Naveen Ahmed: I’m Naveen Ahmed, MD of the Parklane Group of Companies.
Interviewer: Why did you get into property?
Naveen Ahmed: Very early on, I realised that my strategy has to make money while I sleep. That was my thought. I had to get into a business whereby I was earning income when I was out on holiday, when I was sleeping, when I was not working, and one of the best areas that I saw was investing in property.
Interviewer: Is now a good time to invest?
Naveen Ahmed: There’s never a bad time to invest in property as long as you’re doing it for the long term. There are always cycles. Is now a good time? It’s a fantastic time to invest in property. There’s a massive, massive, massive shortage of accommodation in the marketplace. You know, the government targets for builds are not being met. There are so many people who are trying to find accommodation and can’t, whether that be to live in on a permanent basis or to rent. Interest rates are historically still low. You know, getting debt. If you can get it, you can get them at lower rates. Opportunities are becoming harder. But this still exists. But there’s never a wrong time to invest in property as long as you’re not looking for a quick gain.
Interviewer: Is Leeds a good city to invest in?
Naveen Ahmed: London and the South have been – it’s overegged. It’s expensive for businesses to be based there and have their workers living there. I think that shows with Chanel 4 coming up here that actually housing is affordable, commuting around is quick. The opportunities are massive and actually living in a wonderful environment. I think Leeds is going to do very, very well over the next 10 years.
Interviewer: What’s your opinion of UOWN?
Naveen Ahmed: It’s an amazing platform. I think it didn’t exist in my day when I was investing in property. You had to find the whole lump sum and then find a bank or somebody to help you and then you have to find the managing agent to rent the property for you and deal with all that red tape. Here it’s all taken care of and actually giving you a shot at investing in all sorts of accommodation, whether it’s student or professional accommodation.
Interviewer: What do you think of UOWN’s move into developments?
Naveen Ahmed: Property development is a challenge in the marketplace. There aren’t as many banks out there giving loans for property development. So there’s lots of developers out there that have got sites, that have got properties that they want to refurbish and are struggling to find the money to do it and that’s where you UOWN fits in. UOWN fits in by getting the crowd to invest in the property development and actually sharing on the uplift in the value of that.
Interviewer: What do you think of UOWN’s upcoming development in Sheffield?
Naveen Ahmed: The location is an up and coming area. There’s a lot of investment going on there. Sheffield is very, very vibrant with both professionals and students. The marketplace is strong. So for me, getting the construction price tied up, which is what we have done, getting the quality of the interiors right, and using some really good interior designers to do that. The devil will be in the detail, when it’s finished, it will have that modern loft feel, aManhattan-loft look to it, exposed brickwork. But at the same time, really, really contemporary features coming in. That mix will be absolutely amazing. I think this will fly off the shelf. You know, people want to buy these apartments or rent them. I think it will be great development for UOWN to do as a crowd funding opportunity.
Naveen is MD of The Parklane Group of companies, and this includes a 50% stake in UOWN.