen and it still not lose any of it's appeal. 

The rest of the property doesn't need any work doing to it as it's already been finished to a great standard. 

If you were able to buy the property for around £105,000 you would be able to achieve a solid return of nearly 9%.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Headingley Buy To let – Freehold House or Leasehold Flat?

Well my Headingley Property Blog reading friends, as seems to be all the rage with Jeremy Corben asking the PM questions emailed in to him at Prime Minster Question Times, I too wish to answer a question emailed into me from a potential Headingley landlord last week. Nice chap, lives near Hyde Park, and it turns out, after speaking to him, he works in IT, has a spare bit of cash (now the kids have flown the nest) and wanted to buy his first buy to let property.

His main question was ... Do I buy a freehold house or a leasehold flat in Headingley?

Most people will say freehold every time, because you own the land. However, it’s not as simple as that (it never would be would it!). The definitive answer though is to research what Headingley tenants want in the area of Headingley they want! The tenant is ultimately your customer, and, if they don't want to rent what you decide is best to buy, then you are not going to have a successful BTL investment. So starting with the tenant in mind and working backwards from there, you won’t go far wrong. In a nutshell, find the demand before you think about creating the supply.

Leasehold flats and apartments in Headingley are excellent in some respects as they offer the landlord certain advantages, including the fact a flat can be initially cheaper to buy. Yields can be quite good, offering better cash flow. The building will already be insured and yes there is a service charge, but it’s still for a service at the end of the day and that cost is spread between many others (i.e. when your freehold house roof goes, its falls 100% on your shoulders) and one of my favourites is that there is often no garden to maintain or blown down fences to replace!

However, some Headingley leasehold flats can suffer from poor capital growth. Some leasehold properties have no cap on the level of the service charge and it may get out of control. The length of the lease will significantly affect value if not renewed before it gets too short. Thankfully there’s not many, but some Headingley apartments/flats have burdensome clauses. Finally, with leases, there can be sub-letting issues – which means you can’t let them out.

So what do the numbers look like? Well since 2003, the average freehold property in Headingley (detached, semis and terraced) has risen from £158,849 to £238,231, a rise of 50% whilst the average Headingley leasehold property (flats and apartments) has dropped in value from £135,407 to £122,700, a decrease of 9%. 

I was really interested to note that of the 53,599 rental properties in the Leeds City Council area that the Office of National Statistics believe are either let privately or through a letting agency, 23,934 of them (or 44.7%) are apartments. However, there are only 68,171 apartments in the whole council area (be they owned, council rented or privately rented), which represents 21.3% of the whole housing stock in the area. This really intrigued me that, quite obviously, there is a high proportion of Headingley’s leasehold apartments/flats rented to tenants compared to detached, semi’s or terraced. Fascinating don’t you think?

Every Headingley apartment block, every terraced house or semi is different. Like I said at the start, the definitive answer though is to research what Headingley tenants want in the area of Headingley they want. Demand for town centre apartments, near the nightlife and transport links can be popular and can offer the Headingley landlord very good yields with minimal voids. However, Headingley terraced houses and semis, whilst not always offering the best yields (although sometimes they can), they do offer the Headingley landlord decent capital growth.

My advice to the prospective landlord as it is to you is do your homework. What many Headingley landlords do, irrespective of whether you are a landlord of ours, a landlord with another agent or a DIY landlord, if you see any property in Headingley that catches your eye as a potential buy to let property, be it a terraced house, semi or flat ... email me and I will email you back with my thoughts (although I will tell you what you need to hear .. not want to hear!)

Friday, 19 February 2016

The Burley Property Market and £1,300,000,000,000,000,000 in loose change

The 5th of March 2009 was the date Mervyn King, the then Bank of England Governor, slashed UK interest rates to the unparalleled figure of 0.5%. In just under five months, starting on 8th October 2008, the rate had come down from 4.5% to that low figure, all in an attempt to ensure the British economy survived the worldwide credit crunch. Now nobody expected that, over seven years later, rates would still be at that low level.

In the summer, people were predicting a rise in the New Year, yet now, some forecast it may remain the same for years to come the due to the issues in China. Now, I am not some City Whiz kid with a hotline to Mr Carney at Threadneedle Street, but merely a humble letting agent from Burley, so I can not profess to know what will happen to interest rates. However, what I do know, speaking to my Burley friends and Burley landlords is that these low interest rates have hit savers really hard.

If you added up everyone’s bank and building society savings in the UK, they would add up to £1,300,000,000,000,000,000 (that’s £1.3 trillion), most of which is earning a pittance in interest.  That is why more and more 40 and 50 year old Burley landlords have been investing some of that cash into Burley bricks and mortar, as they search for a low risk investment opportunity.

Buying a Burley buy to let property isn’t risk free, but there are certainly things you can do to mitigate and lower one’s exposure to risk. You see by buying a rental property, it potentially offers an enigmatically decent proposition in terms of being able to obtain attractive returns that beat inflation and savings accounts, yet without taking the levels of risk associated with stock markets.

The UK residential property market has long been the safest form of collateral for lenders of all varieties. Against a backdrop of a greatly changing economic environment, Burley house prices have been extraordinarily robust, increasing by over 1413.7% between 1974 and today. Some will say there have been significant property price falls, namely in 1975, 1988 and 2008, yet each time after this has been followed by an upturn in property values. For the record, the stock markets in the same time frame only rose by 432.5%!

