Great(er) Expectations: Why Tamworth Home Sellers are Having to Reduce Their Asking Prices by an Average of £11,600 Each

As we head for the winter months, some interesting statistics have come to light on the Tamworth Property Market which will be thought provoking for both homeowners and buy to let landlords alike.

Over the last 12 months 1,190 households have changed hands in Tamworth, interesting when compared with the 10-year average of 1,128 households per year.

Overcooked house prices

 

Yet, for the purpose of this week’s article, I want to discuss the pricing of the current crop of Tamworth’s property sellers and the prices they are asking for their homes and the prices they are achieving (or not as at the case may be). It is so important for all property owners to know the real story, so they can judge for themselves where they stand in the current Tamworth housing market, thus enabling them to make suitable and informed decisions… and that is why, in my blog about the Tamworth Property Market, I pride myself in telling the people of Tamworth the real answers, not just the ones they want to hear.

The national average of homes selling at or above the asking price currently stands at around 10%, so around 90% go below the asking price – but by how much? Well according to Rightmove, in the Tamworth area, the average difference between the ‘FINAL asking price’ to the price agreed is 2.5% … yet note I highlighted the word FINAL in the last statement.

You see some Estate Agents will deliberately over inflate the suggested initial asking price to the house seller, because it gives them a greater chance to secure the property on that agent’s books, as opposed to a competitor. This practice is called overvaluing. Now of course, each homeowner wants to get the most for their property, it is quite often their biggest asset – yet some agents know this and prey on those house sellers. You might ask, what is the issue with that?

Well, you only get one chance of hitting the market as a new property. Everyone has access to the internet, Rightmove and Zoopla etc, and your potential buyers will know the market like the back of their hand. If you have a 3 bed semi that is on the market for a 3 bed detached house price.. those buyers will ignore you.

If your Tamworth property sticks on the market, potential buyers will keep seeing your Tamworth property on Rightmove each week, then start to think there is something wrong with it, dismiss it even further, until you, as the house seller have to reduce the asking price so much (to make it appear inexpensive) to get it away. According to our own research, the average house buyer only views between 4 and 5 houses before buying – so don’t assume viewers will come round your optimistically priced (i.e. overvalued) property, thinking they will knock you down – no quite the opposite!

So how widespread is overvaluing in Tamworth? The results might surprise you …

32.8% of properties in Tamworth, currently on the market, have reduced their asking price by an average reduction of 4.8% (which equates to £11,600 each)

So, all I ask is this.. be realistic and you will sell at a decent price to a decent buyer. First time – every time – enabling you to move on to the next chapter of your life.

Happy House Hunting.

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Tamworth Property Market – Which Houses are Actually Selling?

Beast from the East, Russia, Facebook, Brexit, Trump, House prices up, House prices down … the Press is full of column inches on Brit’s favourite subjects of politics, scandal, weather and not forgetting (and I appreciate the irony of this!) the property market. As an agent belonging a national group of letting and estate agents, talking to my fellow property professionals from around the UK, the one thing that is immediately apparent is the UK does not have one property market. It is a hodgepodge patchwork (almost like a fly’s eye) of lots of small property markets all performing in different ways.

… And that made me think … is there just one Tamworth Property Market or many?

I like to keep an eye on the property market in Tamworth on a daily basis because it enables me to give the best advice and opinion on what (or not) to buy in Tamworth, be that a buy-to-let property for a Tamworth landlord or an owner occupier house for a home owner.  So, I thought, how could I scientifically split the Tamworth housing market into segments, so I could see which part of the market was performing the best and the worst.

I decided the best way was to split the Tamworth property market into four equal size price bands (into terms of households for sale). Each price band would have around 25% of the property in Tamworth, from the lowest in value (the Lowest Quartile or 25%) all the way through to the highest 25% in terms of value, the Upper Quartile.  Looking at the market, I have calculated that these are the price bands in Tamworth are as follows:

  • Lowest Quartile (lowest 25% in terms of value) … Up to £150,000
  • Lower/Middle Quartile (25% to 50% Quartile in terms of value) … £150,000 to £190,000
  • Middle/Upper Quartile (50% to 75% Quartile in terms of value) … £190,000 to £250,000
  • Upper Quartile (highest 25% in terms of value) … £250,000 Upwards

So, having split the Tamworth Property Market approximately into four equal sizes, the results in terms what price band has sold (subject to contract or stc) the most is quite enlightening –

Tamworth  Available Sold STC % Sold
Up to £150,000 69 107 60.8%
£150,000 to £190,000 79 112 58.6%
£190,000 to £250,000 102 95 48.2%
£250,000 Upwards 180 79 30.5%

Although the results are close, the best performing price range in Tamworth is the lower market. As I would expect, the upper quartile (the top 25%) is finding things toughest. Interestingly for Tamworth landlords, with the lower market and the middle market selling well, it looks like there are plenty of Tamworth landlords buying properties to add to their buy to let portfolios. Even though the number of first time buyers did increase in 2017, it was from a low base and the vast majority of 20 something’s cannot buy, so need a roof over their head (hence the need to rent somewhere).

