Should you buy a new-build property in Tamworth?

The government has pledged to build 300,000 new build homes to try and tackle the national property shortage, they are even giving incentives when you buy a new build home.

For as little as a deposit of 5% and a government loan of between 15% and 40%, depending on where in the UK you live, using the Help to Buy equity loan scheme  you can get on the property ladder.

The added benefit is, new-build properties should be better insulated than period homes so your energy bills could well be cheaper than buying a period home.

If you’re buying off-plan ( before it’s been built), you may be able to choose certain aspects of the design i.e your kitchen or whether you have a fireplace of not.

However, there are some disadvantages to buying new-build homes, including the fact that it can sometimes be more difficult to get a mortgage. 


What’s included in a new-build property?

Exactly what’s included varies depending on the developer and what they are offering. You may get the white goods – washing machines or dishwashers thrown in, as well as wooden flooring. Others may offer to install flooring or carpet but at an additional cost. 

One of the great advantages of buying a brand-new property is that, often, many of the fixtures and fittings you’d otherwise have to fork out for are included in the price.

Developers often try to upsell you extra items. Be wary here – the price of these could be inflated, and it may be much cheaper for you to source and pay for them yourself.

Today’s building rules and regulations mean that there are standards developers have to meet to make your property as energy efficient as possible. Energy-efficient features could include double or even triple-glazed windows, insulated walls, roofs, and doors, and energy-efficient heating.

Can you negotiate on new-build prices?

Prices for a development’s one, two and three-bedroom properties are often plastered all over the hoardings when properties are being built. 

Of course, the developers will tell you that this is the price you’ll have to pay nethertheless it is only an asking price, and you should be prepared to try and negotiate.

The likelihood of success will depend on a number of things, such as where the property is and the level of demand, as well as how far along the development is.

It pays to do your research, looking at sale prices of similar properties nearby using online sites like Rightmove and Zoopla.

If your attempt at getting a discount fails, there are other ways to potentially reduce your costs. You could ask the developer to cover your stamp duty costs or negotiate ‘extras’, such as flooring or furniture, for free. 

Is there a new-build premium?

You might have heard of the ‘new-build premium’, a term used to describe the fact that new-build properties tend to be pricier than older, but otherwise similar, properties. The reason for this difference is that everything is new and unused, energy efficient and built to  a high-quality specification.

Some people believe that, on top of the standard new-build premium, developers have been charging an even greater ‘Help to Buy premium’ to those using the government’s equity loan scheme.

Try to stay level-headed and don’t be too wowed by a new-build show home. Do your research, find out about similar properties in the area and on developments, and make sure you don’t offer more than you can afford. 

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25.9% of All Tamworth Properties were Bought Without a Mortgage in the Last 7 Years

Tamworth
Tamworth

For most Tamworth people, a mortgage is the only way to buy a property. However, for some, especially Tamworth homeowners who have paid off their mortgage or Tamworth buy to let landlords, many have the choice to pay exclusively with cash. So the question is, should you use all your cash, or could a mortgage be a more suitable option?

Well, looking at the numbers locally…

1,784 of the 6,890 property sales in the last 7 years in Tamworth were made without a mortgage (i.e. 25.9%)

Interesting when compared with the national average of 31.9% cash purchases over the last seven years. Next, I wanted to see that cash percentage figure split down by years. As you can see from the graph, this level of cash purchases vs mortgage purchases has remained reasonably constant over those seven years…

Next, if you are going to go for a mortgage, the next question has to be whether you should fix the rate or have a variable rate mortgage. In the last Quarter, 90.57% of people that took out a mortgage, had a fixed rate mortgage at an average interest rate of 2.27%, although what did surprise me was only 65.79% of the £1.429 trillion mortgages outstanding in the whole of the UK were on a fixed rate.

The level of mortgage debt compared to the value of the home itself (referred to as the Loan to Value rate – LTV) was interesting, as 61.9% of people with a mortgage have a LTV of less than 75%. Although, one number that did jump out at me was only 4.33% of mortgages are 90% and higher LTV – meaning if we do have another property slump, the number of people in negative equity will be relatively small.

