Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fergus Wilson, a buy-to-let landlord with 875 properties talks to the BBC

Millionaire landlord's advice [video]

"People with houses are doing very well"

Posted by little professor @ 09:23 AM (8009 views)
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37 thoughts on “Fergus Wilson, a buy-to-let landlord with 875 properties talks to the BBC

  • Hmmmm. Potentially a huge VI?

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  • He is only appearing, in order to try and calm things down. He is terrified about a house price crash of fall inn house prices, because he stands to lose a lot of his wealth.

    Moreover, I think there should be limits on home ownership. It’s absolutely disgusting that someone could own so many houses….what about the rest of the country?

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  • It’s funny, people assume that landlords with more properties are somehow smarter and are immune to falling prices. Unfortunately for them, falling houseprices affect everyone. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next. For me, hanging on to an asset which is losing value is a rather poor investment strategy.

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  • Unfortunately for him, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. As he admits “When properties lose £5000 of their value that is a problem for me because I’ve got 875 of them”

    So that’s £4.37m he’s lost. No wonder he’s appealing for calm on Radio 5.

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  • His voice sounded very stressed..

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  • japanese uncle says:

    His voice betrays almost a panick.

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  • firstly this guy is clearly gonna go bust

    secondly how perverse that someone can own 875 properties when our next generation live in caravans in devon

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  • @ taffee

    a caravan in Devon sounds wonderful – compared to worrying about the depreciation on 875 mortgaged houses.

    In fact a caravan in Devon sounds much more preferable to quite a lot houses I’ve come across

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  • I’d like to agree with the comments above that refer to the guy’s voice. To tone was very uncomfortable indeed. Quite simply he is astronomically geared, and is therefore going to go bust (wonder if he’s with NR or BB?). You don’t even need GCSE Maths to figure that out. However, I think he is probably right about flats vs. houses – not that this will save him.

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  • this is exactly how hedge funds go bust……geared to high heaven

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  • It doesn’t make a great deal of difference. As Ford Prefect said, let them have their fun; it won’t last. The people who can… will simply leave (for Europe, the Far East, etc, NOT Barnards Star necessarily!)… Largely, they won’t announce their intentions, but will certainly take real assets with them – businesses, industrial plant, technology, talent, and the rest. If you really believe that people will stay for the pleasure of the landlords, for those people at least there are some very, very harsh lessons in the future coming their way imminently. If there is a way out, smart people will surely find it. It isn’t even a strong function of temporary advantage or disadvantage. This is partly the miracle of human nature at it’s best, but partly also just the inevitable “water bed” model of labour migration and general economics.

    There is some talk amongst my friends of a “fourth wave” in this phenomenology. I have no doubt that this is poor nomenclature, and certainly this has not hit the media yet, neither will it do so until the debacle in the USA elections is over. The fourth wave will come when the government in the UK realise that the real assets (that is, those that actually generate wealth) have legs; and that the tax income from the “assets” stuck on the ground are rapidly diminishing. Then things will change, and very much for the worse. Have no illusions about the devastating affect this will have on the tax take. The treasury will no countenance any interruption to the one way ratchet on revenue, and the increasing focus on the absurdity of core inflation measures in the media have made certain… individuals… very nervous and exceedingly angry.

    I wonder if the inane talk show antics (Radio 4, try not to hit the receiver) on the detention bill are masking something else, other developments, buried in the background. My friends indicate that there is unusual activity in HM Revenue and customs departments as regards the monitoring of the movement of individuals. Something is afoot, and it’s not where you are looking at the moment.

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  • 875 homes… why does he not become a pimp? Then he can rent his homes out to “call girls” and a guaranteed return.. and maybe a few perks too. Mr Wilson is not the problem… the government is…

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  • Honest Valuer says:

    I know a bank valuer in the area that the Wilsons ‘own’ their properties. Fergus Wilson is a Robert Maxwell figure and will go bust big time. Apparently of his properties are on interest only 85% LTV so his entire equity has probably been wiped out already. The first time buyers in Ashford will have a field day when his properties are repossessed.

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  • Honest Valuer says:

    I know a valuer in Kent who says that this man is a Robert Maxwell type character who will almost definetly go bust. All of his properties are on 85% LTV mortgages, so his entire equity has probably already evaporated and it will be impossible for him to remortgage.

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  • If he goes bust with a portfolio of £130,000,000 or so – he won’t be the only one who worries about it. The lender[s] will take a big hit too.

