What Will Happen to Rugby Property Values if Interest Rates Rise?

The current average value of a property in Rugby currently stands at £254,300 and the base rates at 0.5%. In many of my articles, I talk about what is happening to property values over the short term (i.e. the last 12 months or the last 5 years), but to answer this question we need to go back over 40 years, to 1975.

The average value of a Rugby property in 1975 was £12,311

However, since 1975, we have experienced in the UK, inflation of 807.5%.

Back in 1975, the average salary was £2,291 and average car was £1,840. A loaf of bread was 16p, milk was 28p a pint and a 2lb bag of sugar was 30p. Inflation has increased prices, so comparing like for like, we need to change these prices into today’s money. In real spending power terms, an average value of a Rugby house in 1975, expressed in terms of today’s prices is £111,737.

That means in real terms, property costs a lot more today, than in the mid 1970’s, but has it always been that way? Looking at the important dates of the UK property market, you can see from this table, the last two property boom years of 1989 and 2007, show that there was a significant uplift in the cost/value of property (when calculated in today’s prices).

Before we move on, hold onto the thought that you can quite clearly see from the table, in real terms, properties are cheaper today in Rugby than they were in 2007!

So, it made me wonder if there was a link between house prices, inflation and other external economic factors, such as interest rates? Interest rates have a strong influence on inflation and property values, principally because changes in the interest rate affect the cost of mortgage payments for homeowners and they affect the flow of foreign currency in (or out) of an economy, thus changing the exchange rate and prices we can sell our goods and services abroad and prices we pay on imports.

So how exactly do interest rates affect property values?

When interest rates rise, it has a substantial effect on increasing the monthly cost of mortgages. Higher mortgage payments will discourage prospective homebuyers or people looking to move up market (meaning their mortgage payments go up) – thus making it comparatively cheaper to rent.

Furthermore, the high cost of mortgage payments sometimes also pushes some existing home owners to sell, meaning there is an increase in house sellers and a decline in house purchasers, and as the law of economics state, when supply is increased and demand falls, (house) prices fall. Another fallout of a rise in mortgage payments is a rise in repossessions. Interestingly, repossessions in the UK rose from 15,000 per annum in the late 1980’s to over 75,000 per annum in the early 1990’s, meaning even more properties came onto the market, exasperating the issue of over supply – pushing property values even lower.

High interest rates caused property values to fall in mid 1970’s, early 1980’s and most recently, the early 1990’s (who can remember the 15% mortgage rate!) Conversely though, the drop in property values in 2008/2009 – was not due to interest rates, but due to the credit crunch and global recession.

So, what will happen if when interest rates rise?

It is vital to remember that interest rates are not the only factor affecting property values. It is also possible that when interest rates increase (which they will from the current 0.5%), property values can also continue to rise (it happened throughout the mid to late 1980’s and again between the boom years of 2002 and 2007). When confidence in the economy is good, and we as a Country experience a period of rising real incomes (i.e. after inflation), then the British in the past have continued to buy bricks and mortar, notwithstanding the rise in interest rates.

Another important factor on property values is the supply of housing. A big reason in the current level of Rugby house prices is due to the shortage of supply, which has kept property values higher than I would have expected. An additional factor is whether homeowners have a variable or fixed rate mortgage. 90.6% of new mortgages taken in the last Quarter were at a fixed rate, and 66.2% of all mortgaged homeowners are on fixed-rate mortgages, therefore, they will not notice the effects of higher interest rate payments until they re-mortgage in a few year’s time, meaning there is frequently a time-lag between higher interest rates and the effect on property values. Another factor on mortgages is the ability to get one in the first place. Back in 2014, mortgage providers were told to be stricter on their lending criteria when arranging mortgages following the footloose days of 125% loan to value mortgages with the Northern Rock.  These new rules are a lot more rigorous on borrowers’ ability to repay the payments (although it makes me laugh, when with starter homes it nearer is always cheaper to buy then rent!).