It is a fact that British (and Tamworth’s) housing markets have ridden the storms of Oil crisis in the 1970’s, the 1980’s depression, Black Monday in the 1990’s, and latterly the Credit Crunch together with the various house price crashes of 1973, 1987 and 2008. No matter what happens to us Brexit or anything else … unless the Government starts to build hundreds of thousands extra houses each year, demand will always outstrip supply … so maybe a time for Tamworth landlord investors to bag a bargain?

Want to know where those Tamworth buy to let bargains are?  Follow my Tamworth Property Blog or drop me an email because irrespective of which agent you use, myself or any of the other excellent agents in Tamworth, many local landlords ask me my thoughts, opinion and advice on what (and not) to buy locally … and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on those thoughts … would you?

If you want to learn about the Tamworth Property Market , one source for information is the Tamworth Property Blog authored by yours truly at https://www.tamworthpropertyblog.co.uk

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Tamworth Home Owners Are Only Moving Every 20 Years (Part 1)

As I mentioned in a previous article, the average house price in Tamworth is 6.75 times the average annual Tamworth salary. This is higher than the last peak of 2008, when the ratio was 6.21. A number of City commentators anticipated that in the ambiguity that trailed the Brexit vote, UK (and hence Tamworth) property prices might drop like a stone. The point is – they haven’t.

Now it’s true the market for Tamworth’s swankiest and poshest properties looks a little fragile (although they are selling if they are realistically priced) and overall, Tamworth property price growth has slowed, but the lower to middle Tamworth property market appears to be quite strong.

Scratch under the surface though, and a different long-term picture is emerging away from what is happening to property prices. Tamworth people are moving home less often than they once did. Data from the Office of National Statistics shows that the number of properties sold in 2016 is again much lower than it was in the Noughties. My statistics show…

 

The Total Number of Property Sales Per Annum in the Tamworth

Borough Council Area Since 1995

1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
1,236 1,358 1,569 1,543 1,673 1,642 1,543 1,756 1,480 1,566 1,331
                     
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
1,667 1,629 833 682 616 711 716 834 1,061 1,003 1,084

 Even though we are not anywhere near the post credit crunch (2008 and 2009) low levels of property sales, the torpor of the Tamworth housing market following the 2016 Brexit vote has seen the number of property sales in Tamworth and the surrounding local authority area level off to what appears to be the start of a new long term trend (compared the Noughties).

Interestingly, it was the 1980’s that saw the highest levels of people moving home. Nationally, everyone was moving on average every decade. Even though it was during the Labour administration of the late 1970’s where the right to buy one’s council house started, it was the Housing Act of 1980 that that really got council tenants moving. Thatcher’s Tory government financially encouraged council tenants to buy their council-rented homes – for which countless then sold them on for a profit and moved elsewhere. The housing market was awash with money as banks were allowed to offer mortgages as well as the existing building societies, meaning it made it simpler for Brits to borrow even more money on mortgages and to climb up the housing ladder.

But coming back to today, looking at the property sales figures in the Tamworth area since 2010/11, a new trend of number of property sales appears to have started. Interestingly, this has been mirrored nationally. The reasons behind this are complex, but a good place to start is the growth rate of real UK household disposable income, which has fallen from 5.01% a year in 2000 to 1.68% in 2016. Also, things have deteriorated since the country voted to leave the EU as consumer price inflation has risen to 2.7% per annum, meaning inflation has eaten away at the real value of wages (as they have only grown by 1.1% in the same time frame).

With meagre real income growth, it has become more difficult for homeowners to accumulate the savings needed to climb up the housing ladder as the level of saving has also dropped from 4.26% of household income to -1.11% (i.e. people are eating into their savings).

Next week I will be discussing how these (and other issues) has meant the level of Tamworth people moving home has slumped to once every 20 years.

