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Why Property Investors Should Look to the London Suburbs For Great Returns

moove2london on 18 May 2015

We Take a Look at London’s Up-And-Coming Areas for Property Investors In 2015

Discover the property hotspots of London in 2015 and find out why you should consider investing over renting in order to get ahead in the property sector.

In recent years, London has become an increasingly expensive place for tenants. With the average cost of rent representing an average of 49% of a person’s salary, London unsurprisingly stands out as being the most expensive place in the UK to rent a home. So why are people so bound to the idea of being part of ‘generation rent’? Maybe it’s because they’re unaware that the banks have started lending again to the most first-time buyers they’ve seen in seven years.

If you look out to the suburbs in Transport Zones 3 and beyond, there are some reasonably-priced pockets of London that have much to offer first-time buyers. Areas that were once considered a little downtrodden, such as Walthamstow and Stoke Newington, have become trendy in recent years and now offer a village-style atmosphere for those that took a risk and invested in them.

Investing in a small property in the suburbs could also provide an owner with the opportunity to make huge capital gains, as house prices in certain London areas are forecast to increase by as much as 20-25% in the next 5 years. This sort of scenario would allow an owner to build a deposit for a much larger property within a relatively short space of time.

For those who don’t wish to move to Outer London, but would still like to make money from a property located there, there is also the option of taking out a buy-to-let mortgage, allowing you to purchase a home with the sole purpose of renting it out. As a landlord, your tenants would cover your mortgage payments with their rent and you could watch the value of your property grow rapidly.

Tips for choosing a great London suburb to invest in
• Look at the high street – a main thoroughfare containing independent shops and new delicatessens is a great sign of wealth in the area.

• The age demographic – if an area is inhabited by people who are mainly in their 20s and 30s then it would be reasonable to assume that they would have disposable income to spend in the area.

• Property developments – if big companies are spending money investing in a region, they’re likely to have done their homework. It’s also possible that the property developers are creating new jobs and amenities, such as shops and gyms.

• Transport links – any planned changes to an area, such as the new Crossrail train line, will almost certainly make it an attractive area to invest in. Equally, locations that are situated a few tube stops down from an area that is already fashionable are also well worth a look.

London property hotspots for 2015 – Croydon and Manor Park

Property developers Berkeley Homes are due to complete their Saffron Square development in Croydon this year, which will contain around 800 new homes with approximately 10% being set aside for a shared ownership scheme. Transport links are being improved and there is a £1bn regeneration of Croydon’s current hub with the opening of Westfield.
North of the river, Manor Park in East London is due to get a Crossrail station in 2018. Forecasters are estimating that there is as much as a 50% increase to be made on property in the area. Zoopla estimates that the average 2 bed property in the area of E12 is approximately £222,650, making it an extremely affordable area for investment.

Of course it can still be difficult for many to get a foot on the housing ladder. Help is out there in the form of rent to buy schemes and shared ownership, and some buyers even choose to move in with their parents for a while to save up enough cash for a deposit. London’s continuous pattern of increasing property prices seems to prove that there’s a still a lot of money to be made for those who are able to invest.

How To Learn The Knowledge Of London

moove2london on 15 May 2015

Black Taxi Driver Training In The Capital

London’s black cab drivers are required to learn ‘The Knowledge’. Find out more about how to take the exams and become fully qualified as a cabbie.

London’s iconic black cabs are renowned for providing one of the best taxi services in the world, with the drivers having an incredible familiarity with the streets of the capital. Many Londoners are attracted to the prospect of becoming a black cab driver for many reasons – you get to be your own boss, set your own work hours and earn a decent wage. However, becoming a black cab driver in London is far from simple. Those who achieve the green badge status with a black cab qualification are required to undertake a rigorous study programme known as ‘The Knowledge’, which was created in 1865.

What is the Knowledge?
The Knowledge is an examination process designed to help London’s potential taxi drivers learn the quickest legal route between two possible locations in London. The basis of the Knowledge is that drivers must learn 320 routes, known as runs, within a 6 mile radius of Charing Cross, which covers an area of approximately 113 square miles. Many of the students choose to learn the runs by driving round them on a scooter and also by attending an independent Knowledge school. Drivers can apply to be an ‘All London’ taxi driver, allowing them to accept passengers in any area of Greater London, or a ‘Suburban’ driver who is allowed to ply for trade in restricted areas of the suburbs outside of London.

What are the stages of the examination process?
There’s approximately 34 months between a student sending in a primary application and ultimately becoming qualified and receiving their licence. Initially, the student must pass basic medical and character reference checks before receiving their introductory Knowledge pack. The pack contains the Blue Book, which is the handbook to learning the Knowledge of London. In addition, students receive a DVD and a booklet of advice. After approximately 6 months and learning the first 80 runs of the Blue Book, candidates may be ready for an optional self-assessment stage, which will not go towards any official marks but will give a fair assessment of progress during this early period.

