The housing market can seem chaotic, especially in the current climate. It can be tempting to aim small, focusing on flats and ‘smaller targets’ in the hopes that a smaller investment will be a safer one – ‘hedging your bets’. Though seemingly great advice, in actuality it couldn’t be further from the truth. For a whole host of reasons buying houses instead of flats is actually a much safer way to ensure a return on your investment, whether you’re buying to rent out, or to live in. Read on to find out why Keystones Property recommend buying a house over a flat.
While the lower initial cost of a flat may be appealing, most are sold leasehold rather than freehold. Even with a long leasehold agreement – you don’t own the land, and there are a host of potential fees that may occur. Service fees can vary wildly depending on the landowner, the communal areas and the number of properties that use those areas. Adding to this there is always a possibility that the landowner will need to make renovations to the communal areas, roof, windows/doors, insulation, and general modernisation – you can bet they will pass many of those ‘essential’ costs down to you, leading to sudden unexpected costs reaching into the tens of thousands.
When attempting to add value to your property, there is only so much you can do with a flat. Carpets, wallpaper and appliances can be upgraded, but major renovations are limited by the landowner, the size of the property and the surrounding properties. Increasing the value of houses however are another ballgame entirely. Houses can be expanded with extensions, adding more rooms, conservatories, loft conversions and useable outdoor space. With working from home becoming more a part of everyday life, the ability to add a home office in an outbuilding, extension or existing space can prove invaluable to future buyers/tenants.
Attracting the best future buyers or renters
In renting or buying, flats tend to attract first-time buyers, shorter term renters and ‘the amateur investor market’, with fragile and volatile prices. On the other hand, houses are most likely bought or rented by families or ‘sophisticated investors’ with more stability. Even mortgage lenders show this by treating houses as lower risk investments than flats and offering a more favourable loan to value ratio.
Supply and Demand
Blocks of flats are becoming a goldmine for developers as the government open the doors to Green Belt land. In the same space as a single house, developers are using the available vertical space to build hundreds of properties, while they’re looking for a quick money maker, buyers are still looking for houses – even while few are being built, houses will increasingly be at a premium while developers focus on quantity over quality.