Thursday, 30 April 2015

Affordable 2 Bedroom Ground Floor Flat in Town End Farm (10.6% Gross Yield)

In our experience this 2 bedroom ground floor flat on Baxter Road should be popular with a range of tenants and at £39,950 may offer an affordable & low risk first property for a novice investor 

It has secure entry and allocated parking and being on the ground floor will appeal to both young tenants and older tenants looking to downsize

Given there are no shots of the kitchen or bathroom it may be worth budgeting a further £10,000 for modernisation of these 2 key rooms and perhaps a lick of paint & new flooring 

Even with this worst-case refurb budget added to the asking price it will return 10.6% Gross Yield based on a very achievable £425pcm rent

Click here for details and ignore the 'Help to Buy' sticker - for some reason Andrew Craig put this on all their photos but it certainly doesn't mean you have to use Help to Buy in order to buy it!

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more details

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Labour's Housing Policies Could Make 1000's of Sunderland Tenants Homeless

I usually try to keep party politics out of this blog but this is so important that I'll make an exception...under a Labour Government, Landlords will be forced to commit to three-year tenancies and will be banned from raising rents above inflation - the consequences of this will be disastrous

If Labour hold a position of power following next week's election they have promised to rush through the legislation in the first Queen's Speech, so this policy will be implemented very quickly indeed

Many Landlords all across the UK will find this deeply unsettling and faced with this will choose to sell up

Based on 2011 Census figures there are currently 12,564 privately rented properties in Sunderland

If just 10% of Sunderland Landlords decide to withdraw from the rental market because they are uncomfortable with Labour’s proposals and feel unable to manage their risks – particularly when mortgage rates inevitably rise - that will equate to over 1,200 homes no longer being available to the private rented sector in Sunderland

I would like to know where Ed Miliband suggests these 1,200 Tenants should live? 

These Tenants will either become homeless or face having to move in with family and friends on a long-term basis

Aside from this, you don't need to be a student of economics or a property expert to work out what is likely to happen to rents should the demand for housing stay the same yet the supply of available rental properties be dramatically reduced?

Or thinking this through logically...what would be the likely impact on an already fragile housing market if there was a significant & rapid increase in the number of properties on the market for sale, given relatively static demand from buyers?

Turning to another of Labour's hair-brained housing policies - their proposed ban on Tenant Fees - admittedly this looks attractive to Tenants at first glance but it will inevitably lead to the cost for this essential part of the lettings process being passed on to Landlords and Landlords raising rents to offset this increase in costs

This has been the case in Scotland where such legislation has been in place for over a year (recent research shows that since the abolishment of Tenant Fees in Scotland, Tenants pay on average an extra £159 per year more than before the ban) Tenants in England will end up paying more in the long run. Brilliant. Thanks Labour & Shelter, I'm sure "Generation Rent" will be very grateful for that in a few years time...

Looking at housing proposals for new builds from all the main parties, the most that any party has pledged is 300,000 properties in the next five years so clearly this figure will not even scratch the surface of being able to satisfy current demand...which is the real reason that we’re facing a housing crisis

Let's not forget that it was the last Labour Government who presided over the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, which resulted in a credit crunch that has left millions of people unable to obtain mortgages or save for a deposit to buy their own home

It is therefore very shortsighted and totally irresponsible of Labour to propose policies that will drastically reduce the number of available rental properties

Landlords are very tired of being made to look like criminals who are constantly looking to rip off tenants and provide low quality housing - in reality this just isn't the case

In our experience, 99.9% of landlords are decent people that provide decent housing for tenants on a long-term basis

Belvoir’s national rental index confirms that in most parts of the country there has not been the major inflation-busting rental increases that Ed Miliband speaks of and this is certainly true of Sunderland

If we look back and apply Labour’s proposed inflation rule for rental increases, the average rent in Sunderland would have risen from £524pcm in 2008 to £625pcm today rather than the current £591pcm

This is just one example of how Labour’s proposals are full of loopholes and have clearly not been thought through, but merely put forward as a calculated populist move to attract votes...and don't address the real problem which is an acute shortage of housing!

