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UK’s Northern Powerhouse Property Market Pulls Ahead Of The South

The more you head North the higher the house price growth, as the UK’s Northern cities continue to attract interest from investors and tenants, Ascend Properties analysis has found. [soros] Q1 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more House Prices In The North Increase By 9.8% Collectively prices increased by a huge 9.8% in the […]

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April
20, 2021

3 min read

This story originally appeared on ValueWalk

The more you head North the higher the house price growth, as the UK’s Northern cities continue to attract interest from investors and tenants, Ascend Properties analysis has found.
[soros]
Q1 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more
House Prices In The North Increase By 9.8%
Collectively prices increased by a huge 9.8% in the North annually to January 2021, compared to 6.6% in the Midlands and 6.4% in the South.
While prices are on the up in the North, it’s still relatively affordable for investors and owner-occupiers alike.
Property prices average at £167,211 across the Northern regions, which is less than half the typical price in the South (357,257).
The North West (12.0%) has seen the steepest house price inflation, bringing prices to a typical £184,234, while the Yorkshire and the Humber (8.9% £179,248) and the North East (8.5% £138,151) aren’t far behind.
An East-West Divide
Curiously, there also appears to be an East-West divide developing in England.
The East Midlands (7.6%) outperformed every area in the South in terms of price growth, while the West Midlands saw the lowest growth in the country (4.7%).
A number of people have moved out of the largest cities in search of green space due to the pandemic, which perhaps explains why the West Midlands, containing the UK’s ‘second city’ in Birmingham, is lagging behind.
There’s a similar trend in London, which recorded the second lowest growth (5.3%) in England.
Rental Yields Strongest Up North – Despite Slipping Annually
Rental yields averaged at 5.2% in the North of England, compared to 4.1% in the Midlands and 3.8% in the South.
Although strong rental growth in the region means rental yields have declined marginally year on year, the area remains the best bet for landlords, with the UK’s best rental yields found in Yorkshire and the Humber, at 6.0%.
Managing Director of Ascend Properties, Ged McPartlin, commented:
“The North of England has long been where investors can get bang for their buck, and the study certifies why.
“Stronger rental yields, affordable prices for buyers and renters alike, as well as rising prices, make the region a hotbed of activity.
“The only surprise is that yields have fallen in the North, though if prices continue to rise in those regions that should dwarf a small decrease in yearly income.
“We’re pleased the so-called Northern Powerhouse appears to be becoming a reality, as more people seek to live and work in more affordable areas of England.”

About Ascend 

Ascend is a leading nationwide Build to Rent specialist.
Founded in 2014, the company has won numerous awards due to its professionalism and exceptional customer service.
Ascend was named Best Letting Agent in the North West at the ESTAS Awards for four consecutive years and has won more than 65 allAgents Awards.
The company has experienced tremendous annual growth, reporting consistently high increases in turnover year-on-year.

Best Storage Solutions for Photos & Videos and Their Extra Perks

April
20, 2021

7 min read

This story originally appeared on ValueWalk

It’s 2021 and there’s no excuse for not backing up your photos anymore. With countless options for storing your photos and videos securely in the cloud, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. Long gone are the days of memory sticks that are far too easily lost, or maxing out hard drives that could crash at any moment. The cloud – online storage – beats other options out of the park. And you can access your files from anywhere you connect to the internet!

Q1 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more
There’s a whole host of factors that can impact your decision when choosing the best cloud storage solution for you, so why not investigate the additional perks of the top offerings out there? Whether it’s a productivity suite or top-notch organization features, cloud storage solutions don’t have to be about just storage alone.
Whether you’re a professional DSLR photographer or a family smartphone snapper, storing your photos online could not be easier. Undoubtedly you could also find use of the additional extras cloud storage solutions have to offer, especially when some are designed to combine all of the features you could possibly need in one accessible place. Here’s our suggestions for the best storage apps out there, and what extra perks they provide:

Dropbox

Device compatibility: Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, Windows Mobile.

