23% More Tamworth Home Owners Wanting to Move Than 12 Months Ago

As I have mentioned a number times in my local property market blog, with not enough new-build properties being built in Tamworth and the surrounding area to keep up with demand for homes to live in (be that tenants or homebuyers), it’s good to know more Tamworth home sellers are putting their properties on to the market than a year ago.

At the start of 2007 there were 899 properties for sale in Tamworth but by March 2008, when the credit crunch was really beginning to bite, that number had risen to 1,645 properties on the market at a time when demand was at an all-time low, thus creating an imbalance in the local property market.

Basic economics dictates that if there is too much supply of something and demand is poor (which it was in the Credit Crunch years of 2008/9) … prices will drop. In fact, house prices dropped between 15% and 20% depending on the type of Tamworth property between the end of 2007 and Spring 2009.

However, over the last five years, we have seen a steady decrease in supply of properties coming onto the market for sale and steady demand, meaning Tamworth property prices have remained robust.  A stable housing market is one of the foundations of a successful British economy, as it’s all about getting the healthy balance of buyer demand with a good supply of properties. Nevertheless, if you had asked me a couple of years ago, I would have said we were beginning to see there was in fact NOT enough properties coming on to the market for sale … meaning in certain sectors of the Tamworth property market, house prices were overheating because of this lack of supply.

So, it is pleasing to note, looking at the recent numbers …

There are 23% more properties for sale in Tamworth today than a year ago

There were 323 properties for sale 12 months ago, and today that stands at 398. Definitely a step in the right direction to a more stable property market.

Even better news, since the Chancellor announced the stamp duty rule changes for first time buyers (FTB), my fellow agents in Tamworth say that the number of FTB’s registering on the majority of agent’s books has increased year on year. That has still to follow through into more FTB’s buying their first home, however, with the heightened levels of confidence being demonstrated by both Tamworth house sellers and potential house buyers, I do foresee the Tamworth Property Market will show steady yet sustained improvement during the first half of 2018.

What does this mean for Tamworth landlords or those considering dipping their toe into the buy to let market for the first time? Landlords will need to keep improving their properties to ensure they get the best tenants. It is true that demand amongst FTB’s is increasing, albeit from a low base. Even with the new landlord tax rules, buy to let in Tamworth still looks a good investment, providing Tamworth landlords with a good income at a time of low interest rates and a roller coaster stock market.

If you are thinking of investing in bricks and mortar in Tamworth, it is important to do things correctly as making money won’t be as easy as it has been over the last twenty years.  With a greater number of properties on the market .. comes greater choice. Don’t buy the first thing you see, buy with your head as well as your heart … and don’t forget the first rule of Buy To Let Investment …..

I will tell you that 1st rule in a couple of weeks!

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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50.48% of Tamworth is Built on … Building Plot Dilemma or Not?

Well the fallout from the recent Budget is still continuing.  I was chatting to a couple of movers and shakers from the Tamworth area the other day, when one said, “There isn’t enough land to build all these 300,000 houses Philip Hammond wants to build each year”.

…and if you read the Daily Mail, you would be forgiven for thinking the Country was at bursting point … or is it?

It was 60 years ago the first satellite was launched (Sputnik). All the Superpowers have used them to take high definition pictures of each other for decades, but now satellites and their high-powered cameras are being used for more peaceful purposes. The European Environment Agency (EEA) have been taking high definition pictures of the UK from outer-space to give us a focused picture of what every corner of the Country really looks like … and the findings will come as a surprise.

As my blog readers know, I always like to ask the important questions relating to the Tamworth property market. If you are a Tamworth landlord or Tamworth homeowner, this knowledge will enable you to make a more considered opinion on your direction and future in the Tamworth property market. Like every aspect of all economic life, it’s all about supply and demand, because over the last twenty or so years, there has been an imbalance in the British (and Tamworth) housing market, with demand outstripping supply, meaning the average value of a property in Tamworth has risen by 293.74%, taking an average value from £46,300 in 1995 to £182,300 today.

