Friday, 29 May 2015

Another Online Agent Sale - Tidy Ryhope 2 Bed Terrace (7.1% Gross Yield)

Here's another one being marketed by an online agent (this one based in Bury, Lancs), it's already been reduced and at 'Offers Over' £80,000 could be a decent investment

It's a modern-ish 2 bed mid terrace that's had work done and looks to be in a Ready to Let condition with an attractive kitchen, modern bathroom, a conservatory and a small decked rear garden

Based on a realistic £475pcm rent and paying the £80k it will return 7.1% Gross Yield

Click here for details

Call me if you'd like to discuss this property or any other aspect of property invesment in Sunderland - call 0191 567 8577 or email

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

One to Watch...Overpriced & Badly Marketed South Hylton Terrace (7.7% Gross Yield In A Couple Of Months?)

This is an interesting one simply because looking at the Zoopla ad you can immediately pick up on a few things straight away that make it one for investors to keep an eye on...

Click here for the ad 

Firstly it's being sold using an online agent who I've never heard of...they're based in Greenwich so it would reasonable to suggest that their knowledge of the Sunderland market may be pretty limited...but they're oh so attractive with their £299 selling fees!

The valuation is a little high at £92,000, given the above it's likely to be what the owner wants or thinks they can get rather than an accurate valuation of what's achievable from a local Estate Agent

The pictures are crap and aren't even the right way up (I've used them in all their not-rotated-90-degrees to-the-left-glory), more than likely taken by the owner

All this tells me the owner is doing it on the cheap to save a few quid in Estate Agents fees and despite what Sarah Beenie will tell you, they may suffer the consequences with a total lack of interest

I mentioned a similar South Hylton property in February (that's still on the market by the way) which currently shades this one slightly as an investment due to the lower asking price - and given it's not sold it may be worth revisiting and making a cheeky offer...

So...back to this one...

I'd make a note of this, bookmark it or whatever and do nothing for a month or two then take a look and if it's still there make them a silly offer of around £80,000 - it's a risk but if I'm right they may have had very little interest and may entertain the offer or at least start negotiating

If you can get it for £85k it will return 7.7% Gross Yield based on £550pcm rent, as it doesn't look like it needs much doing to it

Call me if you;d like to have a chat about this one or any aspect of the Sunderland property market - call 0191 567 8577 or email

Friday, 22 May 2015

2 Bedroom Ground Floor Moorside Flat (7.4% Gross Yield or 7.4% Gross Yield...You Choose!)

This is a good example of the 2 bedroom Moorside flats that I'd happily fill my office window with...simply because we know they let well to young working tenants due to them being so close to the Doxford International Business Park where they work

It's being offered at £72,500 and looks almost ready to let...I say almost as it only has the electric heating first installed when they were built in the 1970's

It's got a lot going for it, it's ground floor (so has a private rear garden), has a conservatory and garage in a separate block (although it's worth working on the basis that the garage roof is shot to pieces....they usually are)

Let it as-is with the electric heating and you'd get £450pcm and based on £72,500 it will return 7.4% Gross Yield

We know that Moorside flats with Gas Central Heating command a premium rent and also are far more popular with tenants (who tend to stay longer) so spend a little more to install GCH, redecorate etc and based on £495pcm and a total investment of £80k it will return 7.4% Gross Yield

For me it doesn't bear thinking about for a second - by spending that little bit more on the heating you'll be getting a much more attractive property, one that will attract longer term tenants and one that is less prone to the condensation and mould issues that can be an issue with these properties (especially those with electric heating and especially if you've got a couple of young adults sharing, which you often do)

Click here for details

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

2 Bedroom Top Floor Farringdon Flat (+9% Gross Yield)

We've managed a flat in this building for many years and in our experience know it will be popular. On top of this, as a direct result of a blog post from last year, one of our existing Landlords bought a similar flat in a block round the corner, one of our trusted contractors renovated it and he now has a good tenant living there and is earning over 10% Gross Yield... 

This one needs a bit more work so you might struggle to get 10% Gross Yield but I'd suggest you'll probably get 9% - based on spending £10k ontop of the £45,000 asking price

The bathroom needs updating and the kitchen needs attention - the unit doors need replacing and in doing so it might avoid the need for a new fitted kitchen - and on top of that I'd always budget for a lick of paint throughout and you'd be wise to get rid of the ugly gas fire in the lounge

Interestingly the lounge and kitchen walls have been knocked through leading to a much more open plan layout than most of these flats - this may polarize opinion but I quite like it

Based on £425* rent and a total investment of £55,000 it will return 9.25% Gross Yield

Click here for details

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

* regular readers of this blog / people who I've spoken to about this will know I have a real issue with rents ending in '25' (call me if you want to know why...) but this is based on what we're getting for Cragside House round the corner

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

What Does The General Election Result Mean For The Sunderland Property Market?

