Sunday, 20 November 2016


Strange days in the investing world at the moment?
Worried about the effect of current global events on your portfolio? Who isn’t?
Many investors are now turning to safer investments to protect themselves from market risk.
Introducing Bastien Jack Ltd., an established UK property developer who can tick all the boxes for you, within individual property developments and also a new offering across multiple UK developments.
Using state of the art property development techniques, Bastien Jack offer you investments centred around established UK property methodologies and assets, and where almost all risk is mitigated for you.
Investment highlights:
* Uncomplicated private investment into a specific development, OR:
* Into a group of developments
* Exclusive JV funding considered
* Fixed investment term to suit (from 1 year)
* Minimum investment £100,000.00 GBP
* Significant returns
* Tax benefits included
To register your initial interest for your Investor Pack and Due Diligence, please simply complete the form here.
For more information on Bastien Jack Ltd investments please visit
To arrange an interview or comment from Rick Nicholls, MD, please contact Liam Thompson at ,, or on +44 (0) 20 3290 6001.


A commentary from Rick Nicholls, Managing Director, Bastien Jack Group Ltd, UK property developer.
In short, we have opportunity.
Initial shock at the prospect of leaving the EU sent the markets into decline, but have they not reacted pretty much as anticipated? Never letting a crisis go without opportunity, selling high to force a low, and then buy back? Since then there has been some indication stability is returning to the markets though GBP to USD and Euro are still trading lower. This is a good thing for UK exports, making them more competitive, assisting those companies that rely on export markets to grow. The UK vote for Brexit probably doesn’t mean that the housing market in the UK is about collapse either. While some uncertainty in the short term may reduce house price growth, for the longer-term property investor, this could be a good opportunity for investing.
The foreign property investor has a boost in value-for-money
In the 24 hours after the Brexit vote, the value of sterling fell on foreign exchange markets. Not by as much as predicted but by around 6% against the euro and 8% against the dollar. As I’m writing this, the pound is now worth €1.11. This fall means the European property investor has more sterling to spend.
Demand for property, specifically in London from foreign investors is still likely to increase, interest has been high from China and Asia as their currency exchange has automatically allowed them a discount on current prices. This though is likely to bea short window of opportunity as we see markets recover from the initial shock.
Domestic demand will remain strong
Demand from home buyers and renters probably won’t collapse either.
There is concern that demand for housing will fall in London and the UK. However, parliamentary research produced for the 2015 Parliament put demand at between 232,000 to 300,000 new housing units per year through to 2020. Demand for new homes is exceeding supply by around 150,000 every year. This demand, fed by the number of new households created each year, is unlikely to fall below the level of supply.
 Immigration will probably remain strong
One of the main negotiations the UK and EU will have to discuss is the free movement of people. Despite the ‘Leave’ campaign suggesting a limit to immigration, we now understand there needs to be movement but objective negotiations will have take place. This will form a significant part of the negotiations to leave the EU.
Outside the EU, the Prime Minister’s current visit to India has the subject of immigration firmly on the agenda for a post Brexit trade deal.
Fundamentals of the UK Property Market
The uncertainty of the exact outcome of Brexit may cause the property investor a little nervousness, but the fundamentals for UK property remain strong.
In terms of capital growth, there are a number of comparable data choices but the Real House price tracker provides more meaningful guide to house prices and has been adjusted for the effects of inflation over the same period. Results confirm the increases in house prices have risen faster than inflation, and includes the last recession where the fall can be seen as a correction when compared to the overall property performance.
There has been widespread comment as to the likely effects on house prices, with falls of between 5% and 10% for areas outside London, though little evidence can be found to support this so far.
The BTL investor has also seen positive movements since 2001 with the size of private renters beginning to grow again.
Annual rent rises too have accelerated in recent years and these are not limited to London. Bristol and Brighton both enjoyed increases, averaging circa 18% in 2015 compared to the previous year. The insurer Homelet reported similar rises in the North (Newcastle upon Tyne and Edinburgh) with around 16% over the previous year. Ultimately the increases are attributable to what’s happening in their specific area and will be influenced by strong fundamentals. Perhaps Hull can expect some positive growth when it is crowned City of Culture?
