What Has Happened to the Rugby Property Market Since the Last Property Market Crash?

A handful of Rugby landlords and homeowners have been asking me what would happen if we had another property crash like we did in 2008/9?

The UK property crash in 2008/9 caused property prices in the UK to drop by an average of 18.37% in a period of 16 months.

On the run up to the Parliamentary vote on Brexit scheduled for March, a number of people asked what a no-deal Brexit would do to the property market and if there would be a crash as a result. I have discussed in a previous article on the chances of that (slim but always a possibility) … but assuming it happens, it is my opinion the outcome of a no-deal Brexit would be no worse than the country’s 2008/9 credit crunch property crash, the late 1988 property crash, the 1974 property crash, 1951 property crash … I could go on. The British economy would bounce back from the shock of a no-deal Brexit with lower property values and a continued low interest rate environment (together with an additional round of Quantitative Easing) and that would mean we would see a similar bounce back as savvy buyers saw it as a fantastic buying opportunity.

So, let me explain the reasons I believe this…

Many said after the Brexit vote in June 2016, we were due a property crash – but we all know what happened afterwards.

Initially, let’s see what would happen if we did have a crash, how quickly it would bounce back and then finally discuss how the chances of a crash are actually quite minimal.

Therefore, to start, I have initially split down the types of property in Rugby (Det/Semi etc.) and in the red column put the average value of that Rugby property type in 2009. Next in the orange column what those average values are today in 2019.

Now, assuming we had a property crash like we did in 2008, when average property values dropped nationally by 18.37%, I applied a similar drop to the current 2019 Rugby figures (i.e. the green column) to see what would happen to property values by the middle 2020 (because the last crash only took 13/14 months).

…and finally, what would subsequently happen to those same property prices if we had a repeat of the 2009 to 2014 property market bounce back.

Of course, these are all assumptions and we can’t factor in such things as China going pop on all its debt … yet either way, the chance of such a crash coming from internal UK factors are much slimmer than in another of the four property crashes we have experienced in the last 80 years. Why, you might ask?

The seven reasons I believe are these …

1.     The new Bank of England mortgage rules on lending 2014 to stop reckless lending that fuelled that last crash.

2.     Low inflation.

3.     Low mortgage rates (the average Brit’s fixed rate mortgage is currently 2.26% and the variable rate mortgage of 3.07%).

4.     Wage rises are forecast to continue to outgrow inflation.

5.     Unemployment figures dropping to 4% (down from 8.4% in 2011).

6.     The high percentage (67.7%) of all British mortgages being on a fixed rate.

7.     And notwithstanding the distractions of Brexit over the last few years, it cannot be denied that the British economy has slowly and steadily been heading in the right direction for a number of years, built on some decent foundations of a steady housing market (unlike the 1988 and 2008 crashes when the housing market got overheated very quickly on the run up to the crashes).

So as the circumstances are much different to the last two crashes, the chances of a crash are much slimmer. Yet if we do have a crash, for the very same 7 reasons above why the chances of a crash are unlikely, those 7 reasons would definitely contribute to making the ensuing recession neither too long nor substantial in scale.

One final thought for the homeowners of Rugby. Most people when they move home, move up market, meaning in a decreasing market you will actually be the winner, as a 10% drop on yours would be much smaller in £notes than a 10% drop on a bigger property … think about it.

One final thought for the new and existing buy to let landlords of Rugby. Well, the questions I seem to be asked on an almost daily basis by landlords are: –

·      “Should I sell my property in Rugby?”

·      “Is the time right to buy another buy to let property in Rugby and if not Rugby, where?”

·      “Are there any property bargains out there in Rugby to be had?”

Many other Rugby landlords, who are with us and many who are with other Rugby letting agents, all like to pop in for a coffee, pick up the phone or email us to discuss the Rugby property market, how Rugby compares with its closest rivals (Coventry, Lutterworth and Daventry), and hopefully answer the three questions above. I don’t bite, I don’t do hard sell, I will just give you my honest and straight-talking opinion. I look forward to hearing from you.

