Buy to let property investors face many choices when deciding to start or expand a portfolio. Alongside choosing the right location, one of the most important choices is whether to purchase a house or a flat.
As is often the case, there is no entirely correct answer; what you choose will depend on your personal preference and what makes sense to you at the time. However, we have laid out just some of the main advantages of each type of investment below to help you find your perfect investment property.
Flats (or apartments)
A flat is a self-contained property within a larger block. Often these will be high rise buildings, and are nearly always the dominant property type in UK city centres. They are associated mostly with young professionals and couples who wish to live in the city, but apartment buildings are becoming increasingly common for people of all ages.
The most obvious instant benefit of investing in a flat in the UK is that the entry price is typically lower when compared to a house. This makes apartments extremely attractive to all types of investors as you are often able to make your money go further. The lower entry price also makes it more feasible to buy multiple properties and build up a larger portfolio.
Likewise, the fact that flats are mostly found in city centres – particularly the luxury apartments so in-demand among young professionals – means that you are likely to benefit from faster property value growth and rents that rise faster than anywhere else. This means that your profits will be higher and grow faster by purchasing a city centre apartment.
If there are any repair or maintenance issues with the building as a whole, you will not be responsible as the owner of an apartment. Instead, whoever owns the building will rectify the issue on your behalf. This is paid for out a relatively small service charge payable by the leaseholders of the individual units. If there are maintenance issues within your property, they will still be your responsibility, but that is the same for any buy to let investment.
As opposed to apartments, houses are rarely found in city centres and tend to dominate the outskirts and suburban property market instead. This means that they are a fundamentally different investment type and are more likely to appeal to families or older renters.
A house will generally be larger than an apartment, and this additional square footage is extremely appealing to families – particularly if the property is close to a school or any other local amenities for children. This type of tenant will generally wish to stay in the property for longer, providing you with a reliable income stream far into the future.
However, the downside of that increased security is that property values do not tend to rise as fast in areas where you find houses when compared to the city centre. This means that you are likely to enjoy less profit overall when compared to an apartment in a booming city centre market.
Another major difference between investing in a house over a flat is that you will not have to pay a service charge for any maintenance of communal areas. This necessitates relying on your tenant or someone you employ to look after external maintenance issues, but it does mean that your monthly outgoings are reduced slightly.
As mentioned previously, houses and flats are very different types of investment, each with characteristics which will appeal to different types of investor and suit different profiles of buy to let portfolio. There is no right or wrong answer, but it is important for all investors to get expert advice when considering whether to invest in a house or a flat.
For find out more about the best way to expand your portfolio, get in touch with our team of experts today who will be able to advise you on the best investment for you >>