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British Banks and Insurers Invest Heavily in UK Rental Property

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British Banks and Insurers Invest Heavily in UK Rental Property

By - Wednesday 21 December 2011

Lofty apartments in London's prime boroughs, chic chalet's in the finest Alpine ski resorts of France and Switzerland, and 2 bed semi's in Salford. Spot the odd one out?

While there may be many reasons making the 2 bed semis in Salford the odd one out, investment potential is not one of them according to British institutional investors, who have invested heavily in British housing stock in the last 12-18 months, to capitalise on the current rental boom, and solidify their investments away from the tumultuous global stocks and bonds markets.

According to data just released by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, financial institutions invested £2.2 billion in UK houses and apartments in the year ending April 2011, a 189% increase over the previous year.

Specialist property companies also increased their exposure to UK buy to let during the period, the data shows that such firms purchased £7.5bn worth of UK rental properties, which is a 27 percent increase over the same period in 2010. Wealthy British individuals are also getting in on the action. They invested a combined £193.8 billion in the year ending April, which is surprisingly only a 24% increase over 2010.

The growth is hardly surprising. The financial world is a scary place, and the stock markets are even scarier. The Eurozone debt crisis is making any European investment a high risk strategy, especially now with some reports indicating that banks are putting in place contingency plans for the Eurozone's complete break-up, although few believe this will come to pass.

Never the less, this makes British property one of the few safe investments in Europe. Property is far less volatile than stocks, and of course, Britain stayed out of the euro, so, while it would suffer a shock if the Euro collapses, its property market will see a far smaller hit than those in the Eurozone.

On top of the long term safety of British property, the rental yields are currently very attractive in the short-mid term as well, with the constrained mortgage market, lack of affordability and housing shortage continually drive up rental demand. The latest data rents and yields are growing across the country. The latest Residential Lettings Survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said that 15% more chartered surveyors reported rental yields rose rather than fell in the three months ending October. This is the 7th consecutive quarter of rising yields according to RICS.

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*This page is provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as offering advice. IPIN is not licensed to give financial advice and all information provided by IPIN regarding real estate should never be treated as specific advice or regulations. This is standard practice with property investment companies as the purchase of property as an investment is not regulated by the UK or other Financial Services Authorities.

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