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Arguably, the Internet has emerged as one of the most ground-breaking and disruptive technologies in the history of mankind. After all, this has changed everything from the way that we shop to the channel that we use to access music, while it has also altered the nature of social interactions beyond all recognition.

Not only this, but technology has also changed the nature of financial market investment, particularly in real-time, liquid entities such as the foreign exchange. We have witnessed the emergence of live, virtual trading during the last 15 years, for example, while advanced algorithms and supercomputers are now also being used to trigger a high volume of orders within a short space of time. 

The Emergence of Technology in the Forex Market

This evolution actually began in the early 1980s, during which time stock exchanges launched primitive, electronic trading platforms that enabled investors to place orders remotely and across a dedicated network. While these platforms were extremely popular in fast-paced and volatile markets such as foreign exchange, however, they did not offer traders access to live price points or execute orders in real-time.

In fact, it was not until the emergence of the Internet during the early 1990s that these trading systems evolved to include live market prices, complex algorithms and real-time order execution. These were still largely exclusive to brokers and the those who worked within various stock exchanges, however, so the rest of the decade was dedicated to refining the underlying technology and creating portals that could be easily accessed online. This process continued in earnest between 2001 and 2005, driving the proliferation of dedicated, online trading platforms that brought access to the forex market outside of established stock exchanges.

The Last 15 Years: Mobile and High-frequency Trading

While the evolution that we saw during these 25 years was gradual rather than seismic, the same cannot be said for the changes that we have seen since. After all, the emergence of online platforms has also laid the foundation for mobile trading during the course of the last decade, with sophisticated apps such as the Metatrader range enabling investors to access their forex accounts at any time (and often without a viable Internet connection). This has improved the accuracy of forex trades and strategies, particularly for those with a short-term outlook and a penchant for day trading.

We have also seen other, more recent developments in the forex market, some of which may be considered as being controversial. As the algorithms initially associated with the market’s primitive trading systems have evolved in line with technological advancement, for example, so too they have become immensely powerful and capable of executing successful traders without human interaction. This has led to the development of dedicated supercomputers capable of driving high-frequency trading (HFT), through which a high volume of trades are executed within an exceptionally short period of time.

To put this in perspective, electronic dealing will account for an estimated 76% of all currency transactions in four years time, with an increasingly high proportion of these completed as part of a HFT strategy.

Developers of the technology will claim that this is a safer way of trading as it eliminates potentially damaging human elements such as emotion, of course, but there is evidence that a sudden surge of transactions actively destabilises an already volatile marketplace and makes it exceptionally difficult for human investors to manage risk and optimise their returns.

The Last Word

There is an old adage which suggests that the precise impact of technology depends on how it utilised, and there is no doubt that the development of HFT programs has the potential to undermine the forex market in the future. Stringent regulations therefore hold the key to maintaining the market’s equilibrium, as forex traders look to strike a balance between leveraging the technological revolution that has engulfed them and creating a relatively stable trading environment.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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Important Calculations for Property Investment

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Property investment can be a daunting prospect, even for those experienced investors. Therefore, it is important to make sure your numbers add up. Follow these crucial calculations to discover the potential of your property and how profitable it can be in the future.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Strong returns are one of the biggest indicators to a successful property investment. The larger the return, the more profitable the property has become. Return on investment is a way of working out how much money you have made, compared with the money you have put in. A simple calculation is the annual profit minus any costs divided by how much money you have started with. To put this into numbers:

Annual rent: £5000

Annual costs: £2000

Profit: £3000

Purchase Price: £200,000

Mortgage use: £75,000

Cash Invested: £25,000

£3000 ÷ £25000 = 0.12. So, return on investment is 12%.

ROI highlights how effectively an investment is being used to generate profits.

Stamp Duty

Stamp duty refers to a land tax that is important to consider when purchasing property. In 2014, stamp duty on property purchases was reformed by the government. From April 2016 a 3% stamp duty surcharge was applied to the purchases of additional buy to let property and similarly, the same rate applied for those who purchase a second home. Thereafter stamp duty rates are applied in thresholds. To work out how much stamp duty you should pay on the purchase of your property visit the RW Invest stamp duty calculator.

Capital Appreciation

Capital appreciation refers to the percentage that your property increases over a period of time, helping you to figure out when is best to sell. It occurs when the property invested commands a higher price in the market than originally paid, it allows you to work out how much potential there is to obtain high profits.

In order to work out the levels of capital appreciation, firstly you need to know what the average growth rate in the property’ location, however this would still only be an estimate. There are many contributing factors that affect capital appreciation from advancements in infrastructure and improvements to existing transport links, population growth, and increasing demand for the chosen area. Not one single factor can be seen as an indicator of capital appreciation therefore you must research forthcoming plans in an area in order to gauge the strength of its growth.

Gross Rental Yields

Rental yields are one of the biggest indicators to the amount of returns you are expecting to receive. It is an essential calculation for working out how much income you can make from your property, not including the capital growth. To calculate rental yields, take an annual income and divide it by the purchase price of the property. RW Invest, property investment specialists offer some of the best buy to let properties in the UK, securing competitive rental yields as high as 9%. The higher the rental yield, the quicker your investment will pay for itself.

