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UK tax to target foreign buyers

Property Here - Friday, December 06, 2013

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Foreign owners of property in the United Kingdom will now be forced to pay capital gains tax, Finance Minister George Osborne announced in London on Thursday.

The much-predicted new tax will come into effect from April 2015.

Under current U.K. tax laws only second home owners who are U.K. residents pay the tax, which is typically 28 percent, on any rise in value when they sell a property.

Osborne said the current system was "not right", and comes at a time when there are fears that overseas buyers have been driving up prices throughout the country, but especially in London.

He said: "Britain is an open country that welcomes investment from all over the world, including investment in our residential property.

"But it's not right that those who live in this country pay capital gains tax when they sell a home that is not their primary residence - while those who don't live here do not."

UK Prime London developers face stern test

Property Here - Monday, November 25, 2013

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With the luxury market cooling, developers of prime London homes which have been the UK’s best-performing property segment since 2009 are now faced with the risk of being squeezed by skyrocketing building costs and land prices, media reports said. 

Mark Farmer, Head of Residential at consulting firm EC Harris, said: “The biggest risk for developers is overpaying for a site based on the assumption that sales values in two or three years’ time” will be increasing.

“That's a very dangerous game to play. More importantly, they need to be factoring in construction-price inflation.”

Prices of residential land in prime London areas surged by 14 percent in the year to September as investors bet on the boom to continue, noted Knight Frank LLP. 

However, indications of a slowdown are beginning to emerge as the rising pound has made UK properties more expensive to foreign investors. Even billionaires are beginning to have second thoughts given the high asking prices. 

Notably, values of prime London homes climbed 6.8 percent in the year to October, or the slowest increase recorded over the last four years.


Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg

UK Purple house for sale in Middlesex

Property Here - Monday, November 18, 2013

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Butt ugly purple house for sale

Matching: Everything from the carpet, walls and window curtains are a shade of lilac. Rightmove.

THIS all-encompassing tribute to purple is on the market for $670,000 and attracting lots of initial interest with potential buyers. Perhaps because the property in Middlesex, England, looks like a typical family home - quiet and unimposing - from the outside.

But looks can deceive, the current owner has decorated every room in purple. Even the bathroom and kitchen didn't escape the violet theme, the Daily Mail reports.

Looks can deceive: The plain exterior gives no clue of the more extravagant decor inside. Rightmove.

Looks can deceive: The plain exterior gives no clue of the more extravagant decor inside. Rightmove.

The discreet exterior of the house gives no clue as to what awaits inside. The only purple insight are a few lilac flowers planted in pots by the door.

Rightmove, which has advertised the bizarre house on its website, describes the pad as having 'a family-inspired design'.

But once inside ... there is no mistaking the owner's favourite colour. Rightmove.

But once inside ... there is no mistaking the owner’s favourite colour. Rightmove.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Rightmove doesn't mention the current owner's unique decor.

But once potential buyers scroll through the image gallery it becomes pretty clear.

It also says the home in Hillingdon, Middlesex, is 'maintained to a high standard'.

Fifty shades of purple: The white kitchen unit is offset by the purple walls and carpet. Rightmove.

Fifty shades of purple: The white kitchen unit is offset by the purple walls and carpet. Rightmove.

Sweet dreams: One of the four bedrooms in the property. Rightmove.

Sweet dreams: One of the four bedrooms in the property. Rightmove.

Purple extravaganza: Even the bathroom has been given the violet treatment. Rightmove.

Purple extravaganza: Even the bathroom has been given the violet treatment. Rightmove.

UK Croydon: London's Latest Investment Hotspot

Property Here - Thursday, October 24, 2013

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Located just 13 minutes from London Bridge, the once rejected South London area of Croydon is entering a new era and rapidly becoming one of the UK capital’s most sought-after locations for property buyers.

A major regeneration plan is set to improve transport links, improve public spaces and transform Croydon into a retail and commercial hub capable of challenging its more established Zone 1 and 2 neighbours. Commenting on Croydon’s investment prospects, Charles Townsend, Business Development Manager at UK developer Sloane International, said: “High demand for Zone 1 and 2 properties has meant that many developments in central London are simply unaffordable for the average investor. It is clear that London workers have to look further afield for affordable rental accommodation and therefore we believe that high growth areas outside these zones, such as Croydon, offer investors higher potential returns at a more realistic price point.”
The regeneration plan was announced last year with Mayor Boris Johnson confirming a £1bn investment to transform the area’s economy and drive employment. It recently was enhanced further with Hammerson and Westfields’s decision to enter a 50/50 £1bn partnership to build Europe’s largest shopping centre in Croydon town centre (Figure 1). Overall, there is over £3.5bn of commercial investment underway or in the pipeline. 

Croydon has long been known as an employment centre, with 24 of the UK’s largest companies choosing to locate their head offices in the local area. More than 50,000 people travel to work there each day and with the white-collar workforce growing and Westfield expected to attract big spenders, developers have responded by creating a number of swanky aspirational apartments. 