Next, looking at the actual number of properties sold, it can be clearly seen the number of house sales has dipped slightly in 2018…

So those are the numbers … let us have a look at the pros and cons of taking a mortgage, with specific focus on Tamworth buy to let landlords.  

Taking a mortgage will help a landlord increase their investment across more properties to maximise the return, rather than putting everything into one Tamworth buy to let property. This will enable the landlord to ensure if there a void in the tenancy, there should still be rent coming from the other properties. The flip side of the coin is that there is a mortgage to pay for, whether or not the property is let.

The other great motivation of taking a mortgage is that landlords can set the mortgage interest against the rental income, although that will only be at the basic rate of tax by 2021 due the recent tax changes. Banks and Building Societies will characteristically want at least a 25% deposit (meaning Tamworth landlords can only borrow up to 75%) and will assess the borrowing level based on the rental income covering the mortgage interest by a definite margin of 125%.

A lot will depend on what you, as a Tamworth landlord, hope to attain from your buy to let investment and how relaxed you would feel in making the mortgage payments when there is a void (interestingly, Direct Line calculated a few months ago that voids cost UK landlords around £3bn a year or an average of £1000 per property per year). You also have to consider that interest rates could also increase, which would eat into your profit … although that can be mitigated with fixing your interest rate (as discussed above).

So, with everything that is happening in the world, does it make sense to buy rental properties? Now we help many newbie and existing landlords work out their budgets, taking into account other costs such as agent’s fees, finance, maintenance and voids
in tenancy.

The bottom line is we as a country aren’t building enough property, so demand will always outstrip supply in the medium to long term, meaning property values will keep rising in the medium to long term. That’s not to say property values might fall back in the short term, like they did in 2009 Credit Crunch, the 1988 Dual MIRAS crash, the recession of the early 1980’s, the 1974 Oil Crisis, the early 1930’s Great Depression … yet every time they have bounced back with vigour. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on getting the best property that will have continuing appeal and strong tenant demand and to conclude, buy to let should be tackled as a medium to long term investment … because the wisest landlords see buy to let investment in terms of decades – not years.

Why don’t you download your FREE Landlord eGuide ‘How To Avoid Tenants From Hell’ now by clicking the link below and then ‘Get Started’ & ‘Send it Now’The eGuide will then be messaged to you instantly after a few clicks and your contact details are not needed.

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Tamworth Homeowners Have Made an Annual Profit Of £6,781 Since the Millennium

As we go full steam ahead into 2019, it’s certain that the Tamworth housing market in 2018 was a little more restrained than 2016 and 2017 and I believe this will continue into 2019. Property ownership is a medium to long term investment so, looking at the long-term, the average Tamworth homeowner, having owned their property since the Millennium, has seen its value rise by more than 180%.

This is important, as house prices are a national obsession and tied into the health of the UK economy as a whole. The preponderance of that historical gain in Tamworth property values has come from the growth in Tamworth property values, while some of it will have been enhanced by extending, modernising or developing their Tamworth home.

Taking a look at the different property types in Tamworth, and the profit made by each type, makes interesting reading..

However, we can’t forget there has been just over 60% inflation over those 18 years, which eats into the ‘real’ value (or true spending power of that profit) … so if we take into account inflation since 2000, the true spending power of that profit has been lower.

 So the ‘real’ value of the profit, after inflation, in Tamworth has been £4,140 per year.. still nothing to sniff at.

I wanted to show you that even though we had the 2008/09 Credit Crunch property market crash where, depending on the type of Tamworth property, property values dropped between 15% and 20% in 18 months … Tamworth homeowners over the long term are still better off than those renting.

Moving forward, the question I get asked time and again is what will happen in the future to the Tamworth Property market? Irrespective of what is happening in the World, Europe or even Central London, the biggest factor over the medium to long term to ensure that this level of house price growth is maintained in Tamworth is the building of new homes both locally and in the country as a whole. Whilst we haven’t had the 2018 stats yet, Government sources suggest this will be nearer 180,000 to 190,000, a decrease from the 2017 figure of 217,350 new households being created. When you consider that we need to build 240,000 households to equal demand (immigration, people living longer, higher divorce rates and people co-habiting later in life etc) … demand will outstrip supply and unless the Government start to spend billions building council houses .. this trend will continue for years (and decades to come).

