A Complete Guide to Property Investment

  • Figures from ONS have shown that house prices in the UK have increased by £31,000 in the past year (2021).
  • Average rental prices are forecasted to increase by 12% from 2020 to 2024.
  • It is estimated that the number of renters in the UK will surpass the number of homeowners by 2039.
  • Interest rates on many buy-to-let mortgages are at a record low, with many lenders providing loans that cover up to 80% of the cost.

This complete guide to property investment will explore the intricacies of the industry, focusing on informing first-time investors about the basic requirements, legislation, and potential setbacks that are common in the property market. To gain an understanding of property investment in the UK, follow BuyAssociation’s guide for strong, knowledgeable and professional advice. Alternatively, contact us today for guidance in securing profitable investment opportunities.

As highly experienced and qualified property investment consultants, we have obtained a wealth of knowledge and information that enables us to accurately advise and guide our community of investors. At BuyAssociation, we have assisted a multitude of investors from different backgrounds with varying levels of experience: first-time buyers, portfolio landlords, and international investors. Each and every client walks a different path and faces unique challenges – no two circumstances are the same. For this reason, our team is equipped with the expertise required to support an abundance of investors, no matter the complexity of the situation. If you are looking to start your own investment journey, we are here to help. 

Property Investment UK: Why invest?

Having witnessed the value of your own property increase over the years, you may choose to research the possibilities of gaining passive income or capital appreciation from property. Unlike other investment asset classes, the property market is a relatively simple investment area to navigate. 

When it comes to starting out a career in this industry, the specifics of investment and how to start  building a solid property portfolio can come from expert consultants, financial advisors and lenders. However, getting on the property ladder should be done with diligence, care and professional guidance. 

The team at BuyAssociation have the expertise, industry knowledge and qualifications to work with you in achieving your property goals – no matter now big or small they may be. By putting your trust in us, we can assist you in building a strong and profitable portfolio. 

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Property has a high tangible asset value and has continually proven to be one of the most lucrative investment markets in the UK. Consequently, this area of investment is applauded as one of the best sources of passive income, which is why the demand for properties rises year on year. One of the main reasons that the property market continues to thrive is due to the constant population growth that correlates with a high demand for housing. It is forecasted that, by 2023, 20% of the population will be living in rented housing. Therefore, there has never been a more opportune time to start investing.

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The benefits of property investment

Passive income  – The way in which property can increase in value and generate income from rental costs or capital appreciation is an incredibly productive way of earning and increasing long-term wealth. 

Stable retirement plan – The more income that you generate by investing in bricks and mortar, the higher the funds available to secure yourself a strong retirement fund. Many investors choose to sell their properties as they reach retirement age, ensuring that they benefit from capital appreciation at the right time.

Stability Investing in the property market is a much more stable approach than investing in shares – this is because the stock market is often perceived as unreliable due to stock prices regularly fluctuating. Despite the risks associated with this investment genre, it is considered one of the more stable markets for investors in the UK.

Control – As a buy-to-let landlord, you have direct control over maximising your property’s value. There is a high level of flexibility that comes with property investment, allowing you to provide additional amenities, carry out refurbishment and make improvements that will inevitably improve value. Maximising your property’s value will then boost rental costs and capital appreciation.

Formulating your investment strategy: What is there to consider?

Choosing to invest in property is a decision that should not be taken lightly. There are countless factors to consider before taking the leap and observing your investment opportunities. Remember – you can talk to our consultants for the advice you need, our specialists are always happy to discuss your goals and assist you in putting together a comprehensive plan. You can also refer to our online resources for help with investment basics.

So, what basics should you consider when formulating your strategy?

Choose your approach 

There are multiple ways in which an individual or group of investors can invest in property and benefit from the rewards that come with it. Some investors choose to purchase old homes with the intention of refurbishing and re-selling it. This method can be incredibly lucrative, despite the length of the project. 

Buying new-build property off-plan is an alternative method of investing. Choosing to invest in this way means acquiring property before it’s been completed and letting it out for high yields and capital gains. 

We recommend starting with one of the above tactics in order to avoid stress, confusion and an inability to make profit. Combining a variety of tactics as a novice investor can compromise your success. 

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Assess what you can afford  

Financial feasibility is a factor that cannot be ignored. Buy-to-let investors may find that saving a larger deposit helps in repaying mortgage payments. Therefore, ensure to do your research and calculations to check that you can afford a substantial down payment.

There are a wide variety of options available to you in terms of funding your investment. Whether you choose to partner up, take out a buy-to-let mortgage or consider crowdfunding, you should be diligent in your approach and plan extensively.

