25 Days to Sell a Property in Rugby

Whether you are a Rugby landlord looking to liquidate your buy to let investment or a homeowner looking to sell your home, finding a buyer and selling your property can take an annoyingly long time. It is a step-by-step process that can take months and months. In fact, one of the worst parts of the house selling process is the not knowing how long you might be stuck at each step. At the moment, looking at every estate agent in Rugby, independent research shows it is taking on average 25 days from the property coming on the market for it to be sold subject to contract.

But trust me … that is just the start of a long journey on the house selling/buying process. The journey is a long one and therefore, in this article, I want to take you through the standard itinerary for each step of the house selling procedure in Rugby.

Step 1 – Find a Buyer

You need to instruct an estate agent (of course we can help you with that) who will talk through a marketing strategy and pricing strategy to enable you to find a buyer that fits your circumstances. 25 days might be the average in Rugby, yet as I have said many times, the Rugby property market is like a fly’s eye, split up into lots of little micro markets.

Looking at that independent research, (which only focused on Rugby), it was interesting to see how the different price bands (i.e. different micro markets) are currently performing, when it comes down to the average number of days it takes to find a buyer for a property in Rugby.

Interestingly, I thought I would see which price band had the highest proportion of properties sold (stc)… again – fascinating!

So, now you have a buyer … what next?

There are a variety of distinctive issues at play when selling your property in Rugby, together with the involvement of a wide and varied range of professionals who get involved in that process. That means there is are enormous differences in how long it takes from one property to another. Moving forward to the next steps, these are the average lengths of time it takes for each step to give you some idea of what to expect.

Step 2  – Sort Solicitors (and Mortgage)

Again, something we can point you in the right direction to, but it will take a good few weeks for your buyer to apply and sort their mortgage and for your solicitors to prepare the legal paper work to send to the buyer.

Step 3 – Legal Work and Survey

Once you buyer’s solicitor receives the paperwork from your solicitor, then your buyer’s solicitor applies for local searches from the local authority (to ensure no motorways etc., are going to be built in the back garden!).  These Searches can take a number of weeks to be returned to the buyer solicitors from the council, from which questions will be raised by the buyer’s solicitor to your solicitor (trust me – you don’t see a tenth of the work that goes on behind closed doors to get the sale through to completion). Meanwhile, the surveyor will check the property to ensure it is worth the money and structurally sound. Overall, this step can take between 3 and 6 weeks (sometimes more!).

Step 4 – Exchange of Contracts

Assuming all the mortgage, survey and legal work comes back ok, both the buyer and solicitor sign contracts, the solicitors then perform “Exchange of Contracts”. When contracts are exchanged, this is the first time both buyer and seller are tied in. Before then, they can walk away … and you are probably 4 or 5 months down the line from having put up the for sale board – this isn’t a quick process! BUT hold on … we aren’t there yet!

Step 5 – Completion

Between a week and up to six weeks after exchange of contracts, the buyer solicitor sends the purchase money to the seller’s solicitor, and once that arrives, the keys will be given to the buyer … phew!

To conclude, all in all, you are looking at a good four, five even six months from putting the for-sale board up to moving out.

If you are thinking of selling your Rugby home or if you are a Rugby landlord, hoping to sell your buy to let property (with tenants in), either way, if you want a chat to ensure you get a decent price with minimal fuss … drop me a message or pick up the phone.

Value of Rugby Property Market falls £154.4m

The combined value of Rugby’s housing market has fallen by £154,363,248 in the last 6 months, meaning the average value of a Rugby property has decreased in value by an average of £6,084.  

This is great news for Rugby first time buyers and Rugby buy to let landlords, as there is a slight hesitation in the market because of the uncertainty over Brexit. As I have always said, investing in Rugby property, be it for you to live in or as a buy to let investment, is a long-term game. In the grand scheme of things, this minor change over the last 5 or 10 years is nothing.

The RICS’s latest survey of its Chartered Surveyor members showed that nationally the number of properties actually selling has dropped for the 16th month in a row. Locally in Rugby, certain sectors of the market are matching that trend, yet others aren’t. It really depends which price band and type of property you are looking for, as to whether it’s a buyers or sellers market.

The RICS also said its member’s lettings data showed a lower number of rental properties coming on to the market. Anecdotal evidence suggests that (and this is born out in the recent English Housing Survey figures) Rugby tenants over the last few years are stopping in their rental properties longer, meaning less are coming onto the market for rent. I have noticed locally, that where the landlord has gone the extra mile in terms of decoration and standard of finish, this has certainly helped push rents up (although those properties where the landlord has been remiss with improvements and standard of finish are in fact seeing rents drop). Rugby tenants are getting pickier – but will pay top dollar for quality. So much so, I believe there will be a cumulative rise of around fourteen to sixteen per cent over the course of the next five years in private rents for the best properties on the market.