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  • perhaps he’s with bradford and bingley!

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  • perhaps he’s with bradford and bingley!

    It can only be the work of a complete fool to lend that amount of money. His own finantial contribution – into the business – is probably around 20 quid, such was the insanity & degree of lending.

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  • Found a Times article from 3 Sept 2006 that mentions him. Apparently he started buying in 1991, so probably not a complete fool. However, it also mentions a portfolio size of 677, which suggests that he has purchased 198 properties since then – right at the peak of the market.

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  • … unless he has been doing some recent carpetbagging. Maybe not so much at the peak after all.

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  • japanese uncle says:

    People can be prepared against the kind of risk there are taking on in Willaim Hill or Ladbroke, whereas they may well tend to feel much sober when they are talking about ‘property investment’ with smartly dressed bankers in their neat offices. In reality the latter is much more dangerous and unscrupulous. Look at the B&B’s ex-CEO who narrowly escaped the bloodbath. Does he look like an old-fashioned serious and honest banker? I think not.

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  • japanese uncle says:

    People can be prepared against the kind of risk there are taking on in Willaim Hill or Ladbroke, whereas they may well tend to feel much sober when they are talking about ‘property investment’ with smartly dressed bankers in their neat offices. In reality the latter is much more dangerous and unscrupulous. Look at the B&B’s ex-CEO who narrowly escaped the bloodbath. Does he look like an old-fashioned serious and honest banker? I think not.

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  • 20-30 secs in is it just me or does the interviewer sneak in the word crap!!

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  • I recall at one stage they were offered som insane amount of money for their portfolio by some Russian investors…I bet they will wish they had taken it…

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  • little professor says:

    Guardian, December 2006:

    Husband and wife magnates Fergus and Judith Wilson have just signed a deal to buy their 700th house. If things go to plan, they will become the country’s first buy-to-let billionaires. Every week they buy another house – and on one day alone spent £10m buying 40 properties off a distressed developer.

    In the early 1990s the Wilsons were marking maths homework and writing school reports at a Blackheath comprehensive. Today their property empire is worth £240m – almost all of it within commuting distance of the Eurostar terminal in Ashford, Kent. They put their personal wealth at £180m.

    Fergus Wilson predicts that prices will double every seven years and says the typical property he owns – a £200,000 two- to three-bed starter home – will cost £400,000 by 2013, £800,000 by 2020 and £1.6m by 2027.

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  • little professor says:

    The business took off in 1996 when interest-only mortgages became available, replacing costly repayment loans. By the time interest rates fell below 4% in 2003 the Wilsons were buying a house on average every day.

    Hmm. Interest only loans, relying in ultra-low rates. Now with those rates resetting they will be in deep sh1t.

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  • I think part of this guy’s problem is him and his wife have appeared all over the media crowing about how blooming clever they’ve been. Time for a nice big piece of humble pie.

    In the area where they’re based they had the pick of any property and were getting extremely good terms from developers (if I remember correctly). When they’ve been discussed on here before it’s been mentioned that they’ve painted themselves into a corner by having so many properties in one small area because they can’t unload too many properties without crashing their own market! HA HA!

    I mentioned (I think around November 2007) that they’d been offered about 250million quid by some Russian investors. I said at the time they should take it. How great would it have been to walk away with all that money and leave someone else with the headache of a rapidly depreciating asset? They’re just another example of how many people (i.e. Gordon Brown) confuse their luck of being in the right place at the right time with their own self-perceived brilliance.

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  • crash bandicoot says:

    See how the magic works here (it’s his wife’s website) http://www.jwipb.co.uk/how.asp – it even looks like a pyramid scheme.

    I’ve been waiting for these jokers to start squealing. One of their best quotes was “There is never a bad time to buy property”. They have generated a mini bubble within a bubble around Ashford by pricing out all of the first time buyers. Bankruptcy is too good for them.

    BTW the other thing that he is famous for is putting no-hopers in to premier horse racing events………………

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  • Wiltshire and Crash Bandicot

    Couldn’t agree more.

    The only way to shift these big portfolios is to sell to another big investor (ie pension fund etc.) like the bloke the other day from a dry cleaners who sold £700m last year which he now values at £500m.

    These lucky fools have priced out so many FTB’s they deserve al that’s coming.

    What’s surprising really is that they’ve been allowed to operate at all.