One such development is Sloane International’s The Edridge. Located in the heart of the regeneration area, the mixed-use development will provide Croydon town centre with luxury accommodation and world-class facilities such as a 24 hour concierge, residents-only gym and landscaped roof gardens. 

Croydon’s close proximity to central London has also led to it becoming a popular commuter hotspot with many London-based professionals now choosing to rent or buy there. A trip from Croydon to London Victoria station takes under 20 minutes, which is no longer than many trips within the Zone 1 and 2 catchment areas. The extension of the Overground line to West Croydon allows for easy access around the whole perimeter of London too. 

As far as house prices are concerned, Croydon is already showing a lot of potential. According to the February edition of the Rightmove House Price Index, it is the fifth best-performing borough in London, with house prices rising by 7.5 percent in February this year compared to the same period last year. But unlike central London, prices are still accessible, making it the perfect place to invest now given the predicted rise in property prices.

UK London interest remains strong

Property Here - Thursday, August 29, 2013

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London property investor interest from Southeast Asia shows no signs of stopping according to a central London real estate agency that recently held a series of road shows in the region.

Attendance at Benham and Reeves Residential Lettings' latest series of property investment seminars in Southeast Asia surpassed expectations with more than 150 investors attending the events in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong.

The central London lettings agency teamed up with companies including Citibank and OCBC Bank in Singapore to present the seminars highlighting the latest developments in the London residential property market. Private appointments were also held over an eight-day road show.

"This has been our busiest trip to date, showing that demand from Southeast Asian investors for London residential property shows no signs of slowing down,” said Anita Mehra (pictured), Managing Director of central London's largest, independent lettings agency. 

“Even the recent news that Singapore's central bank has announced plans to impose restrictions on loans taken out by Singaporeans for their investments, seems to have had little impact so far on investors' appetite for investing in London rental property.” 

“Of course, investment conditions in London remain fairly settled and investors continue to be drawn by the UK’s economic stability, transparent legal system and liberal tax system.”  

“Some of the investors we meet are wealthy individuals who are simply looking for a safe haven for their wealth and London property meets their investment criteria, providing good, long-term capital growth. These investors tend to stick to prime central London - it has a unique cachet, with beautiful properties and a real kudos that few other international cities can match.”  

She added that another reason why Malaysian investors choose central London properties is that many Malaysian banks will only lend on properties in Zones 1 and 2.  

“Many investors that are able to pay cash are also looking for a good rental yield as well and are now looking at new developments on the fringes of the city and central London where purchase prices are lower yet rental demand is just as high, providing them with better rental yields - typically around five percent,” continued Anita.

“At the moment, we’re finding investment properties in East London and Docklands are attracting a lot of interest from Southeast Asian investors. Developments such as New Festival Quarter on the borders of Bow, Marine Wharf & Number 1 The Plaza in Greenwich, Avant Garde in Shoreditch and Altitude in Aldgate (the latter two are in Zone 1 so meet the Malaysian banks’ lending criteria). The Triton Building in Kings Cross, NW1, also in Zone 1, is another popular development,” she said.

“It seems that London’s favourable economic conditions - strong rental demand and healthy rental yields coupled with good long-term capital growth continue to attract overseas investors. With most commentators predicting a growing shortage of housing in London over the next few years, we don't expect this situation to change significantly.”


Andrew Batt, International Group Editor of PropertyGuru Group, wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories email andrew@propertyguru.com.sg

UK Prime London home prices dip in June

Property Here - Monday, August 12, 2013

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Seven of London's eight priciest districts saw a decline in housing prices during the month of June as the number of homes bought with cash also fell, media reports said. 

Data from property consultancy Acadametrics revealed that the largest fall was seen in London's financial district at 2.5 percent, followed by the City of Westminster where prices slipped 2.4 percent from the previous month.

“There would appear to be a slackening in the pace of change in the higher-priced areas of London,” noted Acadametrics Chairman Peter Williams. “A fall of prices in central London could bring about a decline in the market’s expectations of the future movement of prices for the remainder of the country.”

Demand for luxury homes in the UK capital has been driven by a weakened pound and overseas investors. In the 12 months through June, prices in the City and Westminster areas soared 68.4 percent and 18.1 percent respectively, while prices in all of London's 33 boroughs climbed 7.1 percent.

However, central London has seen prices increase “to what can only be described as 'eye watering' levels”, said Williams.

On the other hand, Kensington & Chelsea – the city's most-expensive borough – was the only district that posted an increase of 2.7 percent in June to average £1.53 million (S$2.99 million).