Using the information from the EEA and data crunched by Sheffield University with their Corine-Land Cover project, I posed them a few questions about the local area, interesting questions I would like to share with you …

  1. What proportion of the whole of Tamworth is built on?

50.48%

That surprised you, didn’t it! In the study, land classified as ‘urban fabric’ defined has land which has between 50% and 100% of the land surface is built on, (meaning up to a half might be gardens or small parks, but the majority is built on).

  1. How much land is intensively built on locally?

Of that amount mentioned above, how much of it is high-density urban fabric? (i.e. where 80% to 100% is built on – still leaving 20% for gardens)  Less than 0.1%  – again I bet that surprised you!

  1. So how is the land used locally?

 

Sports Facilities                    1.88%

Green Urban Areas             4.99%

Industry                                 11.34%

Arable Farmland                  19.98%

…the rest being made up of various other types such as pastures and waterways, etc.

Tamworth and the surrounding areas are greener than you think! In fact, I read that property covers less of the UK than the land revealed when the tide goes out. The assumption that vast bands of our local area have been concreted over doesn’t stand up to inspection. However, the effect of housing undoubtedly spreads beyond its actual footprint, in terms of noise, pollution and roads.

Now I am not suggesting for one second we concrete over every inch of the locality, but the bottom line is we, as a country, are growing at a quicker rate than the households we are building. I appreciate the emotional effect of housing is greater than other land use types because most of us spend the vast majority of our time surrounded by it. As Brits, we live our lives driving along roads, walking on footpaths and working and living in buildings meaning we tend, as a result, to considerably overemphasise how much of it there is.

In fact, I was only flying home recently back from a short break abroad, when I looked down and I was reminded just how green Britain actually is!

The bottom line is Tamworth people and the local authorities are going to have to put their weight into building more homes for people to live in. There is going to have to be some give and take on both sides, otherwise house prices will continue to rise exponentially in the future and Tamworth youngster’s won’t be able to buy their own Tamworth home, meaning Tamworth rents and demand for private rented accommodation in Tamworth can (and will) also grow exponentially.

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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The Tamworth House Price Index: 127.82

I had the most interesting conversation the other day with a local Tamworth accountant, who asked me about my articles on the Tamworth property market. It was quite humbling to be given praise by such a professional, when he commented enthusiastically on the articles I write. He was particularly interested with the graphs, facts and figures contained within them – so much so he recommended his clients read them, as most of them were either Tamworth homeowners, Tamworth landlords and a lot of the time – both. However, one question that kept me on my toes was, “With so many House-Price-Indices, how do you know which one to use and how can you calculate what is exactly happening in Tamworth?

To start with, there are indeed a great number of these Indices, including the Land Registry, Office of National Stats, Halifax, Nationwide and LSL to name but a few. The issue occurs when these different house price indices give diverse pictures of the state of the UK housing market. Whilst some indices measure the average value of every property in the UK (sold or unsold), others measure the average ‘price-paid’ of houses that happen to be sold over a fixed time scale… confusing isn’t it!

A lot of the variance between house price indices occurs because of the distinctive ways in which the numerous indices endeavour to beat these issues. You see, the biggest problem in creating a house-price-index when comparing and contrasting with most other indexes (e.g. inflation where the price a ubiquitous tin of Beans can easily be measured over the months and years), is every home is unique and as Tamworth people are only moving every 20 years, it appears the only thing that can be measured is the price of property sold in a given month.

By their very nature, all of the indices are only able to paint a picture of the whole of the UK or, at best, the regional housing market. As I have said many times in my articles on the Tamworth property market, it is important to look to the medium term when considering house price inflation/deflation. Looking at the month-to-month jumps, many indices look like one of those jumpy lie-detector needles you see in the cold war movies!

I can guarantee you in the coming few months, on a month-by-month basis, one or more of the indices will say property prices will have dropped. Let me tell you, no property market indices are representative of the housing market in the short term. Many indices have shown a drop around the Christmas and New Year months, even the boom years of 2001 to 2007 and 2013 to 2015.

