EXCLUSIVE: Artorius Wealth On UK Real Estate Investment – Part 1

Artorius Wealth is an independent international Multi Family Office specialising in providing expert financial planning, wealth management and lifestyle services to Ultra High Net Worth and High Net Worth Individuals.  

With offices in London, Manchester, and Zurich, they offer clients and their families reliable and unconflicted wealth management services, allied to lifestyle and life-enhancing services.

The firm offers high levels of service and in addition to Wealth Management and expert financial planning, Artorius Wealth offers a dedicated Family Office Consultancy Service, Private Office services and a dedicated Real Estate Advisory service.

Asian Wealth Times met with Jordan Williams from the firm on one of their recent client visits to Asia to drill down on the Real Estate Advisory service the firm offers.

AWT: Asian investors still place London as a key location for property investment. However so do other global investors so how can Asian clients make sure they get the best deal?

In my opinion Asian investors place a lot of reliance on the developers and the large agencies that exhibit in the region almost on a weekly basis. I am not convinced that Asian investors are able to access the full range of residential properties in London, with many of the properties they are exposed to being within new build developments located in only a few areas of London.

The London residential property market is one of the most mature and developed in the world and there are many properties, in varying locations, with wide-ranging characteristics that investors are just not getting access to. This is why I always recommend individuals to engage the services of professional Real Estate Advisor who works for them. If you’re selling a property you would engage the services of an Estate Agent, relying on their advice, so when you’re buying a property, why wouldn’t you engage someone to advice you throughout the process.

At Artorius Wealth, we specialise in advising our foreign investor clients on what properties to buy, where they should buy the property and how they should buy the property in terms of financing and ownership structuring. Our clients can benefit from our bespoke offering for acquiring London property, relying on our strategic approach to investing into the London property market, and importantly get access to some of the best properties available, many of which are not available in the open market. A large number of the properties we source for our clients are off market thereby giving our clients early and often exclusive access to the best properties before the rest of the market.

As we guide our clients throughout the entire purchasing process as their full-time Real Estate advisor on the ground in London, we can ensure they secure the property of their choice in a timely and efficient manner.

Investors from the Middle East and Europe have been familiar with the services of a ‘buying advisor’ for a while, but it is only in the past two years where we have noticed a significant increase in the number of individuals choosing to engage our services. We believe this to be a reflection of not just how competitive the market has become for the best properties, but also a willingness to see other options, which are not presented in the region.

AWT: The UK election result took a lot of potential penalties off the table for overseas owners, are there any upcoming regulations or reforms to be aware of?

The recent UK general election result was cheered by many in the Real Estate world as the looming threat of a Labour run government stymied market activity. Whilst many are still digesting the effects of the result, the election of a majority Conservative government has now brought confidence back to the market.

The residential market likes certainty, and I believe we now have as much certainty relating to UK residential property taxation than what we have had in a while. With the caveat that the Budget is in July and of course anything can be announced, the Conservatives ran their election on the basis that they would not introduce a so called ‘Mansion Tax’ which would have imposed an annual levy on ‘high value’ properties. In addition, Stamp Duty rates were changed before the election, ATED (Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings) rates were increased and  the introduction of a Capital Gains Tax for overseas residents has been in force since April 2015.

I therefore do not envisage any major changes to be announced to any of these three taxes. I do feel that at some point in the future, council taxes (local municipal taxes) will be amended to reflect the significant change in property values over the last decade, which I personally view as fair and overdue. With certainty, we do feel that the timing is good for investors to re-enter the market as there are certainly opportunities out there.

AWT: With numerous new developments coming on stream in London what would you recommend potential investors do to ‘manage’ their asset?

It is certainly true that there are a number of new developments being introduced to the London market. This clearly reflects the developer’s confidence in the market. My personal view however is that in some areas of London there will be an issue of over-supply.

This concerns me as there can only be a limited number of tenants wishing to rent these properties out and I do think that there will be a number of investors as landlords who will struggle to achieve the yields they expect and many properties will be left unoccupied.

If clients wish to buy new-build property, I believe it is paramount to engage the services of an advisor to ensure they are buying in areas where there is not significant development occurring, buy units in developments of less than 100 units, buy units in developments with some distinguishing characteristics which make it unique.

Furthermore I would always advise clients to try and resist the urge of short lets which traditionally offer high rental values and instead focus on long-term rents, which will provide strong and stable income.

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