Investors are increasingly confident in the UK housing market, according to new research from TheMoveChannel.com, the leading independent website for international property. British property dominated activity on the property portal in March 2014, accounting for seven of the site’s 10 most popular listings.
An oil investment was the most popular listing on TheMoveChannel.com last month but where investors have previously turned to alternative products for high returns, March marked a major shift back towards British bricks and mortar.
The second most popular listing was a buy-to-let apartment in Bradford, promising a 9 per cent return per annum thanks to high LTV developer financing and 25% BMV reduction. It attracted only 11 fewer enquiries than the oil opportunity.
Bradford was also home to the fourth most popular listing on TheMoveChannel.com, a student development located one mile from the city's campus and offering a 9 per cent NET yield. Indeed, the student housing sector remains one of the most sought-after on TheMoveChannel.com.
Overall, student accommodation accounted for three of the top 10 listings last month, including the third most popular property: The Cube development in Bolton, which advertised NET yields of approximately 10 per cent for 10 years. On a quarterly level, this student property generated the highest number of leads on TheMoveChannel.com in the first three months of 2014.
Investors also showed a strong conscience last month, with interest climbing in two separate social housing schemes.
Brazil's Minha Casa, Minha Vida has been a consistently popular investment over the past year, driven by strong demand for property and very high returns of up to 20 per cent per annum. A social housing tenant scheme in Cleveland also attracted a large volume of enquiries, with government-paid rents generating returns of 14 per cent per annum.
Both opportunities allowed buyers to help housing markets in areas where need for accommodation is high and benefit from the profits generated.
Investors' interest continues to be largely influenced by the revenue available: social housing schemes and alternative products both offer the highest returns so it is no surprise to see them accounting for multiple listings in the Investment Watch chart.
UK property, though, accounted for the majority of March's activity, as confidence in the country booms. Real estate in Britain made up 7 of the 10 most popular listings, the third month in a row that the UK has attracted such high levels of interest on the site. Buyers are increasingly banking on the strength of the buy-to-let and student property, a sign that positive sentiment has spread through several real estate sectors as well as the residential market. After a period where returns drew buyers' attention to emerging markets outside of the Eurozone, investors are now prioritising economic stability over income.
Ray Withers, Chief Executive of UK investment specialist, Property Frontiers, comments: "The UK market is in a really good place right now if you are an investor. Cheap lending and a continued supply and demand imbalance is driving up rents and prices. Many of our clients (from the UK and abroad) are trying to increase their exposure to UK property opportunities."
Indeed, Withers adds that the company is now placing a higher emphasis on British investments to meet demand: "We are really focusing on the sector at the moment. Our recent Birmingham project saw 200 units sold pre-launch and demand continues. We expect 70% of our investment launches this year to be quality UK BTL opportunities."