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33.7% Drop in Tamworth People Moving Home in the Last 10 Years

I was having a lazy Sunday morning, reading through the newspapers at my favourite coffee shop in Tamworth.  I find the most interesting bits are their commentaries on the British Housing Market.  Some talk about property prices, whilst others discuss the younger generation grappling to get a foot-hold on the property ladder with difficulties of saving up for the deposit.  Others feature articles about the severe lack of new homes being built (which is especially true in Tamworth!).  A group of people that don’t often get any column inches however are those existing homeowners who can’t move!

Back in the early 2000’s, between 1m and 1.3m people moved each year in England and Wales, peaking at 1,349,306 home-moves (i.e. house sales) in 2002.  However, the ‘credit crunch’ hit in 2008 and the number of house sales fell to 624,994 in 2009.  Since then this has steadily recovered, albeit to a more ‘respectable’ 899,708 properties by 2016.  This means there are around 450,000 fewer house sales (house-moves) each year compared to the noughties.  The question is … why are there fewer house sales?

No. of house Sales in England & Wales between 1995 & 2016
No. of house Sales in England & Wales between 1995 & 2016

 

To answer that, we need to go back 50 years.  Inflation was high in the late 1960’s, 70’s and early 80’s.  To combat this, the Government raised interest rates to a high level in a bid to lower inflation.  Higher interest rates meant the householders monthly mortgage payments were higher, meaning mortgages took a large proportion of the homeowner’s household budget. However, this wasn’t all bad news since inflation tends to erode mortgage debt in ‘real spending power terms’.  Consequently, as wages grew (to keep up with inflation), this allowed home owners to get even bigger mortgages.  At the same time their mortgage debt was decreasing, therefore allowing them to move up the property ladder quicker.

Roll the clock on to the late 1990’s and the early Noughties, and things had changed.  UK interest rates tumbled as UK inflation dropped.  Lower interest rates and low inflation, especially in the five years 2000 to 2005, meant we saw double digit growth in the value of UK property.  This inevitably meant all the home owner’s equity grew significantly, meaning people could continue to move up the property ladder (even without the effects of inflation).

This snowball effect of significant numbers moving house continued into the mid noughties (2004 to 2007), as Banks and Building Society’s slackened their lending criteria.  [You will probably remember the 125% loan to value Northern Rock Mortgages that could be obtained with just a note from your Mum!!].  This meant home movers could borrow even more to move up the property ladder.

So, now it’s 2017 and things have changed yet again!

Less people are moving home
Less people are moving home

 

You would think that with ultra-low interest rates at 0.25% (a 320-year low) the number of people moving would be booming – wouldn’t you?  However, this has not been the case.  Less people are moving because:

(1) low wage growth of 1.1% per annum

(2) the tougher mortgage rules since 2014

(3) sporadic property price growth in the last few years

(4) high property values comparative to salaries (I talked about this a couple of months ago)

 What does thistranslate to in pure numbers locally?

 In 2007, 1,629 properties sold in the Tamworth District Council area and last year, in 2016 only 1,079 properties sold – a drop of 33.76%.

 

 

 

 

Therefore, we have just over 550 less households moving in the Tamworth and surrounding Council area each year.  Now of that number, it is recognised throughout the property industry around fourth fifths of them are homeowners with a mortgage. That means there are around 451 mortgaged households a year (fourth fifths of the figure of 550) in the Tamworth and surrounding council area that would have moved 10 years ago, but won’t this year.

The reason they can’t/won’t move can be split down into different categories, explained in a recent report by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). So, of those estimated 451 annual Tamworth (and surrounding area) non-movers, based on that CML report –

  1. There are around 162 households a year that aren’t moving due to a fall in the number of mortgaged owner occupiers (i.e. demographics).
  1. Then, I then estimate another 63 households a year are of the older generation mortgaged owner occupiers. As they are increasingly getting older, older people don’t tend to move, regardless of what is happening to the property market (i.e. lifestyle).
  1. Then, I estimate 27 households of our Tamworth (and surrounding area) annual non-movers will mirror the rising number of high equity owner occupiers, who previously would have moved with a mortgage but now move as cash buyers (i.e. high house price growth).
  1. I believe there are 198 Tamworth (and surrounding area) mortgaged homeowners that are unable to move because of the financing of the new mortgage or keeping within the new rules of mortgage affordability that came into play in 2014 (i.e. mortgage).