So, back to the question, how do we work out what is happening in the Tamworth Property Market and can there be a Tamworth House Price Index?

To calculate what I consider is a fair and proper House Price Index for Tamworth, I initially needed to decide on a starting place for the index. I have chosen 2008 as far enough away, but still gives us a medium/long term view. Next, I split all the house sales into their types (Detached/Semi/House /Apartment) to give us an indication of what is actually selling by postcode district. So, for example, below is a table for the B77 postcode district (the sample shows 2008, 2016 and 2017.

  2008 2016 Proj 2017
Detached 23.0% 26.9% 27.1%
Semi Det 41.9% 40.6% 41.3%
Terraced 29.2% 26.7% 26.1%
Apartment 6.0% 5.8% 5.5%

Then I look at the actual numbers of properties sold in the B77 postcode district. Below is the graph with the numbers for the years already mentioned.

Next, I have looked at the prices paid for those types for every year since 2008, again in this example using the sample years of 2008, 2016 and 2017 for the B77 postcode.

Finally, I amalgamated the same data points for the other postcode districts covered by Tamworth and the surrounding villages, weighted it accordingly, to produce the Tamworth House Price Index … which after all that work, currently stands at for Q4 2017 at 127.82 (Q4 2008 = 100).

I hope you found that of interest and over the coming months and seasons, I shall refer back to Tamworth House Price Index in my Tamworth Property Blog www.tamworthpropertyblog.co.uk to give you a flavour of what is really happening in the Tamworth Property Market.

If you enjoyed reading my article, feel free to take a look my other online resources below:

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Tamworth Homeowners and their £1.19 billion Debt

Over the last 12 months, the UK has decided to leave the EU, have a General Election with a result that didn’t go to plan for Mrs May and to add insult to injury, our American cousins elected Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. It could be said this should have caused some unnecessary unpredictability into the UK property market.

The reality is that the housing and mortgage market (for the time being) has shown a noteworthy resilience. Indeed on the back of the Monetary Policy pursued by the Bank of England there has been a notable improvement of macro-economic conditions! In July for example it was announced that we are witness to the lowest levels of unemployment for nearly 50 years. Furthermore, despite the UK construction industry building 21% more properties than same time the previous year, there has still been a disproportionate increase in demand for housing, particularly in the most thriving areas of the Country. Repossessions too are also at an all-time low at 3,985 for the last Quarter (Q1 2017) from a high of 29,145 in Q1 2009. All these things have resulted in…

Property values in Tamworth according to the

Land Registry are 7.34% higher than a year ago

So, what does all this mean for the homeowners and landlords of Tamworth, especially in relation to property prices moving forward?

One vital bellwether of the property market (and property values) is the mortgage market. The UK mortgage market is worth £961,653,701,493 (that’s £961bn) and it representative of 13,314,512 mortgages (interestingly, the UK’s mortgage market is the largest in Europe in terms of amount lent per year and the total value of outstanding loans). Uncertainty causes banks to stop lending – look what happened in the credit crunch and that seriously affects property prices.

Roll the clock back to 2007, and nobody had heard of the term ‘credit crunch’, but now the expression has entered our everyday language.  It took a few months throughout the autumn of 2007, before the crunch started to hit the Tamworth property market, but in late 2007, and for the following year and half, Tamworth property values dropped each month like the notorious heavy lead balloon, meaning …

The credit crunch caused Tamworth property values to drop by 16.8%

Under the sustained pressure of the Credit Crunch, the Bank of England realised that the UK economy was stalling in the early autumn of 2008. Loan book lending (sub-prime phenomenon) in the US and across the world was the trigger for this pressure. In a bid to stimulate the British economy there were six successive interest rates drops between October 2008 and March 2009; this resulted in interest rates falling from 5% to 0.5%!