Live in Rugby? About to Retire and Privately Rent? You Could be £4,300 a Year Worse Off!

You read the personal finance pages of the newspapers and it all seems to be the impending pensions crisis … where people aren’t saving enough for their retirement. But it’s not the lack of Rugby peoples’ future pension incomes that are my immediate concern. The fact is that so many of the future retirees in Rugby over the coming decade, who never bought their home in the Millennial years of the 1990’s and 2000’s, will have to make some tough decisions regarding what house they live in when they retire anytime between now and 2038.

In Rugby, there are 653 privately rented households, where the head of the household is between 50 years and 64 years of age (meaning they will be retiring anytime between now and 2038). They are working now and easily paying the rent, yet what happens when they retire?

A Rugby retired couple, who currently privately rent and who have paid their fully qualifying NI stamp over the last few decades are likely to retire with the couples State Pension of £1,091 per month plus a tiny bit of private pension if they are lucky. Given that the average rent in Rugby is £768 a month – a lot of that pension will be lost in rent. This means taxpayers will have no alternative but to step in and top up the rent payments with Housing Benefit, yet…

The maximum housing benefit for a couple in Rugby is currently £410.89 per month … leaving a significant gap when you consider the average rent in Rugby is £768 per month

It is most people’s opinion that retirees are either council tenants or own their home outright. Looking at these figures though, it looks like both these ‘mature’ private renters could be having to make some decisions on their lifestyle and where they live, possibly looking at downsizing the home they rent to make things more affordable in their old age. Also, the government will be in for a horrible surprise as more of Rugby people retire and continue to rent from a private landlord. Numerous Rugby private renters, with little or no savings, will have to rely on Housing Benefit, which will put greater pressure on the public purse.

The average Rugby retiree will need to find £4,285 pa to stay in their privately rented home after retirement

A recent report from Scottish Widows suggested that 1 in 8 OAP’s will be privately renting by 2032, up from the current one in 15.47 OAP’s whom currently private rent (or 6.47%). In fact, in that report they said the equivalent of more than one-third of the whole annual NHS budget would be spent on Housing Benefit for OAP’s in retirement living in private rented property.

What does this mean for mature Rugby homeowners? I see many using equity release schemes to stay in their homes to pay for a better retirement and others more open to downsizing, selling their large home to a family that needs it and moving into a smaller apartment or bungalow … yet lets be frank – they aren’t building bungalows in large numbers in Rugby anymore.

And for the Rugby landlords? Well with the younger Millennials showing no appetite in jumping onto the homeownership bandwagon anytime soon, it can only result in the demands on the buy to let market from Rugby tenants rising substantially. Of course, many Millennials will inherit money from their home owning parents in the coming few decades, yet a lot won’t as it will be spent on nursing home care and any leftovers (if any) split between siblings.

For those retiring in post 2050/2060, there is better news as official reports suggest those retirees will enjoy a State Pension approximately similar to today’s pensioners with auto-enrolment into top-up private pensions through their employer.

The solution to all this is to build more homes, of course. Last year we created/built just over 217,000 households in the UK, up from a post Millennial average of just under 150,000 households a year. We need to get back to the building booms of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when on average 300,000 households were built … but back to reality … that won’t happen so it looks like we are turning into a nation of renters, which is of course good news for Rugby’s buy to let landlords!

Rugby Property Market: Is Sell to Rent the new Buy to Let?

It doesn’t seem two minutes ago that it was 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade (32 degrees Celsius for my younger readers), hosepipe bans looked likely and it was simply too hot to sleep at night, yet early indications were, that as the temperatures soared, the Rugby property market appeared to be doing the reverse and was already starting to cool down.

