WHY INVEST IN PROPERTY
Security and stability of our own future is definetely looked at by individuals more today than just a few years ago. Negative reports on the state of future pensions, healthcare, growing economic debt, and the lack of resources from the state are making people realise that they need to begin to plan for their futures.
We can ask ourselves a few very simple questions, and if the answers do not read well, then we know we have to take action.
• Do we want to be wealthier?
• Do we want to achieve our dreams?
• Are we happy with our jobs?
• Are we spending enough time with the family?
• Can we help our children go to university if they wish?
• Will we need to help them on to the property ladder in the future?
• In 5, 10, or 20 years time when we retire will we have enough to live on?
• Can we set our children up before the tax man comes?
Property investing, if done correctly, will help answer the above questions. Whether you wish to buy one extra investment to sort out the kids or build a portfolio so you can change careers, the options are open to each and every one of us.
Since 1946 when property statistics began to appear house prices have doubled almost every seven years. Property is not a phenomenon of the last few years; it has been a secure investment for quite a considerable period. It will remain so as demand continues to rise.
By browsing the web, you have already thought about the reasons why property may be the way forward in securing or diversifying your own financial future. The next question should then be how, where, and what do you need to be successful.
UK Land Ownership: Concentrated in the Hands of the Few
Buying land for land investment purposes has permeated the national consciousness, but owning English land remains a privilege, writes Alex Way.
There can be little doubt that the rate of residential property development on UK land is set to rise markedly in the next ten to fifteen years. Yet the Government’s house-building plans – 3 million new homes on UK land by 2020 or 250,000 per annum for the next twelve years – are manifestly ambitious, given house-building levels are currently running at around 165,000 per year. The Government proposes that one million new homes can in fact be accommodated on ‘Brownfield’ English land, although many commentators question whether there is sufficient viable development land classified as ‘Brownfield’ for this proposal to be realistic. The implication then, although the Government is loath to admit it, is that property development on some Greenbelt UK land is inevitable.
It is not that UK land development is not sufficiently lucrative for property development firms which explains why too few homes are currently being built on English land. It is more the fact that the UK land planning system is highly restrictive and that the supply of development land is controlled by a very small group of UK land owners. The first barrier to increased house-building – the UK land planning system – has in many respects been addressed. To ensure that parochial objections (ie those typically raised by ‘middle-class NIMBYs’) do not inhibit the release of UK land for property development purposes, regional land planning bodies have been inaugurated by the Government that set housing targets, to which local councils must adhere.
The inexorable decline of the British aristocratic class was widely reported in 1990s: ancient contents (objects, not people) of crumbling stately homes were being sold-off in order to repair and maintain the family pile. A scandal involving a lord and an insurance fraud was perhaps the least edifying spectacle, although the pained expressions on the faces of Britain’s noble elite as the hoi polloi traipsed through their once private homes and on their land made for, at times, uncomfortable viewing. However, to infer that UK land ownership in the twenty-first century is spread evenly amongst the masses as a result of the decline of aristocracy would be a huge mistake.
In his book, ‘Who Owns Britain’ (2001), Kevin Cahill takes a long, hard look at UK land ownership. His findings surprised many: the Royal Family for instance owns UK land equivalent to an average-sized county. Just six thousand people own two-thirds of the entire supply of UK land – forty million of the sixty million acres of UK land are owned by a clique comprised of the Crown, aristocrats and a few institutions. Or, put another way, 70 percent of UK land is owned by 1 percent of the population. Some might say the extent of the concentration of UK land ownership is feudal-like, or at least unhealthy in a progressive, modern, liberal democracy with a dense and rapidly expanding population.
Cahill then goes on to put in context these figures on the degree to which owning UK land is a privilege. The British population – circa 60 million – is housed in 24 million dwellings, which sit on just 4.4 million acres (which is equal to 7.7 percent of the UK land supply). Just under 4/5ths of these 60 million residents live on 3.5 million acres, or 5.8 percent of the total supply of UK land. It is also surprising many that only 8 percent of UK land has been developed. That of course is not to say that the UK has 92 percent capacity for new homes: a large proportion of UK land is undevelopable due to the prevailing local environment.
What does all this mean then for anyone considering investing in land? It is not by any means difficult to buy land, but there is not, relatively speaking, that much UK land available (as the bulk of it tends to remain with one owner rather than being actively traded). Certainly there has been a rise in the availability of land for sale as investment land in recent years, so the choice for the investor buying land has widened. But land investment remains a minority sport, from which a few reap spectacular rewards.
How to add value to your home
WHY INVEST IN PROPERTY