Perhaps one of the most iconic names in the cloud storage world, Dropbox is perfect for accessing files on the go with its Android and iOS storage app. If you’re looking for a seamless way to synchronize your photos and videos across devices, organize them into various folders, collaborate with friends and family, then Dropbox if your answer. All the while, their proven legacy can leave you safe in the knowledge that your content is secure.
But what does Dropbox offer beyond photo and video storage? Luckily for you, there’s plenty. We’ll be talking about Dropbox Plus here, but there are a variety of plans, including a free one, that offer numerous different features.
Firstly, anyone who cares about storing files online should also care about online security. In the digital era this has become just as important as the security of your physical possessions. After all, your data can be just as valuable. That’s why Dropbox’s range of online security features are so great. From Dropbox Passwords, that securely stores and syncs your passwords across devices for easy sign-in, to Dropbox Vault, that secures and organizes your most sensitive documents.
Dropbox Plus also privileges you with Dropbox Paper, where you and your team can create and share work in one seamless place, whether that’s videos or code. However, if that’s not enough, you can also use the “Plus” button to create new Microsoft Office files or scan documents directly from the Dropbox app on your phone.
As far as organization is concerned, Dropbox allows you to easily search the content of your files to find exactly what you’re looking for. Ever find yourself losing or forgetting about a particular photo, document or video? You can now leave that in the past. You can set your phone or tablet to automatically add your camera roll’s photos to Dropbox so you don’t even need to think about it, too.
The biggest advantage of Dropbox out of all of the listed offerings is that it is unaffiliated to any particular device, meaning it’s ideal for collaborating on both Microsoft Office or Google files. This makes it far better than its competitors for going between each service. For example, any Google file stored in your Dropbox will automatically open in the correct Google app when clicked. All changes to the document will be stored in Dropbox. The same applies to Microsoft files.

Google Drive

Device compatibility: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android.

With Google, you know you can’t go wrong. Store your photos and videos in full resolution, an absolute essential if you’re working professionally, and know they’re securely protected. Google Drive allows you to store any file type, too.
Google Drive offers a generous amount of free storage, so if you’re just after somewhere to store and organize your cellphone snaps, then you’ve got more space to play with before you have to pay out.
In terms of extra perks, Google Drive also comes integrated with Google’s cloud-based productivity suite, including apps like Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. This allows you to work collaboratively on files and access them from any device anywhere, all while knowing they’re being backed-up in the cloud.

Apple iCloud

Device compatibility: Windows, Mac, iPhone.

Unfortunately, iCloud is really only the best choice if you’re an iPhone and Mac user. That’s because the best part of iCloud is the automatic synchronization between Apple devices, and without that the value lessens.
With iCloud, you also gain access to productivity apps like Pages and Numbers, but these are not easily accessible for people without Apple devices, so it can be complicated to work from them if you work collaboratively. In a professional capacity, we don’t know many people who work with Pages or Numbers over their Google or Microsoft competitors.
It’s worth noting that if you do have an iPhone, you can send all photos on your device to iCloud automatically, so you don’t even have to think about the process.

Microsoft OneDrive

Device compatibility: Windows, Windows Mobile, Mac, iOS, Android.

Microsoft OneDrive gives you access to your photos and videos from anywhere and allows you to share them with friends and family. Got some photos of the kids you want to send to the grandkids? Or some group photos you want to share with friends? There’s no need to send them via a large email attachment, Microsoft OneDrive lets you send a link via text.
OneDrive also gives access to the Microsoft Office productivity suite, however the downside of working collaboratively with Microsoft Office is that it’s not free, so you’re dependent on the people you want to work with having paid for it too. On the flipside, Google’s productivity suite is free, as is Apple’s for any of their device owners, and Dropbox allows you to work with the free Google Drive.
A cool feature of Microsoft OneDrive is the ability to search for images by their content or theme. This is great for photographers out there who want an easy way to find particular shots from the past.
As far as space saving goes, OneDrive’s Files On-Demand features lets you store files online so that they don’t take up valuable space on your hard drive. When you click on an online-only file you can access from your device, but by clicking “free up space” it will restore to its online-only presence. While this is a great feature, it’s less advanced than Dropbox, which doesn’t require you to manually revert each file after you’ve accessed it from your device.
Final Thoughts
Although all of the above are legitimate options, Dropbox seems to have it all. Maybe it’s the fact that it doesn’t favor any particular device or operating system, and lets you work easily with both Microsoft and Google files. The freedom and ease this provides is invaluable when considering what extra features a cloud storage solution can offer you.