When ready, candidates then continue to the written examination stage which should take place within 24 months of receiving the initial pack. The pass mark for the exam is 60% and those who don’t make the grade can retake the exam.

The next stage is a series of one-off appearances with an examiner who will spot-test students on place locations and routes. Intervals between appearances get shorter until there is roughly 3 weeks between tests. Following the appearance stage, ‘All London’ candidates will need to take a test to ensure they have a reasonable knowledge of suburban areas, whilst ‘Suburban’ candidates will need to demonstrate familiarity with central London.
Once applicants have passed all stages of the examination process, they can make a final application for their licence and start to think about some of the logistics of becoming a London taxi driver. All drivers should take out some taxi driver insurance and also decide whether to purchase their own black cab or rent one out on a weekly basis, which tends to be the more popular option.

A career as a black cab driver is hard work and often involves working antisocial hours, yet can be extremely rewarding for those who enjoy working with the general public and want to carve an independent career path for themselves!

Personal Training Courses in London

moove2london on 17 Mar 2015

For those of you who would like to pursue a career in sport and fitness, you might be interested in taking a personal training course in London with a view to becoming a personal fitness instructor or perhaps specialising in a field such as nutrition or weight management.

Discovery Learning is a 14 year old company offering personal fitness training.
Their courses are flexible and offer a choice of either full-time intensive training or part-time with an appealing mixture of home study, online learning and tutored attendance days. Discovery’s online learning platform includes materials such as videos, presentations, quizzes, and learning challenges and tools.
Depending on the type of course a student takes, some complimentary extras are available to students including 1 month free public liability insurance, DL branded uniform, a free website, professional business course etc.
The courses available are developed by a series of industry specialists such as sports scientists or recognised experts in sports nutrition and weight management.
Each course also includes a student support team to assist you with your learning. They are accessible via phone, email or live chat.
After you’ve completed the course, Discovery can also assist in helping you to find employment opportunities and keep you updated with relevant industry news.
Payment options are available when booking a course – offers change throughout the year but include deals such as discounts when paying in full, or 0% interest on instalments.

Current courses include Personal Trainer courses as well as:

CPD (part-time only)

  • Behaviour Change and Motivational Interviewing
  • Childhood Obesity Prevention and Intervention
  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Mixed Martial Arts
  • Indoor cycling
  • Suspension Training
  • Core Strength and Stability
  • Kettlebell Instructor Course
  • Circuit Training
  • Strength and Conditioning
  • First Aid Course
  • Introduction to Sports Injuries
  • Sports Nutrition Course
  • Business and Marketing

Level 2

  • Gym instructor Courses
  • Exercise to Music
  • Childrens Fitness Courses
  • Childrens Exercise nad Obesity

Level 3

  • Exercise Referral
  • Pilates Instructor Courses
  • Sports Massage Courses
  • Pre and Post Natal Exercise
  • Strength and Sports Conditioning
  • Nutrition for Physical Activity
  • Sports Conditioning

Level 4

  • Obesity and Diabetes Management
  • Lower Back Pain Management

A recent follow-up survey of 200 Discovery Learning graduates found that an impressive 92% of them have returned to Discovery for an additional course.

Discovery Learning Venues include London, as well as nationwide locations such as Manchester, Bournemouth, Birmingham, Nottingham, Newcastle, Leeds, Cardiff and Ipswich, so you could perhaps even obtain your qualification at a local venue before moving to London if that suits your situation better.

What is the London living wage?

moove2london on 06 Mar 2015

The London living wage is the calculated amount per hour that a person is thought to need to earn to cover their basic living costs. The London living wage is higher than the living wage for the rest of the country – this is because typically basic living costs in London – such as food, accommodation, transport etc are higher in the capital than the rest of the UK.

The current London living wage is £9.15 per hour, as opposed to £7.85 nationwide. This amount has been calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University.

Unfortunately the living wage is quite a bit higher than the current minimum wage which is set at £6.50 for over 21s and £5.13 for those aged between 18 and 20. So the London living wage calculation can be seen as being somewhat problematic as there are large quantities of people living in London who are earning minimum wage and therefore unable (by this calculation) to meet their own basic living costs.

