Buying an apartment can be a hassle-free and relatively affordable investment option, though others are wary of their potential downsides.
Buying a new apartment
For the most part, details of new apartments are readily available, with developers advertising projects well in advance both online and in newspapers.
In comparison to older properties, prospective buyers are usually able to take several guided tours of apartments before making any financial commitment, while, since there is no onward chain, they are usually on the market for much longer, giving investors more time to make a decision.
While it may be true that new-build apartments lack the history and character of period homes, they can also offer a number of advantages to a certain type of buyer, particularly the novice investor.
The biggest benefit of opting for a new-build apartment in London is that of ease, with a significant proportion of the nagging issues that usually plague buyers taken care of by the developer. That is, investors can expect to take ownership of a fully-furnished and clean property which boasts relatively low maintenance costs.
What's more, most developers even take care of finance issues, such as mortgages or stamp duty, for buyers, while some also offer to accept an existing property as part of a purchase deal.
Those investors getting in early may be able to specify colour schemes and even the layout of their apartment, according to their own wishes, while those looking to rent an apartment out can offer similar advantages to prospective tenants. Young, busy professionals moving to London for work and keen to keep stress to a minimum are the most lucrative targets for investors in this buy-to-let sector.
Other advantages of investing in a new-build property include the lack of an onward chain making such homes immediately available, as well as the fact that they often tend to be more compact and space-efficient and therefore more affordable in comparison to older homes.
Looking further to the future, new-build apartments tend to be located in what are likely to be up-and-coming areas. Not only does this point to the possibility of strong equity increases over the space of a decade or even longer, but it is also likely that a new-build block will benefit from steadily improving transport links, facilities and community spirit.
Generally speaking, most of the issues that are seen as upsides to new-builds can also be perceived as disadvantages by London property investors.
While the prospect of buying in an up-and-coming area may be attractive, should social trends change or investment plans for an area fall through, depreciation in value is a distinct possibility.
Furthermore, since it is mainly younger professionals who tend to be attracted to renting properties in the city, the pool of prospective tenants is considerably lower than for suburban, period properties.
What's more, the prospect of having a home fully set-up with all design and furnishing issues taken care of may be highly unattractive to many would-be buyers, with a significant proportion keen to have a hands-on role in all aspects of their investments.
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