Passive Income – Naughty or Nice?

As we start this series of posts on the classic (and sometimes controversial) topic of Passive Income, it’s worth taking a bit of time to agree on what we’re talking about when we use the phrase.

It seems there’s a massive misunderstanding around whether passive income is to be aspired to or or something to be suspicious of. It’s an innocent enough phrase but why does it evoke such strong opinions both for and against?

What’s the reality behind passive income? As with most things in life, taking the time to understand something is usually well worth the effort.

I suspect there are two key reasons for this lack of understanding:

  1. There is no simple definition of what passive actually is and how it can be attained, and therefore a lot of confusion around the whole subject.
  2. The phrase has, like several others, been used and associated with “get rich quick” schemes. The idea put out to the unwary is that passive income is a way of getting money for nothing and often for no financial commitment, which is highly appealing but ultimately doomed.

To try to address both of these reasons let’s get down to some proper definitions.

The most succinct definition of passive income I have found, from trading website ADVFN is: “Income (such as investment income) that does not come from active participation in a business.”

Often the best place to look for definition of income types ought to be from the tax man. In the UK passive income isn’t a category for tax purposes, but you can get a feel here for what HMRC considers passive income.

But according to the US tax service there are three types of income:

  • Active income
  • Passive income
  • Portfolio income

Active income is when you trade time for money. A regular Job.

Dictionaries can’t quite decide in some case the difference between passive and portfolio income.

According to Investopedia, US passive income is “Earnings an individual derives from a rental property, limited partnership or other enterprise in which he or she is not materially involved.”

And portfolio income is “income from investments, dividends, interest, royalties and capital gains. Portfolio income does not come from passive investments and is not earned through normal business activity. Typically, income from interest on money that has been loaned does not count as portfolio income.” – Investopedia, again.

(It’s somehow reassuring to know that the simple phrase passive income seems equally misunderstood on both sides of the Atlantic!).

Nevertheless, all agree that the difference between active and passive (or portfolio) income is whether one is materially involved in generating the income.

Some income is more passive than others.

In reality there is seldom black-and-white active or passive income – most income is somewhere on a scale between the two…

What about property income ?

Since we’re on a property blog, this is an excellent question. If you’re a landlord and working directly in your business are you getting passive income? I would say not quite – its somewhere on the scale : semi-passive. If you’ve delegated out all the work to managing agents, what then? Still not 100% passive but getting closer.

If you’ve invested in a fully-managed purpose-built student property ?

Or invested in property bonds or crowdfunding?

Again these sit on the scale of semi-passive, especially when you include the due diligence and research needed before making the investment. It’s hands-on, “do-once” work, but work it certainly is.

And in the end

In conclusion, I would suggest that a stronger investment goal than the Holy Grail of pure passive income is to create income streams through investments that are leveraged by other peoples time (lettings agents, good brokers, investment researchers) and perhaps also other peoples’ money (for example secured loans and mortgages).

I’ll leave you with an example of semi-passive property income: Purpose-built student property is a proven “done-for-you” model. Once you’ve carried out your due diligence and own the student suite, there is literally nothing to do for years –  except receive your net rental income (which compares very favourably with labour-intensive buy-to-let).

Don’t take my word for it – see for yourself some passive income in action…

Which UK City comes top for property investment this year ?

I am constantly researching the UK property market to identify areas of interest for investment. I thought you might like to take a look at the facts below which firmly position Liverpool as the preferred UK city of  investment, above Manchester and London.

Please take a look at the following:

Private Finance Reports

Private Finance’s latest buy-to-let hotspots analysis has revealed that Liverpool is the UK’s top performing city experiencing average rental yields of 6.2% once mortgage costs are taken into consideration. This is not something which is likely to blow over considering Liverpool have held this position since May 2017 whilst Greater Manchester averaged rental yields of 5.9%.

Reference – https://www.propertyinvestortoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2018/1/liverpool-and-nottingham-revealed-as-the-best-location-for-rental-yields?source=newsticker

Which City is Growing Faster?

Across England, Liverpool grew faster than Manchester and London in 2016. Liverpool’s economy grew faster than London, Manchester and any other major British city in 2015/2016, figures show.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that Liverpool enjoyed an economic growth rate of 3.1%, faster than any similar major city region in the country.

