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Increase in activity of 47% year on year from 2018 to 2019
Our Lettings market has been heavily based on referral business from old and existing clients. The importance of networking has been influential to the development of our business – some of our keys listings have come from contacts made at numerous events we have attended this year.
It’s a challenging market and brokers have had to be very creative and hard working to make deals happen, more so than ever before. Communication with clients has been key – in this challenging market where agents have to put in more effort, it is essential our Landlords hear from us and know what is happening in the market.
Here’s some of our most recent deals we’ve done as we look to finish the year on a high and set ourselves up for a great start to 2020 and the new decade.
Chapel Street – £6,750pw
Camden Hill Gardens – £8,000pw
Duke St. – £3,000pw
Park Lane – £6,500pw
Caroline Terrace – £3,000pw
With the election only days away and the new date for the UK’s departure from Europe being 31st January 2020, there could be a lot of changes happening over the next couple of months and both could have a big impact on the property market as a whole as well as the lettings market so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out and what this will mean for lettings in 2020. As always, we will be resilient and continue to work as hard as ever to give not only our clients, but our customers the best possible experience and service.
For those who have already invested in an Andorran property the benefits of buying a second home, a rental or investment property or moving altogether are detailed below. For more information contact us and our advisors will discuss your options.
British community living in Andorra: conditions and advantages
There has been an established British community in Andorra for many years. +800 British residents are living in the country, attracted by the lifestyle and easy access to skiing, mountain biking, and cycling, as well as its financial sector; many British residents are also retired.
The Andorran government is taking protective measures in both banking and legal security and in the field of privacy and data protection. Hard or Soft Brexit, your rights are guaranteed.
Andorra is a country with a vested interested in the British entrepreneur with an ever closer collaboration between the UK’s International Trade Ministry and Actua. Andorra encourages innovation offering several growing sectors for British companies, for example the Smart Cities sector.
An outstanding fiscal framework adapted to the British resident
Andorra has one of the lowest tax rates in Europe.
In order to improve its international relations and end its ‘tax haven’ status, Andorra has opted for OECD approval of its tax regulations since 2009, although tax rates remain very competitive. The signing of bilateral agreements to eliminate double taxation further strengthens the system, with a corporation, income and non-resident tax at a maximum of 10% and where the indirect general tax (IGI) is 4.5%. British citizens will also be pleased to know that there is no tax on inheritances or donations.
Andorra has also alleviated its residence and investment laws to make the country more attractive to foreign investors. According to international consultant Bradley Hackford, in 2017 it was considered the second most attractive fiscal country in the world for investors.
The volume of foreign investment has grown 268% to 3.8% GDP since the new regulations for the opening of FDI in 2012 were approved, higher than the average in neighbouring countries.
An association agreement with the EU is currently being negotiated that will provide British citizens access to the European internal market and its more than 500 million consumers.
No-Deal Brexit, Hard Brexit, Soft Brexit…its uncertainty is being felt on both sides of the English Channel. While the UK’s future relationship with the EU is being discussed, we can suggest a solution completely isolated from both sides. For those looking for a nation with a soft taxation framework and an inspiring mountainous destination, we suggest The Principality of Andorra; where you can benefit from passive citizenship and a maximum tax cap of 10%.
Enter PRINCIPALITY OF ANDORRA.
The perfect destination for British citizens
Andorra is politically and socially a stable country with an extraordinary standard of living, the Principality of Andorra is a popular destinations for British citizens. Here’s why:
Favourable tax and tax legislation, open to foreign investment.
High solvency of the Andorran banking system.
Nominal GDP per capita higher than the EU average.
An unbeatable location between France and Spain.
The official currency is the euro.
One of the highest incomes per capita in the world.
The driving forces behind the Andorran economy: mainly the services sector, followed by the financial and the construction sectors.
Quality of life in Andorra
A safe country with low crime rates.
Ranks 2nd in terms of highest life expectancy and is 4th in the world in health.
3 free educational systems: Andorran, Spanish and French.
It is also home to the British College of Andorra, which teaches the British National Curriculum.
90% of the country is forests and green areas, with three national parks and hundreds of kilometres of ski runs.
Two ski resorts in Europe’s Top 10 for high quality and low prices.
The summer is here and the gardens are at their best. The sun shone for about a week and the school children all went on their well-earned holidays all around the globe. The result is that over the summer, the home counties empty and the opportunities for a bargain are rife. Now is exactly the time to buy. If we assume that normal (as we have become used to since 2014) market conditions follow the holidays, then new stock will appear in September and new prices too. These will of course have higher ‘new property’ expectations than properties that have been on the market for a while.
