Friday, 2 December 2016

Versatile 4 Bedroom End Terrace Close to Hospital (20% Below Market Value)

We've managed this versatile end terrace since 2008, renting to students and professional sharers - the owner is now looking to sell and is prepared to take 20% below market value for a quick sale 

Over the years we've rented it as a small HMO to either students or working sharers

The owner will accept £100,000 for a quick sale

Based on renting it on a furnished room-by-room 'bills included' basis it will bring in £1115pcm in rent (based on £70pw for the 3 double rooms and £55 for the single room) which will deliver 13.4% Gross Yield

Sydenham Terrace 

It's not currently on the market with any estate agents so click the link above to view the investor pack and get in touch with me should you need more information

Monday, 28 November 2016

Sunderland Landlords and Tenants - What Does The Tenant Fee Ban Mean For You?

With our new Chancellor of the Exchequer revealing a ban on Tenant fees in his first Autumn Statement last Wednesday what does this actually mean for Sunderland Tenants and Sunderland Landlords?

  • Tenant Fees set to banned within 12 to 18 months
  • Rents due to rise as those fees passed to Landlords
  • Landlords won’t be worse off – and neither will Tenants or agents

The private rental sector in Sunderland forms an important part of the Sunderland housing market and the engagement from the chancellor in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement is a welcome sign that it is recognised as such 

I have long supported the regulation of lettings agents which will ensconce and cement best practice across the rental industry and,  I believe that measures to improve the situation of Tenants should be introduced in a way that supports the growing professionalism of the sector

Over the last few years, there has been an increasing number of regulations and legislation governing private renting and it is important that the role of qualified, well trained and regulated lettings agents is understood

Great News for Sunderland Tenants

So, let’s look at Tenants...this is great news for them, isn’t it?  Well before you all crack open the Prosecco, read this...

Although I can see prohibiting letting agent fees being welcomed by Sunderland Tenants, at least in the short term, they won’t realise that it will rebound back on them

First up, it will take between 12 and 18 months to ban fees, as consultation needs to take place, then it will take an Act of Parliament to implement the change

A prohibition on agent fees may preclude Tenants from receiving an invoice at the start of the tenancy, but the unescapable outcome will be an increase in the proportion of costs which will be met by Landlords, which in turn will be passed on to Tenants through higher rents

Published at the same time as the Autumn Statement, hidden in the Office for Budget Responsibility’s Economic and Fiscal Outlook on the Autumn Statement (The Office for Budget Responsibility being created by Government in 2010 to provide independent and authoritative analysis of the UK’s public finances), it said on Wednesday...

“The Government has also announced its intention to ban additional fees charged by private letting agents. Specific details about timing and implementation remain outstanding, so we have not adjusted our forecast. Nevertheless, it is possible that a ban on fees would be passed through to higher private rents”

Shelter and Scotland

Scotland banned Letting Fees in 2012. The charity Shelter have been a big voice in persuading and lobbying the Government since it managed to persuade the Scottish Parliament to ban fees in 2012. On all the TV and radio shows at the moment, they keep talking about their Independent Research, which they said showed that, 

“renters, Landlords and the industry as a whole had benefited from banning fees to renters in Scotland. It found that any negative side-effects of clarifying the ban on fees to renters in Scotland have been minimal for letting agencies, Landlords and renters, and the sector remains healthy.”

Going on, 

“Many industry insiders had predicted that abolishing fees would impact on rents for Tenants, but our research show that this hasn’t been the case. The evidence showed that Landlords in Scotland were no more likely to have increased rents since 2012 than Landlords elsewhere in the UK. It found that where rents had risen more in Scotland than in other comparable parts of the UK in 2013, it was explained by economic factors and not related to the clarification of the law on letting fees”

.. yet the devil is in the detail….

Only yesterday Shelter were quoting this Research from December 2013 to say rents never went up following the Tenant fee ban in Q4 2012. I have read that research and I agree with that research, but it was published three years ago, only 12 months after the ban was put into place 

I find it strange they don’t seem to mention what has happened to rents in Scotland in  2014, 2015 and 2016 .. because that tells us a completely different story!

What really happened in Scotland to rents?

I have carried out my research up to the end of Q3 2016 and  this is the evidence I have found...

In Scotland, rents have risen, according the CityLets Index by 15.3% between Q4 2012 and today

CityLets are the equivalent of Rightmove North of the Border – so they know their stuff and have plenty of comparable evidence to back up their numbers 

When I compared the same time frame, using Office of National Statistics figures for the English Regions between 2012 and 2016, this is what has happened to rents 

North East 2.17% increase
North West 2.43% increase
Yorkshire and The Humber 3.21% increase
East Midlands 5.92% increase
West Midlands 5.52% increase
East of England 7.07% increase
South West 5.82% increase
South East 8.26% increase

London 10.55% increase

….and let me remind you about Scotland … 15.3% increase. 