The first three above are beyond the Government or Bank of England control.  However could there be some influence exerted to help the non-movers because of financing the new mortgage and keeping within the new rules of mortgage affordability? If Tamworth property values were lower, this would decrease the size of each step up the property ladder. This would mean the opportunity cost of increasing their mortgage would reduce (i.e. opportunity cost = the step up in their mortgage payments between their existing and future new mortgage) and they would be able to move to more upmarket properties.

Then there is the mortgage rules, but before we all start demanding a relaxation in lending criteria for the banks, do we want to return to free and easy mortgages 125% Northern Rock footloose and fancy-free mortgage lending that seemed to be available in the mid 2000’s … available at a drop of hat and three tokens from a cereal packet?

We all know what happened with Northern Rock …. Your thoughts would be welcome on this topic.

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Thanks for reading my thoughts on our local property market.

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Decreasing Numbers of Younger Homeowners in Tamworth

Kelvin Palmer, 35-year-old father of two from Tamworth, was out house hunting. It was a pleasant September Saturday afternoon, and our man cycles along on his bike. He cycles up a street of suburban semis, where he spots a few retired mature neighbours, chatting to each other over the garden fence. He leans his bicycle against a lamp post and launches softly into his property search.

Anyone on the road contemplating moving?” Mark asks, “I am not a landlord or developer, I’m just a Tamworth bloke trying to get out of renting, buy a house, do it up and live in it with my wife and two children

The only way I will leave here is in a box”, answers an 80-something lady, wearing her fading Paisley patterned housecoat from the 1970’s.

I‘ve lived here since before you were born, it’s lovely up here .. we aren’t moving, are we Doris? (as her neighbour sagely shook his head at his wife).

Kelvin, like many Tamworth people born in the late 1970’s to the early 1990’s, is keen to get a slice of prime Tamworth real estate. Yet people like Kelvin in Generation Y (or the Millennials as some people call them i.e. born between 1977 and 1994 and needing family housing now) are discovering, as each year passes by, they are becoming more neglected and ignored when it comes to moving up the property ladder.

Looking at the graph for the UK as whole …

Percentage of each age group that are home owners 1981 to today
Percentage of each age group that are home owners 1981 to todayOver 75 percent of Brits aged 65 and above (the baby boomers) are owner-occupiers, the biggest share since records began and a proportional rise of over 48.3% since the early 1980’s. Looking at those Baby Boomers (the current 65+year olds).. moreover roll the clock back 36 years (to when they were in their 30’s and 40’s and two thirds (65.6%) of them owned their own home.

Whilst today, just under a half of 25 to 49 year olds (47.3%) own their own home.

 

However, the biggest drop has been in the 18 to 24-year old’s, where homeownership has dropped from a third (32%) in the 1980’s to less than one in ten (8.9%) today. Looking at the Tamworth statistics, the numbers make even more interesting reading.

Tamworth statistics
Tamworth statistics

 

Government policy contributes to the generational stalemate. Stamp Duty rules prevent older Brits from moving as the price of land and planning rules make it harder to build affordable bungalows that are attractive to members of the older generation who want to move.

variable graph
variable graph

 

The average value of an acre of prime building land in the UK is between £750,000 and £800,000 per acre. Bungalows are the favoured option for the older generation, but the problem is bungalows take up too much land to make them profitable for new homes builders. The housing market is gridlocked with youngsters wanting to get on (then move up) the property ladder whilst the older generation, who want to move from their larger houses to smaller, more modern bungalows, can’t. The problem is – there simply aren’t enough bungalows being built and the high price of land, means they are prohibitive to build.

So, what is my point? Well, all I would say to the homeowners of Tamworth is that one solution could be to start to talk to your local councillors, so they can mould the planners’ thoughts and the local authority thinking in setting land aside for bungalows instead of two up two down starter homes? That would free the impasse at the top of the property ladder (i.e. mature people living in big houses but unable to move anywhere), releasing the middle aged gridlocked people in the ladder to move up, thus releasing more existing starter homes for the younger generation.

… and to you Kelvin … the wandering new home searcher – if things are going to change, it will be years before they do .. so keep going out and spreading the word of your search for a new home for your family.

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. https://www.tamworthpropertyblog.co.uk

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Tamworth Property Market and Mysterious Politics of the General Election

As the dust starts to settle on the various unread General Election party manifestos, with their ‘bran-bucket’ made up numbers, life goes back to normal as political rhetoric on social media is replaced with pictures of cats and people’s lunch.  Joking aside though, all the political parties promised so much on the housing front in their manifestos, should they be elected at the General Election.  In hindsight, irrespective of which party, they seldom deliver on those promises.

