765 Rugby Landlords Plan to Expand Their Buy To Let Portfolios

A noteworthy number of buy to let landlords in Britain plan to buy more properties over the next year notwithstanding the frustrations, challenges and seismic changes in the private rented sector. According to Aldermore, the specialist Buy To Let lender, their research shows around 41% of portfolio buy to let landlord’s objective is to grow their buy to let portfolio (Portfolio landlords are landlords that own more than one property).

So, I thought, “Are Rugby landlords feeling the same?” If so, if these numbers were applied to the Rugby private rental market, what sort effect would it have on the Rugby property market as whole?

Talking to the landlords I deal with, most are feeling quite optimistic about the future of the Rugby rental market and the prospect it presents notwithstanding the doom and gloom prophecies that the property market will shrink. Many of those Rugby landlords who are looking to enlarge their portfolio are doing so because they still see the Rugby rental market as a decent investment opportunity.

With top of the range Bank and Building Society Savings Accounts only reaching 1.5% a year, the rollercoaster ride of Crypto currency and the yo-yoing of the Stock Market, the simple fact is, with rental yields in Rugby far outstripping current savings rates, the short term prospect of a minor drop in property prices isn’t putting off Rugby landlords.

The art to buying a Rugby buy to let investment is to buy the profit on the purchase price, not the anticipation of the future sale price.

No matter what the historical economy has thrown at us, with the global meltdown in 2008/9, dotcom crash of 2000, ERM in 1992, the three day week, oil crisis and hyperinflation in the 1970’s (the list goes on) … the housing market has always bounced back stronger in the long term. That’s the point … long term. Investing in buy to let is a long-term strategy. The simple fact is, over the long term with the increasing demand for rental properties, predominantly among Millennials as many cannot afford to get on the property ladder, and with councils not building enough properties of any kind, many youngsters are having to resort the private rental market for their accommodation needs.

So, what of the numbers involved in Rugby?

There are 857 landlords that own just one buy to let (BTL) property in Rugby and 1,865 Rugby landlords, who are portfolio landlords. Between those 1,865 Rugby portfolio BTL landlords, they own a total of 3,915 Rugby BTL properties and they can be split down into the size of landlord portfolio in the graph below….

If I apply the Aldermore figures that means 765 Rugby landlords have plans to expand their BTL portfolio in the coming year or so.

However, the Aldermore Research also showed that 8% of private landlords intended to reduce the number of properties they own. They put this down to continuing Government intervention in the housing market (as many landlords mentioned too many limitations and higher taxation) while some believed that tenants are excessively protected to the disadvantage of the landlord.

I would say there is no repudiating that the buy to let market has taken a bit of a beating, thanks to a plethora of Government regulation, new mortgage underwriting rules in 2014 and George Osborne’s tax changes. Yet there still remains an overall consciousness of optimism among the vast majority of Rugby buy to let landlords. Despite these latest changes, many landlords still view buy to let as a good investment, as long as you buy right and expand your portfolio taking into account the second rule of buy to let … assess your position on the ‘buy to let seesaw’ of capital growth and yield.

If you want to buy right and assess your own portfolio on the yield/capital growth seesaw … drop me a note. I don’t bite and the opinion I give, whether you are landlord of mine or not as the case may be, is given freely, without obligation or cost. The choice is yours. Thank you for reading this article. To read others, please visit my Rugby Property Blog.

An extension could add £50,650 to the value of your Rugby home

As our families grow bigger the need for more space, be that bedrooms or reception rooms, has grown with it. Also, as our older generation lives longer and nursing home bills continue to rise quicker than a rocket on the 5th of November  (the average nursing home bill in the area being £777.75 per week) many families are bringing two households into one larger one.

So, should you move somewhere larger, or extend your Rugby property to make it large enough for you and your family? In some circumstances the choice has been made for you. If you live in an apartment with no garden, there isn’t much of an opportunity of making it larger. But if you have a house with a garden or an attic with sufficient headroom, extending your home becomes a real prospect.