One thing is certain - Labour’s policies will not raise standards or increase Tenant security, instead they're likely to cause a perfectly avoidable housing crisis that may result in 1000's of Sunderland Tenants with nowhere to call home

Bargain Moorside 2 Bedroom Flat (6.9% Gross Yield)

I suspect the price of this 2 Bedroom, First Floor Moorside Flat reflects the dated decor and kitchen as otherwise it has a lot going for it

Located on Morval Close it's a stones throw away from the Doxford International businesses so will be popular with tenants who work there

Unlike many Moorside flats this has the advantage of having gas central heating - this will increase it's popularity over those with electric storage heating and as a result will command a premium rent

Prior to letting I reckon you'd need to spend £5k - £10k on ripping out the dated fitted wardrobes, redecoration & new flooring throughout and most significantly replacing the kitchen but adding this onto the £75,000 asking price will bring it in line with recent nearby sales (decent condition 2 bedroom Moorside flats are selling for between £85,000 - £90,000)

Based on £495pcm rent it will return 6.9% Gross Yield

Click here for details

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Don't Let Your Tenant's Problem Become Your Problem!

If you take my view that "Good Tenants like Good Properties" a Landlord can do a lot to minimise the most common problems likely to be suffered throughout a tenancy by getting it right at the start - by offering a decent property likely to attract a decent tenant and doing thorough referencing to ensure they can afford it and have no nasty skeletons in the closet before signing them up!

Unfortunately, even the best tenants circumstances can change - unfortunately for Landlords, it tends to happen at the most inconvenient time midway through a tenancy!

All Landlords should realise that there is a very real chance that at some point during their Landlord 'career' there are going to be occasions when a tenant simply fails to pay...assuming you have a decent tenant it's more likely to be due to a sudden change in their financial circumstances rather than simply refusing to pay but either way it can have a massive impact on a Landlord's finances

If there is a mortgage on the property and the rent is relied upon to part or fully fund the necessary loan repayments this can create big problems, create massive levels of stress and could ultimately lead to the Landlord losing the property!

I regularly advise Landlords that there's a few simple steps they can take to make the process as stress free and painless as possible - essentially to protect themselves so the tenants problem doesn't become their problem;

  • Don't keep your your mortgage coming out on the 27th if the rent is due on the 25th - this especially applies to Landlords who may have lived in the property before letting it - when you used to pay when you lived there is pretty much irrelevant, move the date according to the Rent Due Date and always make sure there is a buffer of at least a week (ideally 2 weeks) so that you can cope with short term tenant cashflow issues, delays due to Bank Holidays etc
  • Always have the equivalent of 2 months rent in your account - this will cushion you from any shocks should the tenant be unable to pay on time (most late payment issues are short term blips and are resolved within a month) and also will give you a slush fund to dip into should there be maintenance issues
  • Take out 'Rent & Legal' insurance - there are many policies on the market but most will cover rent arrears for a fixed period, upto a set amount like £50,0000 or until possession is regained, and they will also take care of any legal expenses - the better ones will even undertake the legal action to recover monies owed and regain possession on the Landlords behalf - all for what comes down to little more than a tenner a month for a decent policy like the one we offer from Endsleigh
Landlords and investors tend to become obsessed with maximising Yields or avoiding Voids but they would be wise to also ensure that they protect themselves using one or more of the suggestions above to ensure that should their tenants suffer unforseen problems it doesn't become their problem!