Employers in London are not obliged to pay the minimum London living wage to their lower-earning employees, but nevertheless there are some organisations such as the GLA (Greater London Authority) that choose to do so. Here is a full list of employers in London that pay the full London living wage – if you’re thinking about moving to London and are worrying about having enough money to survive, then you might want to consider applying for a job with one of these companies:

11KBW London
3i Group London
89up London
A View Opticians London
ABTA The Travel Association London
Accenture London
ACEVO London
Action Aid London
AD Porta Limited London
Advantage Accreditation Limited London
Aequitas Consulting London
Age Concern Kensington and Chelsea London
Age UK Camden London
Age UK Enfield London
Alford House London
Allen & Overy LLP London
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris London
Altitec Ltd London
Ambler Primary School and Children’s Centre London
Amnesty International London
Amnesty International | International Secretariat London
Anglo American Services UK Ltd London
Anthony Nolan‎ London
Aquaterra London
Ark London
Ark Academy (Brent) London
ARK UK Programmes London
Armour Intelligence Ltd London
Arup London
Ascham Homes London
Aspire Community Works London
Association of Teachers and Lecturers London
Attic Removals London
Attic Storage London
Aviva plc London
Bangla Housing Association London
Barclays London
Barking & Dagenham Council for Voluntary Service London
Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust London
Barrow Cadbury Trust London
Barts Health NHS Trust London
Bastows London
Bates Wells Braithwaite London
BCS (Electrical and Building) Ltd London
Beazley Insurance London
Bethnal Green Academy London
Bhatt Murphy Solicitors London
Bilmes Solicitors London
Bindmans LLP London
Blackfriars Advice Centre London
Blackstone Chambers Ltd London
Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church London
Bootstrap Company Ltd London
Boxing Academy London
Bristows LLP London
British Bankers’ Association (BBA) London
Bromley-by-Bow Centre London
Buddy Enterprises Ltd London
Burke Hunter Adams LLP London
Burma Campaign UK London
Business in the Community London
BVCA London
CAFOD London
Cambridge House London
Camden Town Brewery London
Campaign Company London
Canary Wharf Group London
Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School London
Cartias Social Action Network London
Casual Films London
Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster) London
Catholic Trust for England and Wales London
Catlin Group London
CCLA Investment Management London
CDF – Community Development Foundation London
Cedar Communications Limited London
Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church London
Central Hall Westminster London
Centre for Strategy and Communication Ltd (The Centre) London
Centre for Theology and Community London
Channel 4 London
Charity People London
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy London
Chatsworth Road Market London
Chelsea FC plc London
Christ the King Primary School London
Christian Aid London
CIFAS London
CIPD London
Citi London
Citizens UK London
City of London Corporation London
Clapham Park Group Practice London
Claremont Communications London
Clear Channel UK London
Click Entertainment Ltd London
Clifford Chance London
Comic Relief London
Communication Workers Union London
Community Action Southwark London
Community Links (London) London
Community Transport Waltham Forest London
Community Union London
Compass School Southwark London
Contract Security Services Ltd London
Copenhagen School London
Council of Lutheran Churches London
CPAG London
Craving Coffee London
Cripplegate Foundation London
Crisis UK London
Cromwell Clean Ltd London
CTS Cleaning Solutions Ltd London
Curzon Investment Property London
Dallington School London
Dalston Bread and Wine Ltd. London
Deloitte London
Department of Energy & Climate Change London
Deptford Reach London
Devereux Chambers London
Disability Action in Islington London
Disk To Print UK Ltd London
Dot Dot Dot Property Ltd London
Dragados S. A. UK Branch London
East London Business Alliance (ELBA) London
East London Community Land Trust London
East London Liquor Company Ltd London
Egress Software Technologies London
ELATT London
Elfrida Rathbone Camden London
Ellis of Richmond London
Epigeum Ltd London
Ernst & Young LLP London
Ethical Trading Initiative London
Evangelical Alliance London
Everis Consultancy London
Fabian Society London
Fairtrade Foundation London
Family and Childcare Trust London
Farrer & Co LLP London
Faucet Inn Limited London
FDA Union London
Fellowes Associates London
Fifth Column Ltd London
Financial Conduct Authority London
Finchley Reform Synagogue London
First Rung Ltd London
First Step Trust London
Firstco Ltd London
Five Points Brewing Company Ltd London
Folklore London
Forbes Protect Ltd London
Form form form Ltd London
Forster Communications London
Foundation Property & Capital London
Futerra Sustainability Communications London
G. Baldwin & Co Ltd London
G2G Limited London
Generation Rent London
Gingerbread London
Glencore (UK) Ltd London
Global Partners Governance London
Global Payments London
GMB London
Goldman Sachs International London
Google UK London
Grafton Primary School London
Grafton UK London
Grant Thornton UK LLP London
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust London
Greater London Authority London
Green Element Ltd London
Green Party London
Green Roots London
Greenwich Action for Voluntary Service (GAVS) London
Guy Chester Centre London
Hackney Brewery Ltd London
Hackney CVS London
Hamilton Brown London
Hammersmith and Fulham Mind London
Hansen Palomares London
Hardwicke London
Hargrave Park School London
Helpful Technology Ltd London
Henderson Global Investors London
Herbert Smith LLP London
Hermes Fund Managers London
Hodge Jones & Allen London
Hogarth Architects London
Holman Fenwick Willan LLP London
Holy Cross Centre Trust London
Homes for Haringey London
Hope Worldwide London
Housing Justice London
HSBC Bank Plc London
Humphries Kerstetter LLP London
Hurley Group London
ICAEW London
iKhofi Ltd London
ING Bank London
Innisfree Housing Association London
Innovision Events Ltd London
Insight Public Affairs London
Institute for Public Policy Research London
Intentionality Community Interest Company London
Investment Technology Ltd London
Iris & June Limited London
Irvine Thanvi Natas Solicitors London
Islington & Shoreditch Housing Association London
Islington CCG London
Islington Law Centre London
ITV plc London
Ivy House Community Pub Limited London
Jackson & Jackson Accountants Limited London
James Ince & Sons (Umbrellas) Ltd London
Jesuit Refugee Centre London
Joiner’s Arms Shoreditch London
Jonnie Dog London
JP Morgan London
Jubilee Hall Trust London
Kaffeine London
Kaldor Ltd London
Kayleigh Plant Hire London
Kings College London Students’ Union London
Kingsley Napley LLP London
Kingsmith Care Ltd London
KPMG London
Kudos Records Limited London
Kudox Limited London
L’Atypique Wines London
Labour Party London
Lancashire Insurance London
LankellyChase Foundation London
LASA London
Law Society London
Laycock Primary School London
Leap Confronting Conflict London
Legal & General London
