Wednesday, 31 December 2014

'Needs Work' 2 Bedroom Terrace (8.3% Gross Yield)

This 2 bedroom property in Monkwearmouth needs internal cosmetic improvements but once complete it should be popular with a range of tenants

Based on a conservative £450pcm rent and a total investment of £65,000 (paying the £55,000 asking price plus £10k for improvements) it will return a healthy 8.3% Gross Yield

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For more information call 0191 567 8577 or email

Friday, 19 December 2014

''Ready to Let' 2 Bedroom Mid Terrace in Popular Roker Location (+6.6% Gross Yield)

This 2 bedroom mid terrace is 'Ready to Let' and given the SR6 location a short walk to the Sea Front it will be popular with a range of tenants but is perhaps best suited to young couples or older tenants looking to downsize

It's new to the market at £89,950 and based on a very achievable £495pcm rent will return 6.6% Gross Yield - it may even be possible to get £550pcm which will give an even better 7.3% return (but I'd always advise working on the lower figure...)

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Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Sunderland Property Markets - Predictions for 2015

As 2014 draws to a close it's perhaps appropriate to give thought to what 2015 may bring the Sunderland Property Markets 

You'll note that in both the title and above I've written 'Markets' (plural), rather than 'Market' (singular) as there's no such thing as the Sunderland Property Market. Sunderland, like any other Town or City is made up of lots of small micro-markets, defined both geographically and by property type

We can’t look at Sunderland in just its little own bubble, so a good place to start would be to look at the National picture and to look at recent trends to see if they are likely to continue into 2015

The recent rapid rise in house values in some parts of the UK in the early part of the year (especially in London), along with earnings growth that remain below inflation and the possibility of an interest rate rise over the coming months, appear to have tempered housing demand 

This weakening in demand has led to a modest easing in both property price growth and sales. A moderation in growth looks likely into next year as supply and demand become increasingly better balanced

Now with the General Election on the horizon, whichever Government takes power, they, along with the Bank of England, have a thorny job to do in balancing the expected rise in interest rates with the continued resurgence of the housing market, to ensure the property market doesn't drop and drag down the economic recovery forcing people into selling their property at a loss

The main indicators suggest that buyers will start to gain the upper hand, especially with the new stamp duty rules & yesterdays announcement of a 20% discount offered to 100,000 First Time Buyers aged under 40

There is also good news for landlords looking to buy rental property with the changes in stamp duty and later in 2015, the new rules regarding pensions, where you will be able to take money out of your pension to invest in property

That said, don’t just cash in your pension to buy any old property in Sunderland!!! 

First time landlords need to be extremely cautious and it is entirely plausible that if poor choices are made, a Buy to Let property will deliver a much lower net return than a wisely chosen annuity! 

Clearly with good advice on what  & where to buy and equally good advice on how to finance such a purchase, Buy to Let could outperform annuities and form a great way to fund retirement, so it's vital to always get the best advice you can prior to making any decisions

This is clearly going to be a major talking point next year and I'll be devoting much more thought to this in advance of the pension rules changing in April 2015 & beyond - watch this space...

Anyway, back to Sunderland - there are a number of indicators that we can look at as to the state & health of a property market(s), a key one being sold prices and another being the number of transactions taking place in any period

Looking first at sold prices, taking Sunderland as a whole the average sold price of a property in September 2014 was £123,858 which represented a 3.2% increase on the same period in 2013. Tellingly the volatile nature of the sales market in recent years is highlighted when you consider that the above was actually 0.4% down on the average sold value in 2012 (£124,315) and 0.1% up against 5 years ago

If there's anything to learn from this, it's that house price growth in Sunderland is likely to be modest and landlords should not budget for double digit capital growth next year!

There are always ways to increase capital growth, the most common being to build it in at the start by buying well and in particular buying a property in need of renovation

It's always more interesting to look a little deeper and the Sunderland figures do hide few little gems of information about the particular areas & property types that make up the market as a whole

Most postcode areas in the City experienced average house price increases in the year Sept 2013 to 2014, ranging from a modest 0.3% growth in SR6 to 17.4% growth in SR2 but tellingly average prices in both SR4 and SR6 showed slight reductions (-5% and -10.9% respectively)

Digging a little deeper still, this seems to be of less concern to the investors as first thought - the fall in average prices in both areas was driven largely by steep falls in the value of detached properties (with the 'core BTL market' of terraces and semi-detached properties both showing modest increases) and given there are fewer transactions for this type of property than any other the data is likely to be skewed by a couple of 'distressed sales' which would have affected the average

Looking at property types in the City as a whole, our strongly held view that terraced and semi detached properties make a better long term investment than leasehold flats seems to be by the data, with the average price of a terraced property being 14% higher in 2014 than in 2013, with semis showing even slightly better year-on-year increase of 17.8%

Tellingly the average price of both property types are now higher than the post-crash slump of 2009 (terraced property prices are 7.1% higher than 2009 and semi's 7.5% higher) and the average semi is now above 2007 prices (£141,705 compared to £124,676) with terraces having a little way to go to reach this benchmark

Of all the figures, the ones in the above paragraph are of most interest to me and perhaps should be to investors...let me explain...

