In Conversation With: Stephen Herring

Stephen Herring

Stephen Herring

PRSupdate has introduced a new feature where we regularly speak to some of London’s leading figures and movers and shakers from within the property, investment, finance and charity sectors.

Previously we have spoken with Sonal Shah, Executive Director of The Capital Community Foundation, who briefed us about her role in the foundation and Christopher Hamer, the Property Ombudsman.

Today we present our conversation with Stephen Herring; if you would like to be the focus of an In Conversation please contact us.

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Who Invests in the Private Rented Sector?

Who Invests in Residential Property?

What Does the 'Average' Landlord Look Like?

The profile of the landlords who took part in the latest Young Index survey makes for interesting reading.  The respondents had been landlords for an average of 6.8 years – so does not reflect the ‘accidental’ or ‘reluctant’ landlord profile that is often touted in the press.

These investors are professional and business-minded in their outlook; they view their investment as a long-term play, intending to hold assets for the next 14 years.  Total return and capital growth are far more important to them than rental income.  They are in full-time employment, most likely to be within the financial services sector and are higher rate tax payers.  More than half of the respondents to Young Index Q2 2011 earn more than £70,000 per annum and 27.3% earn more than £100,000.

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Back to School with ARLA Exams

So a number of us at Young London are in the process of joining ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents). All the forms have been completed, accountants certificate is being signed off, so it is now just a matter of studying and passing the exams!

My colleagues have started studying, and I can now say that so have I – but why? Well, in my case the thing that spurred me into it is because the new ARLA President, Tim Hyatt of Knight Frank, has asked me to become involved with ARLA (more about that in another blog).

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My Job as Head of Fun

Science Museum Late Nights

Follow me on twitter! @younglondon

As part of my role within the communications team at Young Group, I have a rather unique alter-ego as the in-house Head of Fun. This part of my role is broadly split into two parts; finding fun and fabulous things to do in London and sourcing local offers and information, and then sharing those fun and quirky nuggets of information far and wide through social media.

I hunt down all that’s great about living in the capital – from one-off cultural events to the best places from which to watch the city pass by.  Quite a large number of our tenants are new to London, but are too busy with their new jobs to venture further out on random expeditions. By providing an insider’s ‘best bits of London’ they get tailored suggestions that help them to get the very most out of living in London; ideas for adventure in areas close to where they live.

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Young Index Suvery Shows an Appetite for Investment

Young Index Q2

Increasing numbers of investor landlords say that they are considering purchasing additional investment assets during the next 12 months; a reversal of the previously declining trend seen since the end of 2009.  London leads the way in terms of location with 46.3% of investors considering adding a London property to their portfolio, an increase of 13% on the previous quarter and the largest swing in sentiment seen since Young Index began in 2007.

Appetite for additional PRS assets outside of the capital also grew in the second quarter of 2011, although lags far behind London.  During Q2, 13.3% of landlords indicated that they are considering purchasing additional PRS assets outside London over the coming 12 months, an increase from just 9% in the first quarter of the year.  Appetite for PRS assets in London has recovered to the level previously seen this time last year, but property outside the capital has not yet regained the same level of appeal. (See graph below).

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Life in Camden, North London

Image: mariosp

Camden is one of my favourite places in London. It’s a town within a city, and while it has more than enough to keep the most active of people entertained, its excellent location as the doorway to Central London is a huge bonus to the area.

Its N1 postcode says a lot about its locality, and it’s sandwiched between Kings Cross, Holloway and Regents Park. It’s well connected; served by 3 tube stations, all on the Northern Line (Camden Town, Chalk Farm and Mornington Crescent) as well as the mainline Camden Town station.

So what is Camden famous for? Firstly its market, which is now a smorgasbord of vibrant eateries and shops. Its also known for its Lock, and of course the canal. Running through the North of Camden, from it you can walk to Paddington or Limehouse and stop of at picturesque destinations like Little Venice along the way. For me though, the key to Camden’s success as a modern cosmopolitan area is its rich history, and the variety of opportunities it offers that ensures it is an exciting place to live and enjoy life.

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What Mortgage Should I Get?

With the economy slowly climbing out of recession, millions of homeowners with mortgages are facing a dilemma. With pay rates on mortgage products at an all time low, is it time to take advantage and either fix your mortgage for the long-term or opt for the cheaper tracker rate linked to Bank of England base rate?

Many are currently holding out on the Standard Variable Rate (SVR) with their current lender, but with borrowers able to switch mortgage, often for a minimal cost, the more shrewd borrowers can shop around now.

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Seeing Another Side of London

Sonal Shah, Capital Community Foundation

Sonal Shah, Capital Community Foundation

Sonal Shah
Executive Director, Capital Community Foundation

A friend asked me some weeks back whether I would ever move from London. I’m not sure I would, though ‘ever’ is a long time to be sure about. About 12 years ago though, I couldn’t imagine living here at all. My first experience of London wasn’t the best. I found it a brash, chaotic, abrasive city. Sure, it was beautiful and exciting, there was plenty to do and I had the benefit of friends and family around me, but I also felt a bit like a tadpole in a deep blue ocean… somewhat lost and at the mercy of bigger fish around me particularly those that trampled their way on to the circle line!

For me, something was missing in the very fabric of society around me – a sense of belonging, community and roots. Having grown up in a village in Lincolnshire, these things were important to me and whilst London offered plenty of style, I struggled to find substance. After 6 months I left and vowed never to return as a resident.

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I Can See Your House from Here – The Case for Mobile

Tech TuesdayTo create a mobile version of your website or not to create a mobile version of your site? That is the question.

It could be argued that as mobile devices become more capable the need for a separate site for mobile diminishes, as long as you follow general good practice in the design of your main website it should present no problems to mobile users. While this is broadly true it misses a fundamental point; mobile is NOT the same as desktop.

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Mayor of London Supports No Second Night Out Campaign

No Second Night Out - HomelessnessEach week 40 people sleep rough for the first time on the streets of London. The London Mayor hopes to combat rough sleeping in London for good by the end of 2012, and is supporting a major campaign that could help him reach his goal.

The campaign, No Second Night Out, aims to provide support and information for a rough sleeper on their first night out on the street, in order to help them avoid living on the streets in the longterm.

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