Are you really telling me the Scottish economy has outstripped London’s over the last 4 years??? 

Is anyone suggesting Scottish wages and the Scottish Economy have boomed to such an extent in the last 4 years they are now the Powerhouse of the UK? 

If they had, Nicola Sturgeon would have driven down the A1 within a blink of an eye, to demand immediate Independence!!

So what will happen in the Sunderland Rental Market in the Short term?

Well nothing will happen in the next 12 to 18’s business as usual!

… and the long term?

Rents will increase as the fees Tenants have previously paid will be passed onto Landlords in the coming few years. Not immediately...but they will

As a responsible letting agent, I have a business to run

It takes, according to ARLA, (Association of Residential Letting Agents) on average 17 hours work by a letting agent to get a Tenant into a property. We need to complete a whole host of checks prescribed by the Government; including a right to rent check, Anti Money Laundering checks, Legionella Risk Assessments, Gas Safety checks, Affordability Checks, Credit Checks, Smoke Alarm checks, Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007 checks, compliance with the Landlord and Tenant Act, registering the deposit so the Tenants deposit is safe and carry out references to ensure the Tenant has been a good Tenant in previous rented properties.

All of which the vast majority of lettings agents take very seriously and are expected to know inside out making us the experts in our field. Yes, there are some awful agents who ruin the reputation for others, but isn't that the case in most professions?

...but business is business

No Landlord, no Tenant and certainly no Letting Agent does work for free

I, along with every other Sunderland Letting Agent will have to consider passing some of that cost onto my Landlords in the future. Now of course, Landlords would also be able to offset higher letting charges against tax, but I (as I am sure they) wouldn’t want them out of pocket, even after the extra tax relief

So what does this all mean for the future?

The current application fee for a single person at my lettings agency is £200 and for a couple £250...meaning on average, the fee is around £225 per property

I am part of a Group of 500+ Letting Agents who share knowledge and experience, and recently we had to poll to find the average length of tenancy in our respective agencies. The Government says its 4 years, whilst the actual figure was nearer one year and eleven months, so let’s round that up to two years

That means £225 needs to found in additional fees to the Landlord, on average, every two years

In Actual Pound Notes 

In 2005, the average rent of a Sunderland Property was £526 per month and today it is £604 per month, a rise of only 14.7% (against an inflation rate (RPI) of 38.5%)

Using the UK average management rates of 12%+VAT, this means the Landlord will be paying £870+VAT per annum in management fees

If the Landlord is expected to cover the cost of that additional £225 every two years, rents will only need to rise by an additional 2% a year after 2018, on top of what they have annually grown by in the last 5 years

So, if that were to happen in Sunderland, average rents would rise to £678 per month by 2022  (see the blue line on the graph) and so the Landlord would pay £976+VAT per annum in management fees...which would go towards covering the additional costs without having to raise the level of fees

...but that is bad news for Sunderland Tenants?

Quite the opposite. Look at the red line on the graph. If the average rent Sunderland Tenants pay had risen in line with inflation since 2005, that £526 per month would have risen today to  an average of £729 per month (remember, the average today is only £604 per month)...and even if inflation remains at 2% per year for the next six years, the average rent would be £789 per month by 2022...meaning even if Landlords increase their rents to cover the costs Tenants are still much better off, when we compare to the £678 per month figure to the £789 per month figure


The banning of letting fees is good news for Landlords, Tenants and Agents

It removes the need for Tenants to find lump sums of money when they move. That will mean Tenants will have greater freedom to move home and still be better off in real terms compared to if rents had increased in line with inflation

Landlords will be happy as their yield and return will increase with greater rents whilst not paying significantly more in fees to their lettings agency. Letting agents who used to charge fair application fees won’t be penalised as the rent rises will compensate them for any losses

.. and the agents that charged the silly high application fees...well that’s their problem. At least I know I can offer the same, if not a better service to both my Landlords and Tenants in the future in light of this announcement from Phillip Hammond

I'm keen to get your thoughts on this article and how you think the banning of Letting Agent fees may impact on the Sunderland rental market?

Friday, 11 November 2016

Super-Cheap 2 x 1 Bedroom Flats - Cash Buyers Only Due to Short Leases (24% Gross Yield)

These two 1 bedroom flats (ground floor and first floor) are being offered For Sale together for a bargain basement £34,950

The catch is that the leases have less than 70 years, meaning at best the choice of mortgages may be limited or at worst it may suit cash buyers only

Either way you'd need to factor in the cost of extending the lease as part of your long term exit strategy

They should rent at £350pcm each meaning you'll return £8,400 per year rental income which works out at 24% Gross Yield!!!