Talk to specialist property consultants to make informed decisions

The ability to build your own property portfolio is within your reach without any expert assistance; however, a trustworthy property investment consultant can contribute significantly to your long-term ROI. An expert in this sector can provide you with a wealth of information relating to forecasts, emerging markets and development projects that accommodate your budgets and goals.

By working with a professional, you’ll cover all possible bases to ensure you are on the right track to generating revenue. They’ll help you identify the best areas to invest and the ways in which you can do so.

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What does a property investment consultant do and what are the benefits of this service?

A property purchase or sale is always an exciting venture. It may seem to be a straightforward experience, but it can take a wrong turn when we attempt it on our own.  Therefore, it’s helpful to have someone guiding us through the process with their expertise and knowledge. Who better to help you navigate this journey than a property consultant?

Here are just a few ways why discussing your goals with an expert can be useful:

The ability to purchase properties at competitive prices 

It’s rare to find the best bargains among high street estate agents. Property agencies can help you find the best buy-to-let properties for sale within your budget at competitive prices, offering you the most attractive ROI. If you’re looking for properties that are competitively priced, then you should register with an agency.

Get support throughout the investment process

The process of investing in property can seem overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it before. An approachable and knowledgeable property investment consultant will be available to answer all your questions and can provide information and regular updates, whenever you require them.

Get help with asset management

In addition to financial partners, property consultants often work with letting agents and development companies that can handle the responsibility of managing or letting a property. Choose from a variety of hands-off investment opportunities to reap the benefits of your investments without the hassle.

Access to financial advisors

Novice investors and those looking to build a diverse portfolio may need help with funding. Speaking to an expert advisor could grant you access to a whole network of solicitors and mortgage brokers. A property consultant company will often have partners that can assist clients with financial matters.

Help with strategic planning

You cannot invest effectively without a comprehensive plan that is drawn up with diligence and care. Because of this, a property consultant can offer invaluable advice to help you create a methodical strategy. They’ll uncover your goals and advise you on how to achieve them.

Gain insight into trends 

By working with a consultant, you gain more than just expert knowledge, you gain valuable insights about the market as well. Keeping on top of the latest market trends and forecasts in property is their mission, and they are happy to share that information with you.

Guidance with selling your property

If you have built a strong portfolio and decide the time is right to sell properties to free up some equity, a consultant will help you with this and ensure you are processing your sale correctly.

What are the types of property investment?

Before commencing with your property venture, it is important to note and understand the differences between each investment type and how you can benefit from them. Once you have established your area of investment, be it commercial property or residential property, you should conduct thorough research of how the property market works and how you can successfully invest. Prior to committing to an investment property, it is crucial to devise a suitable strategy to ensure that you have the correct funds and knowledge in place. 

Traditional buy-to-let investment property

The most popular investment type, buy-to-let residential properties generate returns from rental income as these properties are purchased with the intention to be let out to tenants. Generally, this investment category is considered low risk, due to the lower financial output needed and the typically lower costs associated with purchasing a buy-to-let property. Rental properties allow the investor to benefit from a constant rental income, high enough to cover monthly mortgage payments and maintenance costs, with room for profit. A buy-to-let investment is perfect for those looking for long-term financial benefits who wish to build a portfolio. Additionally, landlords can benefit from capital growth returns when the property is eventually sold.

Student buy-to-let property

Operating in a very similar way to the traditional residential rental property, student accommodation also generates income from rental costs. The main differences between the two types of buy-to-let properties are the tenant type and recommended locations, as student accommodation should always be within close proximity to educational institutions in the UK’s prime cities. This type of property investment is a good starting point for first-time buyers due to the low purchase prices and high average yields. The demand for student accommodation continues to grow in the UK as its higher education reputation remains unrivalled, attracting thousands of students across the globe each year.  

HMOs

Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) are an increasingly lucrative market for landlords seeking to maximise their returns and benefit from higher yields. Essentially, an HMO comprises numerous bedrooms and shared facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens. Larger properties that have been converted and licensed into a home for multiple tenants are favoured by landlords for the several sources of rent that can be earnt at once. By allocating more than one tenancy for a single property, landlords suffer minimal income loss from void periods, as other tenants can cover the income. However, there are drawbacks to HMOs in the sense that there can be complex licensing requirements in place, depending on the area the property is located in. Furthermore, investing in an HMO requires substantial property management, maintenance and additional costs. 

