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Edmond de Rothschild REIM completes €68.8m Leicester PRS deal (GB)



Edmond de Rothschild Real Estate Investment Management (REIM) has completed the acquisition of its second build-to-rent residential development, the €68.8m (£60m) Merlin Wharf in the Waterside regeneration area of Leicester. The development, located in Bath Lane by the River Soar, comprises 384 one and two-bed apartments, designed by Leicester-based architect, Staniforth. It was forward funded by the Edmond de Rothschild Residential Investment Fund UK, which invests in the private rented sector (PRS) on behalf of European institutional investors and completed at the end of last month.


Tim Holden, co-head of residential in the UK and director of residential development and asset management at Edmond de Rothschild REIM, said: “We are delighted to have completed the fund’s first build-to-rent investment. Leicester has a high demand for affordable new build-to-rent accommodation in line with the fund’s strategy. Its population is forecast to grow at a rate in excess of the national average, while the current supply of rental stock in Leicester is limited and relatively dated”.




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Niam acquires office property in Gothenburg (SE)



Niam has acquired a 24,500m² office building in Gothenburg from Torslanda Property Investment (TPI). The property is a modern and flexible office building with a standalone parking garage. The office building was built in 2017 and is fully leased to Volvo Cars. The purchase price was not disclosed.


The building is located in Torslanda, only 15 minutes northwest of central Gothenburg. The area is dominated by Volvo Cars’ production, warehouses, and offices. The office building, which is Volvo Car’s most modern office space in the area, also provides tenants with a restaurant run by Volvo through the operator “Harvest by Mannerstrom”.


Daniel Andersson, Head of Acquisitions Niam Sweden, said: “This modern office property has a very strategic location, and we look forward to taking over the property from TPI and continue to manage it well and meet the needs of Volvo Cars.”


Stefan Berg, CEO of Torslanda Property Investment, commented: “The property was built in 2017 for Volvo Cars, which was then offered modern environmentally classified premises. Through the divestment to Niam, TPI releases capital at the same time as we have been able to attract a leading institutional investor to the Torslanda area, where TPI has the majority of its properties. The goal is to continue to invest in the property portfolio in Torslanda in close collaboration with the company’s largest customer, Volvo Cars.”

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Real Estate

Homes now cheaper to rent than buy for the first time since 2014



It has become cheaper to rent rather than buy a home in most parts of the country for the first time since December 2014, fresh research shows.

High demand from prospective buyers and a shortage in the number of properties being listed continues to push property prices up.

In May, tenants typically spent £71 a month less in rent than if they were forking out cash for mortgage repayments on a 90 per cent loan-to-value home loan for the same property, according to Hamptons.

Turnaround: It has become cheaper to rent rather than buy a home in most parts of Britain

Turnaround: It has become cheaper to rent rather than buy a home in most parts of Britain

The cost to rent in this instance would be £1,054 a month, against £1,125 a month for mortgage repayments on the same home.

Rewind back to March 2020, however, and a buyer with a 10 per cent deposit would have been around £102 a month better off buying a home rather than renting, the findings add.

Now, it is only cheaper to buy a home rather than rent in four regions, namely the North East of England, the North West, Yorkshire & the Humber and Scotland.

London has seen the starkest shift, with a buyer putting down a 10 per cent deposit going from being £123 a month better off buying a home in March 2020 to spending £251 per month less on rental costs in May 2021, according to the findings.

Hamptons said: ‘Falling rents in the capital have made renting cheaper relative to buying by a bigger margin than anywhere else. And with rents still falling, the differential looks set to continue growing.’

Costly: Monthly cost of buying relative to renting with a 10% deposit

Costly: Monthly cost of buying relative to renting with a 10% deposit

Buyers with only a 5 per cent deposit face an ever bigger uphill struggle than those with a 10 per cent deposit. A buyer with a 5 per cent deposit will, on average, spend around £195, or 19 per cent, more each month than if they had carried on renting, Hamptons said.

Amid fairly cheap mortgage deals, the stamp duty holiday and a strong desire among buyers for more space and a change in lifestyle, the pandemic has prompted frenzied activity in the property market in many parts of the country.

Around 704,000 homes on Rightmove’s website are currently marked as ‘sold subject to contract’, which means the sale has been agreed, but contracts are yet to be exchanged.

Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, said: ‘The pandemic has reversed a six-year trend which now makes it cheaper to rent rather than buy a home.