A further note of caution before you get too excited, they appear to be in decent condition so it should be possible to attract working tenants (we manage a couple of small houses on this estate and rent them to working people) but you may need to consider DSS at a push

They're being marketed by Pattinson so contact them to get more details or arrange a viewing

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

Considering a Multi-Let Strategy in Sunderland? Don’t Get Caught Out By Article 4 As It Could Seriously Affect Your Profits!

I’ve been contacted by a number of investors in recent weeks who have purchased properties in Sunderland to rent out on a Multi-Let room-by-room basis

I suspect this Multi-Let strategy is going to become much more popular in years to come as it is a great way to maximise rental income from a property, which will become even more vital when the Landlords mortgage interest relief changes start to bite

It may be a coincidence but all the investors I’ve recently spoken to who’ve purchased properties in Sunderland with a view to “Multi-Letting” them have been from outside the area and all seemed to be somewhat in the dark about the important requirement to obtain planning permission before changing the use of properties in certain areas in Sunderland from a ‘single dwelling’ to an HMO

You have to question the advice they’ve been given prior to purchase so I thought it worth spelling this out as it has important implications that could seriously affect the profitability of a potential property purchase

So what are Article 4 Directions? Essentially councils have been given the power to restrict the change of use from single dwellings to HMO’s in areas where they think too many HMOs may cause a problem

In Sunderland, this has been applied since December 2013 in the following Wards - Barnes, Hendon, Millfield, St. Michael's and St. Peter's

Outside of these areas you’re still OK to move between Use Class C3 (single dwelling) and Class C4 (Small HMO) without the need for planning permission to be obtained

Planning permission will normally be required to change from a Class C4 HMO (3 to 6 occupants) to a large HMO (more than six occupants)

If the property has previously been used as an HMO then there is no change of use so you do not need to apply for planning permission

The advice from the Sunderland City Council website is pretty clear

The impact of an Article 4 Direction is that all new HMO accommodation commencing from 16 December 2013 in the wards covered by the Directions will require planning permission. For this reason If you are considering purchasing an HMO, establishing a new HMO or increasing the number of occupants in an existing HMO then you should seek advice from the Development Management Section as to whether the use could be considered lawful or if it requires planning permission

The council website has lots of useful information here

Applying for planning permission for the above change of use is free and should take around 6 – 8 weeks from the point of application

Crucially you don’t need to own the property to apply, so investors considering purchasing a property for a Multi-Let (that has previously been used as a single dwelling) in one of the affected areas should consider applying for planning permission prior to exchanging contracts as part of their due dilligence

Not to do so risks taking a serious dent in your rental income!

For example a good standard 4 bedroom mid-terraced property in Sydenham Terrace in the Barnes Ward could be rented as a single dwelling for between £595 - £695pcm (depending on condition etc)

Renting the 4 rooms (assuming 3 good size doubles and a single) on a Multi-Let room by room basis can return around £1,200pcm – getting close to double the maximum single dwelling rent!

So if you’ve based your purchase on Multi-Let strategy returns, either ensure you get planning permission for the change of use before exchanging or make sure that the Plan B of renting it as a single dwelling also works for you

Finally there does appear to be confusion over whether this change of use permission is linked to needing an HMO License – let me make it clear – it isn’t

In Sunderland you would currently only need to apply for an HMO License if the property had over 3 useable stories and was rented by 5 or more individuals from 2 or more households

So a 4 bedroom property rented room-by-room in one of the affected Wards would be an HMO but wouldn’t need a license, but it would require change of use permission if previously used only as a single dwelling

I hope this makes the position a little more clear for those considering a property to rent out as a Multi-Let in Sunderland

Please feel free to give me a call on 0191 567 8577 or drop me an email ( if you’d like to discuss any aspect of property investment in Sunderland

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Tenanted 4 Bedroom End Terrace Close to Pallion Metro & Shops (9% Gross Yield)

This 4 bedroom end terrace is currently tenanted earning £7,200pa rental income and is for sale by auction with a Guide Price of £72,000...

