Sales in Plymouth.
Investment Property in Plymouth
Plymouth has been a hot-bed of investment for landlords both local and from a far. This is due in part to the continuing success and growth of the educational establishments in Plymouth (now including, but not limited to; University of Plymouth, University College of St Mark and St John - MARJONS, the Peninsula Medical School, Plymouth College of Art, Deep Blue Sound and the City College) reinvestment in the City Center, and the lower property prices of the South West.
We recognise the importance of making an informed decision when making any investment. The current investment property market is buoyant, especially as house sales generally rise into the new year - we expect to see a further growth on the sector following both the governments additional help to buy, and the new legislation allowing the liquidation of pension funds, which is likely to encourage more investment in bricks and mortar.
Planning laws were changed in Plymouth, under Article 4 of the local planing act in September 2012. Under this new legislation, planning was required to change a residential property in to a student house, or a shared house of three or more unrelated persons.
"On 14 September 2012 an Article 4 Direction came into force in relation to the removal of permitted development rights for changes of use from C3 Dwellinghouse to C4 HMOs in the neighbourhoods of Beacon Park and Pennycross, City Centre, East End, Efford, Hartley and Mannamead, Higher Compton, Lipson and Laira, Mount Gould, Mutley and Greenbank, Peverell, Stoke and Stonehouse in the city of Plymouth."
Taken from Plymouth City Council website, 20/03/15
Currently, it is incredibly difficult to gain consent for change of use in Plymouth, so it is something of a risk to buy a property without existing consent.
A property which was let to students before, and since September 2012 will have implied consent as a student property, so can continue as a going concern.
Whilst this may sound market-limiting, it is in fact good news for student investment property in the City, as is the construction of new, purpose built student accommodation (Plymouth Herald, 25/04/14), due to the paradigm of the student mindset in Plymouth. Plymouth has a city-center campus, with plenty of student accommodation within a fifteen minute walk. Plymouth is not one of the student cities in which students have to commute to the site, because of this, students expect to be able to live close to the university. Further, Plymouth students expect (largely) to live in halls type accommodation for the first year, then typically live in a large house in their second year (7, 8, 9+ bedrooms), and then a smaller house when they focus on their studies more in their third year (3, 4, 5). Some of the mid-sized houses (4, 5, 6) will be lucky, and see a group stay for two or more years.
The higher the number of official, halls-type first year accommodation the university (University of Plymouth) has on offer, the more applicants they take as an institution; whilst year one, this won't necessarily show sector growth in students renting private housing, year two and year three this will lead to higher numbers of applicants for housing.
Given that it is now difficult to get consent to turn residential property to student use, this has inherently raised the value of existing student house stock. Knowing that the number of properties is now growing at a much smaller rate than before, the market is now quality led, rather than quantity led. Proximity to the main university campus is key. Whilst there are outlying campuses (Marjons, Peninsula), the students of these institutions will typically choose to live in the city center, rather than the strongly suburban, residential areas surrounding them; Derriford, Woolwell, Tamerton Foliot etc.
This type of use of property is a House in Multiple Occupancy (HiMO); not to be confused with a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO).
Shared occupancy houses of both five or more unrelated persons, set over three distinct floors of accommodation will be considered a House of Multiple Occupation. This type of property requires a license from Plymouth City Council. This is nothing to be put off by, but is something to be considered. There are associated costs; the actual license itself, a higher required level of fire protection, and there are rules governing size of rooms, and communal areas, provision of cooking facilities etc. For more information, please do contact us directly, or speak directly with Plymouth City Council.