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Inspired reaches out to property SME community

Inspired Asset Management is on the hunt for refurbishment, house share and student accommodation investment opportunities.

Inspired Asset Management, the parent company of Inspired Homes, is on the hunt for refurbishment, house share and student accommodation investment opportunities and might even mentor SME property entrepreneurs.

Inspired is looking to acquire income producing portfolios of houses, flats and apartment blocks. They will also look to add value through good value refurbishment and room intensification angles and are open to joint ventures with smaller investor refurbisher businesses as well as direct outright purchases.

Founded in 2012 by its chief executive Martin Skinner, Inspired Asset Management has delivered over 1,000 apartments for private sale through office-to-resi permitted development conversions into high-spec micro-apartment blocks but new opportunities at the higher margins on cost that Skinner believes are now required given current market conditions have become harder to come by.

Skinner said: “Due to market weakness resulting from Brexit uncertainty and landlord tax and regulation changes, the slower pace of sales means that office-to-resi PDR conversions for sale no longer make sense at the reduced margins that are available in the market as a result of their increased popularity with developers. The cost of regulation and taxation means that margins are simply too low for SME homebuilders to achieve sufficient returns to justify what is a very complicated and risky venture. As a consequence, we’re now pivoting in favour of investment in high yielding, intensified bed-based accommodation strategies.”

Having amassed a house share portfolio worth more than £150m in the mid-2000s with Nice Group, Skinner scaled Inspired Asset Management into a market leading micro-apartment developer. However, due to space standards, micro-apartments have been limited to PDR conversions which has made it difficult to source new opportunities amid fierce competition for a dwindling supply of well-located office-to-resi sites. Skinner is pressing government for a change in planning policy and has for some time been campaigning for space standards to be relaxed to make homes more affordable for those on average salaries. He has long been an advocate of micro-living appearing in an ITV London News feature on micro-apartments last year and he recently helped the BPF to come up with new industry-recognised definitions. As Non-Executive Chairman between 2010 and 2013, Skinner was also instrumental to the success of co-living specialist The Collective, which is now worth in excess of £500m in GDV.

“We’re looking for refurbish and sell opportunities that we can sell at a good margin and would even consider prime central London,” Skinner said. “We’re also looking for room intensification projects, ideally one-bed flats with kitchens that have windows so we can improve the rental yield by reconfiguring them into two-beds.

“We can either buy direct or JV with smaller SME investor refurbishers who are looking to grow their portfolios with external capital and the benefit of the unique experience we can provide. It could also be something that they’re looking to buy. We have a number of cash rich investors who are ready to move extremely quickly when the right deal presents itself. We’re open to giving away profit shares and happy to utlise our JV partner’s lettings, property management or refurbishment platforms where they can demonstrate their capabilities. I’ve already been on that journey with The Collective and my experience is even greater now than it was back then. The partnership is mutual because I can lean on their ability to efficiently manage smaller deals and we can help them expand.”

Skinner has already agreed his first SME JV with Joshua Mannings and Alexi Littler of Uni Digs Limited and expects to acquire a considerable number of HMOs in and around Oxford and other university cities.

If you would like to find out more, contact Simon@inspiredassets.com or call 020 7495 0523.

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