Another factor is that whilst Tamworth landlords have been hit with higher taxes to enable them to actually be a landlord most, in every national survey, still intends to increase their portfolio in the medium to long term. The youngsters of Tamworth see renting as a choice, giving them flexibility and options that being tied to a home cannot give… thus meaning demand will continue to grow and landlords will be able to enjoy increased rents and capital growth, although those very same Tamworth buy to let landlords will have to work smarter in the future to continue to make decent returns (profits) from their buy to let investments. Even with the tempering of house price inflation in Tamworth in 2018, most Tamworth buy to let landlords (and homeowners) are still sitting on a copious amount of growth from previous years.

The question is, how do you, as a Tamworth buy to let landlord, ensure that continues?

Since the 1990’s, making money from investing in buy to let property was as easy as falling off a log. Looking forward though, with all the changes in the tax regime and balance of power, making those similar levels of return in the future won’t be so easy. Over the last ten years, I have seen the role of the forward thinking agents evolve from a person collecting the rent to a more all-inclusive role; I call it, ‘strategic portfolio leadership’. Thankfully, along with myself, there are a handful of agents in Tamworth whom I would consider exemplary at this landlord portfolio strategy where they can give you a balanced structured overview of your short, medium and long-term goals, in relation to your required return on investment, yield and capital growth requirements. If you would like such advice, speak with your current agent – whether you are a landlord of ours or not – without any cost or commitment, feel free to drop me a line.

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Live in Tamworth? About to Retire and Privately Rent? You Could be £4,100 a Year Worse Off!

You read the personal finance pages of the newspapers and it all seems to be the impending pensions crisis … where people aren’t saving enough for their retirement. But it’s not the lack of Tamworth peoples’ future pension incomes that are my immediate concern. The fact is that so many of the future retirees in Tamworth over the coming decade, who never bought their home in the Millennial years of the 1990’s and 2000’s, will have to make some tough decisions regarding what house they live in when they retire anytime between now and 2038.

In Tamworth, there are 488 privately rented households, where the head of the household is between 50 years and 64 years of age (meaning they will be retiring anytime between now and 2038). They are working now and easily paying the rent, yet what happens when they retire?

A Tamworth retired couple, who currently privately rent and who have paid their fully qualifying NI stamp over the last few decades are likely to retire with the couples State Pension of £1,091 per month plus a tiny bit of private pension if they are lucky. Given that the average rent in Tamworth is £741 a month – a lot of that pension will be lost in rent. This means taxpayers will have no alternative but to step in and top up the rent payments with Housing Benefit, yet…

The maximum housing benefit for a couple in Tamworth is currently £393.90 per month … leaving a significant gap when you consider the average rent in Tamworth is £741 per month

It is most people’s opinion that retirees are either council tenants or own their home outright. Looking at these figures though, it looks like both these ‘mature’ private renters could be having to make some decisions on their lifestyle and where they live, possibly looking at downsizing the home they rent to make things more affordable in their old age. Also, the government will be in for a horrible surprise as more of Tamworth people retire and continue to rent from a private landlord. Numerous Tamworth private renters, with little or no savings, will have to rely on Housing Benefit, which will put greater pressure on the public purse.

The average Tamworth retiree will need to find £4,165 pa to stay in their privately rented home after retirement

A recent report from Scottish Widows suggested that 1 in 8 OAP’s will be privately renting by 2032, up from the current one in 15.47 OAP’s whom currently private rent (or 6.47%). In fact, in that report they said the equivalent of more than one-third of the whole annual NHS budget would be spent on Housing Benefit for OAP’s in retirement living in private rented property.

What does this mean for mature Tamworth homeowners? I see many using equity release schemes to stay in their homes to pay for a better retirement and others more open to downsizing, selling their large home to a family that needs it and moving into a smaller apartment or bungalow … yet lets be frank – they aren’t building bungalows in large numbers in Tamworth anymore.

And for the Tamworth landlords? Well with the younger Millennials showing no appetite in jumping onto the homeownership bandwagon anytime soon, it can only result in the demands on the buy to let market from Tamworth tenants rising substantially. Of course, many Millennials will inherit money from their home owning parents in the coming few decades, yet a lot won’t as it will be spent on nursing home care and any leftovers (if any) split between siblings.