Thankfully, after a period of stagnation, the Tamworth property market started to recover slowly in 2011 as certainty returned to the economy as a whole and Tamworth property values really took off in 2013 as the economy sped upwards. Thankfully, the ‘fire’ was taken out of the property market in Spring 2015 (otherwise we could have had another boom and bust scenario like we had in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s), with new mortgage lending rules. Throughout 2016, we saw a return to more realistic and stable medium term property price growth. Interestingly, property prices recovered in Tamworth from the post Credit Crunch 2009 dip and are now 41.9% higher than they were in 2009.

Tamworth property values before & after the credit crunch
Tamworth property values before & after the credit crunch

Now, as we enter the summer of 2017, with the Conservatives having been re-elected on their slender majority, the Tamworth property market has recouped its composure and in fact, there has been some aggressive competition among mortgage lenders, which has driven mortgage rates down to record lows. This is good news for Tamworth homeowners and landlords, over the last few months a mortgage price war has broken out between lenders, with many slashing the rates on their deals to the lowest they have ever offered.  For example, last month, HSBC launched a 1.69% five-year fixed mortgage!

Interestingly, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the level of mortgage lending had soared to an all-time high in the UK.

In the Tamworth postcodes of B77, B78 & B79, if you added up everyone’s mortgage, it would total £1,199,374,481!

Since 1977, the average Bank of England interest rate has been 6.65%, making the current 323 year all time low rate of 0.25% very low indeed. Thankfully, the proportion of borrowers fixing their mortgage rate has gone from 31.52% in the autumn of 2012 to the current 59.3%. If you haven’t fixed – maybe you should follow the majority?

In my modest opinion, especially if things do get a little rocky and uncertainty seeps back in the coming years (and nobody knows what will happen on that front), one thing I know is for certain, interest rates can only go one way from their 300 year ultra 0.25% low level … and that is why I consider it important to highlight this to all the homeowners and landlords of Tamworth. Maybe, just maybe, you might want to consider taking some advice from a qualified mortgage adviser? There are plenty of them in Tamworth.

If you are interested in the Tamworth Property Market, you might learn something by visiting the blog. https://www.tamworthpropertyblog.co.uk

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The Tamworth Property Market, The Beatles, Sweden and 50 year mortgages

50 years ago, in 1967, the first human heart transplant was performed by Dr Christian Barnard in South Africa. In the same year Sweden switched from driving on the left-hand side to the right-hand side of the road. The average value of a Tamworth property was £2,775, interest rates were at 5.5% and The Beatles released one of my favourite albums – their Sgt Peppers album … but what the hell has that to do with the Tamworth property market today?? Quite a lot actually … so with my CD Player turned up loud – let me explain my friends!

I have been doing some research on the current attitude of Tamworth first-time buyers.  First-time buyers are so important for both landlords and homeowners. If first-time buyers aren’t buying, they still need a roof over their heads, so they rent (good news for landlords). If they buy, demand for Tamworth property goes up for starter homes and that enables other Tamworth homeowners to move up the property ladder.

First-time buyers are the lifeblood of the property market. They are, however the most susceptible to interest rate rises and the affordability of mortgages. With that in mind, let us see what is happening to them…

The average value of a Tamworth property is currently standing at £209,292 and UK interest rates at 0.25%. As each year goes by, it appears the age of the everlasting mortgage has started to emerge, prompted by these first-time buyers, eager to get a foot on the housing ladder. I was reading a report a few days ago where some mortgage companies confessed that the battle to gain big returns from the property market has led to mortgages that will take considerably longer than the customary 25 years to pay off.

Average property value since 1967
Average property value since 1967

Over the last few years, it has been commonplace for first-time buyer mortgages to be 30 and 35 years in length as the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ have been helping with the deposit (Beatles Sgt Pepper song – “With a Little Help from My Friends”). Now, some high street banks are offering mortgage terms of 40 years. This means first-time buyers could be paying until their mid 60’s – I can hear that other great track from the same album “When I’m Sixty-Four” ringing in my ears! So, a 50-year mortgage does not seem as far-fetched now as it would have been back in the 1970’s. After all life expectancy for a male then was exactly 69 years and today its 79 years and 5 months!

