Saturday, Oct 10, 2009

Selling up £180m buy to let empire

Daily Mail: Meet the Wilsons, richer than the Beckhams

Judith and Fergus Wilson are proud owners of a £180million property empire.
The couple own between 700 and 900 houses - Fergus hasn’t counted recently. They bought their first property in 1975, and kept on buying, all the while on interest-only mortgages. They finally stopped buying in May, after bagging one final bargain.
Now they are planning to sell up. If they sell their portfolio for the £180million asking price, after paying off their meagre borrowing debt (£45million) and taxes, they will retire with a cosy nest-egg of around £100million.

Posted by little professor @ 03:33 AM (2264 views)
Add Comment
Report Article


1. honest valuer said...

Usual Robert Maxwell type bullsh*t.

Facts: They are 85% geared on 2007 prices (even on their own home)
Their tax bill will be very large as they have MEWed these properties as they have risen in value
They have missed the boat on selling the portfolio by two years

Saturday, October 10, 2009 06:01AM Report Comment

2. krustyatemyhamster said...

"Besides, he has seen all walks of life pass through his rental houses: ‘six murders, battered wives, sometimes battered husbands.' "

Crikey, it's worse then St Mary Mead. I'm not moving there!

He really knows how to sell a place.

Saturday, October 10, 2009 08:42AM Report Comment

3. crunchy said...

Meet the Wilsons that have hijacked your home and because of that provide such a less than great service for your housing needs.

Crash and burn I say!

Saturday, October 10, 2009 09:02AM Report Comment

4. will said...

Did they ever think of letting other people buy a home? Selfish, greedy b***tds. Stupid bankers - for lending.

Saturday, October 10, 2009 09:23AM Report Comment

5. jack c said...

I have lost count of the number of articles in the press recently featuring the Wilson's desire to sell up (not to mention the numerous radio interviews) - if property is such a good bet and there is a shortage of supply (as we are repeatedly informed) then why isnt the telephone ringing off the hook and a big queue forming at his front door. In addition surely the weak pound makes this a potentially attractive proposition to a foreign buyer (money laundering scam rolled in for free)

How about one last throw of the advertising dice Fergus? - "Coronation Street is sponsored by the Wilson who have a lovely property portfolio to sell at a knock down £180 million"

Saturday, October 10, 2009 09:32AM Report Comment

6. fallingbuzzard said...

Slight misreporting. I heard different. They are selling down their portfolio bit by bit in auctions at the moment to try and meet mortgage payments since they are being squeezed by the lending banks. Its a problem because they are struggling with a combination of low occupancy and high leverage and not benefiting from low interest rates plus they have quite a bit of land in the portfolio which has no income. I think thats what they did with the equity they released - invested it in non-yielding land with future building potential.

Their problem is that they want to sell the portfolio as a whole rather than piecemeal which could take them years to wind down and the buyers are asking for 30% off what they wanted overall (ie fair market value) and some quite complicated structuring of the sale. All in all, its going to leave them with quite complicated tax matters and potentially nothing if the buyers walk away. It just goes to show that buy-to-let is for the long term!

Saturday, October 10, 2009 09:33AM Report Comment

7. krustyatemyhamster said...

I'm still worried about the murders:

National murder incidence ~800 per annum or so,
800 divided by 24.7million households = 0.000032 murders per household each year.

If we guess that the Wilsons have owned an average of 200 houses over the last 34 years (given they started with one and the number grew mostly in the last decade - this number's probably a bit on the high side) then we would expect 0.000032x200x34=0.22 murders in the Wilson properties since 1975.

So you're 27 times (6/0.22) more likely to be murdered if you live in a Wilson house. Has someone investigated this?

Saturday, October 10, 2009 09:38AM Report Comment

8. jack c said...

@ krustyatemyhamster - "So you're 27 times (6/0.22) more likely to be murdered if you live in a Wilson house. Has someone investigated this?"

Ring the Mail and all of the other national's - I'm sure one of them will run with this story - if this get's out the Wilson's will never get their asking price !

Saturday, October 10, 2009 09:54AM Report Comment

9. cat and canary said...

they might be richer than the Beckhams, but they definately don´t dress like them!!

(sorry off topic)

Saturday, October 10, 2009 09:56AM Report Comment

10. crunchy said...

7. krustyatemyhamster

Don't fall behind with the rent I say! How many bodies will be found in the gardens of these investment boxes when they are auctioned off.

The Great BTL Wilson Murders. We just had to keep buying. We kept running out of space for all the bodies. lol

Saturday, October 10, 2009 09:58AM Report Comment

11. str 2007 said...

There's repeated reference to £45million debt behind the £180million valuation. This can't be right surely. Seen several articles referring to 85% LTV's.

Saturday, October 10, 2009 10:25AM Report Comment

12. paul said...

There will be a headline in a years time that the Wilsons have filed for bankruptcy because of the evil banks bearing down on them and 'complicated' tax matters.

Saturday, October 10, 2009 11:45AM Report Comment

13. icarus said...

str 2007 - presumably the V in LTV refers to valuation at the time of purchase.

The journalist talks of buying in '86 and then riding the boom until 2003. Says nothing about 1989 - '95.

Saturday, October 10, 2009 11:47AM Report Comment

14. icarus said...

....although if honest valuer @1 is correct that would make them worth....not a lot.

Saturday, October 10, 2009 11:57AM Report Comment

15. doom&gloom said...

Another rubbish article about those horrible greedy Wilsons. They've been doing the rounds lately - a recent article said a Russian fund was going to buy the whole lot; no mention of that here though. Suspect that hope is why they're garnering the publicity.

Really a very poor article: "...proud owners of a £180million property empire. In fact, their fortune probably peaked at a staggering £250 million - although that doesn’t stop property experts labelling them Britain’s first buy-to-let billionaires." Which 'experts' are those - experts who skipped maths at school?

"...the couple, who own between 700 and 900 houses - Fergus hasn’t counted recently" WHAT? They call themselves investors, and don't know whether they own 700 or 900 properties? Nonsense.

Saturday, October 10, 2009 12:36PM Report Comment

16. fallingbuzzard said...

I believe that the Russian buyer pulled out. They bought most of their properties post 2003 and then when values went up bought land and additional property with the equity release. So they're in the proverbial stinking stuff.

Saturday, October 10, 2009 01:09PM Report Comment

17. mander said...

You can easily argue that in any other industry buying stuff up in order to manipulate the market or the price in the market it would be a case for the Office of Fair Trading. By arguing that they are not selling to the public because it would influence the Maidstone housing market I think it prooves that they knew when buying so many properties up in the first instance, this would influence the local housing market by creating a shortage and afecting the competition in the market.

Saturday, October 10, 2009 05:56PM Report Comment

Add comment

  • If you do not have an admin password leave the password field blank.
  • If you would like to request a password allowing you to add comments and blog news articles without needing each one approved manually, send an e-mail to the webmaster.
  • Your email address is required so we can verify that the comment is genuine. It will not be posted anywhere on the site, will be stored confidentially by us and never given out to any third party.
  • Please note that any viewpoints published here as comments are user's views and not the views of
  • Please adhere to the Guidelines
Admin Password
Email Address

Main Blog | Archive | Add Article | Blog Policies