When will politicians take the housing crisis seriously?
When will politicians take the housing crisis seriously?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Housing has always been the Cinderella issue at General Elections.  Policing, NHS, Education, Tax and Pensions etc., are always headline grabbing stuff and always seem to go ‘the ball’. However, housing, which affects all our lives, always seems to get left behind and forgotten.

Nonetheless, the way the politicians act on housing can have a fundamental effect on the wellbeing of the UK plc and the nation as a whole.

One policy that comes to mind is Margaret Thatcher’s Council House sell off in the 1980’s, when around 1.4m council houses went from public ownership to private ownership.  It was a great vote winner at the time (it helped her win three General Elections in a row) but it has meant the current generation of 20 somethings in Tamworth (and elsewhere in the Country) don’t have that option of going into a council house.  This has been a huge contributing factor in the rise of the private renting and buy to let in Tamworth over the last 15 years.

Nevertheless, looking back to the start of the Millennium, Labour set the national target for new house building at 200,000 new homes a year (and at one point that increased to 240,000 under Gordon Brown for a couple of years).  In terms of what was actually built, the figures did rise in the mid Noughties from 186,000 properties built in 2004 to an impressive 224,000 in 2007 (the highest since the early 1980’s) as the economy grew.

Then the Credit Crunch hit.  It is interesting, that the 2010 Cameron/Clegg government did things a little differently.  The fallout of the Credit Crunch meant a lot less homes were built, so instead of tackling that head on, the coalition side-stepped the target of the number of new homes to build and offered a £400m fund to help kick start the housing market (a figure that was a drop in the ocean when you consider an average UK property was worth around £230,000 in 2010).  The number of new houses being completed dipped from 146,800 in 2011 to 135,500 the subsequent year.

So, one might ask exactly how many new homes do we need to build per year?  It is commonly accepted that not enough new properties are being built to meet the rising need for homes to live in.  A report by the Government in 2016, showed that on average 210,000 net additional households will be formed each year) up to 2039 (through increased birth rates, immigration, people living longer, lifestyle (i.e. divorce) and people living by themselves more than 30 years ago).  In 2016, only 140,600 homes were built … simply not enough!

Looking at the numbers locally in Tamworth and the surrounding area, it is obvious to me, that we as an area, are not pulling our weight either when it comes to building new homes. In the 12 months up to the end of Q1 2017, only 120 properties were built in the Tamworth District Council area.  Go back to 2007, no figures were submitted by the Council, 10 years before that in 1997, 260 new homes and further back to 1988, 450 new homes were built.

Number of new homes built in Tamworth council area
Number of new homes built in Tamworth council area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who knows if Teresa May’s Government will last the five years?  She will think she has bigger fish to fry with Brexit to get bogged down with housing issues.  But let me leave you with one final thought.

The conceivable rewards in providing a place to live for the public on a massive house building programme can be enormous, as previous Tory PM’s have found out.  Winston Churchill in 1951, asked his Minister for Housing (Harold Macmillan) if he could guarantee the construction of 300,000 new properties a year, he was notoriously told: “It is a gamble—it will make or mar your political career, but every humble home will bless your name if you succeed.”

Isn’t it interesting, that the Tories remained in power until 1964!  Mrs May will have to work out if she wants to be the heiress to Harold Macmillan or David Cameron?

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Tamworth Baby Boomers vs. Tamworth Millennials (Part 2)

Well last week’s article “The Unfairness of the Tamworth Baby Boomer’s £2,573,260,000 windfall?” caused a stir. In it we looked at a young family member of mine who was arguing the case that Millennials (those born after 1985) were suffering on the back of the older generation in Tamworth. They claimed the older generation had seen the benefit of the cumulative value of Tamworth properties significantly increasing over the last 25/30 years (which I calculated at  £2.57bn since 1990). In addition many of the older generation (the baby boomers) had fantastic pensions, which meant the younger generation were priced out of the Tamworth housing market.

 

 

 

 

I replied there should be no surprise though that the older members of our society hold considerably more of our country’s wealth than the younger generation. This wealth is accrued and saved across someone’s life, and reaches it’s peak about the time of retirement. If we are to comprehend differing wealth levels between generations we need to compare ‘apples with apples’. It is much more important to track the wealth held by different generations at the same age, i.e. what was ‘real’ wealth of the 30-something couple in the 1960’s compared to a 30-something couple say in the 1980’s or 2010’s?