Lewis Silkin London
Liberal Judaism London
Linklaters London
Lionheart Security Management London
Live Holidays Ltd London
Living Space Project London
Living Streets London
Lloyd’s of London London
Local Trust London
Locality London
London & Partners Ltd London
London Borough of Brent London
London Borough of Camden London
London Borough of Ealing London
London Borough of Enfield London
London Borough of Hounslow London
London Borough of Islington London
London Borough of Lambeth London
London Borough of Lewisham London
London Borough of Southwark London
London Borough of Tower Hamlets London
London Business School London
London Community Foundation London
London Diocesan Fund (Diocese of London) London
London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority London
London First London
London Funders London
London Housing Trust London
London Legacy Development Corporation London
London Metropolitan Students’ Union London
London Metropolitan University London
London Mutual Credit Union London
London School of Economics and Political Science London
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine London
London TravelWatch London
londonprintstudio London
LSE Student Union London
Lush (London) London
LVSC London
Lyndon Goode Architects London
MAC -UK London
MAC-UK London
Macmillan Cancer Support London
Macquarie Group London
Mapledown School London
Martin Arnold Limited London
Masorti Judaism London
Mass1 Ltd London
Match Solicitors London
Matrix Chambers London
Maudsley Learning London
Max Fordham LLP London
Mayer Brown London
Mayor’s Fund for London London
MDS Battery Ltd London
MedExpress London
Membership Engagement Services London
Merton Voluntary Service Council London
Middlesex University Students’ Union London
Mind in Camden London
Mishcon de Reya London
MOPAC London
Mowgli London Ltd London
MSH Health & Wellbeing Community Interest Company London
Musicians’ Union London
MyLondonHome Property Services London
Nanny Network London
National Audit Office London
National Housing Federation London
National Literacy Trust London
National Portrait Gallery London
NCVO London
NEST Corporation London
Nesta London
New Economics Foundation London
New London Synagogue London
New Unity London
Newpark Childcare London
NKD Learning LLP London
Nomura London
Norton Rose Fulbright London
O’Donovan Waste Disposal Ltd London
Objective Productions London
Off Centre London
Ogilvy & Mather London
Oliver Marketing London
Olswang London
Only Connect UK London
Orbit Brewing London
Ourcamden CIC London
Outer Temple Chambers London
PACE London
Pakeman Primary School London
Panacea Software Limited London
Parish of Waterloo London
Participle London
Party Ingredients Catering Services Ltd London
Pearson Plc London
Penrose Care London
Pentecostal Credit Union Ltd London
People’s Health Trust London
PJB Recruitment London
Plan UK London
Plan UK London
Plethora Services Ltd London
PLMR London
Poached Creative London
Policy Research Unit London
Pooles Park Primary School London
Poplar Harca London
Positive East London
Positive Partners Ltd London
Principles for Responsible Investment London
Prior Weston School and Children’s Centre London
Profile Books Ltd London
Progarda Security Services Ltd London
Publica Associates Limited London
PwC London
Quaker Social Action London
Quantum Waste London
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park London
Queen Mary UoL London
Rare Recruitment Limited London
Rathbones London
RCJ Advice Bureau and Islington CAB London
Real London
Red Loft LLP London
Redemption Brewing London
Reform Research Trust London
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers in Britain) London
Resolution Foundation London
Resolution Operations LLP London
Resource for London London
Restless Development London
Rethink Mental Illness London
Return Marketing Limited London
Reyker London
RGL Forensics London
Richard Cloudesley School London
Royal Borough of Greenwich London
Royal College of Midwives London
Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons London
Royal Town Planning Institute London
Salut Wines London
Samuel Rhodes School London
Sarasin London
SAUL Pension Services London
SAUL Trustee Company London
Save the Children London
School for Social Entrepreneurs London
Schools Offices Services London
Schroders London
Schroders London
SCOR London
Second Home London
SGW Global London
ShareAction London
Shared Assets Limited London
Simons Muirhead & Burton London
SINCE 9/11 London
Skills Enterprise London
Skoob Books London
Slaughter and May London
Snorestore Ltd London
SOAS Students’ Union London
Social Enterprise UK London
Social Investment Business London
Society and College of Radiographers London
Soho Parish Primary School London
South London Church Fund & Southwark Diocesan Board of Finance London
South London Gallery London
South London Liberal Synagogue London
Southgate Progressive Synagogue London
St Andrew by the Wardrobe London
St Charles Sixth Form College London
St James’s Church Piccadilly London
St John’s Highbury Vale C of E Primary School London
St Mary Magdalene Academy London
St Mary’s University London
St Paul’s Cathedral London
St Stephen’s Church, Canonbury London
St Thomas of Canterbury London
St Ursula’s Convent School London
Stepney City Farm London
Strategy & Technology Ltd London
Syd Bishop & Sons (Demolition) Ltd London
Synergy Vision London
T Rowe Price International Ltd. London
Table Talk and Blue Strawberry London
TBP LTD London
Techclean Services Limited London
The Anslow Partnership Group Limited London
The Arthouse Crouch End London
The Building Futures Group London
The City Academy, Hackney London
The College of Podiatrists London
The Corner Surgery London
The Drury Tea & Coffee Company Ltd London
The Equality Trust London
The Goodwork Organisation London
The Honourable Society Of The Inner Temple London
The I Am Group London
The Mediation Business London
The New Cross Gate Trust London
The Nuffield Foundation London
The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists London
The Truscott Arms London
Theatre Delicatessen London
Timewise Foundation London
Tower Hamlets CVS London
Tower Hamlets Homes London
Toynbee Hall London
Transport for London London
Trust For London London
TUC London
Tullow Oil plc London
Twist London Ltd London
UCL Student Union London
UK Community Foundations London
UK India Business Council London
Ultimate Staffing London
Unison London
University of East London London
University of East London Students’ Union London
UnLtd* London
Up Market Community Charity Shop London
Urban Partnership Group London
Urben London
Vauxhall One London
Veritas Investment Management LLP London
Vibrance London
vInspired London
Voluntary Action Islington London
Walcot Foundation London
Walthamstow and Chingford Almshouse Charity London
We Made That LLP London
Wenlake Management Ltd London
West End in Schools / Blue Box Entertainment Limited London
West London Mission London
Westminster Advisers London
Westway Trust London
White & Case LLP London
Wild Card Brewery London
Winton Primary School London
Wixted & Co London
Woodford Liberal Synagogue London
Working Families London
Working With Men London
Xanta Limited London
Yerbury Primary School London
Yogamatters Ltd London
Young Foundation London