Back to the Rugby Property Values though …

This drop in Rugby property values doesn’t particularly concern me. The fact is that over the last 6 months 415 properties have sold for a combined value of £106,534,650. You see, that drop must be seen in perspective in that 6 months ago, the total value of Rugby property stood at £6,606,665,824 (£6.61bn), and today it stands at £6,452,302,576 (£6.45bn) .. this change is a drop in the ocean.

In the short term, say over the next six months and assuming nothing silly happens in Korea, the Middle East or Brexit negotiations, it will be more of the same until the end of the year. In the meantime, the on-going challenges ensuring we as a Country build more homes (although the Office of National Statistics figures released in July showed nationally the number of new homes started to be built over the second Quarter of 2018 had dropped dramatically) makes me think that Rugby (and Nationally) property value is likely to recommence an upward trajectory as we go into 2019.

One final thought for all the buy to let landlords in Rugby (and indirectly this does affect all you Rugby homeowners too). I do hope the recent tax changes towards buy to let landlords don’t bite as deep as it is possibly starting to with certain landlords I know.  We talked about this in an article a few weeks ago and I know why the Government wanted to change the balance by taxing landlords and providing a lift for first time buyers .. however, this may well come at the expense of higher rents for those Rugby tenants that don’t become first time buyers, as the appeal of buy to let potentially weakens.

‘Taxing’ Time for the 2,722 Rugby Buy To Let Landlords

Over the last twenty years, there has been a shift in the way the Rugby (and the UK’s) property market works. In the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, a large majority of twenty somethings saved up their 5% deposit, went without life’s luxuries of going out and holidays etc., for a couple of years and then bought their first home with their hard earned savings.

By 2000, 52.7% of Rugby 25 to 29 years owned their own home (compared to 46% Nationally (and 73.6% of Rugby 30 to 34 year olds in 2000 owned their own home – again compared to 64.2% nationally) whilst the remaining youngsters mostly rented from the Council and in some rare cases, privately rented.

Now it’s 2018, and those levels of homeownership have slipped dramatically and now only 28.1% of Rugby 25 to 29 year olds own their own home and 49.5% of Rugby 30 to 34 year olds own their own home (interestingly mirroring the National picture of 24.5% for the younger age cohort and 64.2% for the older 30 to 34 year cohort).

There was concern in Government since the late Noughties that this shift from homeownership to private renting wasn’t good for the well-being of the Country and things needed to change, to make it a more level playing field for first time buyers. House prices needed to be more realistic and there needed to be a carrot and stick for both landlords and first time buyers.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, interest rates were the weapon of choice of Government to cool or heat up the UK housing market – and it did work – up to a point. It’s just interest rates also affected so many other sectors of the UK economy (and not always a in good way). The policy of interest rates to control the economy is called ‘Monetary Policy’. Monetary policy is primarily concerned with the management of interest rates (and the supply of money) and is carried out by the Bank of England (under direction from the Government).

It’s just in this post Credit Crunch, Brexit environment, the use of higher interest rates wouldn’t directly affect landlords (as around two thirds of buy to let properties are bought without a mortgage). Therefore, an increase in interest rates would have hardly any effect on landlords and hit the first time buyers – the people the Government would be trying to help!

Also, given muted growth of real income (i.e. real income being the growth salaries after inflation) in the past few years, an uplift in interest rates (from their ultra-low 0.5% current levels) would have a massive effect on Brit’s household disposable income. Yet, over 90% of new mortgages in 2018 being taken are fixed rate and with such low rates, it has made buying a property comparatively attractive.

Instead, over the last 8 years, the Government has encouraged first time buyers and clipped the wings of landlords with another type of economic policy – Fiscal Policy (Fiscal Policy is the collective term for the taxing (and spending) actions of the Government).  First time buyers have had the Help to Buy Scheme, Stamp Duty Exemption and contributions to their deposit by HMRC. On the other side the coin, landlords have had the way they are able to offset the tax relief of their mortgage payments against income change (for the worse), an increase in Stamp Duty (for the worse) and they will be hit with additional costs as the Government will be phasing out fees to tenants in the next 12 to 18 months.

So, what does this all mean for the 2,722 Rugby landlords?

The days of making money in Rugby buy to let with your eyes closed are long gone. There are going to be testing times for Rugby landlords, yet there is still a defined opportunity for those Rugby landlords who are willing to do their homework and take guidance from specialists and experts.
It’s all about looking at your Rugby portfolio (or getting a property professional to do so) and ascertaining if your current portfolio, mortgage and gearing are designed to hit what you want from the investment (because that is what it is – an investment) in terms of income now and income in the future, capital growth and when you plan to dispose of your assets.

I have seen many Rugby landlords (both who use me and my competitors) to manage their rental property or find them tenants – and on many occasions recently, I have told them to SELL – yes sell some of their portfolio to either reduce mortgage debt or buy other types of property that match what they want in the short and long-term from their investments. I know that sounds strange – but my role isn’t just to collect the rent  .. it’s also to give strategic advice and opinion on the landlord’s portfolio to help them meet their current and future investment goals.

