Tamworth Property Values 8.5% higher than year ago – What’s the PLAN to fix the Tamworth Property Market?

It’s been nearly 18 months since Sajid Javid, the Tory Government’s Housing Minister published the White Paper “Fixing the Broken UK Housing Market”, meanwhile Tamworth property values continue to rise at 8.5% (year on year for the council area) and the number of new homes being constructed locally bumps along at a snail’s pace, creating a potential perfect storm for those looking to buy and sell.

The White Paper is important for the UK and Tamworth people, as it will ensure we have long-term stability and longevity in property market as whole. Tamworth home-owners and Tamworth landlords need to be aware of these issues in the report to ensure they don’t lose out and ensure the local housing market is fit for purpose. The White Paper wanted more homes to be built in the next couple of decades, so it might seem counter-intuitive for existing home-owners and landlords to encourage more homes to be built and a change in the direction of housing provision – as this would appear to have a negative effect on their own property.

Yet the country needs a diversified and fluid property market to allow the economy as whole to grow and flourish … which in turn will be a greater influence on whether prices go up or down in the long term. I am sure every homeowner or landlord in Tamworth doesn’t want another housing crisis like we had in 1974, 1988 and most recently in 2008.

Now, as Sajid Javid has moved on to the Home Secretary role, the 17th Housing Minister in 20 years (poisoned chalice or journeyman’s cabinet post) James Brokenshire has been given the task of making this White Paper come alive. The White Paper had a well-defined notion of what the issues were.

The first of the four points brought up was to give local authorities powers to speed up house building and ensure developers complete new homes on time. Secondly, statutory methods demanding local authorities and builders build at higher densities (i.e. more houses per hectare) where appropriate. The other two points were incentives for smaller builders to take a larger share of the new homes market and help for people renting.

However, lets go back to the two initial points of planning and density.

(1) Planning

For planning to work, we need a robust Planning Dept. Looking at data from the Local Government’s Association, in Tamworth, the council is below the regional average, only spending £21.99 per person for the Planning Authority, compared the regional average of £30.13 per head – which will mean the planning department will be hard pressed to meet those targets.

However, 90% of planning applications are decided within the statutory 8-week initial period, above the regional average of 83% (see the graph below).  I am slightly disappointed and also pleased with the numbers for our local authority when it comes to the planning and the budget allowed by our Politician to this vital service.

(2) Density of Population

24.9 people live in every hectare (or 2.471 acres) in Tamworth

It won’t surprise you that 76,813 Tamworth residents are living in the urban conurbations of the authority, giving a density of 24.9 people per hectare (again – much lower than I initially thought).

I would agree with the Governments’ ambition to make more efficient use of land and avoid building homes at low densities where there is a shortage of land for meeting identified housing needs, ensuring that the density and form of development reflect the character, accessibility and infrastructure.

It’s all very good building lots of houses – but we need the infrastructure to go with it.

Talking to a lot of Tamworth people, their biggest fear of all this building is a lack of infrastructure for those extra houses (the extra roads, doctors surgeries, schools etc.). I know most Tamworth homeowners and landlords want more houses to be built to house their family and friends … but irrespective of the density … it’s the infrastructure that goes with the housing that is just as important … and this is where I think the White Paper failed to go as far as I feel it should have done.

Interesting times ahead I believe!

If you are thinking of getting into the property rental market and don’t know where to start, speak to us for impartial advice and guidance to get the best return on your investment. For more information about other potential investment properties that we could introduce you to, or to ask about our thoughts on your own investment choices, call us now on 01827 425195, you can always email me on Lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk

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Tamworth Property Market and Hammond’s Budget Promise to Build 300,000 more homes

I miss the good old days of George Osborne as Chancellor, with his hardhat and hi-vis jacket. He must have visited every new home building site in the UK with his trademark attire! For the last few years, the nearest Philip Hammond got to donning a ‘Bob the Builder’ outfit was at his grandchild’s birthday party. However, with what appears to be a change in focus by the Tories to ensure they get back in power in 2022, they appear to have fallen in love with house building again with the Chancellor’s promise to create 300,000 new households in a year.

Nationally, the number of new homes created has topped 217,344 in the last year, the highest since the financial crash of 2007/8. Looking closer to home: in total there were 160 ‘net additional dwellings’ in the last 12 months in the Tamworth Borough Council area, a decrease of 36% on the 2010 figure.

