How Did Brexit Affect the Tamworth Property Market in 2018 – and its Future for 2019?

A few weeks ago, I suggested property values in Tamworth would be between 1.3% and 2.1% different by the end of the year. It might surprise some people that Brexit hasn’t had the effect on the Tamworth property market that most feared at the start of 2018.

The basis of this point of view can clearly be seen in the number of property transactions (i.e. the number of property sold) that have taken place locally since 2008. The most recent property recession was the Credit Crunch years of 2008/2009/2010.

In property recessions, the headline most people look at is the average value of property. Yet, as most people that sell also go on to buy, for most home movers, if your property has gone down in value, the one you want to buy has also gone down in value so you are no better or worse off. If you are moving up market – which most people do when they move home – in a repressed market, the gap between what yours is worth and what you will buy gets lower … meaning you will be better off.

Yet, most property commentators, including myself, suggest (and I have mentioned this before in some of my other blog articles) a better measure of the health of the property market is the transaction numbers (i.e. the number of people selling and buying). So, I decided to look at the 2018 statistics, and compare them with the Credit Crunch years (2008 to 2010) and the boom years (2014 to 2017). The results can be seen in the table below.

Then, I looked at the average quarterly figures for those chosen date ranges … and created this graph …

In that 2008 to 2010 property Credit Crunch recession, the average number of properties sold in the Tamworth area were 59 per month. Interesting when we compare that to the boom years of 2014 to 2017, when an average of 93 properties changed hands monthly … yet in the ‘supposed’ doom laden year of 2018, an impressive average of 91 properties changed hands monthly … meaning 2018 compared to the boom years of 2014 to 2017 saw a drop of 1.6% – yet still 55.1% higher than the Credit Crunch years of 2008 to 2010.

The simple fact is, the fundamental problems of the Tamworth property market are that there haven’t been enough new homes being built since the 1980’s (and I don’t say that lightly with all the new homes sites dotted around the locality). Also, the cost of buying your first home remaining relatively high compared to wages and to add insult to injury, all those issues are armor-plated by the tougher mortgage rules which were introduced in 2014 and the current mortgage market conditions.

It is these issues which will ultimately determine and form the rather unexciting, yet still vital, long term outlook for the Tamworth (and national) housing market, as I feel the Brexit issue over the last few years has been the ‘current passing diversion’ for us to worry about. Assuming something can be sorted with Brexit, in the long term property values in Tamworth will be constrained by earnings increases with long term house price rises of no more than 2.5% to 4% a year.

 Fundamentally, the question I am asked by many Tamworth buy to let landlords and Tamworth homebuyers is … “should I wait to buy or not?”

As a Tamworth homebuyer, one shouldn’t be thinking of what is happening in Westminster, Brussels, Irish Backstop, China or Trump and more of your own personal circumstances. Do you want to move to get your child in ‘that’ school or do you need an extra bedroom for your third child? For lots of people, the response is a resounding yes – and in fact, I feel many people have held back, so once we know what is finally happening with Brexit and the future of it, there could a be a release of that pent-up demand to move home as people humbly just want to get on with their lives.

There is little to be lost in postponing a house purchase until there is better clarity on the situation. If it isn’t Brexit it will something else – so just get on with your lives and start living. We got through the global financial crisis/Credit Crunch in ‘08/’09, Black Wednesday in ’92 where mortgage interest rates went from 8.5% to 15% in one day, we got through the worst stock market crash with Black Monday in ’87, hyperinflation, power shortages, petrol quadrupling in price in less than a year and a 3 day week in the ‘70’s … need I go on?

Tamworth Landlords? Well, where else are you going to invest your money? Like I said earlier in the article, we aren’t building enough homes to keep up with demand … so as demand outstrips supply, house values will continue to grow. Putting the money in the building society will only get you 1% to 2% if you are lucky. In the short term though, there could be some bargains to be had from shortsighted panicking sellers and in the long term … well, the same reasons I gave to homeowners also apply to you.

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Your pricing strategy; Have you got it right?

Before you are ready to launch your home on the sales market, there are several things to consider when setting your price:

Does your agent support it? If you set your asking price way above that which the agents recommends, their lack of support could well be evident in the way they talk about your property to their team and to potential buyers. If they are strongly against your preferred asking price, it may be time to rethink your choice of agent or your price.

Is there precedent? If you home is unique, there may well be a lack of comparable properties, therefore you may well have more flexibility in the price your decide to market your home at. However, if you are in a row of similar properties, chances are that there will be plenty of historical evidence to guide you into choosing an asking price that fits in with those of your neighbouring properties.