For a chat about any aspects of being a Landlord in Sunderland please give me a call on 0191 567 8577 or email

'Needs Work' 3 Bedroom Farringdon Semi (7.3% Gross Yield)

This is one of the larger properties in Farringdon, with 3 bedrooms and 2 reception rooms. It needs full refurbishment throughout, and is in desperate need of a new kitchen and bathroom but once this work is complete it will be a popular property

Farringdon has far more 2 bed properties than it does 3 beds, so this should be sought after by family tenants (and a further advantage is that families outgrow 3 bedroom properties far less quickly than they do with a 2 bed property)

I'd allow a minimum of £15k for refurbishment so adding this on top of the £75,000 asking price it will return 7.3% Gross Yield based on the total investment of £90,000 and an achievable monthly rent of £550pcm

Click here for details 

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Monday, 27 April 2015

Three Bedroom Ashbrooke Terraced House - Priced For Quick Sale (7.7% Gross Yield)

This 3 bedroom terrace is in a great location only walking distance from the City Centre & hidden away in a quiet cul-de-sac 

It's a small-ish property that will appeal to young couples, small families or even someone downsizing from a larger house - it has 2 double bedrooms, a single bedroom and a small garden with both lawned and decked areas

Priced at £85,000 it should get interest from both owner-occupiers and investors

You should expect to achieve £550pcm and based on this and paying the OIRO price of £85k it will return 7.7% Gross Yield

Click here for details

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Friday, 24 April 2015

Four Bedroom Pennywell Semi (8.4% Gross Yield)

Four bedroom ex-council properties such as this are pretty rare, and looking at the property photos it's in a good condition so it should appeal to larger working families 

Some of the decoration is a little 'personal' so it could do with a lick of neutral paint but other than this it's 'Ready to Let' with a decent kitchen and bathroom, a small rear garden and ample off-street parking for a few cars

Given properties of this size don't crop up that often it will be popular and should achieve £595pcm - this will give a very good return of 8.4% based on the 'Offers Over' £85,000 asking price

Its last sale was pre-credit crunch in 2007 when it was bought for £110,000 so there's room for some capital growth too

Click here for details 

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

70% of New Households Will Be One Person Households in 2026

Here's two new housing market predictions that I thought may interest you and will very probably impact on the Sunderland rental market in the future...

1. 70% of New Households Will Be One Person Households in 2026

Official projections suggest that the number of households in England will rise to 26 million by 2026 - an increase of between 220,000 and 225,000 new households each year

It's predicted that around 70% of these new households will be one person households - that's 154,000 more one person households each year

With just under 120,000 households currently in Sunderland representing 0.54% of the total number of households in England, assuming the increase is spread equally across the England that would equate to an increase of 20,000 households to 140,000 households in Sunderland by 2026

Clearly the growth in households is unlikely to be spread evenly throughout England, with the South East likely to experience significantly more of an increase than in the North East but even if Sunderland experienced just 50% of the predicted increase in households that would still need over 900 new properties to be built each year to cope with demand! 

It does also mean that whilst Sunderland currently has an oversupply of 2 bedroom flats and apartments, if the predictions on the increase in one person households are true, demand may increase to such an extent that this oversupply is no longer a problem (as a one person household doesn't necessarily just want one bedroom...)

2. The average age of a first time buyer is now around 33 years old and the average deposit is £26,000

Many of those new households are not going to be able to access property ownership using the traditional mortgage market route to first-time more than likely they will end up renting...

The size of deposit has doubled since 2007 when it averaged £13,000 or 37% of annual income, to £26,000 which equates to 79% of annual income (Source: CML Regulated Mortgage Survey)

Sunderland is one of the more affordable places to live in the UK with an affordability ratio of 1 to 4.1 (calculated as the ratio of the average Sunderland sold price of £85,092 to the average salary of £20,644) so with this in mind Sunderland may not be as badly affected by this prediction as some of the more expensive areas in the Southeast

That said, saving up a 5% deposit on their first home may be still beyond the reach of many Sunderland residents (especially if as the first prediction suggest, people are buying on their own rather than as a couple) given this would still require savings of over £4,000 and that's not including moving & legal expenses, mortgage arrangement fees etc

I thought I'd share these two predictions as they do offer a glimmer of positivity to counter the current Landlord-bashing trend that seems to be all the rage at the moment 