We all know that 2007/08 led to the creation of a new breed of 'Reluctant Landlord' who could not sell so chose to rent out their property instead

Most of these 'Reluctant Landlords' are still letting their property although we've noticed a steady trickle of landlords looking to sell (usually when a tenant gave notice) over the last 18 months or so but interestingly many who've tried have failed to get the price they wanted and have returned back to letting 

I've held the view for some time that this trickle may become stronger as soon as prices reach 2007/08 levels and the 'Reluctant Landlords' realise they are no longer in negative equity - the above data suggests this point may be just around the corner...

If this trickle becomes a flood it will have a dampening affect on prices which will be great news for those investors looking to add to their portfolio!

Don't get too excited though! We've seen that the 'Reluctant Landlord' properties are not necessarily in the areas that would normally give the best returns or stack up as investments (putting it bluntly they are often better properties in better areas than most investors would go for)

That said, there are always going to be exceptions and it may be that a bargain 'Reluctant Landlord' property could balance a portfolio biased towards Good Yields by adding a property more likely to achieve strong capital growth

Finally, looking at the number of transactions, there were 426 completions in the key summer period of June - Aug 2013 and 538 in the same period this year, an increase of over 25%. This suggests again that the outlook for 2015 is likely to be positive, as this required both buyers and sellers to be entering the market in significantly greater numbers than before

Clearly there's always going to be a seasonal dip in both in the sales and lettings markets around now but both of the above indicators suggest that when things do pick up again in the New Year the signs are good that 2015 in Sunderland will be very much a continuation of where 2014 left off - a reasonably healthy market where well-informed investors can buy good value for money properties that will return significantly better Yields than in many areas, both regionally and nationally

If you'd like to have a chat about the Sunderland Property Markets in 2015 call into our Frederick Street office, call 0191 567 8577 or email

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

"Half Price" 2 Bedroom Modern End Terrace (8% Gross Yield)

The advert says 'Priced to Sell' and given this was bought new for £113,750 in 2008 the OIRO £59,950 asking price certainly demands further investigation!

The photos are clearly from when it was built in 2008 so it would be interesting to see what condition the property is in (I know some of these houses have been rented from new and have had a particularly hard life) but even if it is looking shabby, given it is small and modern, £5k should take care of most things, even if the kitchen and bathroom need TLC

Given current market conditions I'd suggest basing your calculations on £400pcm, although it has been possible to get £425 or even £450 in the past

Based on the above lower rental amount it will return 8% Gross Yield

Click here for details

Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

'Needs Work' 3 Bedroom Terrace Close to the Hospital - Decent Yield (6.6%) and Great Capital Growth Potential

We know this 3 bedroom terrace in Jackson St will be popular as we've managed a similar property in this street for some time, along with several others in the nearby streets

This one needs a full refurb, but it does mean investors able to look beyond the very dated decor and fixtures & fittings will be able to get a property that will never have a shortage of decent tenants and also will offer immediate potential for capital growth

Realistically you'd need to budget £20k for improvements on top of the £87,000 asking price

That will return 6.6% Gross Yield based on a very realistic £595pcm rent 

There's been 4 sales of 3 bedroom properties in Jackson Street within the last 12 months and 3 of the 4 sales have been between £122,500 and £143,000 

The other property was sold for £66,000 (which would skew the figures, hence I've not used and average) and I'd suspect that was another 'Needs Work' bargain like this one

Looking at the above, based on a total initial investment (cost of purchase plus the cost of improvements) of £107,000 I'd suggest that a canny investor could make at least £15,000 - possibly up to £36,000 from this purchase

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Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Monday, 15 December 2014

Needs Work 2 Bedroom Flat in SR5 - Offered Cheap For Quick Sale (7.4% Gross Yield)

This 2 bedroom flat in Downhill (SR5) looks to be a bit of a steal at 'Offers Over £50,000' but it will need a good few thousand spending on it to bring it up to a lettable standard that will attract a Good Tenant