17.96% less people moved home in the Rugby area in the first part of 2018, when compared to the average number of people moving home (in the same time frame) between 2014 and 2017

The average number of households who sold and moved locally between 2014 and 2017 in the winter and spring months was 140 homes a month.. yet in the same time frame in 2018, only 115 (on average) sold and moved.

 

So, what is the issue? Many have cited Brexit as the issue – but I think its deeper than that.

Brexit seems to be the “go to excuse” for everything at the moment – my neighbour even blamed it for the potholes! Anyway a few weeks ago, I was out for a family get together in another part of the UK when one of my extended family said that they were planning on buying their first home this autumn most of those present said they were stupid to do so because of Brexit. Nonetheless, half an hour later, another distant cousin said to the same family crowd that they were planning to sell their home; to which most said they were also daft to do so because of Brexit.

Both sides of the argument can’t be right! So, what exactly is happening?

Well if you have been reading my blog on the Rugby property market over the last few months, I have been discussing the threats and opportunities of the current state of fluidity in the Rugby property market, including the issue of OAPs staying in homes that are too big for them as their children have flown the nest, interest rates, inflation, lack of new homes being built and the long term attitude to homeownership.. yet I have noticed a new trend in the last few months.. the emergence of the ‘sell to renter’.

Sell to Renter?

I have seen a subtle, yet noticeable number of Rugby homeowners that have been selling their Rugby homes, renting and wagering that, in the next few years, the Rugby property market will tumble by more than what they spend on their short-term rental home, before they buy another Rugby home in a couple of years i.e. a ‘sell to renter’. This type of ‘sell to renter’ is mostly predominant at the middle to upper end of the Rugby property market – so I’m not too sure if it will catch on in the main ‘core’ market?

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

Well, in the short term, demand for middle to upper market Rugby rental properties could increase as these ‘sell to renters’ demand such properties. I would however give a note of caution to Rugby landlords buying in this sector of the Rugby property market as yields in this sector can be quite low. However, for homeowners of middle to upper market Rugby properties, you might have lesspeople wanting to buy your type of property, as some buyers are turning to renting?

Like I have always said, Rugby properties are selling if they are realistically priced (realistic for the market – not a rose-tinted version where someone will pay 10% over the odds because everyone has access to the market stats with the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla!).

P.S Notice the spike in the graph, where the number of property sales jumped to 218 in the month of March 2016? That was all the Rugby buy to let landlords snapping up buy to let properties before the stamp duty rules changed!

7 Reasons Why Rugby Buy To Let Landlords Shouldn’t Be Criticised ​

There is no escaping the fact that over the last couple of decades, the rise in the number buy to let properties in Rugby has been nothing short of extraordinary.  Many in the “left leaning” press have spoken of a broken nation, the fact many youngsters are unable to buy their first home with the rise of a new cohort of younger renters, whom have been daubed ‘Generation Rent’ as landlords hoover up all the properties for their buy to let property empires. Government has been blamed in the past for giving landlords an unfair advantage with the tax system. It is also true many of my fellow professionals have done nothing to avail themselves in glory, with some suspect, if not on some rare occasions, downright dubious practices.

Yet has the denigration and unfair criticism of some Rugby landlords gone too far?

It was only a few weeks ago, I read an article in a newspaper of one landlord who had decided to sell their modest buy to let portfolio for a combination of reasons, one of which being the new tax rules on buy to let that were introduced last year. The comments section of the newspaper and the associated social media posts were pure hate, and certainly not deserved.

Like all aspects in life, there are always good (and bad) landlords, just like there are good (and bad) letting agents … and so it should be said, there are good tenants and in equal measure bad tenants. Bad letting agents and bad landlords should be routed out … but not at the expense of the vast majority whom are good and decent.

But are the 1,865 Rugby portfolio buy to let landlords at fault?

The Tories allowed people to buy their own Council house in the 1980’s, taking them out of the collective pot of social rented houses for future generations to rent them. Landlords have been vilified by many, as it has been suggested by some they have an unhealthy and ravenous avarice to make cash and profit at the expense of poor renters, unable to buy their first home. Yet, looking beyond the headline grabbing press, this is in fact ‘fake news’. There are seven reasons that have created the perfect storm for private renting to explode in the 2000’s.

