The HMO specialist who started his property business with a terraced house in Salford

Mish Liyanage acquired his first investment property in Salford for £80,000 back in 2009.

It was amid a recession and having spent some time working for another property firm he decided to take the experience and ‘lessons learned’ to start his own venture, Mistoria Group.

Today, the founder and CEO owns more than 100 residential and commercial properties and manages another 1,000 properties and 3,000 tenancies across the North West.

He believes “sheer hard work” and an “eye for spotting opportunities” has helped him to build a successful business which currently turns over £15m.

Mistoria, which employs 40 staff, specialises in student house shares as well as professional and social housing with six branches across Salford, Manchester, Walkden, Bolton, Liverpool and Cheadle with plans to add more locations.

The Sri Lankan born entrepreneur said: “I have been in this country since 2005 and I believe if you have goals and ambitions you can achieve by working hard.

“When I started Mistoria in 2009 people asked why I wanted to buy properties in Salford. But I knew with the right management and tenants I can make it work.

“I’m a trained accountant and had previously worked for another property business where I learnt about the importance of cash flow management, about managing a business profitably and the art of ensuring that we work within our means.

“One of the biggest lessons was picking good stock at the right time, so when I saw these terraced houses in Salford I had a hunch that they would be good investments.”

He added: “I believe in working hard, that’s my motto and that’s what I’m doing every day, working hard to get to where I really want this company to go.”

One of the group’s specialist areas is HMOs, and Mish says there’s been a strong demand for multiple occupancy properties from both investors and tenants.

“Demand for these homes is high and have remained so throughout the pandemic, particularly in university towns and cities such as Liverpool and Manchester as they continue to be the property of choice for students looking to live with friends.

“We also specialise in HMOs for professionals, HMOs for social housing, and HMOs for asylum seekers.

“We are finding that HMOs are appealing to more people including professionals especially those who are progressing through their careers and want to keep costs down. Rentals are high, and not everybody can afford to live in the city centre for example, so HMO’s become a viable and affordable option.

“For investors, HMOs often provide higher yields compared to single-let properties, risk is spread and there is more than one source of income, and we expect to do work with more investors in this area over the next year.”