Does it fit in with an online search? Nowadays more than 90% of property searches are conducted online, so you need to select an asking price that will ensure your home is found by the maximum number of buyers searching the property portals. To maximise the number of buyers who will see your property, stay clear of the 9’s such as £199,999, instead choose a rounded figure that fits in with the price banding the online portals all use, such as £200.000.

At Hall and Thompson, this is a strategy that we embrace fully. All our properties, wherever possible, are priced to show an the maximum number of online property searches. All the better to sell houses!

Until next time Happy House Hunting

How to add value to your Tamworth home without dropping your asking price

If your home is on the market already, and you`re not getting serious interest from buyers, one option most estate agents will suggest to their client is to drop the asking price of your property. However, it`s not always the only option: there are some improvements that can help you sell more effectively without spending a fortune and often can be implemented easily and not that costly:

New flooring in ‘wet` rooms – By ‘wet` rooms, I mean kitchens, utility rooms, cloakrooms and bathrooms. The general rule of thumb with the flooring in these rooms is that it needs to be ‘moppable` – in other words, a hard floor.  It doesn`t need to be expensive, in fact there are some fabulous reasonably priced vinyls available.   The difference in how a buyer will see your home is high. A bathroom that is carpeted will look dated to a modern buyer, regardless of whether it is or not. These are also the rooms buyers expect to be super clean and by having new flooring will immediately confirm to them that they are.

Updating your soft furnishings – Cushions, bedding, even curtains, can radically improve and update your home for a relatively moderate spend. Why not purchase some new cushions and bedding which can be put out just for viewings and then put away after? This way you will always have that brand new showroom look.

New carpets  – Carpets can make a house look dated more than any other area, and they can also give a buyer a reason to make a low offer.  A good quality, neutral carpet throughout the house can add several times its cost in the perception that the house has been kept up to date.  Re-carpeting an average-sized house will not be cheap but it will almost certainly be a very worthwhile investment.

Declutter more – Sometimes it might just be that people cannot see the true potential and space of your property. If you have a lot of furniture or personal items it might be a good idea to see if you can remove some into storage whilst your property is on the market. Remember, the larger you can make your property feel the more appealing it will be to a buyer, not just because they feel they are getting more property for their money but often it also allows them to work out exactly where their own furniture would go if they bought your home.

So, as you can see, giving the buyer what they need is not always about price. A few changes may result in increasing its value and you may even get your home sold for more!. It is also worth noting that if you do decide to drop the price your agent would have to drop it by at least £10,000 to make any real impact, so perhaps trying a few basic changes first could be the best route to try before changing the price.

Is your property on the market and not getting the interest you hoped it would? then why not get in touch and see how we can help 01827 425195 or info@hallandthompson.co.uk

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Tamworth Tenant’s Deposits held total £2,458,500

With the Government preparing to control tenant’s deposits at five weeks rent, Tamworth landlords will soon only be protected in the event of a single month of unpaid rental-arrears, at a time when Universal Credit has seen some rent arrears quadrupling and that’s before you consider damage to the property or solicitor costs.

It can’t be disputed that the deposits Tamworth tenants have to save for, certainly raises the cost of renting, putting another nail in the coffin of the dream of home ownership for many Tamworth renters. At the same time, those same deposits being unable to provide Tamworth landlords with a decent level of protection against unpaid rent or damage to the property.

In fact, the total of all the tenants’ deposits in

Tamworth, deposited or protected, is £2,458,500

When you consider the value of all the privately rented properties in Tamworth total £705,361,800, the need for decent landlord insurance to ensure you are adequately covered as a Tamworth landlord is vital.

However, I want to consider the point of view of the Tamworth tenant.  Several housing charities believe spending more than a third of someone’s salary on rent as exorbitant, yet for the tenants they find themselves in that very position.  I feel especially sorry for the Tamworth youngsters in their 20’s who want to rent a place for themselves, as they face having to pay out the rent and try and save for a deposit for a home.

The average 22 to 29-year-old in Tamworth spends 33% of their typical salary on a one bed rental property

….and 39% of their salary for a 2-bed home in Tamworth.

40 years ago, British people who rented spent an average of 10% of their salary on rent, and only 14% in London.  Looking in even greater detail, according to the ONS, over the past 60 years the proportion of total spending on all housing (renting and mortgages) has doubled from 9% in the late 1950’s to 18% today.  Whilst on the other hand, the proportion of total expenditure on food has halved (33% to 16%), as has the proportion of total spending on clothing (10% to 5%) … it’s a case of swings and roundabouts!

