Never sell - just buy property and hold it for the long-term and let inflation work its magic over time. This is the investing mantra of many successful residential landlords, but it’s a core strategy being questioned by some, given the UK government’s recent anti-landlord stance. There is no doubt that for individual landlords with rental properties held in their own name, the personal tax situation is now more complex than it was around three years ago and as such, some have been turning towards the alternative of property development.
Developing property out of the ground or doing conversions to sell on to owner-occupiers for a profit is a proven formula for success, if done correctly. Timing sales into a rising market in locations where supply is low and demand high, has seen many people create wealth over decades. And yet it can be a double edged sword, because if the market unexpectedly turns down it can leave a developer very exposed, as some around London have been discovering in the last two years.
In sharp contrast to its stance against private landlords, the government has been favouring housebuilders of late with Help to Buy policies that have certainly helped many into home ownership. However, with an average property now costing around £480,000 in London, many who have not yet reached the age of 40 have little choice but to rent until a deposit to purchase is accrued.
Bearing all the above in mind, I was interested to find out more about a residential development project in the Headingley district of Leeds, Yorkshire, so I travelled ‘oop north’ to see what was being created. My journey was certainly not wasted as I discovered a quite visionary project being put together by local developer Pickard Properties.
I met with managing director Miles Pickard who explained what they are doing at this project. “Spinning Acres is a Private Rental Sector (PRS) scheme,” he explains, “innovative in its concept to set a standard where long term rental is a lifestyle choice rather than a 'making do' option. It is set in a wooded conservation site in Headingley with a two-acre village green at its heart. Spinning Acres is approximately 20 minutes from the city centre in Leeds and offers a mix of new build and property conversions for every age group for rental to create a new community.”