The Tamworth Property Market, The Beatles, Sweden and 50 year mortgages

50 years ago, in 1967, the first human heart transplant was performed by Dr Christian Barnard in South Africa. In the same year Sweden switched from driving on the left-hand side to the right-hand side of the road. The average value of a Tamworth property was £2,775, interest rates were at 5.5% and The Beatles released one of my favourite albums – their Sgt Peppers album … but what the hell has that to do with the Tamworth property market today?? Quite a lot actually … so with my CD Player turned up loud – let me explain my friends!

I have been doing some research on the current attitude of Tamworth first-time buyers.  First-time buyers are so important for both landlords and homeowners. If first-time buyers aren’t buying, they still need a roof over their heads, so they rent (good news for landlords). If they buy, demand for Tamworth property goes up for starter homes and that enables other Tamworth homeowners to move up the property ladder.

First-time buyers are the lifeblood of the property market. They are, however the most susceptible to interest rate rises and the affordability of mortgages. With that in mind, let us see what is happening to them…

The average value of a Tamworth property is currently standing at £209,292 and UK interest rates at 0.25%. As each year goes by, it appears the age of the everlasting mortgage has started to emerge, prompted by these first-time buyers, eager to get a foot on the housing ladder. I was reading a report a few days ago where some mortgage companies confessed that the battle to gain big returns from the property market has led to mortgages that will take considerably longer than the customary 25 years to pay off.

Average property value since 1967
Average property value since 1967

Over the last few years, it has been commonplace for first-time buyer mortgages to be 30 and 35 years in length as the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ have been helping with the deposit (Beatles Sgt Pepper song – “With a Little Help from My Friends”). Now, some high street banks are offering mortgage terms of 40 years. This means first-time buyers could be paying until their mid 60’s – I can hear that other great track from the same album “When I’m Sixty-Four” ringing in my ears! So, a 50-year mortgage does not seem as far-fetched now as it would have been back in the 1970’s. After all life expectancy for a male then was exactly 69 years and today its 79 years and 5 months!

Historical interest rates
Historical interest rates

Over the last ten years, Tamworth property prices have continued to rise more than wages, therefore, first-time buyers are looking for bigger loans. If this development continues, the only way repayments can remain reasonable is by increasing the term of the loan.

However, some commenters have said there are worries the mortgage companies are lending money over such a long term, they threaten leaving some first-time buyers with a generation of debt if the house price bubble bursts.  Interestingly, when I looked at what had happened to average property values in Tamworth over the last 50 years, there have been bubbles. First-time buyers should take heart, since as a county we have always recovered from it a few years later.

What if interest rates rise? Well looking at historic UK interest rates, the current rate of 0.25% is at a 300-year low. Mortgages will never be cheaper. I would however, seriously consider fixing the rate to cushion any future potential interest rate rises (since they can only go in one direction when they do change). If Tamworth first-time buyers see buying a home as a long-term decision, based on the last 50 years, they should be just fine!

Before I go, a final thought for property buyers in Sweden, the land of Volvo and Abba. As Swedish property prices are so high, Swedish Regulators announced last year limits on the length of Swedish mortgage terms. They don’t bother with 50-year mortgages (On and On and On – Abba).

No, our Volvo-loving Swedish friend’s average mortgage length is 140 years (this is not a typo). Although such mortgages have had their Waterloo (Abba), regulators have significantly reduced the maximum term of a Swedish mortgage to 105 years. Either way, that’s a lot of Money, Money, Money (Abba again – Sorry!)  to pay back!

Now I will leave you in peace as I listen to the 1980’s Madness song ‘Our House’. My apologies to all the Beatles and Abba fans in Tamworth – a bit of light hearted fun albeit on serious topic.

Looking to sell or rent your property, the time is now when Summer is in the air.

Hall and Thompson are still busy valuing and listing new properties for sale and rent. So why not get a head start before summer ends and get your property on the market now. Please call 01827 425195 to book your valuation now.

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Energy Performance Certificate – How will this effect Tamworth’s Landlords?

In April 2018, residential private properties will need to have a minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of E or it will be illegal to rent them out to tenants. The change from April 2018 will only apply to new tenancies and renewals. For existing tenancies the regulations will not apply until April 2020.

Local authorities will be responsible for enforcing the regulations, whether Tamworth BC have the time or manpower to do this added task,  I hardly think so! The local authorities  will have the power to serve a notice and request that a landlord provides documentation to prove compliance. Landlords who do not comply with these new regulations could find themselves with a hefty £5,000 fine.

Energy Performance Certificate
Energy Performance Certificate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Properties where the EPC rating is an F or G  are considered substandard  and will either need improvements carried out or will have to cease to be rented out. With only 8 months away to legislation, landlords are reminded to look at implementing improvement works sooner rather than later.

Works need to be cost effective for the landlord and permissible but landlords are at liberty to carry out works to an even higher standard, should they wish. 
As always there are exemptions to the rule –
  • The landlord’s tenant withholds consent for the works.
  • The landlord  was required to obtain a third party’s permission to undertake improvements, and the permission was denied. Or the third party imposed unreasonable conditions.
  • A qualified independent surveyor considers that the works will cause a capital devaluation of the property of more than 5%.

Exemption for listed buildings or buildings in a conservation area has not been made clear but it is hoped, when the  Government publish specific guidance for landlords in October this year, it will  confirm that listed building are exempt from the change. 

As with all Government policies until they are actually published there is no saying what they have deferred and if further exemptions are to be applied. So landlords it is a waiting game but  if you do decide to commence with improvements, it would probably be best not to commit lots of money and big improvements until all has been made clear.

 

Unhappy with your Property Manager? The best time to switch Letting Agents is mid-tenancy. Take us up on our offer and allow us to take care of the switching process. http://www.hallandthompson.co.uk or call Lorraine, Jackie or Jody on 01827 425195.

If you enjoyed reading my article, feel free to take a look my other online resources below:

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https://www.tamworthpropertyblog.co.uk

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