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Five reasons to consider including an HMO property in a portfolio

It’s hard to think of a time when landlords have faced such an uncertain playing field as today.

A raft of regulation and taxation changes have had a significant impact on bottom lines, whilst the market has slowed as we wait and see what the impact of Brexit will be.

Unsurprisingly then, landlords have been looking for alternative ways to increase yields as well as diversify their portfolio to minimise any potential risk.

For many, HMOs have been one such way.

The number of landlords who have gone down this route already speaks for itself: the BVA BDRC’s latest survey shows that one in five landlords now have an HMO property in their portfolio.

Knowing this, it’s highly likely that brokers will be facing an increase in enquiries from landlords considering diversifying into HMOs and wanting to know the considerations to factor in.

Higher yields

The well-publicised advantage of HMOs is that rental yields are often higher than for a typical rental property.

The same BVA BDRC research suggests the average yield for an HMO is one-fifth higher.

For example, a landlord taking in nearly £12,800 in rent each year for an HMO, compared to £10,750 for a standard property.

Before we get carried away, we should remember that costs are also likely to be higher than a standard rental property.

An HMO license can range considerably from under £100 to over £1,000 depending on the property location.

Work may be needed on the property to ensure that it is compliant with regulation.

This could involve ensuring bedrooms are a minimum size, providing the right number and location of bathrooms or even extending the kitchen worktop.

Day to day, the potential higher turnover of tenants and more intensive use also means higher costs in terms of maintenance.

It’s important to do your sums but if costs can be kept reasonably low, yields can still be good.

Rental voids have less impact

Letting each room individually, inevitably involves more work at the start due to vetting each individual tenant when they move in but careful investigation at the start will pay off when it comes to them moving out.

When a tenant moves out of a single let property, there’s a total loss of income but with a multi-let property, the remaining rooms remain tenanted therefore limiting total impact.

Less exposure to arrears

The same ‘eggs in multiple baskets’ logic applies to arrears. Having several sources of income – with tenants paying smaller monthly rents for a room within a property – a landlord is less exposed if a tenant falls behind on their rent.

In the current economic climate, with fears of a downturn post-Brexit and potential job losses being bandied around, this potential benefit might sit well with some landlords.

Tax advantages

One difference between HMOs and single-let properties is the potential to claim income tax relief on qualifying items.

This applies to the costs associated within the communal areas, which are treated as an expense of the rental business.

Normal rental losses are only rolled forward for offset against future rental properties.

However, capital allowances can be offset against non-property income to generate tax rebates, which could add up to a significant amount.

However it’s important not to advise on any tax related questions yourself, always point your clients towards a professional tax adviser.

There is a need for flexible, affordable housing

Keeping costs affordable for your target audience is particularly important as you want to try and attract long term tenants rather than a series of short-term lets.

Renting is popular with students, young professionals, mobile workers and single people so keep this mind.

The private rented sector as a whole has doubled since 2000, and now accounts for one fifth of all homes in Great Britain.

With the rising cost of living, particularly in cities, combined with population growth and a shortage of affordable housing, HMOs or “house shares” could help to fix the problems we face in the housing market.

HMOs offer a far cheaper alternative to renting an entire property by enabling tenants to split household bills, while allowing them the privacy of their own bedroom.

In this shifting market, brokers’ advice is likely to be valued even more by landlords. This area of the market requires brokers to stay one step ahead, always on the lookout for any regulatory changes and trends.

By Adrian Moloney

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Student Property Investments On The Rise In 2017 Due To Strong Yields

Student Property Investment has risen in 2017 due to the strong yields offered in university towns and cities coupled with a weak pound.

New research from Savills’ has revealed that investment in student property will reach £5.3 billion by the end of 2017. This marks a 17 per cent increase in comparison to 2016. The research suggested that Brexit may have added to the appetite for UK student housing after £2.1 billion was transacted in the sector after the referendum in comparison to £1.9 billion earlier in the year.

The growing demand for investing in student housing assets has outgrown the supply of available stock. 25 per cent of the £4.5 billion traded by Savils last year involved forward funding developments, whilst existing stock made up just 69 per cent of trades. This marks the lowest proportion on record.

The Mistoria Group, specialists in high yielding investment property, supported the high growth results, having seen demand for student property in the North West rise 38 per cent year on year. This was fueled by an increase in investment from Turkey, which accounted for 20 per cent of the growth. The UAE accounted for 9 per cent and Hong Kong at 5 per cent.

Managing Director of The Mistoria Group, Mish Liyanage, commented: ‘We have seen a large increase in international investors’ appetite for student accommodation.  They are attracted to the UK because of the relatively low-cost student property on offer and the excellent net yields that range between 12 per cent and 15 per cent in the North West. Investors have a wide choice of accommodation to chose from, such as HMOs to purpose-built accommodation. There is a general shortage of student accommodation across the UK and especially in university cities such as Liverpool and Plymouth. In Liverpool, there are now 21,700 PBSA units, meaning 2.1 students for each unit. With supply of a further 12,400 units either under construction or with planning permission, this ratio just 1.4.’

He concluded: ‘Liverpool is a great university city to invest in. An HMO property with a superior spec can deliver investors an average gross rental yield of 13 per cent, leveraged return on investment of 35 per cent plus, before any charges and voids.  A three bed HMO which houses three students, can be bought from £120,000 upwards in Liverpool.  The return on investment is very attractive too, with 13 per cent (8 per cent cash rental and 5 per cent capital growth). The gross rent on the property will exceed £1,235 pcm, as each room is rented out.’

Source: Residential Landlord