Looking back over the last 120 years at various economic studies, this growth in wealth from one generation to the next (at the age range), only happened over a 30 year period of between 1960 and late 1980’s. Since the 1990’s, wealth has not improved across the generations, in the same age range.

So could it be all about these people saving? The fact is, in the last 10 years, UK households have saved on average 7.5% to 8% of the household income into savings accounts, compared to an average of 6% to 7% in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. The baby boomers haven’t been actively squirreling away their cash for the last 30 or 40 years in savings accounts to accumulate their wealth. Most of their gains have been passive, lucky bonuses gained on the back of things out of their control (unanticipated and massive property value rises or people living longer making final salary pensions more valuable) – it’s not their fault!

…and herein lies the issue … it is assumed that these Millennials aren’t buying property in the same numbers like the older generation did in the past (because most of their wealth has come from house price inflation). The Millennials have often been described as ‘Generation Rent’, because they rent as opposed to buying property – because we are told they cant buy.

However, when Tamworth mortgage payments are measured against monthly income, home ownership is affordable by historic standards because mortgage rates are currently so low. As you can see, the ratio of average house price to average earnings in Tamworth hasn’t vastly changed over the last decade …

  • 2008 average house price to average earnings of a single person in Tamworth 6.21 to 1
  • 2017 average house price to average earnings of a single person in Tamworth 6.75 to 1
average house price to average earning ratio of a single person in Tamworth
average house price to average earning ratio of a single person in Tamworth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(i.e. in 2008, the average house price in Tamworth was 6.21 times more than the average person’s salary in Tamworth and this has only risen to 6.75 in 2017 – and all this off the property boom of the early 2010’s)

95% first-time buyer mortgages were reintroduced in 2010. The average interest rate charged for those 95% FTB mortgages has slowly dropped from around 5.5% in 2009 to the current 4% rate. Back in the 1980’s/1990’s mortgage interest rates were between 8% and 10%, and one time in the early 1990’s, reached 15%! The main difference between the two periods was the absolute borrowing relative to income is greater now than in the 1980’s. They call this the ‘mortgage to joint household income ratio’. In the 1980’s the mortgage was between 1.8x to 2x joint income; today it is 3.4x to 3.6x salary.

The simple fact is, in the majority of cases, it is still cheaper for a first-time buyer to buy a property with a 95% mortgage, than it is rent it. The barrier for these Millennials, has to be finding the 5% mortgage deposit – instead of being able to afford monthly mortgage outgoings at the current 95% mortgage rates?

Millennials make up 5,567 households in the Tamworth Borough Council area (or 17.6% of all households in the area).  However, behind the doom and gloom, surprisingly, 42.5% did save up the 5% deposit and do in fact own their own home (that surprised you didn’t it!)

Nonetheless, the majority of Millennials in the area still do rent from a landlord (1,735 Millennial households to be exact). Yet, they have a choice. Buckle down and do what their parents did and go without the nice things in life for a couple of years (i.e. the holidays, out on the town two times a week, the annual upgraded mobile phones, the £100 a month Satellite packages) and save for a 5% mortgage deposit … or live in a lovely rented house or apartment (because they are nowadays), without any maintenance bills and live a life with no intention of buying (because renting doesn’t have a stigma anymore like it did in the 1960’s/70’s (secretly hoping their parents don’t spend all their inheritance so they can buy a property later in life – like they do in central Europe).

Neither decision is right or wrong – although it is still a choice. Until Millennials decide to change their choices – that is the reason why the country’s private rental sector will continue to grow for the next 30 years – meaning happy tenants and happy landlords.

If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one and you want to read more articles like this about the Tamworth Property Market, together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Tamworth (out of the many of properties on the market, irrespective of which agent is selling it) then feel free to get in touch!

Email me on Lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk or call on 07531484956.

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Tamworth First Time Buyers Mortgages taking 28.6% of their Wages

I received a very interesting letter the other day from a Tamworth resident. He declared he was a Tamworth homeowner, retired and mortgage free. He stated how unaffordable Tamworth’s rising property prices were and that he worried how the younger generation of Tamworth could ever afford to buy? He went on to ask if it was right for landlords to make money on the inability of others to buy property and if, by buying a buy to let property, Tamworth landlords are denying the younger generation the ability to in fact buy their own home.

Whilst doing my research for my many blog posts on the Tamworth Property Market, I know that a third of 25 to 30 year olds still live at home. It’s no wonder people are kicking out against buy to let landlords; as they are the greedy bad people who are cashing in on a social woe. In fact, most people believe the high increases in Tamworth’s (and the rest of the UK’s) house prices are the very reason owning a home is outside the grasp of these younger would-be property owners.