London’s profile on UK Hotspots Map

moove2london on 07 Jan 2015

HouseSimple has put together an interactive map showing the best places to live in the UK.
The map has been created using collated information from a number of national surveys and statistics from 2012 onwards.
Categories which feature on the map include the Wealthiest, Friendliest, Happiest and Safest areas of the UK, as well as those with the Biggest Population and those that are Best for Families.

This interactive is brought to you by House Simple

Wealthiest areas of the UK
Good news for Londoners, as the capital is top of the wealthy list based on an average gross disposable household income of £21,446. This represents 16.7% of the entire UK gross disposable household income. Runner-up on the list is the surrounding area of the South-East of England. The data comes courtesy of data provided by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) from 2012.

Biggest Population in the UK
As you might expect, London also comes high up on the list of areas with the biggest population. Second only to the South East population of 8.8 million, London has a population of 8.4 million according to the ONS’s stats from mid-2013.

Friendliest Area in the UK
London isn’t always renowned for being the friendliest of places with people often joking about never making eye contact on the tube and not knowing their neighbours.
So it’s perhaps surprising that 3 areas of London feature on the UK’s Friendliest areas in the UK list.
These 3 areas are the Northcote Road in Battersea (no. 15 on the list), Finsbury Park (no. 19) and Primrose Hill (no. 20). The list is taken from a survey in the Telegraph in late 2014.

Happiest Area in the UK
Unfortunately London does not feature on the Happiest Area in the UK list provided by a Rightmove survey. Those on top include Harrogate, Inverness and Taunton.

