As OAP’s set to rise to 1 in 4 of Tamworth’s population by 2037 – Where are they all going to live?

With constant advances in technology, medicine and lifestyles, people in the Tamworth area are, on average, living longer than they might have a few decades ago. As Tamworth’s population ages, the problem of how the older generation are accommodated is starting to emerge. We, as a town, have to consider how we supply decent and appropriate accommodation for Tamworth’s growing older generation’s accommodation needs while still offering a lifestyle that is both modern and desirable.

In 1997 in Tamworth, around one in every nine people (11%) were aged 65 years and over (and the local authority area as a whole), increasing to more than one in every five people (18%) in 2017 and it is projected to reach one in every four people (26%) by 2037, meaning..

Over the next 19 years, the growth of the over 65 population in Tamworth will grow by 44.4% – whilst the overall growth population of Tamworth is expected to decrease by 1.0% over the same time frame.

In fact, the number of those over 90 is expected to more than double in our local authority from 495 (0.6%) in 2017 to 1,394 (1.8%) by 2037.

And looking at the proportional percentage changes over those years..

Looking at Tamworth and the local authority as a whole, there is a distinct under supply of bungalows and retirement living (i.e. sheltered) accommodation. The majority of sheltered accommodation fit for retirement is in the ex-local authority sector whilst the majority of private sector bungalows were built in the 1960s/70s/80s and are beginning to show their age (although that means there is often an opportunity for Tamworth investors and Tamworth buy to let landlords to buy a tired bungalow, do it up and flip it/rent it out).

In the medium to longer term, we need to build more bungalows and sheltered accommodation and, if we do that, that won’t only be of benefit to the elderly population of Tamworth – it will have a direct knock-on effect to the younger and middle-aged population by unlocking those family homes the older generation homeowners live in.  

There have been 17 Housing Ministers since 1997. No one ever seems to stay in the job long enough to create a consensus and direction in Government Policy on the vital issue of the country’s housing shortage, yet the sound bites and White Papers seem only to focus exclusively on first-time buyers when there is an even more severe and disregarded shortage in suitable housing for the older generation.

This scantiness affects both mature homeowners trapped in unsuitably big family properties, unable to find smaller bungalows or suitable retirement apartments, whilst the waiting list for Council sheltered accommodation is putting a strain on other aspects of social care. In both circumstances, policy coming (or not coming) out of Government is repressing the supply and type of accommodation mature people desire, need and want, whilst at the same time, increasing the cost (and taxes) for social and NHS care.

Maybe we need tax breaks for people to downsize or planning permissions that stipulate bungalows only. Whichever way you look .. There are challenging times ahead for us all.

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Additional 1,414 Tamworth Rented Homes Required by 2027

I have been doing some research, looking both at National and Regional reports on the demand and supply of property and people together with future projections on the economy, population and family demographics with some interesting results.  According to the Office of National Statistics, in the last financial year nationally, private renting grew by 74,000 households, whilst the owner occupied dwelling stock increased by 101,000 and social (aka council and housing association) stock increased by 12,000 dwellings.

It was the private rental figures that caught my eye.  With eight or nine years of recovery since the Credit Crunch, economic recovery and continuing low interest rates have done little to setback the mounting need for rented housing.  In fact, with house price inflation pushing upwards much quicker than wage growth, this has meant to make owning one’s home even more out of reach for many Millennials, all at a time when the number of council/social housing has shrunk by just over 2.5% since 2003, making more households move into private renting.

There are 7,711 people living in 3,300 privately rented

properties in Tamworth.

In the next nine years, looking at the future population growth statistics for the Tamworth area and making careful and moderate calculations of what proportion of those extra people due to live in Tamworth will rent as opposed to buy, in the next ten years, 3,305 people (adults and children combined) will require a private rented property to live in.

Therefore, the number of Private Rented homes in Tamworth will need to rise by 1,414 households over the next nine years,

That’s 157 additional Tamworth properties per year that will need to be bought by Tamworth landlords, for the next nine years to meet that demand.

… and remember, I am being conservative (with a small ‘c’) with those calculations, as demand for privately rented homes in Tamworth could still rise more abruptly than I have predicted as I would ask if Theresa May’s policies of building 400,000 affordable homes (which would syphon in this 5-year Parliamentary term is rather optimistic, if not fanciful?

% of properties bought as BTL since 2016
% of properties bought as BTL since 2016

So, one has to ask wonder if it was wise to introduce a buy to let stamp duty surcharge of 3% and the constraint on mortgage tax relief could curtail and hold back the ability of private landlords to expand their portfolios?

Well a lot of landlords are taking on these new hurdles to buy to let and working smarter.  Buying the property at the right price and using an agent to negotiate on your behalf (we do this all the time) … and the 3% stamp duty level isn’t an issue.  Incorporating your property portfolio into a Limited Company is also a way to circumnavigate the issues of mortgage tax relief (although there are other hurdles that need to be navigated on that tack), but just look at the growth of proportion of Buy to Let properties in the Country since the Summer of 2016 … something tells me smart Landlords are seeing these challenges as just that … challenges which can be overcome by working smarter.

I have a steady stream of Tamworth landlords every week asking me my opinion on the future of the Tamworth property market and their individual future strategy and, whether you are a landlord of mine or not, if you ever want to send me an email or pop into my office to chat on how you could navigate these new Buy to Let waters … it will be good to speak to you (because you wouldn’t want other landlords to have an advantage over you – would you?).

Until next time, happy house hunting.

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