Rents in London have continued to rise with greater pace than other areas in the UK but have slowed since 2014, therefore a narrowing of the rent inflation gap between London and the rest of the UK.
Even with the recent policy change for buy-to-let investors paying additional stamp duty, more people have turned to BTL investments perhaps as an alternative to low interest rates, bolstered with the knowledge the pace of house building has not kept up with demand therefore sustaining their investment. At the time of the referendum result, there was speculation the base rate would reduce from 0.5% to 0.25% which did take place in August. The Bank of England indicated they would consider reducing further if the economy worsened, which so far has not been the case. It was also confirmed at the time, they also would add money to support confidence and restrict banks freezing liquidity, if not this would probably cause a further credit crunch and restrict mortgage finance. The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, confirmed the reserve of £250bn can be made available if required.
Carney further commented the substantial capital held and large liquidity gives banks the flexibility to continue to lend to businesses and individuals even during challenging times. This suggests provision and safeguards are in place to maintain current lending to suit demand.
Since the referendum, the markets have rallied well and only recently fallen as investors are perhaps concerned that central banks around the globe are easing up on the monetary policies given the uncertainty of the US election result.
In the UK, mortgage approvals by the main banks increased in September after a 19-month low in August. They were lower than the year before but speaking with our local agents, they suggest it’s down to a lack of supply of new build property rather than purchasing confidence.
There are four main areas for focus as we get to grips with the prospect of the UK outside the EU.
1) Calm – we have some indication this is already with us; the markets do seem to have calmed. This is probably due to all the positions the markets took on ‘Remain’ have now well and truly played out. It’s not over yet though, the volatility is set to continue until Article 50 has been triggered and a new directional plan from the government for the UK to leave is known.
2) Change – Nothing ever stays the same, what works for today may not be right for tomorrow. A pertinent example is Kodak, they tried to ignore new technology hoping it would go away by itself on the basis of it being too expensive, too slow, too complicated etc. It wasn’t and their market changed irreversibly in a relatively short period of time, moving from wet film to digital technology.
3) Opportunity – Leaving the EU does provide opportunity. With price correction, there is opportunity to procure better land deals than prior to the referendum, as there may be fewer developers with available funding. Contractors had full order books and build costs had become very high prior to the referendum. We are aware some development contracts have been cancelled as a result of Brexit. Therefore, there might be more opportunity to reduce build costs as price elasticity plays out. The current volatility will ease. The fact the UK has to build more houses to meet demand won’t change.
Bastien Jack Group Ltd has a strong project pipeline and always procures sites which have strong fundamentals and in areas where people want to live. There is a huge amount of due diligence which goes into every site appraisal including courting many local agents and advisors to confirm local demand and Gross Development Values. Speaking with agents in our pipeline areas, they have confirmed confidence is still strong and enthusiastic house viewings are still going ahead. As long as lending is still being offered and liquidity remains within the economy, there remains a great opportunity for us to progress.
For more information on Bastien Jack Ltd investments please visit
To arrange an interview or comment from Rick Nicholls, MD, please contact Liam Thompson at ,, or on +44 (0) 20 3290 6001.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Property Investing – mitigating risk

Since the crash of 2008, property has been the asset of choice for investors looking to make returns. Regardless of stock market turbulence and currency crises, the value of property, and the returns available for investors, have been on an upward trajectory. For everybody from international real estate investors, to retirees investing in buy-to-let as a pension alternative, property has been the goose that lays the golden egg.

A recent report issued by MSCI highlights the potential rewards investors can reap from property investment. Their data shows that US commercial property funds in 2015 grew a staggering 15.6% according to the PREA/IPD US Quarterly Property Fund Index1. Even more remarkably, investments in US commercial property have seen a cumulative return of 129% over the past six years.

