My name is Laura Hamilton.
I am best known as one of the faces of Channel 4’s ‘A Place in the Sun’. I have presented several other property shows on your screens and appeared on ‘Dancing on Ice’ and ‘The Jump’. Okay, so the later
two projects do not really relate to property but what they do highlight is, I am a bit of a risk taker.
I purchased my first place at just 19 years of age and have bought, renovated and sold a string of properties ever since. I think it is
fair to say I know a fair bit about property. Admittedly, the majority of places I have purchased have been in London, Surrey or Kent but through my TV projects, I have been lucky enough to travel both in the UK and overseas, so I have had a really
good opportunity to explore the UK market.
Many people believe that investing in bricks and mortar is a safe bet. As a general rule they are correct. However, there are ups and downs, and the return you make on your investment will very much depend on buying the right place, at the
right time. Someone once told me the money you make on property is down to your purchase price, not what you sell it for and this statement has stuck with me over the years.
I am often asked where are the best areas to buy? Ultimately I think it is wise to invest in areas you are familiar with. However saying that, investing in other areas can be an exciting and potentially lucrative prospect. It all depends on whether
you are willing to take a risk on an area you do not know much about.
University towns throughout the UK are generally wise areas to purchase property in, mainly because they are considered a good investment from a rental perspective. With that in mind, over the next 5 years cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow,
York and Chester are expected to see price rises by around 18%. Further south, cities such as Bath, Bristol and Salisbury are predicted to see property prices rise as much as 21%. Not a bad return.
It comes as no surprise that London and its suburbs will see a good return on your investment over the next 5 years. According to Savills, Zone 3 will become the new Zone 2. Many people are being priced out of the central Zones and
developers believe areas such as Chiswick, Fulham and Wandsworth are where the demand will be strongest. As a result, in the next half-decade these districts will see price gains of around 22%. Most buyers will likely head further
south and east, where the bulk of new homes are being built and values are roughly two thirds of those in the north and west of London.
According to a recent article in www.thisismoney.co.uk, the real hot spots, where property prices are predicted to increase by an enormous 43% between now and 2019, are Southampton, Luton and Brighton. With a commute of around an hour, or just
a little over into central London, purchasing in these locations could make for a very shrewd investment. However, another source suggests that in the next 5 years, properties that are around an hour commute from central London are expected to
see prices rise by around 23%. Either way, in the last year I have purchased a home in one of these locations, so I am very much hoping to see this kind of return on my investment!
Do not forget the style of a property can also determine its value. You might expect to pay a premium for a new build property (usually around 15% / 20% more than 1930’s style properties in the same location). However at the other end of
the scale, Victorian or Edwardian properties with character and original features are also considered to be more desirable, and in cities or towns can usually command around 15% more than 1950’s style houses on the same street.
Whatever style of property you decide to buy and wherever you decide to invest, the most important thing of all is, do your research. At least that way your risk will be a calculated one. View the property on several occasions, visit at
different times of the day and speak to the neighbours. You would never buy a car without a test drive and buying a property is one of the biggest investments you will make, so never be afraid to take your time. Good Luck!
About Laura Hamilton
Laura Hamilton is a TV Presenter and Mum to her 1 year old son, Rocco.
She is currently one of the faces of Channel 4’s ‘A Place in the Sun’ and also presents ‘Fort Boyard’ for ITV. With a passion for property, Laura has been renovating houses since the age of 19.
In 2014, she presented ‘Beat my Build’ on Channel 4, whereby participants renovated their properties aiming to achieve the biggest profit to win a cash prize and most recently she has joined the presenting team of ‘Cowboy Builders’ on Channel 5, which is currently in production.