I think the final point is this … affordability is the key. Look at the graph (the red bars) and you will see in REAL HOUSE PRICE terms – it’s cheaper to buy a home today than it was in 2007, yet why aren’t we seeing people buying property at the levels we were seeing in the 2000’s before the credit crunch? Again, looking at the reasons why, I will talk about in future articles.

In conclusion, interest rates are important – but nowhere near as important on the Rugby (and British) property market than they were 15 or 20 years ago.

So, before I go, one final thought – how do we measure the success of the Rugby property market? Well I believe one measure that is a good bellwether is the number of property transactions, as that could show a more truthful picture of the health of the property market than property values. Maybe I should talk about that in an up and coming article?

How Valuable is your Time?

Are you up to speed with all 170 Rented Sector Regulations?​

We are coming across landlords on a daily basis who currently manage their own tenancies, for want of a better word – ‘unintentionally badly’. Legislation now imposed on landlords is lengthy and ongoing – 170 items to be exact. It is abundantly clear from our seminars and workshops that private landlords are unaware of what their obligations are and legal liabilities. In the event of an incident where non compliance can be proved – the consequences could be catastrophic. We have known landlords across Warwickshire to be taken to court, penalised with heavy fines and in some cases, particularly in London, prison sentences have been levied. Local Authorities are now carrying out spot check inspections on properties and issuing fines where necessary, fines as high as £30,000.

If you would like a schedule of all the legislation you need to be aware of please let us know.

We note from our records that you may currently let and manage your own rental property and just wondered if this was the case is now the time to reconsider your options and free up your valuable time to do more of the things you enjoy? Let us carry the burden of ensuring you are following the letter of the law and not leaving yourself exposed.

We have specialised in managing properties for the last 29 years and we have won many awards over the years to back this up. We take the hassle and worry out of many of the things, you as a landlord have or will encounter whilst managing your investment yourself, these being:

  • Remaining Law and Legislation compliant – to encompass Gas Safety, changes to Electrical Check Regulations, proposed changes to tenancy lengths, Legionella Checks, HHSRS (Housing Health and Safety Rating System) Complaint, Mees (Minimum Energy Efficiency Systems)
  • Aware of all pending government changes and how it impacts you as a landlord and the requirement to pass all necessary information onto the tenant
  • Ensuring renewal agreements are created correctly in light of the Deregulation Act for tenancies post 2015
  • Ensuring Deposits are correctly registered with an approved Government Scheme
  • Ensuring now claims for being discriminatory are made – Race Relations Act & Disability Discrimination Act
  • Aware of Rent collection procedures
  • Managing rent arrears so as not to jeopardise servicing of a Section 6a
  • Arranging and conducting property inspections and to comply with the Equality Act 2010 (harassment)
  • Dealing with maintenance issues and logging all events inc due diligence for contractor liability insurance
  • Fully aware of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 Section 11 Landlords Repairing Obligations
  • Deposit dispute resolution & timelines involved
  • Dealing with eviction in the event of non-payment and aware of the Freedom from Eviction Act 1977
  • Dealing with complaints from neighbours
  • GDPR compliance – are you registered with the ICO (Information Commissioners Office) – have you issued your tenant with a Privacy Policy?

    These are the main areas of discontent for landlords but the ones we are experts in. We eliminate that ‘landlord/tenant/ relationship and will always address the situation as your agent and act in your best interest. The common issue that arises every time a landlord deals directly with the tenant is that they feel its often difficult to address delicate situations such as rent arrears, untidiness, complaints from neighbors and the eviction process.

    We would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help you alleviate any stress or concerns you may currently have. Let us show you just what we can do. We can do as much or as little as you like and tailor the service according to your needs. The benefit to you? More free time. No phone calls at inconvenient times. No need to organise repairs. No awkward conversations about rent arrears. No exposure to any potential legal action.

    If however, you are perfectly happy with your current set up then please forgive the intrusion. If you feel you may need us in the future you know where we are.