UK private rented sector index shows marginal hardening in yields

Taylor Scott International News

Total returns from private rented sector investment grade blocks in the UK slipped towards the end of 2014, according to the latest sector index. This was the result of slightly more modest capital growth and a moderate slowdown in average rental growth across the six cities monitored by the Knight Frank index. The trend in capital growth reflects the wider market, with average pace of growth UK residential prices for owner occupied properties also easing from 11% annual growth in the summer to 7% at the end of the year. Average initial gross yields in London, Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow were 6.3% in the fourth quarter of 2014, the index also shows. Overall, average total returns at 11.2% in the quarter and average capital growth was 6.5%, down from 7.3% in the second quarter of 2014. Gross yields ranged from 4.2% in central London to 8% in Leeds. ‘It is interesting to note, however, the shallower discounts on offer on institutional grade blocks, a reflection of the increasing interest in the PRS sector in some key city markets,’ said Grainne Gilmore, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank. The report shows that in the fourth quarter of 2013, the average discount on offer for purchase of whole sale block in Manchester was 13% but this has now fallen to 11%. Likewise, average discounts in Birmingham have fallen from 14% to 12% over the same period. The research also shows that the fundamentals for private rented sector investment blocks remained regionalised in 2014, with capital growth ranging from 3.2% in Bristol to 11.4% in outer London in the fourth quarter. Average rental growth was also spread over a wide range across the UK, not only by region but by type of property. Annual growth in rents in a typical ‘secondary block’ in London Zones three to six rose by 0.96%, while average prime blocks in Manchester saw annual rental growth of 2.99%. The regions also commanded the highest yields, with average gross initial yields in Birmingham of 7.9%, and Leeds of 8%. In contrast, yields were tightest in central London, at 4.2%. The research shows that over the past 12 months there has been a sustained increase in momentum within the PRS sector from both large institutional investors and smaller developers. ‘As the investment market becomes increasingly familiar with PRS fundamentals, we have witnessed a notable rise in capital injections within key regional centres such as Manchester,’ said Lucy Jones, head of investment lettings and management at Knight Frank. ‘Occupier demand for rental accommodation is strong in these locations, with good take up levels, low void periods and relatively high yields. Due diligence remains a prerequisite amongst investors, meaning that financial viability modelling for proposed schemes has never been more important,’ she explained. ‘We are also seeing divergence among clients about the type of approach they favour in terms of their investment. They may be planning to be hands on, which means we will… Continue reading →

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