Nikki De Guzman
, Junior Journalist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this or other stories email nikki@allproperty.com.sg

UK 英国伦敦停车位售价30万英镑 相当于两套房子

Property Here - Friday, August 09, 2013

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  位于英国首都伦敦市中心海德公园(Hyde Park)附近海德公园花园(Hyde Park Gardens)的一个停车位上市出售,标价为30万英镑(约合285万元人民币)。






  此外,伦敦以外的其它英国城市的停车位价格也在看涨。去年英国南部康沃尔郡的着名小镇圣艾夫斯(St.Ives, Cornwall)的三个停车位加在一起也卖到了16万英镑(约合152万元人民币)。

UK London underground subway station Brompton Road, shut since 1934, for sale

Property Here - Friday, August 09, 2013

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Brompton Road London Subway Station Sale

London's Brompton Road underground station, which closed in the 1930's and was used it as an anti-aircraft control point during the second world war, is for sale for $34 million. Picture:AP Source: AP

THE property's location can't be bettered, but the view from some of the rooms leaves a bit to be desired.

Buyers seeking a base in one of London's wealthiest neighbourhoods have the chance to purchase an unusual piece of property: a disused London subway station that housed the city's anti-aircraft defences during World War II.

Brompton Road station is being sold by the UK's Ministry of Defence, which bought the building after it was closed to passengers in the 1930s.

The ministry, which is selling several properties and laying off thousands of soldiers in a cost-cutting drive, says the building has been declared "surplus to requirements'' and will be put on sale next month.

It is expected to fetch about 20 million pounds ($34 million). That buys 2600 square meters of aboveground and underground space.

The site includes a station building covered in the distinctive oxblood-colored tiles of London Underground's Piccadilly Line. The ministry said the interior includes "a drill hall, garages, offices and mess,'' as well as elevator shafts and underground passages - though not the subway tunnels, which remain in use and belong to London's transit operator.

The station is near to the historic Brompton Oratory church and the ritzy Harrods department store. It opened in 1906 but turned out to be too close to other stations to attract many passengers, and was closed in 1934.

In 1936 it was bought by the government and became an army anti-aircraft headquarters, protecting London from German bombers during the Blitz.

The building is still used by the military, housing air and naval units from the University of London and an Air Training Corps squadron.

Simon Hodson of real estate agents Jones Lang LaSalle said that the "prime central London site provides an excellent redevelopment opportunity.''

A firm called the Old London Underground Company has expressed an interest in buying the station and turning it into a restaurant and entertainment venue.

Brompton Road is one of several abandoned subway stations in London. Many are derelict, although Aldwych station has been preserved as a location for filming period dramas, and the former Hyde Park Corner station building was a restaurant and jazz club until it closed in 2010.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/realestate/news/london-underground-subway-station-brompton-road-shut-since-1934-for-sale/story-fncq3gat-1226693905163#ixzz2bq6kfWqq

UK London home prices may rise 4% in 2014

Property Here - Tuesday, August 06, 2013

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As concerns fade over new taxes for the wealthy and on foreign buyers, prices of central London homes are expected to rise by four percent next year, up from the previous forecast of two percent, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.

Prices in neighbourhoods like Mayfair, Chelsea and Knightsbridge are expected to rise six percent in 2013, the property consultancy said, revising its November projection of little or zero growth for the year.

The new forecast comes as buyers remain undeterred by the curbs imposed on foreigners or the upcoming mansion tax, said Adam Challis, Head of Residential Research at Jones Lang LaSalle.

UK Finance Minister George Osborne raised the stamp duty on residential properties sold for over £2 million (S$3.9 million) from the previous five percent to seven percent in 2012. The opposition Labour Party has called for additional tax on such homes to offset income tax cuts. 

A mansion tax is also expected to be introduced after the 2015 general election. However, investors may likely view it as an incremental addition to council tax, Challis noted.  

The revised forecasts were also attributed to strong demand for London properties due to a weak pound, the city’s economic recovery, as well as political and economic turmoil in the home countries of some investors. 

At the same time, both Savills and Knight Frank have also raised their forecast to six percent after they projected that home prices in London will see little change this year.

Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories email romesh@allproperty.com.sg

UK Majority of new London homes sold to foreigners

Property Here - Monday, August 05, 2013

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Close to 75 percent of all new residential purchases in central London last year were made by foreign buyers, with over 50 percent coming from Singapore, China, Malaysia and Hong Kong, according to property consultancy Knight Frank.

Most of these homes were sold at overseas exhibitions before they were even advertised to UK buyers, who made up just 27 percent of the area's new buyers.

The surge in overseas buying has highlighted the growing use of off-plan sales by developers, whereby they sell sites before the actual construction process to fund a new project. An established practice in Asia, off-plan sales rewards buyers with discounts on the completed property.

Meanwhile, local politicians have criticised the rising number of homes sold overseas. Simon Hughes, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, raised concerns that the trend could drive up prices for local buyers and distort the market.

However, developers noted that pre-building commitments by foreign buyers has helped many projects break ground.

“For a lot of developers, if you can’t show that you can pre-sell enough to cover the construction costs, the banks simply won’t finance you. It would be suicide to put £100 million (S$194 million) of your own money into the ground without forward sales,” said Rob Perrins, Chief Executive of Berkeley Homes, the UK’s largest home builder in terms of market value.

Nikki De Guzman
, Junior Journalist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this or other stories email nikki@allproperty.com.sg