We have long advocated the attraction of a secure income stream and smaller properties:
- In December 2012 we sent out a property bulletin advocating HMOs (House in Multiple Occupation) which produce high rental returns
- In May 2014 our property bulletin highlighted the demand for smaller centrally located properties and the value they offered compared to regional homes
Our long standing view is that the security and level of rental income should be of paramount importance to investors. This is often over-looked by investors who focus almost exclusively on capital growth. Both HMOs and studio units offer excellent rental returns and investors do not have to forsake capital growth simply because they want to maximize their ongoing income.
A typical HMO is a house which has been configured to provide individual rooms, which may or may not have en-suites, and which have shared communal facilities such as kitchens and lounges. The prime advantage of a HMO is the increased rental return, which can be anything up to double that received from a standard home. Importantly, the right house can easily be reconfigured back to a family home at nominal cost so at resale you can appeal to both investors and owner-occupiers.
A common perception among investors is that HMOs have lower quality tenants and they require a lot more work if they are to be managed effectively. This is not necessarily the case as much depends on the individual property and the choice of tenants. The right property manager will vet prospective tenants and minimize ongoing costs so that the rental return is maximized. The owner should be no more involved than he would be for a standard home. Remember though, you need to buy the whole property (whether it is four bedrooms or forty) and not individual rooms.
Twenty years ago (yes, we have been operating our business that long) studios and one bedroom apartments were not particularly popular with investors and tenants. Over the years, as house prices have increased and demographics have changed, we have seen a noticeable change. In virtually every city in the UK there is good rental demand for smaller properties from young people leaving home, students, professionals, divorcees etc. People increasingly want to live close to their employment, shops and other amenities and are prepared to sacrifice space for convenience and affordability. People need somewhere to live and with the ongoing shortage and limited number of new homes being built demand for self contained studio units and individual rooms in shared accommodation will continue to grow. This means enhanced income streams and sound capital growth for astute investors who own such properties.