Best for Families in the UK
Although many Londoners do manage to have a wonderful family work/life balance in London, again it does not feature on the list of ‘Best for Families’ in the UK provided by Instead, St. Bees in Cumbria tops the list, closely followed by Wokingham in Berkshire and Faringdon in Oxfordshire.

Safest Areas in the UK
The areas listed on the Safest Areas in the UK provided by are predominantly rural and therefore it is no surprise that our capital city did not make it into the top 20. Instead Hampshire, Devon and the East Riding of Yorkshire are at the top of the charts. Interestingly, two areas of Durham also feature.
However, there are ways to keep safe in London – take a look at some of our top London safety tips.

Is London the Best City for Graduate Jobs?

moove2london on 06 Jan 2015

A recent study by QS World Institution Rankings has deemed London to be the 3rd best city in the world to be a student.
The study required criteria from 5 different area to be satisfied – namely:

  • University Rankings
  • Student Mix
  • Quality of Living
  • Affordability
  • Employer Activity

Paris and Melbourne came out as the top two cities respectively, but London didn’t fair badly at all as it was the only city to come top in 2 out of the 5 categories – those being ‘University Rankings’ and ‘Employer Activity’.

The Head of Research at QS, Ben Howter, had this to say about London’s third place position:

London is an amazing city for students and the only city in the world to come top in 2 out of 5 of our indicator categories – rankings and employer activity.

However, affordability is a key factor for many international students and thus for us here as well, and perhaps due to the relative strength of the UK economy, more than half of London’s dropped points are in this category. London is also mid-table rather than world-leading in some of the new factors such as safety and pollution.’

The fact that affordability has been mentioned is no surprise as recent reports have also emerged suggesting that London tenants are paying out as much as 50% of their salary in rent. Homelet’s research examined rental patterns across the UK and found that London has the highest rent to income ratio.
London’s average rental costs are £1413 pcm – 49% of the average salary.
Edinburgh’s average rental costs are £700 pcm – 47% of the average salary.
Plymouth’s average rental costs are £510 pcm – 27% of the average salary – this city came out as the most affordable in the UK in terms of rent to income ratio.

However, even though rental costs are high in the capital, the chances of acquiring a job in London are good at the moment, and the QS research actually gave London 100/100 for the ‘Employer Activity’ category, suggesting that now is as good a time as any to be hired and that it is indeed the best city in the world to be looking for work.

If you’re considering moving to London in 2015, then take a look at our where to live in London pages to assist you in finding the best areas of London to suit your situation.

Furnishing your first flat in London

moove2london on 18 Jun 2014

So you’ve taken the plunge and moved to London. With so much to think about, it can be difficult to create a homely environment when rents are high and budgets are low, especially for a recent graduate. Thankfully however, there are a number of options available that can make your first London home look great without breaking the bank.

Choose your look

In London, it’s all about image, and you’ll want your first flat to reflect this. The beauty of our capital is that is boasts both classic and contemporary looks, so have a browse through a few catalogues before you go buying any new furniture. Ask yourself – are you inspired by ergonomic, European-inspired design or do you want a more vintage or even Victorian look? Some of London’s most beautiful properties are influenced by period design, so look to specialised magazines such as Period Living for a little inspiration. If you’re not much in the DIY department and want modern design, consider purchasing flat pack furniture to make your transition into the Big Smoke quicker and easier.

Look for deals

Try to make sure that the timing of your moving-in date is consistent with the change of seasons. Most often, furniture companies offers great deals on furniture when they come to the end of the season, and it’s well known that full price furniture can have an 80% mark up, so you’ll want to get the best deal you can if you time it right. Companies like Bedstar can offer high quality furniture at low prices, which will last for a long time and save you more money in the long run.

Go to auction

Looking for a particularly unique piece to go with your quirky sense of style? An auction is a great way of getting hold of a rare item that will invariably have a rich history to go with it. Whether it’s an armoire, antique clock or dining set, it will set the tone for the rest of your flat and impress your house guests. Going to an auction doesn’t have to be expensive either – The Telegraph offers some tips on how to get the best value furniture at auction.

Add a personal touch

Moving to London can be a daunting experience, especially if you’re coming from far away and leaving friends and family behind. To keep a closer connection with your nearest and dearest, make sure your flat has plenty of mementos, from a notice board with concert tickets, photos and festival wristbands to fridge magnets.
A great way to make your flat in keeping with London’s modern vibe while holding on to your personal memories is to purchase a digital photo frame. These handy little devices can either connect to your home computer via USB or have their own built in memory cards, giving you the chance to have some of your most treasured memories on loop without having to drill holes in the walls. Pop the frame in an office or on a kitchen worktop to make you smile every morning.