Age Distribution of First Time Buyers in UK since 1990
Age Distribution of First Time Buyers in UK since 1990

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, the numbers tell a different story. Looking of the age of first time buyers since 1990, the statistics could be seen to pour cold water on the idea that younger people are being priced out of the housing market. In 1990, when data was first published, the average age of a first time buyer was 33, today it’s 31.

Nevertheless, the average age doesn’t tell the whole story. In the early 1990’s, 26.7% of first-time buyers were under 25, while in the last five years just 14.9% were. In the early 1990’s, four out of ten first time buyers were 25 to 34 years of age and now its six out of ten first time buyers.

Although, there are also indications of how un-affordable housing is, the house price-to-earnings ratio has almost doubled for first-time buyers in the past 30 years. In 1983, the average Tamworth home cost a first-time buyer (or buyers in the case of joint mortgages) the equivalent of 2.5 times their total annual earnings, whilst today, that has escalated to 4.5 times their income (although let’s not forget, it was at 5.0 times their income for Tamworth first time buyers in 2007).

Again, those figures don’t tell the whole story. Back in 1983, the mortgage payments as percentage of mean take home pay for a Tamworth first time buyer was 25.9%. In 1989, that had risen to 55.5%. Today, it’s 28.6% … and no that’s not a typo .. 28.6% is the correct figure.

Mortgage payments as a percentage
Mortgage payments as a percentage

So, to answer the gentleman’s questions about the younger generation of Tamworth being able to afford to buy and if it was right for landlords to make money on the inability of others to buy property? It isn’t all to do with affordability as the numbers show.

And what of the landlords? Some say the government should sort the housing problem out themselves, but according to my calculations, £18bn a year would need to be spent for the next 20 or so years to meet current demand for households. That would be the equivalent of raising income tax by 4p in the Pound. I don’t think UK tax payers would swallow that.

So, if the Government haven’t got the money… who else will house these people? Private Sector Landlords and thankfully they have taken up the slack over the last 15 years.

Some say there is a tendency to equate property ownership with national prosperity, but this isn’t necessarily the case. The youngsters of Tamworth are buying houses, but buying later in life. Also, many Tamworth youngsters are actively choosing to rent for the long term, as it gives them flexibility – something our 21st Century society craves more than ever.

 

Whatever property type you are thinking of adding to your portfolio this year year I am sure it will let readily as the market remains strong with a lack of supply continuing to feed strong rental prices. If you are in town and would like to discuss any plans you may have, give me a call to meet for coffee on 07531484956 or email me lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk

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What will the General Election do to 20,781 Tamworth Homeowners?

In Tamworth, of the 30,379 households, 8,519 homes are owned without a mortgage and 12,262 homes are owned by a mortgage. Many homeowners have made contact me with asking what the General Election will do the Tamworth property market?  The best way to tell the future is to look at the past.

I have looked over the last five general elections and analysed in detail what happened to the property market on the lead up to and after each general election. Some very interesting information has come to light.

Of the last five general elections (1997, 2001, 2005, 2010 and 2015), the two elections that weren’t certain were the last two (2010 with the collation and 2015 with unexpected Tory majority). Therefore, I wanted to compare what happened in 1997, 2001 and 2005 when Tony Blair was guaranteed to be elected/re-elected versus the last knife edge uncertain votes of 2010 and 2015 … in terms of the number of houses sold and the prices achieved.

Look at the first graph below comparing the number of properties sold and the dates of the general elections.

UK housing transactions per month since 1995 and the date of the last 5 General Elections.
UK housing transactions per month since 1995 and the date of the last 5 General Elections.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is clear, looking at the number of monthly transactions (the blue line), there is a certain rhythm or seasonality to the housing market. That rhythm/seasonality has never changed since 1995 (seasonality meaning the periodic fluctuations that occur regularly based on a season – i.e. you can see how the number of properties sold dips around Christmas, rises in Spring and Summer and drops again at the end of the year).

To remove that seasonality, I have introduced the red line. The red line is a 12 month ‘moving average’ trend line which enables us to look at the ‘de-seasonalised’ housing transaction numbers, whilst the yellow arrows denote the times of the general elections. It is clear to see that after the 1997, 2001 and 2005 elections, there was significant uplift in number of households sold, whilst in 2010 and 2015, there was slight drop in house transactions (i.e. number of properties sold).