I'd hope that Landlords could take the long term view and see that once the political interference has calmed down a little, they can take reassurance in that the long term prospects from property investment in Sunderland remain good, as more people are renting and will continue to rent (very probably for their whole lives) and given the acute shortage of housing to cope with anticipated demand, the value of their property investments are likely to rise

For a frank, no obligation chat about any aspect of the Sunderland property market give me a call on 0191 567 8577 or email

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Bargain 2 Bedroom Semi in Hylton Castle Only £65,000 (8.3% Gross Yield)

This 2 bedroom semi in Hylton Castle is priced to sell and at £65k it could make someone a great investment

Properties such as this will always be popular with couples & young families from the local area and it looks to be in a 'Ready to Let' condition with a decent kitchen and bathroom

Based on the £65,000 asking price and a realistic £450pcm rent it will return 8.3% Gross Yield

Click here for details

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Two Apartments in Dovedale Court Seaham (+8% Gross Yield)

You wait ages for a two bedroom apartment in Dovedale Court, Seaham to be reduced then 2 are reduced on the same day!

They're both 2 bedroom apartments in the popular 2006 development of 22 apartments on Westlea Road - priced at £59,500 or £59,000 respectively they represent a bargain given the 2006 sale prices would have been over £110,000

There's a few more for sale in the development but all are over £60k so with the recent reductions these 2 will get most interest from investors or first time buyers alike

Based on a conservative £400pcm rent they'll return over 8% Gross Yield

Click here for details

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Monday, 20 April 2015

Two Bedroom Whitburn Semi (7.0% Gross Yield)

This 2 bedroom semi in the ever-popular Whitburn area looks like it needs some cosmetic titivation (a lick of paint & new flooring) but once done it should appeal to a wide range of tenants

Looking at the 'To Let' board in the window it's clearly been rented out previously

It's priced at £80,000 and adding a further £5k for improvements it will return 7.0% Gross Yield based on £495pcm rent

Click here for details 

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Average Sunderland Sold Price is Now 65% More Than in 1995

Following on from the earlier post about pension reforms (and how Buy to Let in Sunderland stacks up as a long term way to fund your retirement) it's interesting to look at how the average sold price of Sunderland properties has changed to see how your asset is likely to increase in value over time 

For most property investors looking to buy in Sunderland, they'll do so looking to achieve a decent monthly return (Yield) rather than achieve spectacular capital growth but even so it is worth noting how a property purchased 20 years ago will have performed since then

Looking at the graph below you'll see an initial period of falling prices, from an average sold value of £79,880 in January 1995 to a low of £70,990 in February 1997 

This is followed by a 3 year period of price stability until January 2001 then a steep increase to a peak average sold value of £180,201 in May of 2008

We all know what happened next...prices in Sunderland suffered in line with the rest of the UK, falling sharply (by May 2009 the average sold price was nearly 20% lower than just a year earlier) with a continued decline until a low point of £129,127 in August 2013

Prices have remained steady since then, with small increase one month being followed by small decrease the next - indicative of a relatively fragile and uncertain market 

Despite what may be happening elsewhere there is certainly no indication of another major house price boom in the offing in Sunderland (with most commentators suggesting uncertainty over the forthcoming General Election will ensure prices remain flat throughout the key summer sales period in 2015) 

With the boom and bust cycle now hopefully behind us, it is worth noting that Sunderland prices have settled down at around 65% more than in 1995 and throughout the late 1990's and early 2000's

Whilst the above graph shows that it is inevitable that house prices will rise over the long term, investors should base their long term investment decisions on achieving moderate long term capital growth rather than the double digit boom (from 2001 to 2008) and bust (from 2008 to 2013)

With this in mind, an area such as Sunderland, which offers better-than-most Yields combined with the ability to rent to good, working tenants (rather than having to rent to non-working tenants in order to receive LHA payments in excess of market rents) should hopefully continue to be attractive to canny investors

If you want to find out more about the Sunderland property market feel free to give me a call on 0191 567 8577, pop into our Frederick Street office or email