A Place to Call Home Sweet….Scam? Beware online rental scams in London

moove2london on 11 Jun 2014

So you are new to London and in need of a place to call home sweet home – The most obvious port of call to search for your new rented property or room is online and the classified property web listings. However, unfortunately, a small pocket of the internet is home to a world wide web of scam artists who are defrauding unsuspecting flat hunters out of a lot of money, by posing as legitimate landlords on classified listing sites. Fortunately, sites such as EasyRoommate are proactive in their awareness of fraudsters infiltrating the online listing sites, with their administrators flagging and removing emails which they deem to be attempts at a scam. But it is important that you are also vigilant and recognise the signs of scams, in order to prevent yourself from being caught in the scammers’ nets….

So you respond to an advert, expressing interest in viewing the room or flat advertised, and a response will reach your inbox, usually composed in a specific style of writing. Emails received from a bogus landlord will often follow a similar pattern of odd and/or broken English, emphasising trust issues with past tenants and including elaborate stories as to why they are unable to be in the UK to arrange a viewing with you. Furthermore, the ‘landlord’ will build up an image of themselves as a trusted and noble individual, usually emphasising their professional position to convey themselves as quite the ‘holier-than-thou’ individual whom you would never think to question… But question marks must begin to surface when the scammer then asks you to prove that you have the funds for rent payment available and you are therefore the ‘trustworthy’ tenant that they’ve been searching for. And at this point you will see two words, which should immediately send warning signs flashing – ‘WESTERN UNION’.
Yep, Western Union, the money transfer service with a lack of safeguards and therefore the bogus landlords’ preferred way to steal your money. The ‘landlord’, who is conveniently living abroad and unable to meet you in person, will request that you prove that you have the funds to rent the property by sending money to yourself or someone you know and trust, via Western Union. They will then request that you send your receipt to them to again prove that you are trustworthy. With a receipt in hand, the scammer is then able to withdraw the money so you can’t retrieve it. And as simple as that, your money has vanished. And oh, the room you were interested in is of course nonexistent.
Since money transfer companies are not the same as banks, you are not protected by the same consumer safeguards (for example, sums of up to £2,000 can be withdrawn without address verification), so once your money is in the hands of the bogus landlord, there is no way of claiming it back. As Citizens Advice states, by sending over a copy of the receipt, it is like ‘handing over a PIN number to a stranger’, which you would of course never so freely do in the outside world.

Another way that scammers can abuse your trust and the money transfer services is by requesting that you send over your deposit and/or part of the rent, before you meet the landlord or actually view the property outside of the online world. Again, the bogus landlord will lure you into their trap with their words of trust and you happily send over your money by Western Union to secure your new home. Or in reality – you have parted with money for a phantom room.

When you are viewing adverts online for flats or rooms in London, it is important to be mindful of adverts which appear to be too good to be true. If the location is exceptionally central, the flat is exceptionally luxurious and the rent is exceptionally lower than expected, you may well think that you have stumbled upon an exceptional opportunity. But most likely, this advert is a scam, with a nonexistent property and a bogus landlord, laying in wait for your Western Union money transfers. Therefore, be wary of those adverts which are often vague in description but convey an incredibly appealing and luxurious looking property with rent below the market value. The ‘landlord’ will often be out of the country and informs you that they can send you the keys and paperwork once money has been transferred over – And of course this often means that the property doesn’t exist and the ‘landlord’ is in fact a scam artist ready to steal your money.

Property scamming isn’t only confined to bogus landlords – If you are searching for a new tenant or flat mate online, be careful not to fall victim to a bogus tenant and their cheque scam. This usually follows the same pattern of email exchanges as illustrated earlier, but the scammer insists that they send you a cheque for a year’s or few months’ worth of rent. Once the cheque is received and placed in your bank to cash, the scammer will contact you to say that they’ve sent a cheque for more money than necessary, and requests that you transfer back the difference. And as you’ve probably predicted, the cheque is in fact counterfeit and that was in fact phantom money which you have willingly transferred over, and your bank account is now quite a few hundred pounds lighter.

So, how to avoid these scams? As a general rule, be wary of any communication where the transferring of money is discussed before you have met the landlord in person or physically seen the property in question. If a ‘landlord’ mentions that they are abroad and in need of proof that you are trustworthy, never agree to transfer money. The National Landlords Association states that tenants should never send out payments or proof of legitimacy in this way.
Or if you are a landlord in search of a tenant, be mindful of individuals who are insistent on sending you a large proportion of the rent by cheque – And not only because it is so rare that anyone in London would be so enthusiastic to pay such a large sum of rent at once, you may question their sanity.
Do some background research of the landlord if you are suspicious – Google their name – if it is a scam, it is likely that there have been other victims who have discussed this or sent out warnings online. Furthermore, investigate if the landlord is genuine with a land registry check or checking if they are in fact a member of the National Landlords Association.