... and that is the best thing about buy to let property. Unlike the stock market, with its unfathomable equities, shares and bonds, that nobody really understands (as they are controlled by some faceless whizzkid in Canary Wharf!) with a buy to let property, landlords can take control and understand their investment .. .in fact you can touch and feel the bricks and mortar investment...  but before you go out and buy any old Burley property, be are that plenty of landlords still get it wrong. You have to be aware of your legal responsibilities when it comes to tenant safety, tenants deposits, energy certificates and now landlords have the added responsibility of checking the immigration status of prospective tenants. Get it wrong and big fines and even prison is an option – but that’s why many agents use a letting agent to manage their property for them.

Next, you have to buy the right property at the right price. Recently I have seen some really heart breaking situations in Burley and the immediate area, of people paying way too much for a property, only to lose out when they came to sell. One example that comes to mind is that of a property owner in one of those apartments in the quiet, modern Abbots Mews complex, close to colleges and universities and with plenty of local amenities within walking distance ... a decent two bed apartment, 69 sq metres inside (742 sq ft in old money) sold in November 2007 for £153,500. In the summer, it only obtained £136,000, a drop of 11.4% or 1.58% a year - a very disappointing result.

I cannot stress enough the importance of doing your homework. One source of information and advice is this blog where I have similar articles to this about the Burley property market and what I consider to be the best buy to let deals around at any one time in the suburb, irrespective of which agent it is on the market with.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Fantastic terraced house in Burley with potential 12.6% yield

This 5 bed house on Knowle Terrace in Burley is an ideal property for a landlord to looking to add value and make a great investment. It's situated just next to the Stanmore's giving really easy access to both Headingley and just off Burley Road which is perfect for either students or professionals. 

From a glance at the floorplan it does seem to suffer from having one too many bedrooms squeezed in to it. Whilst trying to maximise the rent with getting in as many tenants as possible is understandable, from my experience what it ends up doing is putting potential tenants off. Very few these days are willing to take the smaller room even with the seemingly enticing option of a cheaper rent. 

My advise would be to spend some money on utilising the space better and making it more desirable thus easier to rent. I would do this by using the current small bedroom on the first floor and creating an en-suite for the larger bedroom on that floor. There's already a bathroom on the top floor so by just moving the door you can make that top floor bedroom en-suite also. Down in the basement, I would create a jack-and-jill bathroom which the two bedrooms down there could share. 

By creating a house with more even sized bedrooms and finishing it off to a high spec you're likely to achieve an annual rent of £17,056 which if you're overall spend for the property and the work came to around £135,000 you'd be looking at a cracking return of nearly 13%!

Friday, 29 January 2016

Headingley vs Bradford – Clash of the Property Market Titans

Many landlords have been asking me my thoughts on the Headingley property market recently, and in particular, what is happening to property values. My calculations show property values in Headingley quite interestingly grew in the month of September by 0.1%. When one looks at the annual growth, Headingley values are 3.8% higher (when comparing Sept 14 to Sept 15).  However, there are signs that the fundamental growth of property values in Headingley has now peaked, despite those average property values being below levels recorded in 2007 (just before the 2008 crash).

Even though prices are higher this month, this impressive rise of Headingley property values masks the underlying truth in what is really happening to local property values in the Suburb. Throughout 2015, property values have been yo-yo like on a month by month basis, being quite volatile in nature.  For example,

 ·          September 2015                   0.1% rise
·         August 2015                        1.0% rise
·         July 2015                             1.3% rise
·         June 2015                            0.9% rise
·         May 2015                            0.6% rise
·         April 2015                           0.1% rise
  ·         March 2015                         0.2% drop

This is in part due to seasonal factors, as well as mortgage approvals increasing over June and July and then falling by over 15% in August, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

The outlook for the Headingley property market remains positive against the foundations of low mortgage rates and growing consumer confidence. However, I do have to question the recent CML mortgage data and whether that raises issues over whether the rate of growth since the Tory’s were re-elected in the early summer can continue? However, on a positive note, Headingley property values are still running ahead of salaries and average property values are 9.2% below the levels recorded in 2007.

Talking to fellow property professionals in the suburb, demand for property has been showing signs of moderating in the final few months of 2015. You see, it is really important not to read too much into one month’s (September’s) headline figures.

Readers might be interested to note that before the 2008 property crash, all the UK region’s housing markets tended to move up and down in tandem like the Headingley Synchronised Swimming team at the Leeds Beckett University Swimming Pool!  Since then though, the Greater London property market took off like a rocket in 2009/10, whilst the rest of the UK only really started to grow in 2012/13, and even then that growth was a lot more modest than the Capital’s.  Looking closer to home, it can even be different in neighbouring towns, areas and cities, so whilst Headingley property values are 3.8% higher than a year ago (as mentioned above), Bradford property values are 1.2% lower than a year ago.

I cannot stress enough the importance of doing your homework.  One source of information and advice is this property blog where I consider the best buy to let deals around at any one time in the suburb, irrespective of which agent it is on the market with so you're always able to get an unbiased opinion and viewpoint.