Even if it makes more sense to extend or move, the choice hangs on a number of different dynamics – your future plans, money (both saved and access to finance), in what way you are emotionally attached to your home, the particular area of Rugby you live in and finally, the type/style of house you prefer.

Interestingly, the average British home is 968 sq.ft, which as you can see from the table, is in the middle of developed nations when it comes to the size of a property. Of the 1.11m homes sold in 2016 in England and Wales, the average floor area of the houses was 1,119 sq.ft – that’s about an eighth the size of an Olympic sized swimming pool. Apartments averaged 530 sq.ft that’s just over ten times bigger than an average garden shed. Looking at apartments and houses together, the average size of properties sold in England and Wales 968 sq.ft  – are slightly smaller than the European average, and much smaller than households in the US.

So back to the question in hand.. extending does mean you will have a lot of inconvenience whilst the work is being carried out. The location of your Rugby property, the quality of construction, what type of room(s) you want to add, your plot, neighbouring building lines, planning regulations and the overall demand for your type of Rugby home, will make a vast difference to the financial repercussions of extending versus moving.

A medium-sized 270 sq.ft single storey extension (say around 17ft x 16ft) will add on average £50,650 to the value of a property in Rugby

It’s important to note the end result of the extension needs to be a sensible and realistic home. A two bed semi-detached house extended to a four bedrooms with no lawn or driveway, or a home with outsized reception rooms downstairs and miniscule bedrooms upstairs, could be problematic if  and when you come to sell your home in the future. Irrespective of whether your strategy is to live in your extended home for a long time, you will want to side-step outlaying a lot of money on costly building work that will make it tougher to sell.

In terms of what it would cost to build an extension, you can expect to pay on average between £140 to £200 per sq.ft, depending whether the extension is a single or double storey extension and other factors including finish and type of extension (note – I have seen it cost a lot more than these figures – so please speak with a builder) … So taking a mid line figure, that same 270 sq.ft extension on your Rugby home would cost on average £55,080.

However, moving means there are substantial costs incurred – Estate Agency fees, Removal Van, Survey Fees, Legal fees and Stamp Duty on the property you are buying. Neither option is the obvious choice and comparing the costs of extending your Rugby home to that of moving is not a stress-free undertaking.

How realistic each option is will probably come down to one thing .. your mortgage provider. You will need a considerable sum of equity in your Rugby home before you can think of increasing your mortgage more, because most lenders will require you to have at least 10% to 20% equity left in your property after the extension or move has been done.

The best advice I can give .. don’t assume anything …. get advice and opinion from builders, mortgage brokers, architects, mortgage people and of course… an agent. Look at your options and make an educated decision with all the superficial and objective facts in front of you.

GOVERNMENT CLAMP DOWN ON ROGUE LANDLORDS AND ROGUE LETTING AGENTS

Could you be facing a £30,000 Fine?

 The Government are clamping down on rogue landlords and rogue letting agents in a bid to make the private rental sector safer for tenants.

Rugby Homeowners and their £1.37 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 Rugby according to the

Land Registry are 9.59% higher than a year ago

So, what does all this mean for the homeowners and landlords of Rugby, 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 Rugby property market, but in late 2007, and for the following year and half, Rugby property values dropped each month like the notorious heavy lead balloon, meaning …

The credit crunch caused Rugby property values to drop by 20.6%

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 Rugby property market started to recover slowly in 2011 as certainty returned to the economy as a whole and Rugby 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 Rugby from the post Credit Crunch 2009 dip and are now 52.5% higher than they were in 2009.

Now, as we enter the summer of 2017, with the Conservatives having been re-elected on their slender majority, the Rugby 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 Rugby 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 Rugby postcodes of CV21, CV22, CV23, if you added up everyone’s mortgage, it would total £1,372,395,129!

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 Rugby. Maybe, just maybe, you might want to consider taking some advice from a qualified mortgage adviser? There are plenty of them in Rugby.

