Best Strategies for Investing in Off Plan Property in the UK

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The Insider @ Houst
Last updated on
June 28, 2024

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Best Strategies for Investing in Off Plan Property in the UK

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Investing in off-plan property means buying a property that's still being built or planned. It's becoming popular in major UK cities because it comes with some great investor perks.

When you invest in off plan property, you're getting in early, before it's finished or even started.

Lots of investors are keen on off-plan properties because they often cost less than if you wait until they're fully built. Plus, you get a better range of choices regarding which unit you want to invest in.

Interested to learn more about off-plan properties? Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Why Buy Off Plan Property?

So, you now know what off-plan property is. But why should you consider buying it? Why do property investors go for new builds that aren't finished yet?

In short, off-plan property investment is attractive for three main reasons:

Great Value for Money

Off-plan properties are often priced below market value. Investors keen to stretch their budget further will find these lower prices very appealing.

High Rental Demand

New builds are highly sought after by renters in the UK. People love the idea of moving into a brand-new home with modern designs and features.

Wide Range of Choices

When you invest in off-plan properties, you often have a broader selection of units to choose from within a development. 

How To Buy an Off Plan Property 

Find the Right Property

Since you can't visit the property while it's still under construction, it's crucial to do your homework on the developer and carefully examine their plans and schedules. It’s also a smart move to visit the neighbourhood and, if there’s a show home available, take a tour to get a sense of what the finished property will look like.

Choose a Mortgage Adviser

Start to get a rough idea of your budget, the deposit you'll need, and your potential monthly payments. Once you have a clearer picture, find a mortgage adviser who can confirm how much you can borrow. Make sure to tell them you're buying off-plan, as not all lenders offer mortgages for these properties. Remember, there are both free and fee-based mortgage advisers, each offering different benefits.

Reserve Your Future Home

You've found the perfect plot, and you're confident about securing a suitable mortgage. Now, it's time to reserve your home. This involves paying a reservation fee, typically between £500 and £2,000, which is usually deducted from the total cost of the property.

Find Your Ideal Conveyancer

A conveyancer, or solicitor, handles all the legal aspects of buying a new home, which can often feel quite complex. An experienced solicitor can assist with everything from identity checks to mortgage contracts, exchange dates, and any other issues that may arise during the process.

Arrange Your Mortgage

Your lender will typically want to arrange a surveyor's valuation based on the plans and development specifications to ensure your home is worth the price you're paying. Once this valuation is completed, they can proceed to issue your mortgage.

Exchange Contracts and Pay Your Deposit

Once the solicitors are satisfied with all the details, it's time to sign the contracts and pay your deposit, which is usually 10% of the final price. This is separate from your mortgage deposit, which also needs to be paid at this stage. After exchanging contracts, you’re legally committed to paying the rest of the deposit and purchasing the property.

Get Ready for Completion Day

Now, it's time to set a completion date with your developer, which is when your new-build home will be ready. If you'd like to see your home before completion, check with your developer to see if it's possible.

On completion day, you'll need to pay the remaining balance on the property, along with any applicable Stamp Duty. Once everything is settled, you'll receive the keys to your new home.

Where to Buy Off-Plan Property

Choosing the right area is crucial when selecting a buy-to-let investment. But how do you pick the right location? The answer lies in thorough property market research.

Certain UK cities and regions offer more opportunities, attractive property prices, and better rental returns for off-plan properties. In the UK, five of the best places to invest are:

Liverpool

Liverpool is one of the top destinations for buying off-plan property.

One of the major advantages of investing in off-plan properties here is the opportunity to secure them at below-market rates.

With property prices in Liverpool already among the most affordable in the country, investors can capitalise on exceptional deals. For example, developments like ELEMENT, The Quarter offer starting prices as low as £74,950.

This is nearly £100,000 less than Liverpool's current average property price of £177,647, as reported by Zoopla.

Liverpool also boasts some of the highest rental yields in the UK, coupled with robust capital growth.

If you're concerned about tenant demand for your off-plan property, Liverpool is an ideal city to consider. Its substantial student and young professional population ensures a consistent demand for rental properties.

Investing in off-plan property in Liverpool offers affordability and potential rental income and promises strong capital appreciation in the long term.

Birmingham

For those starting their property investment journey, purchasing off-plan property in Birmingham presents a compelling opportunity.

As a thriving economic hub in the Midlands, Birmingham offers a diverse range of business prospects and a vibrant lifestyle.

The city boasts a significant working-age population, with approximately 64% surpassing the national average of 62%.

This demographic profile translates into robust rental demand, particularly from young professionals seeking modern accommodations.

Birmingham's rental yields are notably higher than those in London, while average property prices at £253,904 present a more affordable option for off-plan investments than the capital.

Manchester

Located near Liverpool, Manchester stands out as one of the UK's largest cities and a prime hotspot for property investment.

The property market in Manchester attracts significant interest from buy-to-let investors due to its robust house price growth, strong tenant demand, and attractive rental returns.

Manchester is particularly popular among young professionals, drawn by the city's expanding business landscape that includes prominent companies like Missguided and ITV.

For those considering off-plan property investments, Manchester presents an excellent opportunity.

Similar to Liverpool, property prices in Manchester are more affordable compared to other major UK cities like London.

Investors purchasing off-plan property in Manchester can secure desirable locations within the city at a lower cost than if they were buying a completed property.

Choosing Manchester for off-plan property investment not only offers potential for capital appreciation but also ensures access to a thriving rental market driven by a growing urban population and dynamic business environment.

Slough

When considering property investment, Slough, a Southern town, might not be the first place that comes to mind. However, for off-plan investments, Slough is a hidden gem worth exploring.

This up-and-coming city on the London commuter belt is increasingly popular due to its excellent transport links, whisk commuters to London in under an hour.

Recently, many investors looking at off-plan properties have turned away from London and towards suburban towns like Slough. The appeal is clear.

Slough offers significantly lower property prices than London, coupled with a thriving economy and ongoing urban renewal projects. For those seeking to invest in off-plan property near London, Slough presents an attractive alternative.

According to Zoopla, Slough's average property price is £335,558, making it highly affordable compared to London's average of £951,249.

Investing in off-plan property in Slough offers affordability and promises potential for capital growth as the city continues to develop and attract residents and businesses alike.

Leeds

Leeds, situated in Yorkshire, is a well-known favourite among buy-to-let investors looking to purchase student or residential property for investment purposes.

As one of the UK's leading cities, Leeds boasts a rich cultural scene, a vibrant university environment, and a flourishing housing market.

The demand for housing from students and young professionals has spurred the availability of off-plan developments throughout the city.

Similar to other prominent buy-to-let cities in the UK, property prices in Leeds are affordable, with an average asking price of £258,160, according to current Zoopla data.

Savills forecasts significant house price growth in Yorkshire and the Humber by 2025, with an expected increase of 28%, aligning the region's growth prospects with those of the North West.

Conclusion 

Investing in off-plan properties can be a lucrative opportunity, especially in major UK cities like Liverpool. The potential for great value for money, high rental demand, and a wide range of choices make off-plan property investment an attractive option for property investors. 

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

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