After the shock of the Conservatives returning to power with a majority at Westminster, all the potential issues and possible uncertainties of either a hung parliament or a Labour government with it's 'anti Landlord' policies, has lifted the cloud from the Sunderland property market

Talking to other Sunderland agents, surveyors and solicitors in the area over the last few days, there are signs this has started a new impetus the Sunderland property market after a subdued few months, when an amalgamation of tougher lending conditions and political uncertainty ahead of the General Election slowed demand

Against the back drop of Labour’s election promises of rent controls and three year tenancies, some Sunderland buy to let landlords were waiting to see how these new policies would be implemented before they committed themselves to buying more property for their portfolio

Now that uncertainty has been removed, the long term picture is very positive

So, where next for the Sunderland property market? 

With inflation at zero and with the Money Markets happy that David Cameron is still at No.10, the Bank of England have no reason to raise interest rates until 2016 at the earliest.

As mortgage rates are at their lowest levels since 2010, Landlords with larger deposits will now be wooed by the mortgage companies in the coming months with low rates

Some landlords might be nervous about the Tory’s plans for the housing market in the next five years affecting tenant demand for their rental properties

One plan is for Housing Association tenants to have the right to buy their property

These tenants were never in the private rented sector and will actually increase the supply of properties in the housing stock in decades to come 

The Government ‘Help to Buy Scheme’ has only helped to buy 1,124 Sunderland properties since the launch of the scheme in April 2013. Considering 5,542 properties have changed hands in this period alone in Sunderland, this represents a significant proportion of the Sunderland market but I don’t think it has made a huge difference to our local private rented sector

There are other policies which aren't as potentially harmful as the Labour plans but could still have a significant impact, such as the Deregulation Bill which bans 'revenge evictions' (this has already been through the Commons and the Lords and is due to come into force later this year)

Equally significant is the recent Conservative plan, slipped into the pre-election budget, which seeks to make it legal to allow tenants to sub-let 

If this sees the light of day it could be an absolute minefield but it's getting significant levels of understandable criticism from ARLA, The National Landlords Association etc and I'd suggest in the face of these objections I'd like to think it gets parked or quietly forgotten's not as if it was a major manifesto pledge 

The biggest matter, when it comes to tenant demand of rental property going forward, comes from the shift in the mindset and attitudes towards renting itself

Twenty years ago, in some quarters, you were seen as a second class citizen if you rented a property. Not any more! In Sunderland, as in the rest of the UK (apart from Central London), renting continues to offer good value for money for tenants

If you are an existing landlord in Sunderland (or are thinking of becoming one), then I must recommend you out seek specialist advice before making any decisions 

As I've mentioned many times before, I'll happy to make myself available to give you my thoughts on the current state of the Sunderland property market, the way it is likely to develop in the future, the advantages & disadvantages of investing in the Sunderland property market and what properties and areas you should be looking at - why not pop into our offices for a chat or give me a call on 0191 567 8577  

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Stunning Town End Farm 3 Bedroom Semi (7.9% Gross Yield)

This 3 bedroom semi in Town End Farm has been recently improved and modernised to a very high standard and is likely to have Good Tenants fighting over themselves to rent it

It looks to be at a bit of a steal at £83,500, given you'll need to spend nothing on it prior to letting

Based on the above and an achievable £550pcm rent it will return a healthy 7.9% Gross Yield

Click here for details

Call me on 0191 567 8577 for more details but don't delay, I think this one will go quickly!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Another Dovedale Court Apartment for Less Than £60k (8% Gross Yield)

In addition to the 2 similar apartments I highlighted last month, this 2 bedroom first floor apartment in Dovedale Court, Seaham has been reduced to £59,999, which could make someone a great investment

Based on the above and a realistic £400pcm rent it will return 8% Gross Yield and furthermore there's room for capital growth, given these were sold as new builds in 2006 for over £110,000

It looks to be in a good condition so is 'Ready to Let'

Click here for details

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Friday, 15 May 2015

'Full Refub' 3 Bedroom Terrace in Sought After Fulwell (6% Gross Yield With Capital Growth Potential)

This three bedroom terrace in Fulwell needs a full refurbishment throughout but once completed it will be popular and offers a balance of a fair Yield with the potential for Capital Growth (Fulwell is one of the areas in Sunderland which outperforms the City for Capital Growth)