'Needs Work' Three Bedroom Grindon Semi on Corner Plot (6.6% Gross Yield)

This 3 bedroom semi in the ever-popular Grindon area has clearly been most recently lived in by an older person (the decor and accessible shower give this away) but following updating it is bound to be popular with working families

Being a three bedroom property means it will be more popular than the more common two bedroom semis on offer in Grindon and furthermore you'd expect tenants to stay longer (by virtue of the fact they don't outgrow a three bedroom property as quickly as they would a two bedroom property)

I'd advise adding a further £15k on top of the £74,950 asking price, making a total cost of investment of £90,000

Based on this and a conservative £495pcm it will return 6.6% Gross Yield - this may not be the highest Yield on offer but this must be balanced by the chance of longer tenancies and the fact that in spending £15k to improve the property you'd hope to build in an element of capital growth in excess of this spend that you may not get elsewhere

Click here for details

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

'Ready to Let' Two Bedroom Semi in Popular Humbledon Area (6.9% Gross Yield)

This 2 bedroom semi looks to be in a great 'Ready to Let' condition with a stylish, modern kitchen and located in the popular Humbledon area close to Sunderland College and Barnes Park

Priced at £86,500 it will return 6.9% Gross Yield based on a realistic £495pcm rent

Click here for details 

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Modern 2 Bedroom Semi on New Build Estate opposite historic Hylton Castle (7.3% Gross Yield)

Some Landlords like properties that need work and others prefer them ready to move into...this 2 bedroom semi on a new development next to Hylton Castle is certainly one of the latter

It's ready to let and at £89,999 looks to be a a decent 'low involvement' let that will be popular with a range of working tenants (I'd imagine mainly young couples or a family with a young child) and will deliver a pretty healthy return

Based on paying the above and achieving a realistic £550pcm rent (given the newness tenants will be willing to pay a premium vs an older style property) it will return 7.3% Gross Yield

Click here for details 

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Monday, 13 April 2015

A Pair of 1 Bedroom Flats in Hendon (+11% Gross Yield)

This pair of one bedroom flats are located together and are being sold together

It must be said that this estate (along with the wider Hendon area) has a poor reputation and the estate is a little rough around the edges, with a mix of working and benefit tenants (and probably more of the latter)

That said we've managed a couple of 2 bedroom properties here for the last 12 - 18 months and have attracted working tenants for both, so this opportunity shouldn't be automatically ruled out - although it may not be for everyone

The pair of flats are being sold as a pair for £74,000, they both come with 1 allocated parking space and the ground floor flat has a small open garden area

The estate agent reckons 12% Gross Yield is achievable but I'd be a little more cautious - based on £350pcm rent and paying the above works out at 11.3% Gross Yield (they're clearly basing this on £375pcm which in my opinion is ambitious, knowing what we recently achieved for the 2 bedroom properties)

Click here for details 

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Another 2 Bedroom Riverview Apartment (9.1% Gross Yield)

Following the 2 Riverview apartments I highlighted at the end of last month, a new 4th floor apartment has come onto the market at £64,950

As I've written before, this development is popular with both young working couples and students - we manage a number of apartments here and never have trouble finding voids are almost unheard of

They rent out at £495pcm so based on this and the above it will return 9.1% Gross Yield (but bear in mind the monthly £100 or calculations)

Click here for details 

Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Three Bedroom Pallion Terrace with Long Term Tenant (+6.5% Gross Yield)

This three bedroom, 2 reception room mid-terrace is one of the larger style properties in Pallion and has been tenanted by a working family since April 2012

They're currently paying £475pcm which is a little below market value, but based on this and the £87,500 asking price it will return 6.5% Gross Yield

Based on a market rent of £495pcm this rises to 6.8%

This has been rented consistently since purchased as an investment in 1999, generating over £80,000 in rental income during that time

It's being sold privately by an investor so rather than contacting an estate agent give me a call or drop me an email if interested and I'll put you in touch with him direct

Call 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Four Bedroom Terrace in Thornhill (6.2% Gross Yield)