Historical interest rates
Historical interest rates

Over the last ten years, Tamworth property prices have continued to rise more than wages, therefore, first-time buyers are looking for bigger loans. If this development continues, the only way repayments can remain reasonable is by increasing the term of the loan.

However, some commenters have said there are worries the mortgage companies are lending money over such a long term, they threaten leaving some first-time buyers with a generation of debt if the house price bubble bursts.  Interestingly, when I looked at what had happened to average property values in Tamworth over the last 50 years, there have been bubbles. First-time buyers should take heart, since as a county we have always recovered from it a few years later.

What if interest rates rise? Well looking at historic UK interest rates, the current rate of 0.25% is at a 300-year low. Mortgages will never be cheaper. I would however, seriously consider fixing the rate to cushion any future potential interest rate rises (since they can only go in one direction when they do change). If Tamworth first-time buyers see buying a home as a long-term decision, based on the last 50 years, they should be just fine!

Before I go, a final thought for property buyers in Sweden, the land of Volvo and Abba. As Swedish property prices are so high, Swedish Regulators announced last year limits on the length of Swedish mortgage terms. They don’t bother with 50-year mortgages (On and On and On – Abba).

No, our Volvo-loving Swedish friend’s average mortgage length is 140 years (this is not a typo). Although such mortgages have had their Waterloo (Abba), regulators have significantly reduced the maximum term of a Swedish mortgage to 105 years. Either way, that’s a lot of Money, Money, Money (Abba again – Sorry!)  to pay back!

Now I will leave you in peace as I listen to the 1980’s Madness song ‘Our House’. My apologies to all the Beatles and Abba fans in Tamworth – a bit of light hearted fun albeit on serious topic.

Looking to sell or rent your property, the time is now when Summer is in the air.

Hall and Thompson are still busy valuing and listing new properties for sale and rent. So why not get a head start before summer ends and get your property on the market now. Please call 01827 425195 to book your valuation now.

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Higher than the National Average – 1 in 6 Tamworth Properties are Leasehold

There are 23.36 million properties in England and Wales with 64% being owner occupied and 36% being rented either from a private landlord, local authority or housing association.

 

 

 

 

Over nine out of ten of those English and Welsh owner-occupied properties are a whole house or bungalow. Now, most people would assume they would be freehold – however, of those renting nearly half of rental properties, 44% to be precise, lived in other leasehold apartments and flats.

It might be wise to quickly explain the difference between freehold and leasehold. When someone owns the freehold of a property they own it outright, including the land it is built on, whilst with a leasehold property the leaseholder owns the property for the length of their lease agreement. Leaseholders must pay the person who owns land (the freeholder) ground rent and other fees. When the leasehold ends, ownership returns to the freeholder although the leaseholder can extend the lease or they can buy the freeholder out, but there are rules and regulations with regards doing that.

Therefore, it would be safe to assume that houses are freehold and flats are leasehold .. wouldn’t it? Not necessarily! Most houses are freehold but some might be leasehold – usually through shared-ownership schemes – but more and more new homes builders are selling houses on a leasehold as well. The protection of the law afforded to leaseholders who own a flat is massive, but sadly lacking to leasehold houses sold privately.

Looking specifically at the figures for Tamworth, at the last count in B77, 78 and 79 there were 44,686 properties. Since 1995, 36,373 properties in B77, 78 and 79 have changed hands and have been sold. Looking further at those 36,373 transactions in B77, 78 and 79 since 1995, using data from Land Registry and solicitors practice My-Home-Move, 16.06% have been leasehold (higher than the national average of 15%).

However, I am concerned about a few new homes builders selling new houses (not flats – houses) as leasehold. There has been a growing (yet small) trend for new-build houses to be sold as leasehold in recent years. While not all house builders use this model, those that do maintain it helps make developments financially viable.