‘A year ago, lenders were either increasing their rates or withdrawing higher loan-to-value mortgages altogether. For first-time buyers in particular this pushed up the cost of a paying a mortgage, if they could get one at all, to well above the cost of renting.

‘It is likely the balance will swing back somewhat towards the buying, particularly as mortgage rates come down. However this is likely to be partly offset by rising house prices.

‘And while interest rates are falling, they’re still considerably above where they were pre-pandemic on higher loan-to-value loans.

‘Despite this, we expect the gap between renting and buying to close over the remainder of this year, moving back towards longer-term levels in 2022.’

Property prices reached another record high in May, with the average home adding more than £3,000 of value in the last month alone, recent figures from Halifax showed.

The typical home is now worth nearly £262,000 according to the Halifax price index, which is £22,000 or 9.5 per cent more than in May 2020.

Rental costs jump sharply too

Property prices for buyers have been a hot topic since the height of the pandemic, but the cost of renting has also jumped sharply to a new ‘record high’ over the period.

Last month the average cost of a newly let rental home swelled to £1,054 a month, representing a 7.1 per cent rise on the same time last year. This marked the fastest rate of growth since Hampton’s records began in 2013, surpassing the previous peak of 7 per cent growth in December 2014.

Rental costs: A table showing how much monthly rental costs have shifted in the past year

Rental costs: A table showing how much monthly rental costs have shifted in the past year

While rents bottomed out in May last year, the average rental home cost £43 or 4.1 per cent more than it did in May 2019.

Four out of the country’s eight regions recorded record rental growth last month, namely the South East, South West, Midlands and Scotland. 

Rental costs in the South East and South West of England hit double digits for the second consecutive month, rising 13 per cent and 11.5 per cent respectively.

Meanwhile London continued to be the only region where rents fell. The capital saw monthly rental costs dip 0.5 per cent year-on-year.

With many buyers and tenants seeking out more space, rental costs rose faster on bigger properties. In May the average rental cost for a four-bedroom home surged to £1,805 a month, up 9.5 per cent on the same month last year. Meanwhile rents on one-bedroom homes remained broadly flat.

Is buying the right option for you?

The decision to buy a home is a big one and shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

Here, This is Money and the Money Advice Service run through a number of the pros and cons to consider before taking the plunge and buying a property.

Pros of buying a home

– One of the best things about buying a home is that once any mortgage repayments are paid, which of course can take many years, you will own the property outright and not have to worry about paying for somewhere to live.

– If the home you buy goes up in value over time, if you ever decide to sell it you will be able to take advantage of the equity to help you buy a bigger home or fund a more comfortable retirement.

– When you buy a property, you can spend money improving your home and increasing its value without having to ask a landlord, which is what tenants renting a property often have to do.

– In some circumstances, but not all, it can be cheaper to buy a home as opposed to renting one. This is the case in places like Scotland and Yorkshire & the Humber at present.

 Drawbacks of buying

– As the Money Advice Service stresses, buying a home is a major commitment and you have to ensure you can afford to take it on.

– Maintenance costs like new boilers or a leaky roof can really stack up after you buy a home. And even before you move in, things like removal service fees can be expensive. 

– Interest rates are very low at present, but if and when they go up, mortgage repayment costs could increase for some people. It will always pay to shop around for the best mortgage deal. 

– If the value of your home falls, you might be unable to sell if you owe more to your mortgage lender than your home is worth, the Money Advice Service notes.

– You have less flexibility than when renting. For example, selling up and moving is more expensive as you have estate agency and legal fees to pay. 

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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Has the Black Lives Matter movement changed anything in Ireland?



In June 2020 thousands of Irish people took to the streets of Dublin calling for an end to racial injustice.

The protest was sparked by the recent murder of George Floyd in the US and in the weeks that followed, black Irish people and Irish people of colour started speaking publicly about the racism that they had endured growing up, living and working in this country.

Seven months later, the conversation around race made headlines in Ireland again when 27-year-old George Nkencho was shot dead by gardaí outside his home in Clonee, Dublin, on the December 30th, 2020.

Amanda Adé, co-presenter of the Black and Irish podcast, says the incident was a wakeup call for many people.

On today’s In the News podcast, she talks to Sorcha Pollak about what has changed since the protests in Dublin in support of the Black Lives Matter movement last June and how her own life has changed as result of her activism.

Also in this episode, assistant professor of law at Dublin City University, Bashir Otukoya, on why more needs to be done at a policy level to tackle racism in Ireland.

In the News is presented by reporters Sorcha Pollak and Conor Pope.


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