Bedroom tax fuels interest in smaller buy-to-let flats

Significant changes in the social housing sector are being reflected in the demand and sale of homes in the latest Wirral property auction, according to Smith & Sons.

Chris Johnson, auctioneer at Smith & Sons, said: "The auction can often act as a barometer of the wider changes taking shape within the property sector. Welfare reform changes, which limits the number of bedroom to one per occupier, is now being felt and a shortage in this type of accommodation is being looked at keenly by developers and investors, as well as social landlords. These two properties have already attracted a lot of interest."

Smith & Sons' final auction of 2013 is due to be held on Wednesday 4 December at the Village Hotel in Bromborough.

In the catalogue is the Carlton Pub in Borough Road, Birkenhead and a separate lot of 12 self-contained flats in the centre of Oxton.

A number of potential buyers have viewed the former pub with a view to convert and lease as single bed living units whilst the Oxton flats are also one bed flats. Both sites meet a wider demand for single bed occupancy living following recent changes in welfare reform.

Johnson said smaller houses in need of repair and modernisation were also proving popular, with an increased number of first-time buyers in the market. There are two four-bedroomed houses in Zig Zag Road, Wallasey, and Harcourt Road in Wallasey, as well as two three-bedroomed semi-detached houses, in popular residential areas, Bromborough and Little Sutton.

He added: "A recent move by some lenders, who are now offering 5% deposits, is giving first-time buyers a much-needed boost. For those that are prepared to get stuck in, properties such as these can be secured at great prices with good potential for an increase in value once the work is complete."

Other standout lots include a residential development site off St Georges Avenue near Victoria Park in Birkenhead with planning permission for three properties and a commercial investment in Jordan Street, Liverpool close to the Anglican Cathedral producing a yield of 18%. Four flats in Argyle Street South are also offered with a return of 14%.

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