For information on our HMO opportunities at BuyAssociation, please visit our dedicated webpage.

Build-to-rent property

Build-to-rent properties are built with the sole purpose of appealing to the rental market, rather than being built for owner-occupiers. This type of property is a long-term business model, designed to ensure that investors benefit from sustainable income on a residential property. This is an emerging sector in the UK property market that has seen extraordinary success over the past few years. As the private rented sector grows and flourishes, build-to-rent developments aim to meet the demands of tenants across the UK. This a popular investment type for individual investors and institutional investors alike, often offered to investors with guaranteed annual yields. 

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What to look for in an investment property

A good place to start when researching the best locations and property types to invest in is with your target audience. Having a strong understanding of your ideal tenant type and their lifestyles, potential income and property needs will put you in good stead for choosing a property. Depending on your financial situation and available funds, starting with simple units, HMOs or student accommodation may be the most appropriate way to ensure that your investment generates a profit. On the other hand, if you have a good amount of capital to invest, you might want to consider property development.

Location

Location should be at the heart of your search for lucrative investment opportunities. You should research desirable and attractive locations for both investors and tenants, making sure to factor in the strength and predicted growth of the following elements.

Property pricesThe average property prices in the area you wish to invest in should correlate with your affordability. Similarly, average property prices are a good reflection of the performance of the local property market, signifying the costs people are willing to pay and incomes of the population in that area. 

Average rents – Generally speaking, average rental costs will vary depending on the economic growth of a city, how close the property is to a city centre and the demand for property in that location. City centre tenants in many of the UK’s high-growth cities are much more likely to pay more in rent. On the other hand, low average rental costs ensure a consistent and long-term tenant demand. 

Population By analysing property market forecasts for each town and city that you are interested in, you should be able to locate prevalent areas by the predicted population growths. 

 

Level of demand – To reiterate the previous point, the level of rental demand is crucial for any buy-to-let, HMO, build-to-rent or HMO property. By selecting a location that has convenient transport links, nearby universities and schools, and prosperous career opportunities, your property should maintain a high level of demand.               

Career opportunities – Many cities in the UK have evolved into popular business hubs for many of the nation’s biggest industries and business sectors. By providing the community with property in an area with abundant job opportunities, you are highly likely to avoid instances of your property sitting empty. 

Potential for capital growth – Prime locations for investment will have promising price growth potential with forecasts predicting property values to rise exponentially in years to come.

Rental yields Average rental yields play an important role in determining worthwhile investment locations, as this allows you to plan your potential monthly income and set expectations. 

 

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Type of property

Although the property type will be largely determined by your budget and financial situation, the amenities, style and size of a property will also influence the tenant type that it attracts. For example, a contemporary, compact apartment is likely to attract young professionals and couples, whereas a spacious, suburban home with a large garden is more likely to appeal to a family with children. Purchasing a house may incur higher upfront costs and substantial maintenance throughout the years. Equally, these properties tend to produce the highest profits. If high yields and strong rental income are your main objectives, family homes and high-quality property developments in city centres make valuable investments. 

Condition of the property

The condition that your investment property is in is crucial to long-term maintenance requirements and associated costs that may arise. Not only will properties designed with high quality and durable furnishing have higher occupancy and turnover rates, but this will also decrease the amount of maintenance required. Most experienced investors are said to spend only 3% of their annual income on maintenance. Furthermore, investing in an off-plan development property is incredibly advantageous, as experienced developers ensure that new-builds meet legal requirements and incorporate premium-quality designs.

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What are the potential risks of investing in development property?

Although investing funds in bricks and mortar is one of the most valuable ways to generate passive income and cash flow, there are a number of considerations that should be taken into account when looking to invest. In addition to the degree of risk connected to investing, you should also account for costs, such as capital gains tax, rising interest rates and legal costs and stamp duty. For help with general housing management of the complexities surrounding tenancy agreements, damage, and legalities, delegating these tasks to a property manager can be especially helpful. 

By preparing for the following potential pitfalls, you can prevent any significant setbacks and financial burdens:

Market fluctuation The value of a property is calculated from the initial yield, which is determined by the current annual rent divided by the property’s value. This includes any upfront purchasing cost. As a result, the initial yield can vary from year to year. In general, the yield will inevitably reflect the economic cycle of the property market. Having realistic expectations of your returns and potential short-term fluctuations can help you produce a viable strategy for your property investment. Another way to ensure you are not significantly impacted by market fluctuations is to save emergency funds to create a financial buffer.