So of course the internet shouldn’t be avoided in your search for new homes in London, there are endless legitimate adverts out there on sites such as EasyRoommate. But just remember to approach with caution and trust your instinct if something doesn’t seem quite right. And of course, immediately cease communication and run, as soon as anyone requests a money transfer as a symbol of your trust!

Written by Leanne Phinikas

Buying Your First Property in London

moove2london on 22 Mar 2014

Over the past year, house prices have risen by 8.1 percent in London and are now currently at a record high. The average home in London costs £425,000, and this means that a significant investment is required if you’re serious about buying a place in the city. Renting prices can be proportionately even higher, and this means that many professionals are being priced out of renting and forced to climb on to the property ladder. A house or flat in London should be viewed as an investment, and if you’re fortunate enough to have a generous budget then London is definitely the place to buy.

Location Matters
London’s size and the diversity of the areas it has to offer means that first time buyers can be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a postcode. For those on a more modest budget, it’s definitely a good idea to put aside location prejudices and turn to the lesser known addresses to find somewhere more reasonably priced. Many of London’s ‘bad reputation’ areas are becoming gentrified and are now referred to as ‘up and coming’ and can be great investments if you’re considering renting out your property, or selling it on in the future. For those with more money to spend, it’s worth being as close to central London as possible. Some postcodes will always inspire envy and admiration in others, and areas such as Chelsea, Kensington, Richmond and Mayfair will always have a reputation for style and class.

Negotiation is Encouraged
Whether you’re strapped for cash or newly minted, it’s definitely worth negotiating your price. The asking price is usually a guide, and many sellers are willing to accept a lower price. First time buyers are attractive to sellers because they come unencumbered by another property, and this can encourage sellers to drop the price accordingly. Remember that there’s no substitute for good research and that the internet is a very important tool for comparing properties and getting clued up on the kind of prices places are selling for. Check how much of a difference there is between the sale and asking prices, and how long properties sit on the market for before they are snapped up.

Buying at Auction
Some properties in London are sold at auction, and these tend to be slightly ‘distressed’ assets that banks or other investment groups are trying to move cheaply. The risks of buying at auction are similar to those for buying through a private treaty and it’s essential that buyers do their research before they commit. At auction, the documentation and necessary property info will be available beforehand, so make sure you or your solicitor reads it carefully before you put in an offer. Winning a property at auction also means that you should have a deposit of 10 percent ready.
Whether you’re making good use of the government’s popular Help To Buy scheme or borrowing from generous parents, London is the place to invest in property. To find out more about buying and renting in the capital, contact an experienced agency like Wilfords London.

The Complete Student Landlord Guide

moove2london on 22 Mar 2014

University College London, Queen Mary’s College London, King’s College London and Imperial College London are just a small selection of the large number of universities which have their homes in England’s capital. This means that each and every year, thousands of students from around the world come flocking to the city for the opportunity to learn at some of the finest academic institutions the nation – and indeed the world – has to offer. Ultimately, this means that there is a growing need for student housing across the capital, with the South West of London included. This means that if you can stomach the thought of letting out your property to students, it’s a great way to ensure your property will be filled all year round.

Letting Go of False Preconceptions
Students get a bad name when it comes to being tenants because many have the false preconceptions that every student flat will feel like a ‘Skins’ party day-in, day-out. Of course, this isn’t the case, and as the number of international students (15 percent of all students in 2008 to 21 percent by 2018), and mature and postgraduate students increases over the coming years, it’s more than likely going to be the case that the types of tenants student landlords receive will be greatly different to mainstream ‘party culture’ preconception.

Increase Your Profit
With non-student tenants, it’s almost certain that in a three bedroom property, as a landlord you could only have three tenants. This isn’t the case with student tenants, however, as most students are looking for the best deal – in financial terms – that’s available, so this means that converting a living room or dining room into a fourth bedroom and finding a fourth tenant to fill it would be perfectly acceptable. In fact, the students are likely to welcome this, as it will bring their individual monthly rent down, while you receive more income per month.

Budget décor and Interior Design
Another benefit to dealing primarily with student tenants is that their standards for what constitutes acceptable living are much more reasonable than the professionals market. This means that so long as the property is presented well and has the basic amenities; your student tenants are likely to be appeased. In terms of furniture, a trip to a site like PeelMount will ensure you can source high-quality, yet inexpensive, bedroom furniture all from the same place, making the paper trail easier if you need to return or replace something.

Although you might think that students are the sorts of tenants who will be there for a year and then be gone, student tenants can be fiercely loyal to their landlords if treated with the appropriate level of respect and service. If you only provide the bare minimums and exclude things like ironing board, vacuum cleaner and free light bulbs, your tenants will more than likely leave after the minimum allotted time. However, if you provide the extras aforementioned and listen to your tenants’ questions, you’ll build rapport and they might just stay for longer. Doing this might take greater effort, but it will also guarantee that your tenants remain loyal to you, ensuring their custom for future years.

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