The figures show that 89% of this additional housing was down to new build properties. In total, there were 142 new dwellings built over the last year in Tamworth. In addition, there were 10 additional dwellings created from converting commercial or office buildings into residential property and a further nine dwellings were added as a result of converting houses into flats.

While these all added to the total housing stock in the Tamworth area, there was 1 demolition to take into account.

Net additional dwellings in Tamworth in the last 12 months
New build Conversions Change of use Demolitions Net Additions
142 9 10 -1 160

I was encouraged to see some of the new households in the Tamworth area had come from a change of use. The planning laws were changed a few years back so that, in certain circumstances, owners of properties didn’t need planning permission to change office space in to residential use.

With the scarcity of building land available locally (or the builders being very slow to build on what they have, for fear of flooding the market), it was pleasing to see the number of developers that had reutilised vacant office space into residential homes in the local council area. Converting offices and shops to residential use will be vital in helping to solve the Tamworth housing crisis especially, as you can see on the graph, that the level of building has hardly been spectacular over the last seven years!

Now we have had the autumn budget, Theresa May and Philip Hammond have set out their stall with housing as their key focus. I was glad to see the Government introducing a variety of changes to improve housing, including more funding for the supply side and an injection of urgency into the planning system.

The biggest question is, just where are the Government going to build all these new houses? Maybe a topic for a future article?

Back to the main point though and the focus on the housing market by the Tory’s is good news for all homeowners and buy to let landlords, as it will encourage more fluidity in the market in the longer term, sharing the wealth and benefits of homeownership for all. However, in the short term, demand still outstrips supply for homes and that will mean continued upward pressures on rents for tenants.

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£23m a year black hole in the Tamworth Property Market – Is Buy to Let Immoral? (Part 2)

 

An Englishman’s Home is His Castle as Maggie Thatcher lauded – everyone should own their own home. In 1971, around 50% of people owned their own home and, as the baby-boomers got better jobs and pay, that proportion of homeowners rose to 69% by 2001. Home ownership was here to stay as many baby boomers assumed it’s very much a cultural thing here in Britain to own your own home.

But on the back of TV programmes like Homes Under the Hammer, these same baby boomers started to jump on the band wagon of Tamworth buy to let properties as an investment. Tamworth first time buyers were in competition with Tamworth landlords to buy these smaller starter homes … pushing house prices up in the 2000’s (as mentioned in Part One) beyond the reach of first time buyers. Alas, it is not as simple as that. Many factors come into play, such as economics, the banks and government policy. But are Tamworth landlords fanning the flames of the Tamworth housing crisis bonfire?

I believe that the landlords of the 3,300 Tamworth rental properties are not exploitive and are in fact, making many positive contributions to Tamworth and the people of Tamworth. Like I have said before, Tamworth (and the rest of the UK) isn’t building enough properties to keep up the demand; with high birth rate, job mobility, growing population and longer life expectancy.

According to the Barker Review, for the UK to standstill and meet current demand, the country needs to be building 8.7 new households each and every year for every 1,000 households already built. Nationally, we are currently running at 5.07 per thousand and in the early part of this decade were running at 4.1 to 4.3 per thousand.

It doesn’t sound a lot of difference, so let us look at what this means for Tamworth …

For Tamworth to meet its obligation on the building of new homes, Tamworth would need to build 264 households each year. Yet, we are missing that figure by around 110 households a year.

For the Government to buy the land and build those additional 110 households, it would need to spend £23,199,927 a year in Tamworth alone. Add up all the additional households required over the whole of the UK and the Government would need to spend £23.31bn each year … the Country hasn’t got that sort of money!

The bottom line is that, as the population grows, there aren’t enough properties being built for everyone to have a roof over their head. Rogue landlords need to be put out of business, whilst tenants should expect a more regulated rental market, with greater security for tenants, where they can rely on good landlords providing them high standards from their safe and modernised home. As in Europe, where most people rent rather than buy, it doesn’t matter who owns the house – all people want is a clean, decent roof over their head at a reasonable rent.

So only you, the reader, can decide if buy to let is immoral, but first let me ask this question – if the private buy to let landlords had not taken up the slack and provided a roof over these people’s heads over the last decade .. where would these tenants be living now? ….. because the alternative doesn’t even bear thinking about!

If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time 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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