If you are interested in the Rugby Property Market, you might learn something by visiting http://www.rugbypropertyblog.wordpress.com

 

Iain Havell

Rugby Buy-To-Let Predictions up to 2037

On several occasions over the last few months, in my Rugby Property Blog, I predicted that the rate of rental inflation (i.e. how much rents are rising by) had eased over the last year. At the same time I felt that in some parts of the UK rents had actually dropped for the first time in over eight years. Recent research backs up this prediction.

Rents in Rugby for new tenancies only grew by 0.4% in the last 12 months (i.e. not existing tenants experiencing rental increases from their existing landlord). When we compare that current rate with the historical rental inflation in Rugby, an interesting pattern emerges ..

  • 2016 – Rental Inflation in Rugby was 2.2%
  • 2015 – Rental Inflation in Rugby was 6.9%
  • 2014 – Rental Inflation in Rugby was 0.7%

The reason behind this change depends on which side of the demand/supply equation you are looking from. On the demand side (from the tenants point of view) there is the uncertainty of Brexit and the fact that salaries are not keeping up with inflation for the first time in three years. Critically this means tenants have less disposable income to pay their rent. As an aside, it is interesting to note that nationally, rent accounts for 29% of a tenant’s take home pay (Denton House).

On the supply side of the equation (landlords point of view) Brexit also creates uncertainty. However, the biggest issue was a massive upsurge of new rental properties coming on to the market in late 2016, caused by George Osborne’s new 3% stamp duty tax for landlords in the first part of 2016. This meant a lot of new rental properties were ‘dropped’ on to the rental market all at the same time. The greater choice of rental properties for tenants curtailed rental growth/inflation. A slight softening of Rugby property prices has compounded this.  Figures from The Bank of England suggested that first time buyers rose over the last 12 months as some were more inclined to buy instead of rent. Together, these factors played a part in the ongoing moderation of rental growth.

The lead up to the General Election in May didn’t help: after all people don’t like doubt and uncertainty. So now that we have a mandate for going forward over the next 5 years hopefully that has removed any stumbling blocks stopping tenants making the decision to move home.

Whether it be ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ Brexit negotiations (and with the Election result the Tory’s might have to be ‘softer’ on those negotiations) the simple fact is, we aren’t building enough properties for us to live in. Both in Rugby, the West Midlands and the wider UK, long-term population trends imply that rents will soon be growing faster than inflation again. Look at the projections by the Office of National Statistics.

Population Estimates for Rugby Borough Council over the next 20 years
2016 (actual) 2021 2026 2031 2036
104,241 108,797 112,917 116,361 119,665

Tenants will still require a vibrant and growing rental sector to deliver them housing options in a timely manner. As the population grows in Rugby, and wider afield, any restriction to the supply of rental properties (brought about by poor returns for landlords) cannot be in the long-term best interest of tenants. Simply put rents must go up!

The fact is that I see this as a short-term blip and rents will continue to grow in the coming years. With rents only accounting for 29% of a tenants’ disposable income, the ability for most tenants to absorb a rent increase does exist.

 

Iain Havell

Rugby Baby Boomers vs. Rugby Millennials (Part 2)

Well last week’s article “The Unfairness of the Rugby Baby Boomer’s £2,891,690,000 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 Rugby. They claimed the older generation had seen the benefit of the cumulative value of Rugby properties significantly increasing over the last 25/30 years (which I calculated at  £2.89bn 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 Rugby 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 Rugby 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 Rugby hasn’t vastly changed over the last decade …

  • 2008 average house price to average earnings of a single person in Rugby 5.98 to 1
  • 2017 average house price to average earnings of a single person in Rugby 6.52 to 1

(i.e. in 2008, the average house price in Rugby was 5.98 times more than the average person’s salary in Rugby and this has only risen to 6.52 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 6,825 households in the Rugby Borough Council area (or 16.2% of all households in the area).  However, behind the doom and gloom, surprisingly, 39.6% 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 (2,678 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.

Iain Havell