...that makes it worth a look 

Based on the assumption that most properties go for at most +10% of the Guide Price, if you get the promised £7,200pa rent (£600pcm, which seems reasonable to me) and pay no more than £79,200 it will deliver 9% Gross Yield

The £600pcm rent is based on letting it as a single AST and the property may suit a Multi-Let strategy renting it room-by-room on a bills included basis to working people - as it is in the Pallion Ward you don't need to worry about Article 4 change of use as highlighted in my recent blog post
It's being advertised by Anthony James so click here for details and contact them to arrange a viewing

Give me a call if you'd like to chat about this or any aspect of property investing in Sunderland - call 0191 567 8577 or email

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

"Needs Work" 3 Bedroom Terraced Cottage in Pallion (8.5% Gross Yield)

This large cottage in Pallion needs work (especially to the bedrooms in the dormer) but once completed it should get good tenant interest and deliver a decent return

It's got one downstairs double bedroom, two upstairs bedrooms in the dormer and a further 'storage room' in the dormer that needs plastering but could make a further study, nursey etc

Image 1 of 13: Main

The vendor is motivated to sell (I've met him) and has already reduced the price a couple of times to the current 'offers over' £57,000

If you can get it for no more than £55,000, spend £10 - £15,000 on bringing it up to a good standard it will rent out at £495pcm, giving 8.5% Gross Yield

Its being marketed by Dowen so call them for details and contact them to arrange a viewing

Give me a call if you'd like to discuss this or any aspect of property investment in Sunderland - call 0191 567 8577 or email

Monday, 7 November 2016

"Ready to Let" 2 Bedroom Apartment in Popular Royal Courts

This 2 bedroom ground floor apartment is new to the market and looks to be in immaculate condition that's ready to let

Royal Courts is popular with a range of tenants - both young professionals and students due to the location close to the City Centre, Park Lane Interchange and University 

Image 1 of 8: DSC 0827.jpg

It's being advertised by Peter Heron for £82,500 which based on achieving a £495pcm rent will return 7.2% Gross Yield - granted it's not the best return (and you'll need to factor in service charges etc) but I do know some investors prefer to have low-maintenance apartments like this rather than trade off more hassle & repairs from buying houses in order to get a better return

Click here for details and contact Peter Heron for more info or to arrange a viewing

Call me to chat about this, buying apartments in Sunderland or any aspect of the Sunderland property market - call 0191 567 8577 or email

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Mount Road 3 Bed Terraces Are £28k More Expensive Than Nearby Kitchener Street But Only Deliver 0.3% Better Yields

I was chatting to a new Landlord today in her property in Mount Road. She's lived there for nearly four years and knows the area very well, so we were discussing how similar properties on the immediately surrounding streets can achieve very different sale and rental prices

This inspired me to look into whether this anecdotal evidence was supported by the actual house price data and how this translates into rental yields

I chose to look at Mount Road and Kitchener Street, focusing on 3 bedroom terraced properties that are popular with families (I also chose these two roads as to allow contrast between the Victorian terraced properties on Mount Road compared to the predominantly 'Miners Cottage' style properties on Kitchener Street)

Generally three bedroom properties are in short supply in Sunderland, from both a sales and rental point of view, so I'd assume that both roads should be popular with both buyers and tenants alike

Both roads are a 2 minute walk from the popular Barnes Infant & Junior Schools (both rated as 'Good' by Offsted) and Barnes Park and are very close to Sunderland Royal Hospital

The average sold price of a 3 bedroom terrace on Mount Road was £111,000 (based on sales within the last 2 years) and the average price paid for a three bedroom Kitchener Street property was £83,167

Interestingly both streets showed 11 transactions in the two year period

Looking at rents, the average Mount Road rent for the 2 year period was £722.50pcm, (however this was based on only 2 rental properties, one of which we manage) compared to 5 rental properties on Kitchener Street (we manage 2 of them), where the average rent was £523pcm

This works out as a 7.8% Gross Yield for Mount Road compared to 7.5% for Kitchener Street

So whilst rents are significantly higher on Mount Road, the much higher purchase price means the yields are pretty much identical

For investors looking to build a portfolio with the lowest outlay or 'money left in' it would suggest Kitchener Street properties make the best investment - however I wouldn't necessarily say this was the case!

I say this as you should always look at additional factors, not just the yield, when weighing up the best investment

Ultimately each property would need to be judged on its own merit but I would suggest that a Mount Road property would always be more popular than a Kitchener Street property, given the abundance of similar 'cottages' on nearby streets in Barnes and High Barnes (not to mention Millfield and Pallion) compared to a relative scarcity of Victorian terrace style properties such as the ones on Mount Road

Three bedroom Mount Road properties were built as that, however the 3 bedroom properties on Kitchener St would have started out life as a 2 bedroom single storey property and had a Dormer added at some point

Mount Road properties have gardens. With grass! Kitchener Street cottages will only have a rear yard

What all this means is that based on my experience it would be much easier to attract a good, long term tenant for a Mount Road property than a Kitchener Street property

