UK’s ‘Levelling Up’ What implications for property investors?

‘Levelling Up’ the government’s signature policy for boosting economic growth in the Midlands and North is still without a Blueprint. Although the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, headed by Michael Gove has promised one soon.

‘Levelling Up’ included an integrated rail plan for the North and Midlands. However the scrapping of the Eastern leg of HS2 from Birmingham to Leeds and the connections between Leeds, Bradford and Manchester has created doubts. How easily can levelling up be achieved?

Casting an eye over the current economic statistics, they reveal a wide variation in productivity and performance across the country. This is not just about the ‘left behind’ or forgotten mining communities. Our main regional cities are under performing.

The greater South East is one of the most productive parts of Europe. Whilst the UK’s largest cities outside the South East are responsible for the UK’s poor productivity. This includes Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. What’s more the UK’s regional cities compare unfavourably with their counterpart cities in Continental Europe (Policy Thinktank Centre for Cities).

This is puzzling given some of these cities have been revamped in recent years and injected a degree of diversification into their micro-economies.

One issue appears to be ineffectiveness in building higher productivity and exporting businesses in trading sectors. This is where innovation can be generated and retained in the local economy. Instead many regional cities revolve around service industries like entertainment and leisure. These give a buzzing feel to a location but not always an enduring economic upturn.

Creating genuine regional autonomy to drive innovation and attract private sector investment, is going to be important for the Levelling up agenda.

Why is all of this important for you?

An important consideration for you as a property investor is how well a local economy is doing and therefore how attractive the local housing market is. Not to mention how infrastructure improvements enhance the standing of an area.

How are property investors affected by Levelling Up?

So when you see signs that the ‘Levelling Up’ agenda is going to make a difference and create fundamental change rather than cosmetic changes to our Regional cities, that will be a moment to benefit.

Not all infrastructure investment works well. Take the Freeport status, conferred on eight cities and towns in the Spring Budget. Heralded as boosting the nationwide economy though lower tax regimes. The OBR’s analysis suggests this simply alters location choices, rather than boosting the overall national economic picture.

How to Navigate the Property market?

In the property sector the much-anticipated increase in mortgage interest payments, may just be around the corner. Many of you younger investors and homeowners may not remember the time mortgage interest rates rose to over 15% in the late 80’s. So whilst we aren’t entering those realms necessarily, the interest rate rises will be the biggest since the financial crisis. The OBR expects the Bank of England to raise the Bank Rate from 0.1% to 0.75% by the end of 2023, which will translate through to mortgage repayments.

This is a time to take stock and not mortgage to the hilt, whether you invest or are home-buying. Rates can go up as well as down. And consider locking into a predictable low rate now.

Levelling up’ Implications for you property investors in summary

Some regional property markets have benefited from decent capital uplift because of investment in the inner city centre areas, but more could still come in the major centres like Manchester and Birmingham if the Levelling Up Agenda addresses the fundamental issues.

London has been the engine driving the economy but even its productivity growth has been stunted since the financial crisis. So invest in areas with an eye on current economic performance and future growth prospects in mind.

If you want help on your property investment journey then get in contact +44 (0) 1932 849 536 or e-mail

My business focuses on helping time-strapped expats and busy business people who don’t have the local presence, or capacity, to acquire the ‘right’ properties for them. Property Venture® is an award-winning, Boutique property consultancy that finds the right investment properties for clients investing at distance.

Inspired by a Sunday Times article written by David Smith

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How to ensure a property investment deal will work?

Nothing in property investing is certain or guaranteed, but there are some things you can do to set yourself up for success.

How about starting at the end and working your way backwards?

It’s a given that you ought to have a number of exit strategies in mind before you buy an investment property. Taking just one of these, the Buy-to-Rent or Buy-to-Hold strategy.

Who are your ideal tenants?

Say you are seeking long term professional tenants as a family unit. What type of property will they be attracted by? And what is their rental budget likely to be?

For a family with parents who commute into a city centre to work, then number of bedrooms and proximity to transport links are likely to be important factors. Whilst studios or 1 bed flats or a HMO will bring in higher yields, you will be trading off a more modest yield for other factors such as minimising voids, longevity of tenant and potentially lower operational costs; refurbishing or sprucing up between tenants as well as no leasehold costs (usually). Other factors might be the quality of the neighbourhood, proximity of local shops and medical facilities. And let’s not forget broadband in the current era of home-working, it has become ever more crucial for parents as well as children. And so has air pollution become an important factor for many households, which can be found on sites such as, and cycle routes at

Due diligence ahead of buying will pay off

Due diligence is really about researching and checking things out. Contacting local lettings agents who will have insights into what lets really quickly and what is in short supply. I remember a field trip to Harrogate last year on a due diligence trip and heard a good letting agent inform a developer that the town was short of 1 bed homes just at the point a developer was about to invest in another property. That helped shape her decision on which deal to go for, an HMO. Letting agents may even be a source of referrals to landlords thinking of selling up.

You can use online portals and tools to give a dipstick overview of demand e.g. Rightmove, by checking numbers of 2 or 3 bed houses To Let and Lets Agreed to get a measure of the levels of supply and demand.

Is it mortgageable?

It’s also worth bearing in mind what is and isn’t easily mortgageable. For the most part there are more issues with flats than houses, but still some houses of Non-Standard construction or some ex-local authority stock can be problematic.

If you would like help finding the right buy-to-hold property for you then please get in contact.

I work with time-strapped expats and entrepreneurs who don’t have the capacity, local presence or gaps in their know-how to build property portfolios in the right way for them. (Or who are simply stuck with little progress). This means you can carry on your day-to-day lives without spending disproportionate time getting sucked into investing.

Our clients get regular updates on hot deals and the latest changes in the property market. Want these? Go here

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Five top tips for sensible property investing

There are trends in property that come and go, some are fads and get-rich-quick schemes, others have more merit and so persist. Here are a few things to bear in mind when investing in property abroad: Continue reading Five top tips for sensible property investing

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Istanbul or Turkey property investors – think this is a “Turkish Spring”?

If you are a property investor or have bought an apartment in Istanbul, you might be wondering what is happening in Turkey. Istanbul’s unrest is a sign that more people want democracy higher on the agenda. Continue reading Istanbul or Turkey property investors – think this is a “Turkish Spring”?

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