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Buy-to-lets leading the way in a tough housing market
A BOOMING rental market is making Oxford a buy-to-let hotspot.
The lettings market is showing no signs of slowing, with agents reporting 10 would-be tenants for each available property.
One- and two-bedroom apartments are snapped-up within days and sometimes hours of being advertised.
Demand is being fuelled by young professionals who cannot afford a deposit to get onto the property ladder and young families who already own a property but need more space.
Finding themselves unable to trade up, many let their homes so they can rent somewhere larger.
There is also a constant supply of visiting academics and medics looking for short-term rental accommodation while they work at the universities or hospitals.
It means property investors in the city could see a 5 per cent gross annual yield, based on average house prices from the Land Registry and average rental prices based on research by HSBC.
Daniel McCarthy, of Headington-based lettings agency Andrews, said Headington, Cowley and Summertown are particularly popular as they are within the ring road and have good transport links.
Mr McCarthy said: “A lot of people come here to study or work and as soon as a property goes live, we get huge interest.
“Buy-to-let is booming because there are so many people who believe they are better off investing in property than putting their money in a bank while interest rates are so low.”
Agents Finders Keepers recently sold almost all 27 apartments in the converted 1960s Grantham House on Cranham Street in Jericho to buy-to-let investors.
Once the build is complete in September, those with one bedrooms will be let for £1,200, while two-bedrooms will fetch £1,700 per month.
Frank Webster, chairman and head of investment division at Finders Keepers, said: “Most of these have been bought off-plan before they are even finished. People have ring-fenced capital especially for buy-to-let property in Oxford.”
Mother-of-two Alison Wilson lives in Abingdon but owns a number of properties in East Oxford and Headington.
She said Oxford is ideal for buy-to-let landlords because of its hospitals and two universities.
She added: “We are in our 50s and 20 years down the line, we are looking to provide an income when we are no longer earning.
“We try to do things properly which takes a bit more effort and money and we have invested heavily in these properties.
“With the hospitals and the universities, there are two ready markets in Oxford but tenants have higher expectations of what they want. Student housing at universities is of such a high standard now, when they move out they are looking for good spec.
WHAT YOU CAN GET FOR YOUR MONEY
WITH the average house price now at £356,000 in Oxford and average rents at almost £18,000 a year, landlords can expect returns on their investments which are among the highest in the country.
Two-bedroom apartments in Rose Hill and Barton command £950 per month, while a similar place in Jericho will net £1,700 per month.
“We try to run our business as ethically as we can, by working with good agents and complying with all the legislation.
“It’s a business like any other business.”
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