With a shortage of good quality homes for larger families this 4 bedroom terrace should get good levels of interest & being close to Thornhill School should attract long term tenancies (so whilst the 6.2% Gross Yield is at the lower end of what Investors would be looking for, this should be balanced with fewer void periods)

It's in a good condition, pretty much 'Ready to Let' - it has 4 bedrooms (3 doubles and a single) and 2 reception rooms, the kitchen and bathroom look to be modern and well looked after

It's priced at £125,000 and will return 6.2% Gross Yield based on £650pcm

Click here for details

Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Two Bedroom Redhouse Terrace (8.3% Gross Yield)

This two bedroom in Redhouse terrace needs a lick of paint throughout to calm down a few brightly coloured rooms but other than that looks to be in a decent condition that will attract interest from couples or families within the local area

It's priced at £65,000 and allowing a further £5,000 for improvements it will return 8.3% Gross Yield (based on a realistic £450pcm rent)

Click here for details 

Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Shock Horror! Most Health Workers DON'T Live Close to Sunderland Royal Hospital!

I was chatting to a potential investor the other day who was considering buying a property in High Barnes "as it's close to the Hospital" and this got me thinking whether this assumption about Sunderland Royal Hospital staff living close to their work really rings true...

We know that anecdotally, many properties we manage in and around the hospital have been let to nurses and hospital staff at some point but we know that equally many tenants living in SR4 work in the City Centre or further afield

I did a bit of digging, looking at recent employment stats from the latest census data and the figures make interesting reading

On first glance, more Health Workers in Sunderland live in the SR4 postcode than any other area, with 3,221 Health Workers in it looks like the assumption is true!

Dig a little deeper though and SR4 has the largest working population of all the Sunderland postcodes with 18,654 working is it surprising that it has a greater number of Health Workers than elsewhere?

Looking at Health Workers as a percentage of the working population in the area, Health Workers represent 17.2% of the working population in SR4, which is the highest percentage of Health Workers as a proportion of the total workforce in any of the Sunderland postcodes

That said, there's not a massive difference between SR4, with 17.2% Health Workers and the other areas, which have between 13.6% and 15.0% Health Workers as a percentage of the total working adults

If it was true that Sunderland Royal Hospital workers sought out accommodation close to their place of work in SR4 wouldn't you expect a much bigger difference against the other areas than only 3 or 4 percentage points?

Look at it the other way and with 13,205 Health Workers in Sunderland and only 3,221 living in SR4, that means 76% of Health Workers living in Sunderland DON'T live in SR4!

So what does this really tell us? First, that it's always good to challenge assumptions and second, there's no such thing as too much research into an area 

Buy to Let investors need to get a deep understanding of an area prior to investing - not just in terms of the available properties & expected rental returns but they also need to get a real understanding of who their tenants may be both now and in the future

SR4 is a good area to invest in and having the hospital on the doorstep certainly does no harm, if you can find the right property and you understand your potential tenants to deliver a property to appeal to them 

But that's not to say it's the only option - after all, many investors look towards the SR5 area..."because it's close to Nissan..."

For more information on the Sunderland property market or for a free, no obligation chat about any aspect of property investment in Sunderland give me a call on 0191 567 8577 or email

Three Bedroom Semi in Popular Fulwell Location (6.2% Gross Yield with Good Capital Growth Potential)

This 3 bedroom, 2 reception room semi is very close to Seaburn Metro & the Sea Road shops and with front and rear gardens as well as off-street-parking, it will be popular with working families 

It's offered in a good condition with a decent quality galley kitchen but it may may need a little decoration and new flooring in some of the rooms to bring it to the best lettable standard

Based on paying the £115,000 asking price and a realistic £595pcm it will return 6.2% Gross Yield but this sort of a property could be a rarity in also offering decent capital growth potential - on average, Fulwell properties have increased 7% within the last year but are still 17% down on 2008 levels

Click here for details

Call us on 0191 567 8577 or email for more infomation