Investors would need to weigh up the benefits from purchasing a more expensive Mount Road property with the need for a higher deposit (based on the above average prices and a 25% deposit you would need around £7,000 more for a deposit on a Mount Road property)

This does prove that whether you think you know the local area well or are investing from afar, you should always seek out local knowledge and expertise and consider more than just the numbers when evaluating your investment purchase

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

'Ready to Let' Silksworth Three Bedroom Terrace (7.8% Gross Yield)

This three bedroom terrace in Silksworth is in a lettable condition and looks to offer the scope for 7.8% Gross Yield, based on the Modern Method of Auction price

I'm not a fan of the Modern Method of Auction, I can see how it may appeal to sellers as it passes on the agents costs to the buyer but in doing so it can make the property much less attractive to potential buyers

Looking at the small print on the sale details, this one is being advertised with a starting bid of £63,000 and you'd expect the reserve price to be within 10% of the starting price, so £69,300

Then there's the minimum £5,000+VAT reservation fee so the total outlay may be in the region of £75,300

Even so, based on £495pcm rent it will return 7.8% Gross Yield

It's being advertised by Your Move so click here for details and contact them if you want to arrange a viewing

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

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Pitfalls of Using The Wrong Finance For Your Sunderland HMO Conversion or Flip

With more and more property investors looking to beat George Osborne's Landlord Tax changes with strategies that give a better return than standard Buy to Let, I thought it worth sharing an excellent article by Lisa Orme of Keys Mortgages about the importance of using the correct finance when purchasing a property to convert into an HMO or even 'buy to sell'

When you purchase a property to convert to a HMO you must use the correct finance to do the conversion

Unfortunately, you cannot simply take out either a Buy to Let mortgage, do the works then redeem it switching to a HMO mortgage

Neither can you take a HMO mortgage at the outset on the basis you intend to convert to a HMO

Buy to Let mortgages are exactly that Buy TO LET not buy to convert or indeed buy to sell

Buy to Let lenders expect that rent is going to be coming in day one to pay the mortgage. Lenders would not allow you to convert or do anything other than minor cosmetic works

Similarly when you take out a HMO mortgage the lender and the valuer has the expectation that the property is let or ready to be let as an up and running HMO, not that weeks or months of work is required prior to the property generating a rental income

If you have a 4 bed 3 reception room property that can be let out as is to 6 tenants with next to no work then that would generally be OK, however if you wanted to add en suites, split rooms, apply for planning etc then this is not acceptable to the lender

The correct options for conversion to a HMO are;

  • Cash purchase / refurb followed by HMO mortgage once the refurb is completed
  • Bridging loan or short term loan and then refinance (with the same or different lenders)
  • Refurb to term type product (usually with the same lender)

If don't follow the above advice and you're lucky your Buy to Let application will get turned down at valuation and you'll just waste a valuation fee, later than that and you'll also face wasted legal fees, broker fees etc.

Complete on the wrong loan and things can get really messy

Using Buy to Let mortgages for conversions or buy to sell and redeem them early and you'll get yourself banned by that lender and potentially find yourself on the CIFAS/Hunter fraud alert system

Don't know what the Hunter fraud alert system is? You should! Click here for their website or here for a more revealing Telegraph article

Use HMO mortgages to do the conversions and similarly you may find yourself banned by the lender

Please contact me to discuss any aspect of property investment in Sunderland, whether it is Buy to Let, HMOs or anything in-between, call me on 0191 567 8577 or email

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Five Bedroom Terrace in Roker - Potential Flip

This five bedroom terrace is located in one of most sought after parts of Roker close to Roker Park. It's being marketed with no chain and given it is being marketed by Springbok Properties (who specialise in sales for those who want or need to sell quickly) it may be that the owners may accept close to the Offers Over £125,000 price - leaving plenty of scope for a profit if buying to sell

Unfortunately the St Peters Ward is one of areas in Sunderland affected by the 'Article 4' legislation meaning planning permission would need to be sought to change the use from a single dwelling to HMO (otherwise a good cashflowing alternative would have been to let it to working professionals on a room-by-room basis)

Click here for details

Interestingly the most recent comparable sale on this street was last year and the property (done up to a very basic standard) sold for £211,900 - click here for details

I'd suggest any potential 'Flipper' would make more by potentially spending a little more on a better quality kitchen and bathroom than the one above, and applying some interior design techniques (even just decorating in a colour scheme fitting of a family home rather than wall-to-wall magnolia) would increase the likely return

Call me if you'd like to discuss this opportunity or any aspect of property investment (be it Buy to Sell or Buy to Let) in Sunderland - call 0191 567 8577 or email

