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Property investors not deterred by coronavirus chaos, research claims

The latest research from Property Hub has revealed that a huge 98% of property investors still consider property to be a good long-term investment.

Property Hub, which cites itself as the UK’s number one property podcast and one of the largest property communities in the UK, surveyed 1,731 of its members and found that sentiment remained incredibly strong.

The property industry, like nearly all sectors, was plunged into chaos with the arrival of coronavirus, which saw many developers and housebuilders withdraw from site and lenders remove their most competitive products, leaving buyers in limbo as risks were reassessed.

“Sentiment is an important factor with property,” Rob Bence, chief executive at Property Hub, said. “If sentiment is positive, this bodes incredibly well for the sector; development will continue, buyers will buy, lenders will lend and the market will continue to strengthen.”

Of those surveyed, half said their confidence in the current market has remained the same, with 8% revealing they’re feeling more optimistic with the market now than they did before the coronavirus took hold. 

Nevertheless, investors aren’t completely closed-off to the challenges they face. While over half said they were optimistic they could ride them out, 42% said they were only fairly sure they could survive and 3% said they couldn’t survive at all. 

“There’s no doubt that we have some challenging times ahead as an industry,” Bence, who co-hosts the Rob & Rob property podcasts with respected investor Rob Dix, continued. “But investors investing for the long-term understand how the property cycle works and know that if they can hang on, the low which we may or may not see, will be temporary.”

Many investors will sit and ride out the challenges, but others are eager to exploit market conditions, with a whopping 80% saying they’re likely to invest over the next 6-12 months, compared to the 19% who have shelved their plans for the time being. 

“What’s interesting is the data around the rental statistics,” Bence added. “Only 16% of investors we surveyed expected rental values to drop, while 19% are expecting an increase. So while we initially thought investors might start to have a bias towards income-generating properties, this indicates their strategies might not change at all and we’ll still have investors in two firm categories: those who invest primarily for capital growth (long-term) and those who invest for income - although there are those who combine the two.”

Bence’s comments are backed up by data from Property Hub’s own lettings division, which has seen a 30% increase in rental applications received during lockdown, ‘demonstrating that demand for rental properties is still here’.

Bence says that, when it was clear lockdown was coming, ‘we took steps to do a video viewing of every empty available property which has helped keep the rental applications flowing’.

“We’ve even had rental properties snapped up in less than 24 hours over the past few days, so we’re seeing an active rental market right now, despite the social distancing challenges our team are facing,” he concluded.

Property Hub recently held a webinar, hosted by Rob & Rob, for those who had booked tickets to attend the first ever Property Hub Live event at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in late April – which was, for obvious reasons, postponed to a later date.

The webinar discussed how people could come out of the coronavirus crisis a stronger investor, with advice to carry out a financial health-check no matter how wealthy or strong your property portfolio is, access the help available to investors, and, more than anything, research, research, research.

The duo advised people to spend the extra time at their disposal wisely by learning about the market and the wider economy through blogs, podcasts, books and YouTube videos. They also advised investors to stay positive despite the current (entirely understandable) negativity swirling around, as well as urging investors to set themselves goals.

Furthermore, the pair – borrowing on the government’s current slogan – told investors to stay alert, follow the market and pay attention to new listings and price and market movements, insisting that good deals are still there for those who want them.

While opportunities are still there, the pair also advised there is no need for a mad rush or a blind panic, saying buying windows won’t be slammed shut anytime soon.

“Understanding the economy is so important,” Rob Dix said. “All markets go in cycles. Ray Dalio is a great place to start. He does a series of articles on LinkedIn. Heavy-going, but if you like this type of thing you’ll get something from it. If you understand the 18-year market cycles, if you understand how economics works, you will feel a lot better.”

Property Hub, co-founded by the two Robs, aims to offer free property education, advice and tips, as well being home to The Property Podcast, episodes of which are downloaded over 300,000 times a month.

Rob & Rob have also shared their knowledge through four bestselling books and created a whole curriculum of free property courses, with their online community having over 90,000 members.

You can listen to the latest podcasts here.

Poll: Have your investments in property been deterred by the coronavirus pandemic?

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