Next, I wanted to consider what happened to property prices. In the graph below, I have used that same 12-month average, housing transactions numbers (in red) and yellow arrows for the dates of the general elections but this time compared that to what happened to property values (pink line).

UK housing transactions and property values against the General Election since 1995
UK housing transactions and property values against the General Election since 1995

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is quite clear none of the general elections had any effect on the property values.  Also, the timescales between the calling of the election and the date itself also means that any property buyer’s indecisiveness and indecision before the election will have less of an impact on the market.

So finally, what does this mean for the landlords of the 3,300 private rented properties in Tamworth? Well, as I have discussed in previous articles (and just as relevant for homeowners as well) property value growth in Tamworth will be more subdued in the coming few years for reasons other than the general election. The growth of rents has taken a slight hit in the last few months as there has been a slight over supply of rental property in Tamworth, making it imperative that Tamworth landlords are realistic with their market rents. But, in the long term, as the younger generation still choose to rent rather than buy … the prospects, even with the changes in taxation, mean investing in buy-to-let still looks a good bet. If you want to read more about the Tamworth property market – then why not visit the Tamworth Property Market Blog for more information?  https://www.tamworthpropertyblog.co.uk

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Should the 8,064 home owning OAP’s of Tamworth be forced to downsize?

This was a question posed to me on social media a few weeks ago, after my article about our mature members of Tamworth society and the fact many retirees feel trapped in their homes. After working hard for many years and buying a home for themselves and their family, the children have subsequently flown the nest and now they are left to rattle round in a big house. Many feel trapped in their big homes (hence I dubbed these Tamworth home owning mature members of our society, ‘Generation Trapped’).

So, should we force OAP Tamworth homeowners to downsize?

Well in the original article, I suggested that we as a society should encourage, through building, tax breaks and social acceptance that it’s a good thing to downsize. But should the Government force OAP’s?

Well, one of the biggest reasons OAP’s move home is health (or lack of it).

Looking at the statistics for Tamworth, of the 8,064 homeowners who are 65 years and older, whilst 4,113 of them described themselves in good or very good health, a sizeable 2,841 home owning OAPs described themselves as in fair health and 1,110 in bad or very bad health.

13.76% of Tamworth home owning OAP’s are in poor health

Tamworth Home Owners 65Years +

Tamworth Home Owners 65Years + HealthBut if you look at the figures for the whole of Tamworth Borough Council, there are only 119 specialist retirement homes that one could buy (if they were in fact for sale) and 568 homes available to rent from the Council and other specialist providers (again- you would be waiting for dead man’s shoes to get your foot in the door) and many older homeowners wouldn’t feel comfortable with the idea of renting a retirement property after enjoying the security of owning their own home for most of their adult lives.

My intuition tells me the majority ‘would be’ Tamworth downsizers could certainly afford to move but are staying put in bigger family homes because they can’t find a suitable smaller property. The fact is there simply aren’t enough bungalows for the healthy older members of the Tamworth population and specialist retirement properties for the ones who aren’t in such good health … we need to build more appropriate houses in Tamworth.

 The Government’s Housing White Paper, published a few weeks ago, could have solved so many problems with the UK housing market, including the issue of homing our aging population. Instead, it ended up feeling annoyingly ambiguous. Forcing our older generation to move with such measures as a punitive taxation (say a tax on wasted bedrooms for people who are retired) would be the wrong thing to do. Instead of the stick – maybe the Government could use the carrot tactics and offered tax breaks for downsizers. Who knows – but something has to happen?

.. and come to think about it, isn’t the word ‘downsize’ such an awful word?  I prefer to use the word ‘decent-size’ instead of ‘down-size’- as the other phrase feels like they are lowering themselves, as though they are having to downgrade themselves in their retirement (and let’s be frank – no one likes to be downgraded).

The simple fact is we are living longer as a population and constantly growing with increased birth rates and immigration. So, what I would say to all the homeowners and property owning public of Tamworth is … more houses and apartments need to be built in the Tamworth area, especially more specialist retirement properties and bungalows. The Government had a golden opportunity with the White Paper – and were sadly found lacking.

And a message to my Tamworth property investor readers whilst this issue gets sorted in the coming decade(s)  – maybe seriously consider doing up older bungalows – people will pay handsomely for them – be they for sale or even rent? Just a thought!

If you are looking for an agent with experience that can help you find the right tenant for your property, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of your investment property.

Email me  on lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk or give me a call on 07531484956. We can always meet up for a chat and a coffee, we can even walk the dog.

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