Friday, 10 August 2007

Returns from the run-down

On a day of bad news in the markets, here's something a bit more encouraging from the FT. Basically, investing in the run-down bits of the UK is something of a win-win. The areas benefit from the investment, but the investors also do well. My entirely unscientific judgement is that this seems to make sense. On the retail level, much as many people hate Tescos and Starbucks (for some half-decent reasons) you can tell that when they open in an area that things are changing. It's a bit of a signal that the area is improving, and I think it becomes self-fulfilling (a bit like the "broken window problem" in reverse).

Anyway, there's a bit from the FT piece below. Full article here. And Tescos if you are reading this please open a store in Loughborough Junction.

Britain’s most rundown inner cities and suburbs were historically seen as a no-go area for many big property developers.

However, research is set to challenge conventional wisdom by suggesting that investors can, over the long term, get higher returns from real estate in “regeneration” areas than elsewhere.

Not only have total returns over five years been higher – 16.7 per cent against an average of 15.1 per cent – but they have been less volatile. The results are based on research from Investment Property Databank, the research firm, which will be unveiled at a presentation on Friday.

In particular, there has been much stronger capital growth in residential values in those areas that were previously overlooked or dismissed.

“These figures confirm unequivocally what we have suspected for a long time – that investors are missing a trick in rejecting regeneration areas because of poor historical performance,” said Steve Carr, head of policy and economics at English Partnerships, the regeneration agency.

The study, carried out with Morley Fund Management, English Partnerships and Savills, the estate agency, takes data from 581 properties in 20 of England’s urban regeneration companies in towns such as Blackpool, Gloucester, Swindon, Salford and Walsall.

These URCs were set up by the government in an attempt to encourage private investment in down-at-heel neighbourhoods.

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