    As mentioned further up though it’s the banks that will be left carrying the trouble which means we’ll all end up paying.

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  • Margin call sir

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  • dohousescrashinthewoods says:

    Taffee @ 9, I think the guy is a symptom – amongst the worst excesses of the bubble.

    On the harsh plus side, there’s little need for regulation because the market is cleaning up the mess – this level of excess will disappear. What’s more, his creditors will feel the consequences of their own decisions too.

    If it wasn’t possible it never would have happened and now that it is becoming impossible again (because the market is rebalancing) this is going to be very high and very dry, with no swimming trunks on!

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  • Leavesonatree says:

    I have had personal dealings with the Wilsons and frankly if it was a choice between living in a cardboard box on the street and renting one of his properties i’d rather throw myself off Big Ben!! It was the worst experience of my life, so much so that my palms are sweating and my heart is racing writng this! He is not worried really about loosing money through the house prices dropping, because he will make his money by waiting for people who are deserpate for housing. Letting them move in, then 3 or 4 months down the line, finding that these poor people cannot keep up with his extreamly high rent charges, forced to move out and making damm sure he gets his 6months rent in one go! If anyone is thinking of renting or is currently rent from them – get out now! This guy definatly drinks horlicks before he goes to bed!

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  • Kent Economist says:

    Guys like this have been a scourge in every respect.

    He came accross as stupid; proving that being a buy to let empire builder could be done by anyone who wasn’t engaged in useful human activity.. Everyhting he said about the hosuing market was ignorant.

    I am selling 3 bed semi 20 mile away from Ashford and it is not moving at 30% below August 07 valuations.
    He says such houses have not fallen in value. Only flats are hit he says.

    For him, value may be still above what he paid so he is still quids in. But all his success has been luck.

    Wonder how much he gives to charities. it is sickening how the cut in capital gains tax benefit . Another screw up by Brown

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  • Never Go Wilsons says:

    I’m currently having severe difficulties with the above mentioned Wilsons. Things wrong with the house, which he feels is the tennants responsibility and not there’s. At present we have trouble with getting hot water and the central heating to work. We were also warned to stop emailing to get these issues sorted, otherwise we maybe given notice to vacate the property. We are now looking elsewhere, but we have had to pay out to get things fixed, from our own pocket. Seriously if anyone thinks about renting a property from them think again, he will screw you over.

    I personally hope, the same as many others, that these people end up with nothing, and end up on the recieving end for a change.

    W

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  • I have just been issued a Notice to Quit by the Wilsons – for complaining about the TV aerial and them not supplying a window key!!!!! Such lovely people. Still, the house was crap anyway

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  • Dislexic Landlord says:

    I have been a landlord for a long time and its swings and roundabouts

    There is always a silver lineing in any market

    My rent yeilds are up

    Im buying property at 30% discount and makein a 10% yeild

    Mortgages that I do have that have come of fixed rates of around 5.5% are now 3.75%

    Yes prices have dropped but the price its worth is only important if Im going to see which im not

    if you want to see a real problem ask shareholders of banks

    I would not mind being a penny behind Furgus Wilson

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  • Having listened to the radio interview with the ‘expert property developer’ I will now always question the validity of professionals I hear giving advice on the radio. I owed a flat in a building where Fergus owned one. If he goes bust, I suggest he starts another business making t shirts. If he makes one with the slogan ‘what goes around comes around’ on it, I’ll buy a dozen.

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  • Bob Bystander says:

    I don’t agree with most of the comments on here, the Wilson’s deserve to be millionaires, and they’ve obviously worked hard to buy, modernise and agree deals on 800 properties. We need to understand that ‘the RICH are good for us, they spend – we profit, we need them more than some moaning, groaning blue collar worker whose measured work output in factories or in works is just 18% of possible effort. The Wilsons made money because property values were on the up-and-uP, its worth recalling that in 1979, yes 1979, UK property prices were insane then, whats happened since 1979 always had an hint of when will the UK South Sea Bubble burst about it, and the Wilsons must have had this certain fear inside them all these years. Just yesterday enquired about a house in Surrey, the estate agent said £400,000k, might get you an nice 3 bed semi, and £650k a small detached, doesn’t this tell you whats afoot. Property prices will go down by 50%, and even then UK houses are still overvalued and simply too dear. As for private landlords read again the clown who wants an window key worth 99p, its a mugs game being a big landlord, and I hope the Wilsons prosper.

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