The opportunities will appear in the Rugby property market for Rugby landlords from gentler growth in property values linked with a restrained Rugby property market, meaning if you put in the time, there will be deals and great bargains to have. Many landlords in Rugby (both clients and non-clients) send me Rightmove links each week, asking my opinion on the suitability of the investment. Some are exceptional – whilst others are duds. The bottom line is, private renting will continue to outgrow first time buyers in the next 5 to 10 years and as we aren’t building enough homes in the UK, which means rents can only go in one direction – upwards!

Rugby Property Market – How Does It Compare Historically to the West Midlands and National Property Market’s?​

Living in our own homes or owning buy to let property in Rugby and the surrounding areas, it’s often easy to ignore the regional and national picture when it comes to property. As a homeowner or landlord in Rugby, consideration must be given to these markets, as directly and indirectly, they do have a bearing on us in Rugby.

Locally, the value of property in Rugby and the number of people moving remain largely steady overall, although looking across at the different regions, there are certainly regional variations. Talking to fellow property professionals in the posh upmarket central London areas of Mayfair and Kensington, the number of people looking to buy and registering interest with agents is continuing to climb after 18 months in the doldrums, whilst in other parts of the UK, there is restraint amongst both buyers and sellers in some locations.

The things that affect the national property market are the big economic numbers. Nationally, over the last few months, thankfully, the economic forecast and predictions have improved, notwithstanding the Brexit uncertainties. Inflation has mercifully throttled back its high growth seen in 2016 to the current level of 2.1% (from 2.7% average last year), coupled with marginally stronger wage growth at 2.5%. Unemployment is at a 42-year low at 4.2% and UK consumer spending power rose to an all-time high last month to £331.04bn – all positives for consumer sentiment.

Look further afield, a resilient property market depends on the UK’s economic health with the outside world, so if Sterling weakens, that makes imports more expensive, meaning inflation increases, and this matter I talked about a few weeks ago in my blog article … interest rates could be raised to bring inflation under control, which in turn could seriously affect the property market. On the assumption Brexit negotiations are successful, economic growth should continue to be upward and positive, meaning confidence would be increased … which is the vital element to a good housing market.

Looking closer to home now, Rugby landlords and Rugby homeowners might be interested in the how the regional and Rugby markets have performed over the last 20 years (compared to the National picture). Let’s look at the regional picture first,

Rugby has outperformed the West Midlands housing market by 4.82%……whilst nationally, Rugby has outperformed the country by 5.81%

That means a Rugby homeowner has profited by an additional £14,776 over the last 20 years compared to the average homeowners across the country.

I found it interesting to see the ups and downs of the Rugby, West Midlands and National markets in this graph. How the lines of graphs roughly go in the same direction, how the 2007/08 property crash timings and effects were slightly different between the three lines and finally how the property markets performed in the post-crash years of 2011 to 2014 … fascinating!

So, what does this all mean for Rugby homeowners and Rugby landlords?

Well, house prices going up or down are only an issue when you sell or buy. In the last 12 months, only 1,076,288 (let’s call it’s a straight million between friends!) properties changed hands out of 27.2 million households in the UK in 2017, meaning only 3.7% would have been affected if property values had dropped in the last year.

Property values in Rugby are 262.48% higher than the summer of 1998

Yet this has been a long-term gain. The number one lesson in property is that it is a long-term game.  The biggest issue in property isn’t house values or prices … it’s the number of homes built, because the number of households nationally has only increased by 6% since 2007, whilst the population has grown by 7.6%. That doesn’t sound a lot, until you express it another way…

If the UK population had had only grown by the same percentage as the percentage growth in UK households in the last decade, there would be 1,000,000 less people living in the UK today

The final thought for this article is this, apart from central London, over the last 20 years it hasn’t mattered what part of the UK you were in with regards to the property market. Be you a landlord or homeowner, property is a long game, so look long term and you will win because until they start to build more homes, from the current levels of 180,000 new homes built per year to at least 250,000 households built per year, demand will, over the long term, outstrip supply for owning and renting!

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.

Exit of landlords from market pushing up asking rents as stock drops

A drop in available properties is pushing asking price rents to record highs, Rightmove has reported.

The portal says that available stock has dropped 8.7%, exacerbated by a 19.4% fall in London.

National asking prices for new rents, excluding London, in the third quarter this year are £802.

It is the first time that average asking rents outside London have been over £800.

In London, the average asking price has included down, from £2,000 per month in the second quarter, to £1,992.

Rightmove commercial director Miles Shipside said: “Rental demand is currently outstripping supply in many locations, especially in the capital.

“The exit of more landlords from the buy-to-let market has been due to a raft of different factors.

“What we’re left with is a lack of available homes for tenants looking to find their next place to rent, meaning that when the right kind of property does come along it isn’t sticking around for very long before it’s snapped up.”

Source: www.propertyindustryeye.com