Based on a total investment of £65,000 it will return 7.4% Gross Yield, assuming an achievable rent of £400pcm

It needs freshening up throughout, with new flooring and a new kitchen and bathroom, the upside being it's not a large flat so this will help control costs

Click here for details 

Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Friday, 12 December 2014

Attractive 3 Bedroom Mid Terrace in South Hylton (7.3% Gross Yield)

This 3 bedroom terrace has undergone major internal improvements bringing it up to a very good standard throughout - this combined with the popular South Hylton location will make it attractive to a number of Good Tenants

It's on the market for OIRO £95,000 

This looks a little ambitious given it was last sold for £85,000 in 2006 and given comparable recent sales but if you could get it for £90k it could make a very decent investment

Based on paying £90,000 there would be no need for further spend on improvements, so based on £550pcm rent it would return 7.3% Gross Yield

Click here for details

Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Easily Improved 2 Bedroom Town End Farm Semi (7.6% Gross Yield)

This 2 bedroom semi in the popular Town End Farm area needs a little work but it's not going to need too much to get it back to a standard that will attract Good Tenants

As such it could offer the attractive combination of a decent monthly yield with the potential for building in capital growth at the outset by making the necessary cosmetic improvements

It's being offered at £70,000 and a further £5k is all that should be required to sort out the internal decoration, flooring and tidy up of the bathroom and rear gardens

Based on a total spend of £75k and a very achievable £475pcm rent it will return 7.6% Gross Yield

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Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Worth a Look At This Auction 3 Bedroom Terrace (Possible 6.5% Gross Yield?)

This 3 bedroom terrace is included in the Agents Property Auction on January 26th and may be worth a look for those investors happy to undertake refurbishment prior to letting

The guide price is £64,950 but given the average selling price of 3 bedroom properties on this street last year was £115,000 you should budget for significantly more than the guide price

What's more, it needs a full refurb throughout (new kitchen, bathroom, decoration & flooring) and you'd be advised to check out the electrics before commencing  

Working backwards from achieving 6.5% Gross Yield with an achievable rent of £595pcm, you'd need to pay no more than £90,000 and and spend no more than a further £20,000 on rennovations - if you can get it for less or reduce the rennovation budget then you'd get an even better Yield

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Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Immaculate 2 Bedroom Hylton Castle Semi (7.0% Gross Yield)

This 2 bedroom ex-council semi has 2 bedrooms & 2 reception rooms and has been improved to a very high standard throughout, with a stunning bathroom

It's 'Ready to Let' and based on paying the OIRO asking price of £87,000 will return 7.0% Gross Yield based on an achievable £495pcm

Click here for details

Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Monday, 8 December 2014

'Needs Lots of Work' 2 Bedroom Millfield Terrace (8.3% Gross Yield)

This 2 bedroom terrace is close to Millfield Metro station, Sunderland Royal Hospital and the University, so if offered in a good lettable condition it should be popular with a wide range of tenants

Getting it to a good lettable condition will need around £15,000 - £20,000 investment as it certainly needs full redecoration, flooring and a new kitchen and bathroom. There also looks to be signs of historic water ingress so it would be worth checking out the roof, guttering and pointing

Once complete it will return 8.3% Gross Yield based on a total investment of £64,950 and £450pcm rent

Click here for details

Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Friday, 5 December 2014

Ugly 4 Bedroom End Terrace Offering Attractive Returns (+7.9% Gross Yield)

This unusually spacious 4 bedroom end terrace in Pallion is not pretty on the outside but it is in good internal condition and is 'Ready to Let'

Based on renting to working tenants it will return 7.9% Gross Yield (calculated from the £89,950 asking price and a realistic £595pcm)

I had initially thought it could be versatile enough to also rent to students or sharers but with only 2 double bedrooms (the others being a single bedroom and box room) on closer inspection this doesn't seem to be the case

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Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Three Bedroom Ex Council Silksworth Semi (6.5% Gross Yield)

This 3 bedroom semi is in good internal condition and will therefore appeal to a wide range of potential tenants

It needs a little work (internal decoration and the gardens need sorting out) but overall £5,000 on top of the £97,000 asking price should be more than enough to accomplish this

It will return 6.5% Gross Yield based on the above and a very achievable £550pcm rent

Click here for details

Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Sunderland Rental Market Stats November 2014

I regularly find myself advising landlords & investors that Sunderland has a number of very different property markets within the City with some areas having massive over-supply of rented properties and others with decent rented accommodation in short supply