Rent arrears – When rent payments become overdue, it can cause issues for the landlord and their income. Despite the fact that payment dates are clearly laid out in tenancy agreements, missed payments can occur during a tenancy. If the unpaid rent builds up each month, this can become grounds for eviction and legal action. However, there are numerous strategies that you can implement to assist tenants in paying their rent. From the offset, screenings should be conducted to determine the tenant’s financial history, working background and credit score. If this is completed and rent arrears still become problematic, offering repayment plans may be a worthwhile action to take. 

 

Property damage – It is essential to note that once your property is occupied, general wear and tear will occur and become visible over time. To benefit from your asset, it is important to consider the materials used for walls and flooring to ensure that the property is as durable as possible. Furthermore, once a tenancy ends, you should take the necessary steps to find a solution for stains, light damage and marks. Although landlords possess the right to deduct funds from deposits, landlords should take caution in assessing the impact before refraining from returning the down payment. 



What are the benefits of off-plan properties?

Put simply, off-plan property developments refer to build projects that are yet to be constructed. As more and more development plans are put forward in a bid to resolve the nationwide housing shortage, additional investment opportunities are created. Buying off-plan property is one of the most lucrative methods of investment and has quickly become favoured by many investors. 

Investing during the early stages of a development project is key to optimising your long-term return on investment. The advancement of technology enables prospective investors to view elaborate design plans generated by developers, allowing them to gain a detailed insight into how the completed project will look. By closely examining the plans and blueprints, investors can determine whether or not the finished product will be a successful asset in their portfolio.

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Discounted prices

One of the main attractions to off-plan properties is the low prices affiliated with this investment type. Investing early allows the buyer to secure a property lower than market value. Property values are usually expected to rise by the time a build is completed. Occasionally, investing in multiple properties with the same developer who has an array of upcoming projects can also result in additional discounts. 

Capital appreciation

If you decide to invest early in a forthcoming investment, the price of the property could rise throughout the construction process. Ultimately, this would provide property investors with instant equity upon completion. House prices in the UK have a tendency to rise quickly, with data indicating that prices grow around 4% on average each year. Capital appreciation is not guaranteed, which is why a medium to long-term investment strategy is still recommended. Location plays a huge role in capital appreciation. A city’s property price rises if there is strong demand for housing, growth prospects, and upcoming investment. 

Meeting the latest health and safety standards

Environmental and safety standards are being met by new homes built by reputable developers. When developments are constructed to the highest possible standards, they can provide future-proofed investment opportunities.

Almost all new homes are rated A or B for energy efficiency, which makes them more energy efficient than most existing homes. To date, rental properties are required to have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of E. Government officials have also discussed requiring properties to reach an energy efficiency of C by the end of 2025 for new tenancies, and C for all rental properties by April 2028. Considering these changes on the horizon, off-plan property offers better investment potential. Modern tenants are also increasingly interested in living in newer, greener homes, making new-builds an appealing option for buy-to-let investors.

Building a sustainable property portfolio for maximum returns

As we have already established, purchasing buy-to-let property can be incredibly lucrative and can provide an immeasurable amount of benefits. Investing in a single property may produce profits and long-term capital growth, however, having multiple properties under your belt can generate substantial returns over time. 

In order to build a larger portfolio of buy to let properties, it may be in your best interest to begin small and add more properties as you go. This will provide you with the insight and experience you need to successfully plan your investment strategy and build a portfolio. 

Some of the benefits of this include:

Earning passive income

Purchasing property assets is one of the best ways to earn passive income. Simply put, this means generating revenue without much active involvement. Once you have secured multiple rental properties, you will begin to see a noticeable difference in how quickly you earn profits. Managing properties comes with a lot of challenges, however, choosing to invest in this way can drastically boost your assets. Passive income can provide you with a comfortable income throughout retirement or help you to achieve financial independence.

Multiple income streams

When you own multiple properties, the amount of rent you can charge typically increases over time. Furthermore, you can increase your profits as your rental income increases. It’s important to check with the estate agents about when you can raise the rent. Mortgage payments are typically the biggest expense, so they won’t tend to increase except for any changes in interest rates. In other words, you will earn an extra profit, which can all contribute to paying off your mortgage payments sooner.

Spreading the risk of investment

One of the biggest pitfalls of property investment is the unreliability of both the tenant and building itself. However, when your portfolio comprises numerous properties, it becomes less of a risk should you need to sell a troublesome property. This could include any property that doesn’t perform as expected or a home which does not have much demand. Similarly, any issues with unpaid rental costs should not dramatically affect your income if there are multiple streams of income coming from several different tenants.