Yet landlords also face costs that need to be covered from rents including mortgages, landlord insurance (especially the need for the often-inadequate deposits to cover the loss of rent and damage), maintenance and licensing.  In fact, rents in the last 10 years have failed to keep up with UK inflation. So in real terms, landlords are worse off when it comes to their rental returns (although they have gained on the increase in Tamworth property values – but that is only realised when a property sells).

There are a small handful of Tamworth landlords selling some/or all of their rental portfolio as their portfolios become less economically viable with the recent tax changes for buy to let landlords, which will result in fewer properties available to rent.

However, this will reduce the supply and availability of Tamworth rental properties, meaning rents will rise (classic textbook supply and demand), thus landlords return and yields will rise.  Yet, because tenants still can’t afford to save the deposit for a home (as we discussed above) and we are all living longer, the demand for rental properties across Tamworth will continue to grow in the next twenty to thirty years as we turn to more European ways where the norm is to rent rather than buy in the 20’s and 30’s age range. This will mean new buy-to-let landlords will be attracted into the market, buy properties for the rental market in Tamworth and enjoy those higher yields and returns … isn’t it interesting that things mostly always go full circle?

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Tamworth House Prices up 31.5% in the last 5 Years

Over the last 5 years, we have seen some interesting subtle changes to the Tamworth property market as buying patterns of landlords have changed ever so slightly.

The background to this story was the recently published set of buy-to-let (BTL) lending statistics. Roll the clock back 12 months and 6,700 BTL mortgages were granted (in the same month) for £900m, meaning the average BTL mortgage was £134,200. Looking at last month’s figures, and as one might expect with the Brexit issue overhanging the property market, the lending figures were down, yet not by the amount I originally thought. Last month, just over 6,100 new buy-to-let mortgages were granted for a total sum of £800m (meaning the average landlord mortgage was a respectable £131,100). Yet, when I looked back to the boom year of the 2014 property market, in the corresponding same month, only £1,030 million was borrowed on 8,300 buy-to-let properties (meaning the average buy-to-let mortgage was £124,100). It seems Brexit is having no effect on landlords buying habits.

Looking closer to home in Tamworth, throughout 2018, I have been regularly chatting to more and more landlords, be they seasoned professional Tamworth BTL landlords or FTL’s (first time landlords) and their attitude is mostly positive. Instead of reading the scare-papers (oops sorry newspapers), those Tamworth landlords that look with their eyes, will see the Tamworth property market is doing reasonably well, with medium term rents and property values rising; as quite obviously from the mortgage figures .. landlords are still buying.

The question I get asked all the time is .. “What type of buy-to-let property should I buy?  You can make money from property through both the rent (expressed as a yield when compared to the value of the property) and how the actual value of the home itself changes.

Since 2014, property values in Tamworth have risen by 31.5%.

We have records of what each type of property (i.e. Detached/Semi/Terraced/Apartments) has achieved per square metre going back 20 years … and looking back over the last 5 years, these are the numbers ..

They all look to have similar percentage uplifts, however as you can see from the table there is in fact some variation throughout and although only slight this can equate to thousands of pounds in monetary terms.

This has proved that semis and terraced houses have performed the best .. although like the £/Sq.M figures, these are just averages. When investing, whilst Tamworth apartments haven’t been the best performers in terms of capital growth, they do tend to generate a slightly better yield than houses, probably because several sharers can afford to pay more than a single family. But houses tend to appreciate in value more rapidly and may well be easier to sell, simply because there are fewer being built.

Now these are of course averages, but it gives you a good place to start from. The bigger picture here though is this – irrespective of what is happening in the world, be it Brexit/no Brexit, China, Trump, whatever, Tamworth people still need a roof over their heads and we as a Country haven’t built enough homes to keep up with the demand since the late 1980’s. This means even if we have a short term wobble in 2019 when it comes to property values ..in the medium term, demand will always outstrip supply and prices and rents will increase – because, I doubt the local authority, let alone Westminster, have the billions of pounds required to build the one hundred thousand Council houses per year nationally for the next decade to fix this issue – meaning as the population increases, the only people who can fulfil the demand for accommodation in the medium term is the private BTL landlord.

Before I go …on average, housing associations and local authorities have built around 26,500 houses each year since 2010. The Labour government had a lower average, building about 19,000 homes per year, yet in the 1960’s, under both administrations, 180,000 councils were built per year!

Many of you reading my blog ask why I say these things. I want to share my thoughts and opinions on the real issues affecting the Tamworth property market, warts and all. If you want rose tinted glasses articles – then my articles are not for you. However, if you want someone to tell you the real story about the Tamworth property market, be it good, bad or indifferent, then maybe you should start reading my blog regularly.

⁉️ 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’

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The eGuide will then be messaged to you instantly after a few clicks and your contact details are not needed.

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