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573: Property investment in the UK as lockdown lifted

05-21-2020 team

Coronavirus Update: Our view from a few weeks ago describing that the Coronavirus might just last 70 days in an area-region then die off looks increasingly likely - with the peak in deaths around 40 days after the first cases are recorded. It should not really alter people’s behaviours since secondary outbreaks from overseas or other regions, or sloppy hygiene/practices could still create spikes later, but lets hope that it really does just continuously die away and there is not another huge seasonal wave in October like there was in the Spanish flu in 1920. Again, there is no conclusive proof that severe lockdowns help contain the spread - Sweden for instance has faired far better than the UK though they never had a lockdown. Its most likely the key is to test-track-trace and quarantine plus social distancing - to reduce the infection rate (R factor) to well below 1.

Coronavirus and Vitamin D. A key learning for you to consider which we hope will help you with your health and risk mitigation for catching Coronavirus and/or getting severe symptom.

This observation is that people from ethnic minorities in the UK – from Africa and Indian background – have a 2-4 times likely mortality rate compared with people from White (Caucasian) background. Typically one might start to think of or give socio-economic reasons for this – for instance – these groups of people tend to be more in the front line of duties or living in densely populated deprived inner city areas. But another – and likely more important – explanation is that it seems 98% of people who die of Coronavirus are deficient in Vitamin D – recall Vitamin D is very important to boost your immune system. We have described the importance for general health of Vitamin D over the years. On closer scrutiny – its highly likely that in March of this year – after a 7 month dark-rainy winter – working in-doors – most of the population that don’t take Vitamin D supplements will be deficient since they have not seen any sunlight for so long – it takes a few months for levels to build up. But importantly – races with deep-dark pigment need more sunlight to gain the same levels of Vitamin D – so people of African origin in March in the UK will be severely vitamin D deficient. They need to take supplements, even vitamin D injections or to have seen lots of sun on holiday abroad.

So to all our readers – people should take Vitamin D supplements in the winter months from September to April – then continue if you rarely see the sun in the summer – or sunbath for 20 minutes a day in the summer months – just 20 minutes on your arms is good enough to build up Vitamin D levels.

For people of African, Middle East and Indian extraction – this is even more important – they need Vitamin D supplements during winter months in the UK because we are so far north, the sun is so incredibly weak and their bodies will be expecting far more sunlight to generate the vitamin D to boost their immune systems.

Its also worth pointing out elderly people tend to get outside less - especially in the winter - and their immune systems are already weaker becomes of old age. So its even more important elderly people get Vitamin D supplements, especially in winter months. This is one reason why so many elderly people die in Jan-Mar after a long winter of not seeing the sun and flu and other ailments. If you are elderly, try and get outside to see the sun for 20 minutes a day.

UK Cases update - enclosed are some charts for the UK showing how the Coronvirus pandemic in UK is starting to reside to around 320 per day by 20 May - from peak levels of ~1150 / day in in early April.

Property Investments: As of 14 May 2020 the letting market and estate agents have started to open – for viewings, sales and rentals. The market was on hold from around 14 March to 14 May 2020 – around 9 weeks. Its not a long time but the real impact on the property market will be in dramatically higher unemployment , businesses going under, less mortgages available and general economic recession or depression. Lets look at some variable that work for and against the market

Positive Aspects to the Market
• Big government bail-outs – grants and loans to struggling businesses
• Furlough leave system that protects income that the government are supporting
• Oil prices have tanked to below $zero to 20/bbl end March – now recovering to $35/bbl – that reduces inflationary pressures and could stimulate economies in oil importing nations
• Base interest rates dropping to close to zero and banks encourages to drop rates sharply to support businesses and personal finances
• Pent up demand for people that were looking to move in the period Feb to June 2020
• New Tory government elected Dec 2019 for a four year term with large majority – less political uncertainty
• New Labour leader that will shift the opposition from radical Corbyn Marxists policies – just in case they make major electoral gains end 2023 – at least they are likely to no longer by Marxist
• People will value having a garden or outdoor space more in the future – risk mitigation against another lockdown-pandemic

Negative Aspects to the Market
• Higher unemployment
• Lower GDP
• Businesses failing – low growth mode
• Commercial-office space – collapse of the market as companies realise working from home viable
• Apartments in busy polluted location with no balcony or outdoor space could see prices drop dramatically
• Mortgages more difficult to access – and loan to value rising as banks expect prices to drop
• Mortgage valuations become very conservative – putting pressure on housing chains
• Rural areas with poor hospitals and healthcare and poor internet communication in the north might suffer more than most other areas
• Urban city areas could see prices drop as these have been the focus on Coronavirus mortality
• Rental demand drops as higher unemployment and lower business growth kick in

Expect a Drop in House Prices: Overall the negatives far outweigh the positives – the main factor being higher unemployment – which is very negative for house prices. We expect to see prices drop sharply in the next few months then start to stabilize towards the end of the year. Its far to early to estimate what might happen in 2021. If another large Coronavirus wave hits in the autumn – which is probably unlikely – then a further big hit to the property market would ensue. The places that probably will fair the best are houses with gardens in pleasant unpolluted areas within 1 hours commuting distance to London where their is an option to work from home but go to the office 1-2 days a week.

In densely populated polluted areas in London - apartments with no balcony or garden - which are also reliant on foreign travellers - might fair the worst. Northern city areas with high unemployment will probably also go backwards with house prices.

It really is a very challenging time for property investors. Those that love to buy on a dip – will see opportunities in the next few months – with London being a key focus area for bargains medium term. But things could also get a lot worse over the next few months and years as government borrow sky-rockets, inflation starts kicking in then eventually interest rates will start to rise again. It’s a very uncertain time to be buying – but if you are renovating, extending or upgrading – now is probably a reasonable time to do this.

We hope you have found this Special report helpful as an update to your property investment ideas - as we pull out of the Coronavirus lockdown. If you have any queries, please contact us on

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