Wingstop (NASDAQ: WING) is Built to Last

April
20, 2021

4 min read

This story originally appeared on MarketBeat

On March 31, after the bell, Wingstop (NASDAQ: WING) pre-released its first-quarter results; sales blew away expectations and shares soared 6.8% in the April 1 session. Over the 11 sessions since then, Wingstop shares have traded in a very tight range.
The lack of volatility is unlikely to continue based on recent history; Wingstop shares have made 20-point swings feel routine over the last eight months.
So, how should investors trade Wingstop amid the uncertainty?
To answer that question, let’s start by drilling down on the preliminary first-quarter numbers.
Wingstop’s First Quarter Sales Numbers Were Spectacular
The pandemic has forced countless restaurants to shudder their doors, but business has been booming for Wingstop. There was never much doubt that Wingstop would produce its 17th straight year of domestic same-store sales growth, but some feared that the wing chain’s rate of growth would slow down. Those fears were unrealized, however, as Wingstop nearly doubled its same-store sales growth rate – it was 11.1% for full-year 2019 and 21.4% for full-year 2020.
Wingstop carried this momentum into the first quarter, with domestic same-store sales rising 20.7% yoy – well above consensus estimates of 13.7% growth.
Once again, Wingstop’s strong online presence paid off; digital sales increased 63.6% yoy in the first quarter. The wing chain’s online presence was nothing to sneeze at before the pandemic – digital sales accounted for around 40% of overall sales before the outbreak started – but digital sales now comprise more than 60% of Wingstop’s revenue.
That percentage will go down as more people get vaccinated and coronavirus restrictions are lifted, but Wingstop’s customers are clearly happy with the company’s digital service. So, the percentage is unlikely to go all the way back to 40%. Somewhere in the 50-55% range seems like a reasonable expectation. And at the same time, Wingstop’s dine-in sales – along with those of every other restaurant – will recover.
But getting back to the first quarter, the question is why did Wingstop beat? And what does it mean moving forward?
Some have pointed to the Super Bowl and NCAA tournament. The thinking is that with people stuck at home, they opted to order wings from companies with excellent delivery infrastructures, such as Wingstop, instead of their local shops. There is some merit to that argument, but it was pretty obvious ahead of time, and was likely baked into expectations.
Wingstop’s Valentine’s Day promotion, on the other hand, may have been overlooked. The wing chain has turned to modern trust-building forms of advertising to build its brand. Wall Street doesn’t always appreciate the efficacy of those types of marketing tactics because of their hard-to-quantify benefits, but they often work quite well nevertheless.
That promotion probably didn’t account for the entire beat though. Or even most of it. Wingstop likely exceeded expectations primarily due to the hesitance of people to eat outside their homes. Yes, millions of Americans have been vaccinated, but everyone is still being told to wear masks and socially distance. Even if some restaurants are increasing capacity, people are still likely to opt for delivery (Wingstop).
We will eventually return to pre-pandemic life, but at the same time, the longer we live with restrictions (self-imposed or government-imposed), the easier it will be for Wingstop to establish long-term dominance.
How Should You Play Wingstop?
Wingstop is scheduled to release its full first-quarter numbers on May 6. But don’t we already know what to expect?
While we have the sales numbers, Wingstop didn’t even offer a profitability range for earnings in its preliminary release. The sales numbers will obviously boost earnings expectations, but there’s still a lot of mystery around margins. Anything is possible, but there’s no reason to expect much a surprise – one way or the other.
Wingstop has an excellent long-term outlook, but with such a volatile stock, it’s important to consider short-term entry points. As stated earlier, shares have traded in a very tight range recently. Well, they’ve done that while riding both the 50-day and 200-day moving averages.

This looks like a “next move wins” situation. Look for a powerful breakout above $140 before you consider picking up WING shares.Featured Article: What is the yield curve?