Well here we are again; another year concluded and for many of you with property related business and investments - 2014 will have been a very rewarding year. Many localities have seen at least a 10% increase in average property values, particularly in the southern regions, continuing the upturn trend previously experienced in many parts of London throughout 2012-2013.
Looking back over the last 12 months we have seen increased confidence in property ripple outwards to all UK regions impacting on values for both commercial and residential property. Lenders responded by being less cautious although the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) has certainly put a brake on some buyer activity since the early Summer with 'affordability criteria' being more strictly applied.
However as has been well documented, some regions have as yet only seen a modest recovery in property values and rental returns, primarily due to a decline in 'real' wages and job losses. Seemingly defying gravity, the London 'boom' reached fever point in the Spring with numerous tales of multiple cash bidders vying for quality stock. Locations such as East London's Hackney and Walthamstow experienced rapid growth in values with many experienced traders who regularly attend the large London auctions raising their eyebrows but not their bidding fingers as prices on popular lots went skyward.
As we reported a few months ago, some commercial auctions which were almost empty two years ago, were suddenly full of active bidders. The window of opportunity for the relaxation of planning rules for office to residential conversions via Permitted Development has certainly been a factor in the resurgence of interest in commercial property. We will be examining in more detail what 2015 is likely to offer in the next edition in January but a taster can be viewed in the article on page 16 which looks at Oxford Economics recent residential 5-year growth forecasts through to 2019.
In comparison to the dark days of 2008/9 this upturn has brought optimism but also new challenges as 'deals' become more difficult to source and the 'low hanging fruit' is long gone. Does that mean one should now hibernate until the next market downturn? No, of course not, as Gavin Barry underlines in his latest article on page 24. Elsewhere in this edition we have another enlightening tale on page 20 of two young property investors who have created a solid property portfolio with a strong income basis over the last few years. Once again some really key points stand out for us all to absorb and to possibly adapt into our own investing activities.
The New Year now awaits and with a General Election ahead I am entirely confident of just one thing in respect of property investing; the opportunity to create wealth is always out there... if you seek to discover it!
Have a great Xmas break and I look forward to seeing many of you in 2015 at various property events including some new ones which we at 'Property Investor NewsTM' intend to host next year with details of dates and venue to be revealed in the January edition.