Monday, 22 August 2016

Full Refurb Three Bedroom End Terrace in Sought After High Barnes (6.5% Gross Yield)

This three bedroom end terrace on Colchester Terrace needs a full refurb including some damp proofing and re-pointing, but once complete it will be popular with a range of tenants

It's offered with vacant possession and the decor and the age of the kitchen and bathroom suggests this may be a probate property or one where the owner has been taken into care

Image 1 of 8: DSC 0230.jpg

It's being advertised at OIRO £110,000 and realistically you should budget for £15,000 of improvements - negotiate a discount on the price and bring the total investment in at around £120,000 it will deliver 6.5% Gross Yield

Whilst the yield is not as high as you can achieve elsewhere in Sunderland, the location means you should never suffer voids and the condition of the property suggests you can add to the value of the property meaning you may be able to remortgage based on the uplifted value and recycle your deposit, leaving only a small amount of the initial investment in the deal

It's being advertised by Peter Heron so contact them for more information or to arrange a viewing

Call me if you'd like to discuss this or any aspect of the Sunderland property market - call me on 0191 567 8577 or email

Friday, 12 August 2016

Versatile 1 Bedroom Detached Mews House - £25,000 Below Market Value

This 1 bedroom detached Mews style property is ideal for a professional let or serviced accommodation and it is being offered at £25,000 below market value for a quick cash sale

Speed is of the essence as completion must take place within 28 days, if not sooner

The non-negotiable price that's been negotiated with the vendor is £70,000 which is £25,000 below market value (It's currently being marketed by a couple of local estate agents for £99,950)

It will deliver a Gross Yield of 8.8% based on a realistic £550pcm rent or over £18,000 in Serviced Accommodation income based on a conservative 50% occupancy rate

Esplanade Mews Marketing Pack

Click the link above for the Marketing Pack and get in touch with me on 07818034141 (given the need for a quick turnaround) or email if you're interested 

Thursday, 11 August 2016

"Full Refub" Three Bedroom Cottage in Popular High Barnes (7.1% Gross Yield)

There are a number of our Landlords/Investors who focus only on properties in the sought after High Barnes area - they may pay a little more than in other areas but are always popular and attract Good Tenants 

This three bedroom property needs a full refurb but once complete will be attractive and will appeal to a range of tenants

Image 1 of 9

It's being advertised for offers in excess of £85,000 and you would be wise to factor in a further £15,000 for improvements but even so given the most recent sales in this street have all been for £100,000 or above for 2 bedroom properties (the most expensive one being £114,900)

Based on the above and £595pcm rent it will return 7.1% Gross Yield

Click here for details and contact the selling agent Peter Heron for details or to arrange a viewing

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email to discuss this, investing in High Barnes or any aspect of the Sunderland property market

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Ground Floor Moorside Flat (7.7% Gross Yield)

This 2 bedroom ground floor flat in Moorside has just come onto the market and will be popular with tenants working at the nearby Doxford International business park

It's for sale at £69,950 and based on achieving £450pcm rent it will return 7.7% Gross Yield

Image 1 of 10

It's got the original electric heating that came with these properties when built in the 1960's and 70's so it may be worth considering spending more to install gas central heating - this will make it more popular and could result in you being able to command a higher rent (upto £495pcm)

One thing to consider is the length of the remaining lease - we know from other property owners who have flats in Moorside that the remaining lease is getting to around the length that causes mortgage companies to have second thoughts (each lender is different but it's generally considered tricky to get a mortgage if the lease is less than 60 or 70 years)

It's on the market with Peter Heron so click here for details and give them a call for more information or to arrange a viewing

If you'd like to discuss this or any aspect of property investment in Sunderland please give me a call on 0191 567 8577 or email

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

"Full Refurb" 3 Bed Pallion Semi (7.4% Gross Yield)

This three bedroom semi is located close to Pallion shops, Metro and the Pallion Industrial Estate. It needs a full refurb but once completed will appeal to family tenants

It's being marketed at £64,950 but based on paying this price and spending around £15,000 on the work (it needs full redecoration, flooring and a new kitchen and bathroom in order to attract a Good Tenant) it will return 7.4% Gross Yield based on a realistic £495pcm rent - £550 may be achievable if it's delivered to a really good standard

It's on with Grant Philip Lowes Estate Agents so click here for details and contact them for more info or to arrange a viewing

If you'd like to discuss this investment or any aspect of the Sunderland property market please call me on 0191 567 8577 or email

Friday, 29 July 2016

Will The Average Sunderland Home Really Be Worth £172,000 in 2021?

