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Ownership vs Control

As you will have no doubt read in the wider media there is a degree of  wonderment and maybe even concern that so many of the recent residential property sales in central London have involved a foreigner, mostly as a buyer. This month I want to look at the broader issue of ownership. Does one really need to be the owner to benefit from property?

To frame the conversations let me start out by saying there are four ways to gain economic benefits from property. Two are sensitive to inflation and two are not so easily tied to inflation. All four ways of making money with property are tied to the legal system so there will be differences based on the country's legal framework.

Maybe I should call this depreciation. Before making that argument, let's quickly review what we are talking about.

The value of a property is measured relative to something else. In most situations people talk about a property being worth a specific amount expressed in the local currency. We think of house prices rising or going up if it costs more next year to buy the same house.

What if the value of the house stayed flat or level and the value of the currency is falling? Could it be true that houses do not rise in value? That the equivalent value of Sterling is falling each year so it just takes more of the depreciating currency? Think about it.

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