A diverse assortment of property types

Portfolios can be diversified by owning a variety of properties. The combination of commercial, industrial, and residential properties provides the best cushion against economic downturns. It is possible to invest in property in a variety of areas and cities, even if you stick with one type of property, for example, residential property. This can range from student apartments to luxury short-term let holiday homes.

If you’re considering expanding your existing property portfolio or plan on building one, you will need a sharp sense of facts and figures. Almost inevitably, there will be hidden costs, so it is a good idea to plan for the unexpected and set aside a contingency sum.

Where is the best place to invest in the UK?

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The UK property market remains strong, lucrative and reliable as ever, even off the back of the pandemic. According to surveys conducted by Zoopla, January 2021 saw the demand for property rise by 21%, showing just how strong this market truly is for investment opportunities. When it comes to determining the best places to invest, it is important to note that this varies from each investor. Each person buys property for various reasons; therefore, your ideal location will ultimately depend on your goal. If you plan to buy property to sell it in the future for a larger profit, it is best to seek destinations with high metrics for capital growth. Similarly, if you plan to become a landlord for multiple properties, looking at places with high rental yields will be most beneficial to your search. 

Despite the fact that house prices are rising dramatically year on year, there still remain key areas across the UK that are perceived to be much more affordable in house costs, rental costs and general living costs. Moreover, these areas are also highly regarded to be some of the most desirable places to live and work due to the ongoing infrastructure projects, residential developments and fantastic career and education opportunities. 

Property Investment Liverpool 

Liverpool possesses some of the lowest house prices in the country. With an average house price of £185,000, first-time home buyers and landlords alike are continuously flocking to this vibrant city to call it home. In 2020, Liverpool’s property market saw an increase of 32% in buyer interest, with this number expected to rise in the near future. Additionally, Liverpool is a notable spot for landlords as the average rental yield has previously been named the best in the UK. Despite the low costs of living, the city has been transformed over the years and is now praised for its success in business, local amenities and award-winning art galleries. Culture is at the forefront of almost every aspect of this city – Liverpudlians are extremely proud of their prominent place in musical history and their rich heritage. If you would like to take advantage of an area with famous universities and amazing career prospects in health care and education, look no further than Liverpool.

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Manchester Property Investment

This stand-out North West city has seen some of the best growth of all cities in the world. Manchester reigns the reputation for lucrative investment opportunities, particularly in the buy-to-let sector. This city is expected to be one of the leading areas to guide the North West’s predicted 28% growth in property prices over the next few years. It is thanks to Manchester’s impressive regeneration schemes, unrivalled career opportunities, successful business and creative industries and strong focus on community that keeps this city a hotspot for investment. The average property price throughout Manchester is £240,000, which despite the growth patterns, still remains low in comparison to the capital city of London. The population here has already hit a huge 2.8 million, rising exponentially each year. With this in mind, Manchester continues to be an extremely attractive place to work, live and invest. With the low house prices coupled with strong yields of around 5% – reaching up to 7% in some areas of the city centre – there has never been a better time to join Manchester’s pool of investors.

Property Investment Birmingham

Renowned as the 2nd largest city in the country, Birmingham has dominated the property market for quite some time. By 2025, Savills have predicted a house price rise of around 24%, due to the exceptional regeneration and infrastructure projects that are currently under construction and awaiting planning permission at the moment. Birmingham is a highly favoured area to live for young professionals who work in London but would prefer a cheaper place to reside. With Birmingham’s relatively close proximity to the capital, more and more residents are looking into relocating. Additionally, the young professionals and university students that call this city home have been a catalyst for successful business start-ups, contributing to an extremely robust economy. The average property price in Birmingham is substantially lower than London, with prices sitting comfortably at around £214,649. As well as this, landlords can expect to reap the benefits of a high average yield of 6.5%. With a vast amount of regeneration and rising rental demands from relocating professionals from across the country, the future is bright for investors buying in Birmingham. 

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Turn to BuyAssociation to achieve your property goals

Our 16 years of property experience puts us in an excellent position for offering useful and helpful advice to our valued clients. Through our group’s buying power and strong relationships with leading property developers, we regularly acquire modern, high-yielding development properties in the UK’s most lucrative cities. We source attractive investment opportunities in Manchester, Stockport, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham and more. We prioritise the requirements of our investors and work hard to exceed their expectations with a combination of first-class properties and exceptional property investment services. For more information on how we can help you achieve your property portfolio goals, contact us today on 0333 123 0320.