The issue comes when builders sell the freehold separately to an investment company without informing the lease holder  – which they are legally allowed to do without telling the leaseholder. In England and Wales, the “right of first refusal” to buy the freehold is written in law to leaseholders of flats i.e. the freeholder must offer it to the leaseholders of all the flats of the building first), but not leaseholders of houses.

.. and this is the point I am trying to get across. If you are buying a new home and it’s a house (i.e. not a flat) – please check very carefully indeed whether its freehold or leasehold. If it is a leasehold, whilst you do have rights, they are not as strong as for those people buying a leasehold flat. I appreciate I am only talking about a very small percentage of the property market, but potentially this could end up costing thousands of pounds to those affected.

Tamworth Landlord confidence set to rise again…

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.

If you enjoyed reading my article, feel free to take a look my other online resources below:

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Hard Brexit could cause 550 properties to be dumped onto the Tamworth Property market

So all cards up in the air! A general election will be on the books, but one thing is for sure … whoever gets the job to deal with Brexit has a hard job on their hands (I’m just glad its not me!) As it currently stands, by not assuring the rights of EU citizens in the UK, Theresa May has squandered an opportunity to give peace of mind to our EU co-workers working and living in Tamworth (and the rest of the UK). No.10 Downing Street’s point of view is that in promising the rights of EU citizens in the UK, it will postpone the same guarantee to the 1.5 million UK citizens living in the other nations of the EU.

Putting aside the politics for one second, the simple fact is now Article 50 has been triggered, we have two years to make a deal with the EU; otherwise it will be a ‘hard Brexit’. Now you might not think a hard Brexit will affect you in your home in Tamworth … but nothing could be further from the truth.

Tamworth property market could see 100's of properties dumped with a hard brexit!!
Tamworth property market could see 100’s of properties dumped with a hard brexit!!

Of the 76,446 people who are resident in the Tamworth Borough Council area, 73,628 were born in the UK, 850 were born in EU countries from West Europe and 794 were born in EU countries from the former Soviet States in East Europe (the rest coming from other countries around the world).

The rights of these EU citizens living in the Tamworth area are not guaranteed and will now be part of the negotiation with Europe. It is true a lot of our EU next door neighbours in Tamworth will have acquired rights relating to the right to live, to work, to own a business, to possess a property, the right to access health and education services and the right to remain in a UK after retirement… yet those acquired rights are up for negotiation in the next two years.

So, what would a hard Brexit do to the Tamworth property market?

Well a hard Brexit could mean the nuclear option when it came to the Tamworth housing market. It could mean that every EU citizen would have to leave the UK.

In the Tamworth Borough area, 590 of the 850 Western European EU citizens own their own home and (so they would all need to be sold) and 525 of the 794 Eastern European EU citizens rent a property, so again all those rental properties would all come on the market at the same time.

Hard Brexit and mass EU Migration would mean c. 550 properties being dumped onto the housing market in a short period of time, meaning there would be a massive drop in Tamworth property values and rents, causing negative equity for thousands of Tamworth homeowners and many buy-to-let landlords would be out of pocket.

While there is no certainty as to what the future will hold, both UK expats in the EU and EU citizens in the UK rights will no longer be guaranteed and will be subject to bilateral renegotiation.

All I ask is that the politicians are sensible with each other in the negotiations. A lot of the success of the Tamworth (and UK) property market has been built on high levels of home ownership and more recently in the last 10/15 years, a growth of the rental sector with lots of demand from Eastern Europeans coming to Tamworth (and the surrounding area) to get work and provide for their families. Many Tamworth people have invested their life savings into buying a buy to let property.

Much will depend on what is politically realistic. Unilateral knee-jerk reactions and measures caused by a hard Brexit would not only likely cause major disruption or suffering to the 3 million EU citizens living in the UK, but also everyone who owns property in the UK … politics aside – a hard Brexit is in no one’s interests.

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.

Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Tamworth Property News. https://www.tamworthpropertyblog.co.uk

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