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Get Britain working… by investing in buy-to-let

July 13, 2015Article by Ray Withers

I was fascinated to read recently that Business Secretary Sajid Javid is pushing to increase worker productivity in Britain in order to fix the foundations and make it a more prosperous nation. Apparently, the UK’s worker productivity levels lag behind those of other European countries, and the government is looking for ways to counteract this imbalance.

The Brownfield plan

One way in which the government is aiming to boost worker productivity is through the planned building of homes on brownfield sites, where land is currently disused. Former industrial sites in top central locations are just crying out for development in cities across the UK and the idea is that building homes on these sites will enable workers to live close to their place of employment, which should impact positively on productivity levels.

Developers could be in line to receive automatic planning permission on some of these sites, while key housing projects could be fast-tracked in order to get them built as soon as possible. These initiatives are certainly appealing, but even with such plans in place it will still take time to ready the land and then build new homes on it.

The immediate solution

While the government’s plans take shape and developers look at how they could help to ease Britain’s desperate shortage of homes through building on brownfield sites, there is a more immediate solution. Buy-to-let investment in major cities is providing high end, centrally located apartments that are ideal for those working in the city centre and looking to live nearby. Many of these are already under construction, meaning that worker productivity can be boosted in the very near future.

The Sandford in Belfast is a great example of this. The development is under construction and due for completion in 2016. For between £110,262 and £145,700, investors can purchase elegantly designed one and two bedroom apartments and duplexes. The apartments are in an excellent location, nestled between the city centre and the trendy bars and restaurants of the Titanic Quarter and the waterfront. Already, two independent valuations have increased yields up to an expected 7.2%.

This kind of buy-to-let property is precisely what Britain needs to get it working more efficiently and is in line with the government’s views on increasing worker productivity through beneficial residential location. At the same time, it’s also an ideal opportunity for investors, with Belfast’s house prices on a firm upward trajectory – prices there have risen by 11.88% in the past two years based on data from Zoopla.

It’s great that the government is looking to increase worker productivity in Britain and also that plans to use brownfield sites to tackle the housing crisis are making progress. These things take time though. Thankfully, in the meantime, buy-to-let is once more coming to the rescue.

For more information about leading UK buy-to-let investment opportunities, contact Property Frontiers or call +44 1865 202 700.


Ray Withers

Ray has over 17 years’ experience in the international property market and bought his own first international property investment back in 2002. Aside from running Property Frontiers, Ray has been involved in residential, hotel, student and commercial property investment and development in both the UK and overseas and co-wrote "Where to Buy Property Abroad - An Investor's Guide". As Founder and Trustee of the Frontiers Foundation, Ray is directly involved with many of its projects to ensure they have a direct and tangible impact in individual communities across the globe. He is passionate about property, travelling, scouting out new opportunities and finding time to spend with his young family.
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