Oliver du Sautoy, head of research at LSH, believes what we have seen this year will be a tough act to follow, but is optimistic for future growth.
“Healthy levels of active demand and an analysis of forthcoming lease events point to another year of above-trend activity and take-up across the region in 2018,” he said. “Investors and developers must therefore take heed of the rapidly changing dynamics within the Northern Powerhouse office markets if we are to continue to support home-grown businesses and attract greater inward investment.
“Solid asset management strategies and refurbishment of poorer quality stock will be key to securing the best occupiers and boosting returns in the coming 12-18 months.”
There is a lack of supply in the regions – total availability has shrunk by 12% since the start of this year – and this has encouraged “steep increases in rental levels for existing space in some markets”, according to the LSH report.
This could result in more opportunities for developers looking to bridge the supply and demand gap, as well as higher yields for investors.
There are almost four million British people live abroad according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Despite choosing to settle in another country, many expatriates wish to retain a link to home in the form of investment property in case they return or even for investment purposes. But getting a mortgage in these circumstances can be more challenging than expected compared to being based in the UK.
Tougher identity checks, a comparatively small number of available lenders and restrictions on certain countries can all prove a significant stumbling block for expatriates based overseas.
The number of expats looking to buy property in the UK is growing, according to Gerard Ward, of Premier Expat Mortgages based in Asia, a mortgage broker which works with expats.
“We are speaking to a lot of expats at the moment,” he said. “It’s picked up recently from countries like Dubai, Canada and the US.
“A lot of expats are paid their salary and aren’t paying as much, if any, tax because of where they live. In places like Dubai your work will often pay for your accommodation so they have a lot of cash in the bank and buying a property in Britain and renting it out is attractive.”
There are fewer lenders and you will pay a premium
One problem expats seeking a mortgage could come up against straight away is the comparatively small number of lenders offering an expat mortgage.
Few high street banks have such an offering meaning you will be relying on specialist lenders and smaller building societies, according to Mr Ward. “Getting an expat mortgage isn’t always straightforward but there are a lot more lenders offering them now than there were a few years ago,” he said.
He said lenders such as Al Rayan Bank, Kent Reliance and the Market Harborough Building Society had led the way.
Expat mortgages tend to be slightly more expensive in terms of interest rate than their regular counterparts and you will have to produce a sizable deposit – usually around 25pc of the property’s value according to Mr Strutt.
“They are more expensive than buy-to-let rates which is the reason many lenders have come back into it,” he explained. “The margins are good and they know that the clients are usually good for the money.”
Some countries could be blacklisted
Where you live could also be a problem as most lenders will have a list of “acceptable” countries they are happy to lend to residents of. If your home country isn’t on this list then you could run into trouble.
Mr Ward said: “Lenders tend to have problems with the countries where there are known problems with corruption or money laundering.
“You can usually still borrow. If you work for a multinational in Nigeria, for example, and they are able to do an employment reference then most lenders will still accept it. If you’re self-employed they will want you to use a recognized accountancy firm