Trying to write this piece without mentioning the current political climate is almost impossible. It is pervasive and affects everything property. With the new prime minister teasing us with the prospect of stamp duty changes, lowering the rate or moving the responsibility to the seller from the buyer, does this mean people will sit and wait. I predict some will but really why would they. I believe that after Brexit ‘happens’ or is thrown out, there will, quite quickly, be a surge of demand from those people that have been in a ‘wait and see’ pattern. As is always the case in the UK, when a queue is formed, people rush to join it. The media will report that prices are finally increasing and everybody will want in before it’s ‘too late’. But my view is that if you have waited that long, you are too late already. If the stamp duty lowers, that will benefit all and properties will change hands more quickly, increasing prices, if the onus moves to the sellers, the affect will be minimal as the additional cost selling will be recovered for the purchase. The exception being first time buyers, but the majority of them pay little tax anyway.
So in summary, now has got to be the best time to buy. It has to be. Best prices, best opportunities, least competition. Waiting will be expensive.
As we are now well into the summer season many of us will have enjoyed long or short holidays by the sea. Many people desire to buy by the sea for its particular lifestyle, wonderful scenery and exceptional leisure facilities. There is a variety of property in coastal locations. It ranges from coastguard and fisherman’s cottages, new build developments, estuary mansions and converted dockside buildings.
As a result of this differing range of property types living by the sea appeals to a wide range of buyers. Often many coastal properties will be sold to local buyers looking to upsize or downsize within the area. However coastal living also attracts buyers from further afield, particularly those moving from London in search of a complete lifestyle change. Interestingly a significant portion of buyers are aged 50 and over and are buying with cash, which means the coastal markets are less effected by mortgage constraints.
There is clearly a cost attached to coastal living. People buying homes in close proximity to the coast are willing to pay over the odds for the benefits. Property located within 100m of the shoreline costs an average of 13% more than that located up to 1km further inland. However, the premium paid for frontline positions with direct views of the water can be considerably more. The most expensive coastline can be found in the south west of England closely followed by the south east. Surprisingly the area with the greatest premium within the 1km distance is the Welsh coast.
There is no doubt of the many benefits to be had from coastal living and with the now swift links to the capital, it is well within the reach of many.
We are now in the prime summer months and North West London has certainly seen an uplift in activity with various transactions being agreed and subsequently going through. This has always been the busiest time of the year.
Offers are still being negotiated but vendors seem to have become more realistic and are starting to fall in line with current market conditions.
We have recently exchanged contracts on a Grade II* semi-detached house in St. John’s Wood, this was purchased by an American family who are very familiar with the area as their children go to the American School of London. We are currently working on numerous inquiries of this type covering St. John’s Wood, Hampstead, and Highgate and we are confident over the next 3-6 months that the activity will continue to grow.
Summer is in full swing and this is the time when London sees an increase in lettings activity. This increase is due to two reasons. Firstly, with more people traveling to London for the summer months the number of holiday short lets have risen with recent transactions ranging between £5,000 to £25,000 per week from anywhere between 2 weeks to 2 month stays. This trend has been particularly strong from our Middle Eastern clients enjoying of the cooler temperatures and Americans taking advantage of the UKs proximity to Europe. Secondly, this is the time of year when we begin seeing corporate companies relocating their staff to London. We’ve recently had relocations from New York and Turkey, and this is a positive sign that London remains a top destination for professionals. That combined with the student market which coincides with the new academic year starting in September, we’ve seen a steady stream of international students who will pay premium rents to be walking distance to central London universities often paying 6 months to a year upfront and upwards of £1,000 per week!
We’ve taken on +20 new instructions within the last month from penthouses, to multiple units in new build developments and boutique schemes helping with increased demand at this time of year. Since June the increase in quality stock is noticeable. Renters now have better options and there is balance in competitive pricing.
The country market has seen peaks and troughs this year with good momentum in February followed by a painfully slow March and then an exciting April and May to date.
Why…..I actually don’t know, but I can make a good guess; Brexit. There appears to be an ever persistent pervasive ‘wait and see’ air that is hampering what is actually a brilliant market for buyers. Many sellers are tired of waiting and looking for a sale; not at any price; but they will deal. Others; others are waiting for Brexit to finish because they believe that the market will return and that they will get pre-Brexit prices, whether there’s a deal or no deal. I have to say that I agree with this sentiment so as a buyer, now must be the perfect time to buy.
It will not get better after Brexit, unless perhaps you are selling and then again, not if you are upsizing. Take for example a couple selling a house at £1m and buying at £2m. The price difference is £1m for now. Assume that the market falls by 10%, the price difference is now £900k, but conversely, if it rises the difference is now £1.1m. And that’s where we are right now. It is to most people’s advantage to move pre-Brexit. It will only get more expensive to move after. 3 years of people ‘waiting and seeing’ can only lead to a rush to move once the dust has settled.
All that said, two excellent boastful sales last week and viewing numbers are up. Brochures are being requested but few are committing. And when they do it is with trepidation, however, those that do, the rewards are great. I fear that those who wait, will regret moving with the pack rather than now. Time will tell of course.
By Jason Corbett BSc FNAEA
Director, Country Sales & Lettings