It's priced at £100,000 which reflects the condition - there have been 6 sales on this street in the last 3 years and it's evident there have been 'Needs work' bargains (priced at £87k and £90k, both in 2013) alongside properties in a much better condition (the others have ranged from £115k to £145k with the average price of the better ones being £131,000

Realistically I'd budget on £20k to sort out the decoration, flooring and fit a new kitchen and bathroom (given the property will appeal to families, having the current walk-in shower with no bath won't do)

Adding this to the £100,000 asking price and basing the rental income on £595pcm (to achieve this the standard of the refurb will need to be better than the basic 'rental standard') it will return 6% Gross Yield

Admittedly this isn't the best Yield you can get in Sunderland but this needs to be balanced with the potential for Capital Growth, as Fulwell experienced an 8% increase in Sold Prices last year, double the rate of growth in Sunderland as a whole

Click here for details

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email if you want to chat about this or any aspect of property investment in Sunderland

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Investors Guide to Kensington House, Sunderland (Possible 10% Gross Yield but CAUTION ADVISED)

A pair of 2 bedroom apartments in this modern development are for sale by Auction House on June 3rd . This sort of thing tends to appeal to out-of-town investors and at first glance, the £60k (each) Guide Price and the potential for £500pcm rental income looks very attractive (giving 10% Gross Yield) 

The proposed rental values of £475 and £500pcm look realistic, assuming the apartments and building are in a good condition

Before you get too excited I'd advise caution as I know the development well, having found tenants for the developer as the development was nearing completion around 5 years ago

As was the case with many such developments the developer ran into difficulties leading to the building being unfinished for months (having got to 90% completion), essential services were delayed and the the finishing touches that are so important for this sort of development were overlooked and remedial snagging was never carried out

All this means the development was a bit rougher than I'm sure was anybody's intention at the start and as was often the case, with a distinct lack of potential buyers the decision was taken to rent the apartments

Following this, in an attempt to fill it, a local agent struck a deal with Sunderland College to house International Students in half the building (the building is split in 2 with 2 access points), which I know for a fact did not go down well with the professional tenants already living there...

The deal with the College has now ended but the damage has been done (literally) as I understand the apartments and communal areas were not well looked after in the time the students were there

If it was just the apartments that were looking tired then a lick of paint and new flooring would probably sort it but it's the communal areas that would concern me, as assuming you'd be looking to secure a professional tenant they are going to have expectations about the standard of these (and in our experience with this sort of a development, if the Block Managers are struggling to build up a decent sinking fund then upkeep of the building suffers)

Further to this I've often written about the oversupply of flats and apartments in the SR2 area and the impact that this has had - a double whammy of a dampening sale prices and rents and at the same time raising tenant expectations (as they know that with lots of competition about they don't have to settle for second best)

Click here for details

I'd certainly not suggest these 2 apartments are rejected out of hand (as the figures do merit further investigation) but given I haven't been in the building for a couple of years I would strongly advise that anyone considering it must view it in person prior to bidding and I'd strongly advise anyone serious gives me a call so we can have a more detailed chat about the pro's and con's

Feel free to give me a call on 0191 567 8577 or email to discuss this or any aspect of property investment in Sunderland

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

'Nearly Ready to Let' 2 Bedroom Redhouse Semi (8.1% Gross Yield)

We know this 2 bedroom semi detached in Renfrew Road, Redhouse will be popular as we've let and managed a property on this road for a number of years 

It's 90% of the way there to being 'Ready to Let', oddly everything other than the kitchen walls and floor appear to have been recently done up to a good standard, so finishing it off should be easy enough and inexpensive

We're getting £475pcm for the 2 bedroom property we manage and given this one has a drive and garage (and the one we manage doesn't) this will be very achievable

Based on this and paying the 'Offers In Excess Of' price of £69,950 it will return 8.1% Gross Yield

Click here for details

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Important Change in Capital Gains Tax Rules for Non-UK Resident Landlords

New rules on Capital Gains Tax came into force on the 6th April 2015 which could seriously affect Non-UK resident property owners when they come to sell their UK property

Any sales of UK residential property made before that date, whether of a main residence or an investment home, owned by Non-UK resident individuals should not incur a tax charge 

From 6th April 2015, Capital Gains Tax will be charged on Non-UK residents who dispose of UK residential property after that date

Crucially the tax will be charged on the increase in value of the property from 6th April 2015 onwards 

Capital Gains Tax rates of 18% and 28% apply dependent your circumstances

With this in mind we strongly advise that all Non-UK residents should get their properties valued now, even if they have no intention of selling as failing to get a valuation now could possibly mean paying more tax when the property is eventually sold (as the HMRC may query the value as of 6th April 2015 and this could cause avoidable hassle and expense in retrospectively arguing over the increase in value)