A new report from The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has predicted that while property values are expected to show weaker growth for the rest of 2016 and into 2017, the average price of a UK home will still be around £40,000 more in five years' time - despite the uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote

Click here for the Daily Telegraph article discussing this report


If this forecast does come true and such an increase occurred in Sunderland, this would see the average price of a Sunderland house rising from £132,720 to £172,720 in 2021

Of course the average price in Sunderland is much lower than the UK average house price (£194,000) so it would make sense to calculate the potential increase predicted in this report in proportion to Sunderland figures

At £132,720 the average price of a Sunderland house is 68.4% of the UK average house price, so applying 68.4% of the £40,000 predicted increase would still see the average Sunderland property price increase by £27,365 to £160,085 by 2021

That would still represent an increase of 21% over the 5 year period

An increase in house prices is all well and good as long as people can still afford them...

The average Sunderland salary is £20,592 giving an affordability ratio (the average house price divided by the average salary) of 6.4

To maintain this ratio the average Sunderland salary would need to increase from the current £20,592 to £24,916 in 2021

And what about rents? The average rent (discounting student properties & HMO's) in Sunderland is around £525pcm and if we were to assume that rents rose in line with the above, this would increase the average monthly rent to £635pcm 

It could be argued that rents may increase over the next 5 years even without any house price or wage inflation stimulus as Landlords attempt to offset the increasing 'Clause 24' tax burden which will be phased in over the next 4 years

Ultimately the recent decision to exit the EU and the political fallout that has arisen following this has created a great deal more uncertainty about both the housing market and the wider economy, however it is encouraging to see a report from a respected source that suggests a positive outlook for the housing market post-Brexit

If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Sunderland property market please call me on 0191 567 8577 or email

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Rare Opportunity To Get A 2 Bedroom Flat in Grindon (8.3% Gross Yield)

We would normally expect to come across 2 or 3 bedroom ex-council semi's in Grindon but there's also a few 2 bedroom flats and one has just come onto the market that looks like a good investment

It's on the market for Offers Over £52,000 and realistically needs a full refurb including new kitchen and bathroom...but having done so you could realistically expect to get £450pcm in rent

Image 1 of 10

Based on that and a total spend of £65,000 it will return 8.3% Gross Yield

It's being marketed by Peter Heron so click here for details and call them for more information or to arrange a viewing

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email if you'd like more information on this property or to discuss any aspect of the Sunderland property market

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Three Bedroom Seaham Semi (10.8% Gross Yield)

This three bedroom ex-council semi in Seaham is being advertised for £55,000 and with the potential to achieve £495pcm rent it looks worthy of investigation

It looks like it's in a 'Just About OK' condition which means it could be let as-is but I'd recommend putting in a new kitchen and putting a shower in the bathroom (which means you'll then need to spend a little on tiling or plastic panelling) to make it most attractive to Good Tenants

Based on paying the £55,000 and getting a reasonable £495pcm rent it will return 10.8% Gross Yield

Click here for details - it's being marketed by Express Estate Agency so call them for details (chances are, given they're a national agent based in Manchester you'll get to meet the owner at the viewing) 

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email for more information

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Caution Advised! "Too Good To Be True" Opportunity To Buy 4 Flats (12% Gross Yield)

You may be tempted by the opportunity to buy this large terraced property split into four one bedroom flats given the £135,000 price and the promise of £16,500 rental income per year...

I'd not go so far as to say all investors should give it a wide berth but I would say anyone considering it should be very cautious and should know what they're getting into...

The street (Argyle Square) is one of the most notorious in Sunderland with the majority of properties being split into rented one bedroom flats or bedsits. Many are of very poor quality. Very few tenants are working. There are known drug problems and frequent reports of violence and antisocial behaviour.

The property itself looks to be very basic and in need of updating throughout, so you should factor this in as an additional cost

Anyway, for the right (experienced) investor going into this with their eyes wide open this could make a decent investment - the advert is from a Quick Sale estate agent and mentions the seller is a Motivated Seller so I'd suggest there may be scope to haggle on the 'Offers Over' £135,000 asking price 

It's being marketed by GetAnOffer so click here for details and given the agent is based in Worthing I'd suggest you'll be meeting the owner

Call me to discuss this or any aspect of property investment in Sunderland - call 0191 567 8577 or email neil.whitfield@

Monday, 25 July 2016

2 Bed Semi With Plenty of Scope to Extend Subject to Planning (7.4% Gross Yield)

This two bedroom ex-council semi in Silksworth is ready to rent and at £80,000 looks to give a decent immediate return but it's the potential to extend it that really caught my eye

It's situated on a large corner plot giving the potential to extend out to the side and also to develop the front of the property for car standing

