Two of Britain’s most controversial buy-to-let tycoons are selling their entire property portfolio of 1,000 homes in Ashford and Maidstone, the pair have revealed.
Fergus and Judith Wilson are to withdraw from the buy-to-let business and could net at least £100million, according to an e-mail Mr Wilson sent to The Guardian.
The move may indicate the pair – examples to thousand of small landlords across the country – believe property prices have reached their peak.
Mr Wilson told the newspaper: ‘We are selling up the whole lot. The market has recovered and passed the 2007 level.’
The pair shot to prominence in 2006 when it came to light they had built-up Britain’s largest buy-to-let empire.
Some reports suggested they snapped up a new property every day in the early noughties.
Earlier in the year, Mr Wilson – a former Maths teacher – controversially banned housing benefit tenants in favour of Eastern European migrants who he said were more likely to pay their rent on time.
He sent eviction notices to 200 tenants on housing benefit at the end of 2013 and said he would not accept any more welfare applicants. Our story on the subject attracted more than 1,600 comments.
He said in the e-mail that an intermediary is handling the sale and it’s been going on for three months, with another three months to run.
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He added: ‘Is it China Money, Indian Money, Saudi Money? We will see. I am sure there will be much interest. I would like it to end up in English hands but it is a case of who will pay top dollar.’
According to the latest house price index from the Land Registry for May, property values in Kent were up 7.5 per cent in the last year to reach an average of nearly £200,000.
Ashford and Maidstone is a hotbed for commuters who cannot afford soaring London house prices and rents.
Tenant controversy: Earlier in the year, Mr Wilson said he favoured Eastern European tenants because they were ‘better at paying rent’
Mr Wilson said existing tenants in the properties will be protected with contracts switched to whoever buys the portfolio.
He added: ‘We are protecting the agents and tenants who pick up a new client and landlord respectively.
‘That is important to me. I will be broken hearted to say goodbye to my property portfolio but I cannot take it with me. It has been a lot of fun over the years.’
According to local estate agents Gould Harrison, prices on the Park Farm estate in Ashford where the pair own a number of properties, have risen from a 2009 low of £150,000 to around £185,000.
In addition, new tenants will pay nearly £1,000 a month for an average two-bedroom property owned by the Wilsons today, compared to £725 six years ago.
In 2010, Mr Wilson said the difference between his borrowing and the value of his properties was around £180million – although he claimed at one point it was as high as £225million.
The Wilsons, who are in their 60s, are part of a growing trend of those nearing retirement using a buy-to-let portfolio for returns.
As a sign of the times, Saga – the over-50s insurance specialist – yesterday revealed it is now offering landlord insurance, because of a growing market.
Research by the firm shows nearly one in 10 over-50s is a landlord while independent research suggests there has been a 33 per cent increase in retiree landlords since 2009.
The average over-50 landlord owns two properties, while roughly half of them manage the property themselves.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-2684367/Fergus-Judith-Wilson-selling-portfolio-Kent-homes.html