Despite the good news however, there are downsides that need to be considered before investing in property. Property for example requires regular maintenance – and while on the whole tenants can be relied upon to look after your property, and pay the rent on time, bad tenants can be a real headache, turning your investment into a full time job. Recent data from the UK for example, shows that a total of nearly 43,000 tenants had to be evicted from privately rented properties in 2015. And with geopolitical uncertainty such as Brexit and elections in the US, France and Germany on the horizon putting downward pressure on economic performance, these figures have the potential to grow.

Property investors also need to consider legislative interventions. Housing across the western world is a key political issue, the reason being, there isn’t enough of it. As such landlords can often find themselves in the political cross-hairs. Landlords in the UK for example, have seen stamp duty increased on buy-to-let purchases, as well as new limitations on the amount of tax relief which can be claimed against rental income and the upkeep of rented property. Likewise, rent caps are becoming increasingly popular in cities across the world including Dublin, New York and Berlin. The new mayor of London has also recently floated the idea of limiting the rent which can be charged on privately rented property.

At the other end of the scale are larger investments, such as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), which, while generating decent returns, are not as high yielding as direct investment in the private rented sector can be. The fact that these investments are managed by large corporations and investment houses also means that there is often a potential disconnect between returns and the allocation of those returns to investors. Indeed, a recent report from a research team in Toronto found that, while REITs had the highest net returns amongst a sample of asset classes, investors in REITs saw the lowest allocations – just 0.6% of total asset value2.

Is property worth still it?

There is no doubt that property investments continue to outperform other investments. When we look at US commercial property for example, we see it has outperformed US bonds (up 4.39% over the period 2011 to 2015), stocks (up 13.45%), corporate bonds (up 4.72%) and commodities (down 10.93%)3. Market fundamentals would indicate that this situation is unlikely to change any time soon.

Given the concerns outlined above however, is property still worth it? Set against bad tenants and political scapegoating, the returns available on property may begin to look rather less impressive.
The question is, is there a way to ‘have your cake and eat it’ and enjoy the returns available on property investments but with less of the potential risks?

A novel approach

One opportunity to do so are the investments from the Rycal Group, offering entry to the Carlton James fund which has an investment portfolio focused on the hospitality sector in the US. Carlton James has been investing in this market for a while now, delivering returns averaging 17% for the last five years. With a strategy based upon wide-ranging geographical and market intelligence, Carlton James look also for additional Revenue Generators – for example taking into account a development’s proximity to highways, malls and economic infrastructure – as well as local economics.

Simon Calton, CEO of the Carlton James Group and Rycal Group, says: “Property remains an investment of choice for investors around the world, delivering yields which are difficult to achieve elsewhere in the low interest rate era we find ourselves in. Traditional property investments however can be quite demanding and are subject to risks and influences which are completely beyond the control of investors.

“Property investments are typically slower to move than other investments, such as stocks and shares, so exiting a property investment can also be difficult, leaving investors exposed. There are alternatives however, to small scale personal investment – the landlord route, and larger scale, institutionally led investment.

“At Rycal we work to capture the yields which make property investment so appealing, while also mitigating the downside risks. We achieve this by employing wide ranging and detailed intelligence, about everything from the performance of comparable assets, to the proximity of our developments to infrastructure such as roads and railways. We also ensure that detailed exit strategies are in place and ready to be deployed so that, should the worst happen, our clients are protected.”

“With a diverse portfolio of properties and deep investment intelligence, Carlton James offer a genuinely novel approach to property investment, and one we expect to grow in popularity over coming years.”

For more information on the Rycal Group and Carlton James investments please visit To arrange an interview or comment from Simon Calton, please contact Liam Thompson at , on +44 (0) 7890 315 537 or via

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Sunday, 10 July 2016

Rycal Group – Brexit proof investments with Carlton James?

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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

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