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Election Ahead: How to Navigate Choppy Waters

Adam Lawrence, Property entrepreneur and co-founder of Partners in Property, comments

It’s inevitable at some point this year - if you aren’t already - that you will spend some time in a relatively anxious state thinking about the upcoming election. It takes a hardcore “true believer” to not worry about the Government of the day. Look at the horrors of the Scottish rental market thanks to the influence of Patrick Harvie of the Green Party coalition (sorry, it isn’t a coalition is it, just an “agreement”. Whatever). In many ways, the better result (as has been argued of late) is a solid Labour majority avoiding having to pander to the hard left. The wildcard of Angela Rayner should still remain a concern to many, though, because her true ideology is yet to be revealed in my view. I’d highly recommend those who can stomach it listen to her interview on the most popular pod in the UK - “The rest is politics”. I won’t influence thoughts, but if anyone does listen on the back of reading this, I’d love you to message me your thoughts via Linkedin (Adam G Lawrence). Thanks in advance!

I often get accused of attention deficit disorder in a business sense (or the equivalent) because I spin a lot of plates. My regular Sunday morning output - the Supplement - is considered a full-time job by some.

However, I get it all done by brutally compartmentalising my time, whilst making sure I’m trying to use it as effectively as I can, but also ensuring that I don’t “hurry” people along when its unnecessary to do so. A difficult balance.

It would be too easy to pander to what’s already going on in the marketplace anyway (although Hamptons International’s recently reported 50,004 new buy to let company incorporations in 2023 tells us that not everyone is getting out of the game!) - and advise selling before the market is “ruined” by Labour. A more balanced viewpoint might well be that the glory days have already been ended by this incumbent Government and its collective efforts since 2015 to smash the Private Rented Sector to pieces. That may be over dramatic though and a realistic take instead is that returns take a different tack these days, and that we shouldn’t forget what makes the money.

Let me give you an example. We stack our deals differently these days - and in fact, we stack them in a way that we always should have done, now we do it this way. We look at the first 10 years of the life of the asset, and likely cashflows (in and out). We take a view on capital growth, disposal costs, and capital outgoings based on the fact the roof, or the windows, or whatever - might not last 10 years. We make better decisions. Time will tell if they are more accurate, but I’d be very disappointed if they aren’t. 

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