Let take a closer look at the breakdown,

Annual Rental Income: £6000

Purchase Price: £100,000

£6000 ÷ £100,000 = 0.06

Rental yield= 6%

Exchange Rates

If you are purchasing a property in the UK from overseas, it is imperative that you figure out the current exchange rate as this can largely affect your property purchase price. Exchange rates are easy to find online, but to be sure to keep a close eye on them as they tend to regularly fluctuate. Savvy investors often get the best deal possible on their property investment, providing the exchange rate has been researched properly.

In property, every little thing matters, as the tiniest faults could be detrimental to a prosperous long-term future. This is a key skill for property investors to make sure an investment is worthwhile. Taking all calculations into account can allow you to plan and make executive decisions.

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Strategies to boost your return on investment

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Return on investment is the annual profit, minus income costs, generated by an asset, divided by the total cash you’ve put in. This sum looks simple and easy to use. However, it is important to take into consideration a number of variables. Expenses must be considered such as unexpected repairs or regular maintenance works, also take into consideration your financing method. Have you used a mortgage?

If you have bought a property without a mortgage, using your own money only, the net yields and the return on investment would be the same, as you are putting in the full purchase price. However, if you are purchasing with a mortgage, the figures may look slightly different.

A tedious debate that has emerged in property is how you should accurately calculate the return on investment. What costs should be accounted for? On the whole, everyone has their own ideas of what allowance for maintenance and voids should be included. Being consistent is key, as you can then compare different properties with each other.

Returns can include increased profits and reduced expenses. If you clearly define goals from the outset, and set as many quantifying benchmarks as possible, you will be able to create a more prosperous strategy to hopefully maximise your return on investment. Before you set out on your investment journey, it is important to note that offering a higher return may come with a higher risk. You should outline how much risk you are willing to take on.

Make sure your property is ready to rent

One of the easiest ways to maximise your return on investment is by making it rent ready before marketing. Ensuring the premises is ready and clean, fresh paint, clean carpets and working appliances must work, and all necessary repairs and maintenance should be complete. Purchasing property from experienced property companies like RW Invest guarantee your property is 100% ready for new tenants moving into the premises. Ensuring your investment property is rent ready as soon as possible will shorten the time it takes to lease the property and boost your return on investment.

Market well

Marketing is one of the largest determiners on the quality and quantity of application you receive for your property. Increasing exposure will ultimately reach more people and in turn get more tenants. The internet is the first place tenants look when trying to secure a new place to live, so be sure to strategically market online.

Reduce tenant turnover

If you keep tenant turnover to a minimum and keep good tenants, this will increase your return on investment in the long run. Maintaining good communication with your tenants makes them feel valued, which will help with things such as paying rent on time and taking care of the property because there is a mutual respect. Void periods, whereby the property is empty can be one of the biggest detriments to property owners, therefore avoiding vacant periods by keeping tenant turnover to a minimum will help reduce vacant periods.

Investing in real estate can be an extremely prosperous move, that can not only act as a second income for many but also as a sole income, providing it is thoroughly researched with no stone left unturned. Sourcing properties with high return on investment is easy providing you follow a few easy steps and bear in mind how to create the most successful future financially.

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How to Increase Your Cash Flow in Property Investment

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Property investment is a business venture, and like any business, it is essential that you make the most profit you can. There are a number of ways you can do this, and sometimes thinking from a business-based perspective can give you a new understanding. It is important to make sure you maximise your income and minimise your expenditure to get the best profit.

In order to maximise your cash flow there are a number of different strategies you can use. The situation you are aiming for is positive cash flow – making money from your property investment. Zero cash flow is breaking even and negative cashflow means you are losing money. It is important that you have an up to date record of all expenses and income, and that you have a detailed plan and financial forecast so you can prepare for the future. Keeping an up to date budget can allow you to recognise where you are spending too much or not earning enough, and that will allow you to make savings and increase your cash flow.

If you are spending too much on your property investment, there are a number of ways you can reduce your spending. If your property needs costly improvements, then it is essential you shop around and get the best price before agreeing to the proposed work. Try and reduce extra costs like advertising, maintenance work, and estate agent fees. Another thing that can be extra costly for property investors is void periods, where you aren’t receiving rental income from tenants. In order to reduce these it is worth considering property like student accommodation which is occupied year round by a new stream of tenants every year. It is also worth targeting long term tenants who are looking for a rental property for a couple of years.

It is also important that you understand the tax implications of a buy to let property investment and know where you can make savings there. It is worth talking to a financial advisor or doing some in depth research into how to save money on your property investment taxes.

Another way that you can increase your cash flow is through increasing your rental income. It is worth being tentative before you increase rental rates significantly, and many property investors worry that this might force tenants to move out. However, if you are providing high quality accommodation, and you need to earn more to balance the books, it is acceptable to increase your monthly rental income. It is important that these rate rises are affordable and appropriate, so look at similar properties and make sure you are charging a similar rate. An experienced property investment firm like RW Invest can help you choose the best rental properties out there, with guaranteed rental yields allowing you to plan ahead.

One other way of making sure you maximise your property investment’s cash flow is through increasing the value of your rental property. If you want to charge more rent, it is worth considering adding things like cleaning services, new amenities, or a gym membership. As long as this is cost effective, it may entice more premium long-term tenants to your property who are willing to pay more.

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