Reference – https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/merseyside-economy-fastest-growing-uk-12328312

Liverpool has become the one to watch in 2018: “Liverpool was a strong contender in 2017 but 2018 will really be the year investors take note. Property prices are still low but creeping up slowly, so now is the time for investors to benefit from the strong capital growth predicted over the next 5 years. With the amount of investment being ploughed into the area, particularly the £5.5 billion Liverpool Waters project and £1.8 billion into the Knowledge Quarter,  Liverpool is without a doubt a hotspot for investment.

If you have any questions or want to find out about the latest apartments we have available, please let me know.

Check out our latest top performing Liverpool project – ideal for the hands-free or remote investor…

Here’s something surprising – how has UK Student property been impacted by the BREXIT vote?

Rather than damage performance, as many analysts had forecast, the Brexit vote intensified activity in the UK student property market and demonstrated the resilience of the sector.

A recent report by Savills also highlighted how the demand for student housing in the UK has outgrown supply. Analysts believe that the market will continue to be driven by bulk purchases, as investors seek to shore up their positions and acquire additional scale.

Appealing to the Far East

The UK’s student property market has become a global asset class, attracting billions in investment from some of the world’s richest individuals and sovereign wealth funds. Demand is so strong that it was standing-room only for some prospective buyers at a recent investment conference in London. One of the biggest overseas investors is Singapore-based fund Mapletree, which acquired over 6,000 beds last year.

In recent comments, Hiew Yoon Khong, Chief Executive of Mapletree provided insight as to why the asset class holds such appeal to overseas investors, telling reporters: “Student accommodation is a big business and relatively low risk.” According to Savills, the second largest source of capital into UK student housing in 2016 came from North America, with over £1.3bn worth of investment. The bulk of which came from two Canadian investors: Brookfield SRE and CPPIB.

Rising standards

As the student buy to let property market has grown exponentially, so the quality of the accommodation has risen. Nowadays student rooms are more akin to corporate apartments, with communal facilities to match. A key part of our portfolio at HighGround is One Islington Plaza in Liverpool, where flat-screen TVs and high-speed broadband come as standard in the rooms. A cinema room, gymnasium and games room provide students the chance to relax away from their studies, reflecting new standards that many now demand. Research from Knight Frank shows that over one-fifth of students are willing to pay more than £160 per week for the right facilities. New possibilities are being created within the market, as developers compete for the attention of an increasingly discerning client base. Overseas students, attracted by a more lifestyle-oriented academic environment, are a big part of the equation.

Appealing to students means appealing to buy to let investors, who will in turn enjoy greater rental returns, and a UK student property market that has demonstrated it can weather the toughest of times.

See more about UK Student Property :

Rather than damage performance, as many analysts had forecast, the Brexit vote intensified activity in the UK student property market and demonstrated the resilience of the sector.

A recent report by Savills also highlighted how the demand for student housing in the UK has outgrown supply. Analysts believe that the market will continue to be driven by bulk purchases, as investors seek to shore up their positions and acquire additional scale.

Appealing to the Far East

The UK’s student property market has become a global asset class, attracting billions in investment from some of the world’s richest individuals and sovereign wealth funds. Demand is so strong that it was standing-room only for some prospective buyers at a recent investment conference in London. One of the biggest overseas investors is Singapore-based fund Mapletree, which acquired over 6,000 beds last year.

In recent comments, Hiew Yoon Khong, Chief Executive of Mapletree provided insight as to why the asset class holds such appeal to overseas investors, telling reporters: “Student accommodation is a big business and relatively low risk.” According to Savills, the second largest source of capital into UK student housing in 2016 came from North America, with over £1.3bn worth of investment. The bulk of which came from two Canadian investors: Brookfield SRE and CPPIB.

Rising standards

As the student buy to let property market has grown exponentially, so the quality of the accommodation has risen. Nowadays student rooms are more akin to corporate apartments, with communal facilities to match. A key part of our portfolio at HighGround is Natex in Liverpool, where flat-screen TVs and high-speed broadband come as standard in the rooms. A cinema room, gymnasium and games room provide students the chance to relax away from their studies, reflecting new standards that many now demand. Research from Knight Frank shows that over one-fifth of students are willing to pay more than £160 per week for the right facilities. New possibilities are being created within the market, as developers compete for the attention of an increasingly discerning client base. Overseas students, attracted by a more lifestyle-oriented academic environment, are a big part of the equation.

Appealing to students means appealing to buy to let investors, who will in turn enjoy greater rental returns, and a UK student property market that has demonstrated it can weather the toughest of times.

See more about UK Student Property :