Property Grand Prix – Britain

Property Grand Prix – Britain

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A sodden English Grand Prix saw plenty of drivers skid off the track this weekend. While Brit Lewis Hamilton delighted his British fans in true fashion and a roaring win, the Ferrari team had to go home empty handed.

Starting out on a damp track, the race Hamilton soon took the lead in round five when he sneaked past Heikki Kovalainen after touching wheels with him at the start.

The crucial point in the race came when the Ferrari team failed to swap to wet weather tires in lap 21. Their failure to do this might just have cost them the race. Lucky for Hamilton, this was enough to rock away from the red team and claim the podium. McLaren’s decisions to stick with the wet weather Bridgestones proved worthwhile after all

Hamilton’s win put himself, Massa and Raikkonen on equal championship points, leading the competition with 48 points each.

Jenson Button who used extreme wet weather tyres wasn’t quite as fortunate and spun out of the race on lap 38. David Coulthard had a sad finish to his British Grand Prix appearance since his last race saw him finish before he was able to show us his magic for the last time. A mistake by Sebastian Vettel put him out of the race in the first lap.

  1. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes)
  2. Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)
  3. Rubens Barrichello (Honda)

Britain’s real estate market

As we reported last week, the dismal seller to buyer ratio of 15 to 1 in Britain’s real estate market doesn’t leave much hope for the average citizen. With housing prices experiencing a further fall of 1.2 percent in June (from May), the average asking price for a UK home dropped by nearly 3,000 pounds.

Rightmove reports one of the reasons to be the rising mortgage rates which kept buyers away from the property market. Buyers are now more realistic in regards to property prices and what they are worth.

As reported by the Telegraph back in June, landlords are actually profiting now more than ever. Rental incomes have increased nearly 12 percent over the past year and property values by 7.5 percent.

The managing director of Paragon Mortgages, John Heron, said:

“Strong tenant demand has been pushing up rents, allowing landlords to achieve better yields than they’ve seen for more than two years. With lower property prices and higher rents, the yield they can achieve on a carefully selected and well managed investment property can be significantly higher than other forms of investment. With an average portfolio gearing of just 36 per cent, landlords are well placed to free up equity to expand their portfolios.”

Prime London market decline

London’s property prices below £1million also don’t look so hot right now. A recent research survey by UK’s high end estate agent Knight Frank revealed a loss of 2.3% in June for the lower and mid end market.

Despite this somewhat negative outcome, the luxury high end market ( £10m+) is still smooth sailing with a 22.7% increase over the past 12 months. Overseas buyers who make up 60% of the luxury buyers market are becoming increasingly selective. They are no longer happy with mansions, they also want concierges, swimming pools and gyms within their complex.

To put this into context; the world’s fourth-wealthiest man, Lakshmi Mittal, paid a cool £70 million for a house in Kensington Palace Gardens. This is his third home in London, as reported by the Evening Standard last month. Apparently he bought the home for his son Aditya Mittal who is the 32-year-old finance director of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker.

London’s loss is the win of agricultural land

While city folk fear the worst, farmers and land owners with agricultural land laugh quietly. Their land has gained a whopping 22% increase in value over the past year.

This puts the value of prime arable land at £6,500 an acre, up £1,000 or 18%. The credit crunch hasn’t negatively affected agricultural land values to date. Here are some more figures as reported by Press and Journal late last month.

Begin excerpt – Other increases recorded during the year were: average arable at £4,000 (+33%); temporary grass at £3,000 (+20%); improved permanent pasture at £2,000 (+33%), unimproved grass at £1,250 (+25%) and hill grassland at £750 (+50%).

Knight Frank head of rural research Andrew Shirley said the continuing pent-up demand for farmland – from farmers, investors and amenity buyers – was responsible for the strong prices. — end excerpt.

Up yours say the Scots

For investors who have some spare cash (a cool million pounds and up) the regions of Bothwell look promising if we are to believe a recent report by the Hamilton Advertiser. With a number of houses valued above one million, it seems the crunch elsewhere has not affected this upmarket village.

Being not far away from Glasgow, yet situated in some lovely estates, local properties seem to hold their value mainly due to less building activities than in neighboring locations.

Despite Bothwell’s positive outlook, other regions in Scotland haven’t been so lucky in the past 12 months. Some property values have fallen by around £10,000 in less than a year, which equals an overall loss in the country of some 20 billion pounds.

Edinburgh on the other hand has been named the sixth highest city in Britain in terms of property value. A combined value of £58 billion has been discovered from recent research in the capital city. Although these reports indicate some form of consistency, Scotland is still not immune against the global property slump.

Jamie Macnab, director of Savills in Edinburgh, admitted, however, that Scotland has been affected more than estate agents had first anticipated.
He said: “Me and most of the other agents thought that Scotland would manage to avoid the worldwide difficulties and we would get away with a short slowdown. In retrospect, it was a bit naive.”