Until now this has been based more on experience gleaned over many years rather than any hard data, so I thought it would be interesting to see if the statistics back up what we all suspected from our anecdotal evidence 

I've taken a look at the market using ONS and Rightmove data (so it excludes private lets), comparing the number of available properties last month with the total number of rental properties in the area

It's generally accepted within the industry that around 5% of the total property stock will be on the market To Let at any given time, so using this it's easy to see which areas have a shortfall of properties and which are over-supplied at any given time

Clearly statistics can be interpreted to say pretty much anything, but looking at the above, they do appear to back up what I've been consistently saying for some time...that there's over-supply of properties in and around the City Centre and Ashbrooke/Thornhill (predominantly flats & apartments) with a shortage of properties in other areas

This has had a long term effect on achievable rents, with rents in SR1 and SR2 falling steadily and not only that, it's a double-edged sword as tenants realise with a lot of landlords competing for their tenure they don't need to settle for second best, so landlords are having to ensure their properties are in the very best condition for any chance of securing a let

In the other areas, the largest overall shortfall is in SR4 but given this has the largest number of rental properties, as a percentage of the market this is a less significant shortfall than in other areas

It's also telling that the areas I often consistently advise landlords to look at to provide the best long term prospects, SR3 and SR5, show the largest percentage shortfalls in the number of properties to reach the average 5% stock level 

Once again this backs up our findings that when a decent property is made available in these areas there will be no shortage of tenants due to the relative scarcity of decent private rental properties for them to choose from

Discounting SR1 and SR2, the above shows 175 extra properties were needed across the whole of Sunderland in November alone

There can only be one message to investors and landlords at this time – don’t delay any further, do your research, come and speak to us, verify what we're saying makes sense by talking to other agents, speak to other landlords – but make no mistake, this is a good time to be investing in Sunderland

It also shows that if you're thinking of getting into the Sunderland rental market and don't know where to start, you really must seek impartial advice and guidance to get the best return on your investment and to ensure you don't buy the wrong property or buy in the wrong area

For more information about potential investment properties that we could introduce you to, or to ask about our thoughts on your own investment choices, call us now on 0191 567 8577 or pop along and speak to us in person at our offices in Frederick Street

Possible Auction Bargain 2 Bedroom Flat (7.9% - 11.3% Gross Yield)

We've spotted this 2 bedroom flat in Baxter Road, Town End Farm that's included in the Agents Property Auction on 8th December

The guide price is £32,000 and if you could get it for that (even allowing a further £10k for decoration, flooring & a new kitchen and bathroom) it would return a fantastic 11.3% Gross Yield based on £395pcm rent 

Given the most recent sale of a similar nearby flat was at £52,000, even if interest in the property means the hammer falls at around £50k it will still deliver a respectable 7.9% return based on the above and the £10k improvement budget

Click here for details

Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Another Bargain Farringdon Flat (10.6% Gross Yield)

I highlighted a similar bargain flat in a nearby block a couple of weeks ago and I'm pleased to say one of our Landlords has just let me know he's had an offer accepted

Now another similar flat has come up which looks to offer just as good a return

From the pictures it looks to be in an OK decorative condition, the bathroom is fine but ideally the dated kitchen could do with being updated

Based on adding a worst-case £5,000 to the 'Offers Over' £40,000 price will still return 10.6% Gross Yield assuming a very achievable £400pcm rent

Click here for details

Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more details

Monday, 1 December 2014

'Needs Work' 2 Bedroom End Terrace in Redhouse (7.2% Gross Yield)

This 2 bedroom end terrace on a corner plot in the popular Redhouse estate needs a full renovation throughout but once complete it will be popular with a range of working tenants

It's on the market for £60,000 and will need at least £15,000 spending to decorate, put new flooring throughout and to replace the dated kitchen and bathroom

Once complete, the property should easily achieve £450 - £475pcm which even based on the lower figure will return 7.2% Gross Yield

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Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Seaham End Terrace Bungalow with Gardens & Garage (7.2% Gross Yield)

This 2 bedroom end terrace bungalow in Bethune Avenue, Seaham will need a little work to get it to a lettable standard but once this is done it will be popular due to the front and side lawned gardens and the single garage

The bathroom will need work to convert back from an older persons wet room, it will need decoration throughout and worryingly there's no kitchen photo, all-in I'd recommend a budget of £10k to address this

Adding the £10k to the OIRO £64 950 asking price will still return 7.2% Gross Yield based on £450pcm rent

Click here for details 

Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information