Peter Grant: Time to invest in Edinburgh property

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There is no escaping that the UK residential property market has been pretty unstable over the last few years with negative equity for sellers and mortgage restrictions for buyers. However, that’s changing.

Despite a challenging economic climate, residential property investment is increasingly profitable and buyer confidence is back – especially in the Capital. With a second property boom predicted, now is the time to buy.

At Grant Property, our team has seen a 22 per cent increase in buy-to-let property sales from January to June 2013 compared with 2012, as buyers snap up property at low prices and take advantage of high tenant demand. In January alone, we saw a 50 per cent rise on last year and in March and April there was a 60 per cent increase in properties sold.

In the first quarter of 2013, the buy-to-let market boomed. Lending to landlords hit £4.2billion across 33,500 loans. By the end of March, it was nearly 14 per cent of UK mortgage lending – a 13 per cent increase from the 2012’s last quarter.

In the UK, residential property continues to outperform all other asset classes, and demand for rental properties in Edinburgh with period features has never been stronger. House prices in the UK have a low volatility compared to stocks and commercial property, and resticted lending makes it a buyer’s market.

At Grant Property, Edinburgh is one of the top performing cities in the UK for us – outstripping London. Our job is to source properties, renovate, furnish and rent them for clients and we always focus on higher performing Georgian and Victorian properties to maximise return.

However, as with any investment, you need to be careful where you put your money. It’s crucial to do your research and find the right property in the right area to maximise returns. And it must have the ‘rentability’ factor, commanding both a strong rent and a high occupancy. We do this for all clients, but if you’re going it alone you must be cautious.

Whether it’s a property to live in – or rent out – you want a sound investment. So, always opt for traditional properties and look for period features. Prime areas are also important – close to universities and areas such as the city centre, Marchmont, Newington, Bruntsfield and Morningside are more desirable.

Pay attention to the home report so you know what you’re getting and if you can afford repairs. Don’t be afraid of a renovation, cost works in advance of an offer, bearing in mind the investment you will need and the ceiling price it can command. And lastly, never forget kerb appeal. Get it all right, and you will reap the rewards of the next property boom.

• Grant Property Investment is one of the UK’s top property investment and management companies and is ARLA accredited. For more information visit www.grantpropertyinvestment.com