Just looking at it as-is, with the £80,000 asking price and a predicted £495pcm rent it will return a decent 7.4% Gross Yield

If you look at the sold prices for the most recent nearby 3 or 4 bedroom sales, you'll see that there is the potential to profit from developing this property - to increase the rental return, allow you to remortgage at a higher amount to recycle your funds or simply to sell on at a profit

Click here for the most recent 3 bed sale

And here for the most recent 4 bed (extended) sale

This property is being marketed by Dowen's so call them to arrange a viewing  or for further information

Call me on 0191 567 8577 or email to discuss the potential of this property or any aspect of the Sunderland property market

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Two Bedroom Bungalow in Sought After St Gabriels - Contender for a Flip or Extension

At 'Offers Over £120,000' this 2 Bedroom Bungalow is a little more expensive than many featured on the blog but given the condition (it needs a full refurb) and location (it's a very sought after area very close to the Hospital) it's worth a look for those wishing to 'Buy to Sell'

The most recent sale in the street was for a similar property which went for £148,000 in April 2015 (this was done to a good standard - click here to see the property history

With this in mind, if you can negotiate a decent price and keep the refub costs down to around £15,000 it looks to offer the potential to make a decent profit simply by doing it up and selling it on

There is a large garden to the rear and also the potential for going up into the roof with a dormer so there is plenty of scope for those looking for a bigger project

It's on the market with Peter Heron so call them for info or to arrange a viewing

Call me to chat about the potential for this property or any aspect of the Sunderland property market - call 0191 567 8577 or email

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Were House Prices A Factor In Sunderland's Overwhelming 'Leave' Vote?

In the dramatic 2 weeks since the historic vote to leave the EU there have been many opinions offered as to the factors influencing the "Leave" vote but one piece of research by that caught my eye was a suggestion that the way an area voted was linked to house price growth. This inspired me to look into whether this applied to Sunderland?

Sunderland, like most areas in the North voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU, with 61% of Sunderland voters choosing to come out of the EU

European Way, road closed sign

Whilst undoubtedly the 'Leave' vote had many separate factors such as fears over jobs, immigration and the desire to claw back control from Brussels, not to mention the protest vote of wishing to register disatisfaction with the current political system - the research noted house prices in the 20 areas with the highest vote for Brexit have increased just 9% since 2011, compared to 18% in the 20 areas with the highest percentage of votes to Remain.

The following graph visually illustrates how the percentage of Remain vs Leave votes plotted against house price changes

Bizarrely Sunderland does not feature in the summary figures shown, despite the 61% vote being higher than 12 of the areas included, however putting that to one side, in Hartlepool and Burnley, which had the highest level of support in the country to leave the EU (69% and 66% respectively), the report states that house prices have fallen 5% and 8% respectively in the last five years.

I've done my own research and having done so I'd suggest the above are 'asking prices' which most clued up property people will know are really not the same as what properties are actually selling for

With this in mind I've looked at Land Registry sold price data for Sunderland, Hartlepool and Burnley then compared them to the English cities with the highest Remain votes, namely Cambridge, Brighton and Bristol, all of which had Remain votes in excess of 60%

I'm ignoring Scotland as the Land Registry doesn't cover Scotland and ignoring London as as it has had some of the highest and fastest house price growth in the country, and would skew the data.  For example Hackney, in east London, where house prices have risen by 62% in the last five years, voted 78.5% in favour of Remain...

When looking at sold values, the 'Leave' areas of Sunderland, Hartlepool and Burnley in the last 5 years, Sunderland and Burnley showed sold values falling by 12% and 18% respectively with Hartlepool showing a modest increase of 2%

Compare this to the three top Remain areas where they all showed double digit growth, with Cambridge sold values increasing by 48% in the last 5 years, Brighton increasing 39% and Bristol by 35% 

The report noted that "Many areas of the country, particularly in the North, haven’t enjoyed the boom times experienced in London since 2011, an area which voted strongly to remain in the EU.”

It is also telling that the other cities which voted Remain tended to have a young population, have retained graduates and have high levels of employment. These are also likely to have higher house price growth due to a high levels of demand which have outstripped supply.

With this in mind it would be overly simplistic to say that house price growth was directly linked to the way an area voted - Newcastle disproves this theory as it experienced the same 2% sold value increase as Hartlepool over the last 5 years but voted by the slimmest of margins 50.7% to Remain - however the housing market is a good indicator of the relative prosperity of an area which links back to the likely underlying feelings of it's population

If you'd like to have a chat about any aspect of the Sunderland property market feel free to give me a call on 0191 567 8577 or email