Click the link to the site for further information

Monday, 11 May 2015

Needs Work' 2 Bedroom First Floor Flat in Carley Hill SR5 (8.7% Gross Yield)

We've managed a similar flat in the next door block for a number of years, so know that this 2 bedroom flat looks to be a good investment at a bargain price

Looking at the internal pics, it looks to be a half-finished refurb project so is going to need to be finished off and this should take no more than £10k ontop of the £45,000 asking price 

It doesn't look to be a massive project, a lick of paint and new flooring throughout and then finishing off the fitted kitchen and the work-in-progress bathroom

Our most recent tenancy is based on £400pcm but we have £450pcm in the past - based on the lower rental amount it will return a healthy 8.7% Gross Yield based on the total investment of £55k

Click here for details 

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email

Friday, 8 May 2015

'Ready to Let' 3 Bed Family Home Near to The Hospital (7.9% Gross Yield)

Regular readers will know that we've discovered that Sunderland Royal Hospital workers don't necessarily live nearby but even so, this looks to be a great and versatile investment that will be popular

Click here for the link to the previous Shock Horror! Most Health Workers DON'T Live Close to Sunderland Royal Hospital! article 

Getting back to this property, it looks to be in a good condition that doesn't look to require any further work prior to letting

Based on the 'Offers Over' price of £89,950 and a realistic £595pcm rent (we know this is achievable as we've rented similar properties like this, on this street for many years) it will return a healthy 7.9% Gross Yield

Click here for details 

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Full Refurb Project in Popular Fulwell Location (+6.5% Gross Yield)

This 3 bedroom 'cottage' is in a great spot just off Fulwell Road and close to Redby Primary School but it needs A LOT of work to bring it to a decent modern standard that will attract a Good Tenant

I'd advise working on a renovation budget of £15 - 20k on top of the OIRO £89,950 asking price, given it needs a new kitchen, bathroom, full redecoration & new flooring throughout

The roof looks OK though...

Once the work is completed it will be popular and being a 3 bed property it should attract long term tenants

I'd advise that if done to a new, bright & shiny standard £595pcm is achievable so based on a total purchase and renovation cost of  £110k it will return 6.5% Gross Yield, negotiate a good deal on the price or bring the refurb in for less and you could be looking at +7%

Whilst it is possible to get a higher Yield elsewhere, the prospects of long term tenants should be considered and it's also worth noting that Fulwell often shows some of the strongest capital growth rates in the City

Click here for details 

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

An Investors Guide to 31 Nile Street, Sunderland

I've taken a couple of calls in the past few days from investors who've been offered the chance to buy studios or apartments in the 31 Nile Street development

Whilst I'm more than happy to chat through this in some depth with anyone who may be considering buying here I thought it worth outlining my views on the blog in case there are more potential investors out there who may be offered the chance to buy one or more of the apartments and would appreciate a bit of background information from someone who knows the market

I know the development well, having been given the VIP guided tour when it was nearing completion around 2008 with a view to finding tenants - unfortunately the developer ran into problems due to the financial crisis and as is often the case, the development changed hands quickly after that

Since the ownership changed hands I've not had any direct dealings with the building but given it is a stones-throw from the office and apartments often come onto the rental market I've kept a close eye

I noticed that 14 of the 16 apartments were being sold as a block last year (the other 2 apartments are owner occupied and were excluded from the sale) for Offers In Excess of £800,000 and understand it's been bought up by a developer or property group with a view to selling off to individual investors

There are 12 one bedroom studios and 2 two bedroom apartments and from what I understand the studios are being offered at a "Below Market Value" £60,000 with a promised rental of £525pcm

Firstly I think that the rental amount being promised is too ambitious...for a start I have a real issue with anything ending in '25' the logic for this being that people searching on Rightmove, Zoopla etc will search in £100 bands and therefore something at £525 will only be seen by those searching 'upto £600'

Sunderland being Sunderland £500pcm is the magic number and significantly more people will be searching in this price bracket than any higher price bands...furthermore if someone has £600 to spend they'll be able to get something bigger, better or in a better area than what is essentially a £500 property where the Landlord is being a bit optimistic/greedy

Secondly as I've previously stated in this blog there is a lot of competition out there in the City Centre with far more 1 or 2 bedroom flats/apartments than the current tenant demand requires, meaning City Centre rents are falling and tenant expectations are rising - not a great combination for Landlords

All in all I'd say work your calculations on £450pcm for a studio and you may get a pleasant surprise rather than basing your calculations on £500 or £525 and getting a nasty shock when you can't let it

