Industry Insights #9: Robert Jones – Property Investments UK

Robert Jones - Property Investments UK

This time for our industry insights feature, we are talking to the director of Property Investments UK, Robert Jones.

Q1: There is a lot of uncertainty in the housing market at the moment, is 2019 a time to buy, sell, or to wait and see?

Personally, I see property as a long-term plan and as part of that I’m happy to buy in any cycle as long as the fundamentals are sound, there’s many to consider but location and income covers the bases for many investors, and if the property achieves that we’re still happily buying in 2019.

The uncertainty we’re seeing isn’t filtering down to house prices in all parts of the UK, sellers are still buoyant on pricing in the most part, whilst some buyers are hesitant and maybe waiting to see what happens over the next few months.

But in the investment space, we’re seeing more transactions and customer interest than ever as yields, supply of quality properties, financing, value of the pound are all positive indicators for a range of buyers

Q2: With the changes to stamp duty and increased rules and regulations for landlords, is it harder to be a successful property investor than it was 10 years ago?

Certainly, there is more regulation and legislation than ever before, but it is making the investor/landlord market more professional in a host of ways.

Although not everyone is a fan of it, if you look at where many markets are heading in general, and where the property market maybe in 10, 20 or even 50 years’ time, change is needed to guide the market in the right way for the majority I believe.

Housing is such a fundamental need, it’s important to protect it.

It’s creating some barriers to entry and increasing acquisition and holding costs, but, every investor is seeing the same, it’s a level playing field.

Getting better with the numbers and understanding the figures and opportunities is what’s giving investors the edge, rather than a buy and hope approach, which many have done for years and waited, hoped, for capital growth as the way to make a property work, quality of location and income is now front and center for most investors.

Q3: What are the most common mistakes you see people who are new to property investing making?

Not understanding the financials well enough. This is around financing, holding costs, buying and exit costs, even planning budgets that account for a best and worst case scenario. Rather than buying simply on emotion, you need data to be able to make fully informed decisions.

The data is out there but it’s presented across a range of sites and in a format that isn’t very user friendly for most

Q4: Do you have any hot tips for where and when the next property price boom is going to be?

That’s crystal ball type stuff and in most instances there will always be a ‘better’ location in hindsight, an extra 0.1% capital growth or an extra 0.2% yield, but that doesn’t tell the whole picture in isolation.

Quality tenant demand, growing populations, and increasing employment can all help to give better long-term tenant prospects, which provide a host of benefits for both tenants and landlords.

So, location selection looking at yield alone, won’t, I feel, provide the ultimate outcome. We’re focusing on growing cities and larger towns as our priority and we’re looking at a long-time horizon. If your time horizon is 1-2 years your location selection will look different than if your looking at 10+ years.

I also like to focus locally, for many reasons, and areas I like in the North West are Chester, Manchester, Warrington and Bury.

Q5: What’s the one thing the Government could do to make it easier for landlords to help solve the housing crisis?

The issue is multifaceted and there isn’t one magic item that will solve the housing crisis alone.

Planning, financing, housing benefits, housing first for homeless, building processes (and lenders views on these) all need tackling.

If I had to focus on one main area, it’s the supply and that’s driven by planning.

Planning is so overwhelmed in many locations it’s no wonder supply is restricted, staff cut backs and resources have been really reduced so local planning departments just can’t keep up.

Planning at a local level needs more funding.

Planning at a national level needs an overhaul, filtering down to local level in policies. It needs to change from being a reactive process to a proactive process. Local councils should be flush with resources to proactively go out and grow their local area, find sites, encourage the right developments and aim to hit targets without waiting for applications to come in.

Give local councils the ability and resources to thrive and the openness to encourage development rather that stifle it and the supply of the right type, quality and location of housing will be available for each location over the coming years.

Q6: Tell us about what you’re doing at Property Investments UK?

We’re always working hard to create the best possible content in the industry to help property buyers (and sellers). So we’re always on the look out for skilled experts in a variety of niches across the property industry to provide insight in their specialism to help the wider market.

I’m also working on a large tech project to help streamline the whole buying process, from initial search to purchase, which is exciting to launch in the coming months.

Q7: How many investors would you say you have helped since you started the company?

A terrific amount, which is great, to put a number on it is very difficult, last year alone as an example we had 500,000 website visitors.

We also get multiple emails daily asking questions and thanking us for the quality content we put out, including many positive reviews.

Q8: If you could buy any property in the world, which would it be and why?

I love older properties with history, and see us as guardians for that history going forward for future generations. There are plenty of organisations that do fantastic jobs at this, way better than I ever could, landmark trust and national trust are great examples, so I don’t have one stand out property I would wish to own.

I would though like to do our own self build, a mixture of wood and glass in a location that combines, sea views, mountains and woodland, with warm weather, ideally in the UK so we’re close to family and friends. We’re still looking for that perfect location.

Q9: Finally, what should we expect to see from Property Investments UK over the coming months and years?

Lots more content, experts, research, videos, case studies and all things property

Property Investments UK

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