The solution to all this is to build more homes, of course. Last year we created/built just over 217,000 households in the UK, up from a post Millennial average of just under 150,000 households a year. We need to get back to the building booms of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when on average 300,000 households were built … but back to reality … that won’t happen so it looks like we are turning into a nation of renters, which is of course good news for Tamworth buy to let landlords!

For those retiring in post 2050/2060, there is better news as official reports suggest those retirees will enjoy a State Pension approximately similar to today’s pensioners with auto-enrolment into top-up private pensions through their employer.

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Ask Lorraine – Letting Agent is asking for lots of information

ASK Lorraine

I was talking this weekend to a couple, I will call them Sandra & Jim. Apparently this couple were looking to move to Tamworth and had decided to try and rent through another private landlord, “Agents ask too many questions and charge too much in fees”.

So here is a little story………Parts of it are true other parts embelished to show that there are laws to renting out property!

Sandra went on to inform me that when they moved into their current property 3 months ago, they paid no fees to their kindly landlord and only 1 months rent as a deposit. The discounted council tax was paid in cash to the landlord. He ensured it was paid to the council, after all it was one less thing to have to think about, right!

What a shame that this kindly person is actually a rogue Landlord.

The landlord asked no questions and made no fuss! What he should have done was ask the right questions, carried out the Right to Rent checks as specified in the Immigration Act 2016.

So this rogue landlord had allowed the couple to rent a property. In actual fact if he had undertaken the correct checks, he would have found out the couple were not British citizens, nor citizens of a country in the EU or EEA, nor citizens of a country with no time limits on permission to live in the UK. Sandra and Jim should not have been allowed to rent a property.

The landlord did not provide his new tenants with the How to Rent booklet, annual gas safety inspection certificate, an energy performance certificate and a smoke alarm.

Sandra had found the new house very cold as the boiler was “waiting for a new part”. So the kindly landlord had given them an old coal fire and a big bag of coal as a temporary measure.

At least they would be warm in the living room with the coal fire blazing away and as the coal was cheap enough, they could easily leave the fire burning all night. It had been so nice of the landlord to offer this coal fire and weren’t they lucky they had a chimney place suitable for the coal fire.

They did not know that the landlord should have provided a carbon monoxide alarm.  (The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015). 

The Landlord asked for cash each week for the couple’s rent he never offered receipts or even a rent book. Sandra and Jim were unaware of their rights. The Landlord was either unaware or unwilling to comply with the 1988 Housing Act that if rent is paid weekly a rent book must be provided.

Sandra had set up a little nail business in the spare bedroom and was doing very well, she was hoping the business would be equally successsful in Tamworth.

The landlord was not happy when the elderly lady next door started complaining about lots of visitors coming at all hours of the day and night. The garden gate was often left to bang shut and this caused a nuisance to the elderly neighbour.

The landlord decided that he was going to evict using a Section 21 – but the tenancy must run at least 4 months before a notice could be served. What he has not realised, at the expiry of the notice, he will be expected to take them to Court, where his case would be thrown out because he did not serve the How to Rent booklet, or the Energy Performance Certificate, or the Gas Safety Certificate, nor did he protect the deposit. Had Jim and Sandra known more about the law and been in the property legally, they would have realized they could have visited the Citizens Advice Bureau and taken the landlord to Court for three times the deposit amount.

Legislation has a purpose; it seeks to provide a good standard of accommodation for all, to ensure that rent is paid for properties fit for purpose. Sandra and Jim may have had a low expectation of rental properties and did not know their rights however as Asylum Seekers, they needed to seek the assistance of the Home Office, not a landlord who risks a hefty fine or even a prison sentence. The landlord would also have HMRC chasing him for not declaring his rental income.

Hall & Thompson Tamworth  –  Estate/Property Lettings Agents.

From tenant find only, right through to a fully managed service, Hall & Thompson offer a personal property experience. We can be involved in letting a property and can take away the trials and tribulations that landlords often encounter when dealing with this themselves.

Residential lettings can provide attractive returns on investment and we can advise.

Our wide range of lettings services can help you to achieve your letting property investment goals, at a fraction of the cost of most high street letting agencies.

Call or message me today to have a natter. lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk

or call 01827 425195

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