Based on £450 and £60k it will return 9% Gross Yield which on the face of it is not to be sniffed at

But don't get too excited just conditions for flats/apartments in the City Centre also means that there has been a dampening effect on sale values 

Sunderland should always be viewed as a Yield city rather than a Capital Growth city but the constant drip, drip, drip of flats/apartments being put on the market to sell (by owners who bought prior to 2008 and cannot afford to subsidise their losses any longer or in the worst-cases properties being repossessed) means that in the short to medium term there is likely to be very little increase in value, if any at all

Looking specifically at the development I remember thinking that they were finished to a very good standard but a major negative was that compared to other comparable apartments they were very small

Most have been let for the past 5 or so years so it would be worth working on the basis they may be looking a bit tired and in need of TLC and budgeting accordingly

There's no car parking and whilst there is a (unsecure) open car park right opposite the Council charge £50 per month for a residents car permit - this isn't going to be a deal-breaker as I'd suggest may potential tenants wouldn't have a car, but it's worth considering nonetheless

You'd need to factor in service charges, I don't know the exact figure but I do know who the block management firm is and know their normal scale of charges, and given there are lifts in the building you'd need to work on at least £100-150pcm

I'd want to check out who else was in the building - the development will attract both working, local young professionals and students but I would want to check that at some point in the past 5 years Landlords haven't moved in DSS tenants as this could upset the balance and could negatively affect your  ability to attract professionals 

I say this as whilst Estate Agents may describe the area as 'Up & Coming' it's actually in a pretty grotty end of the City with a lot of industrial units on Nile Street (some in use, some not), and nearby there are a number of hostels, a drug rehab centre and a 24h pharmacy dispensing methadone that can lead to the area attracting some dodgy characters, especially at night 

For balance, there is also the HQ of cable TV channel GOD TV round the corner...

Finally, whether they are working or students this sort of a property is very likely to attract short-term tenants who will stay 6 months or a year at most, which is likely to increase costs (in terms of letting fees, redecoration etc) and increase the worry & uncertainty which comes with the dreaded void period 

There are decent long term investments to be had for around £60k in Sunderland but I'd suggest you could get a better investment elsewhere - I've just posted this 'Ready to Let' 2 Bedroom Flat Near Nissan & A19 on the blog which is a prime example of what you can get a bit further out from the City Centre - it may not be quite as 'sexy' as 31 Nile Street but offers far better prospects in the short, medium and long term

Alternatively, if you're determined to stay near the City Centre something like this 2 bedroom Another 2 Bedroom Riverview Apartment (9.1% Gross Yield) may cost a few grand more but represents a much better long term investment

For a free, no obligation chat about the Nile Street development or any other investment opportunities in Sunderland feel free to give me a call on 0191 567 8577 or email

'Ready to Let' 2 Bedroom Flat Near Nissan & A19 (7.7% Gross Yield)

This is a great example of the 1960's built 2 bedroom flats in Town End Farm that can make a great, low cost, low risk investment

Looking at the pics it looks to be 'Ready to Let' and should easily command £400pcm - based on this and the £62,000 it will return 7.7% Gross Yield

Admittedly there are cheaper flats available in the area - my blog post from last week showed one at less than £40k but this is likely to have needed work

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

'Ready to Let' 3 Bedroom Town End Farm Terrace (6.6% Gross Yield)

This 3 bedroom, 2 reception room mid-terrace in the popular Town End Farm area will get good tenant interest and looks like it needs no further work prior to letting

It will return 6.6% Gross Yield based on the OIRO £89,950 asking price and £495pcm rent

Whilst it may be possible to get higher yields elsewhere, this must be balanced against the risk of voids and in our experience 3 bedroom properties in this area are likely to attract long term working tenants (likely to be young families from the local area with a strong support network nearby) so this must be borne in mind

Click here for details

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Friday, 1 May 2015

'Needs Work' 2 Bedroom, 2 Reception Room Redhouse End Terrace (6.7% Gross Yield)

One of our current landlords only looks to the Redhouse area when he's looking to add to his portfolio and there's good reason for this, properties here tend to attract good working tenants from the local area who tend to stay long term

It's likely that this 2 bedroom, 2 reception room terrace will need a full refurb throughout but once complete it will be popular with couples or young families

Worryingly there are no photos of the kitchen and bathroom, and even the selling agent admits it needs modernisation so it's wise to work on a worst case scenario that they are both dated and will need replacement

Adding a generous £15,000 refurbishment budget onto the OIRO price of £69,950 will give a total investment of £85k and this will return 6.7% Gross Yield based on £475pcm rent

Click here for details

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more details