To start with, the Housing Acts of 1988 and 1996 gave buy to let landlords the right to remove tenants after six months, without the need for fault. The 1996 Act, and its changes, meant banks and building societies could start to lend on buy to let properties, knowing if the mortgage payments weren’t kept up to date, the property could be repossessed without the issue of sitting tenants being in the property for many years (even decades!) … meaning in 1997, buy to let mortgages were born… and this, my blog reading friends, is where the problem started.

Secondly, in the early 2000’s, those same building societies and banks were relaxing their lending criteria, with self-certification (i.e. you did not need to prove your income), mortgages 8 times their annual salary, and very helpful interest only mortgage deals helped to keep repayments inexpensive.

Thirdly, the totally inadequate building of Council Houses (aka Local Authority Housing) in the last two decades and (so I’m not accused of Tory bashing) – can you believe Labour only built 6,510 Council Houses in the WHOLE OF THE UK between 1997 and 2010? Giving the Tories their due, they have built 20,840 Council Houses since they came to power in 2010 (although still woefully low when compared the number of Council Houses built in the 1960’s and 1970’swhen we were building on average 142,000 Council Houses per year nationally). This meant people who would have normally rented from the Council, had no Council House to rent (because they had been bought), so they rented privately.

And then 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th … 

– Less of private home building (again look at the graph) over the last two decades.

– A loss of conviction in personal pensions meaning people were looking for a better place to invest their savings for retirement.

– Ultra-low interest rates for the last nine years since the Credit Crunch meaning borrowing was cheap.

– A massive increase in EU migration from 2004, when we had eight Eastern European countries join the EU. That brought 1.4m people to the UK for work from those countries – and they needed somewhere to live.

Thus, we got the perfect storm conditions for an eruption in the Rugby Private Rented Sector.

Commercially speaking, purchasing a Rugby property has been undoubtedly the best thing anyone could have done with their hard-earned savings since 1998, where property values in Rugby have risen by 254.25%…

…and basing it on the average rental in Rugby, earned £190,944 in rent.

Yet, the younger generation have lost out, as they are now incapable to get on the property (especially in Central London).

The Government have over the last few years started to redress the imbalance, increasing taxes for landlords, together with the Banks being tighter on their lending criteria meaning the heady days of the Noughties are long gone for Rugby landlords. In the past 20 years, anything but everything made money in property and it was easy as falling off a log to make money in buy to let in Rugby – but not anymore.

Being a letting agent has evolved from being a glorified rent collector to a trusted advisor giving specific portfolio strategy planning on each landlord’s buy to let portfolios. I had a couple of instances recently of a couple of portfolio landlords, one from Braunston who wanted income in retirement from his buy to let’s and the other from Dunchurch, who wanted to pass on a decent chunk of cash to his grandchildren to enable them to buy their own home in 15/20 years’ time.

Both of these landlord’s portfolios were woefully going to miss the targets and expectations both landlords had with their portfolios, so over the last six/nine months, we have sold a few of their properties, refinanced and purchased other types of Rugby property to enable them to hit their future goals (because some properties in Rugby are better for income and some are better for capital growth) … And that my blog reading friends is what  ‘portfolio strategy planning’ is! 

If you thik you need ‘portfolio strategy planning’, whether you are a landlord of ours or not (because the Dunchurch landlord wasn’t)  … drop me line or give the office a call. Thank you for reading.

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.

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

Will the Rugby Property Market Crash?

And if it does … who will be the winners and losers?

Those Rugby people wanting property values to drop would be those 30 or 40 something’s, sitting on a sizeable amount of equity and hoping to trade up (because the percentage drop of your current ‘cheaper’ property will be much less than the same percentage drop of the more expensive property – and trading up is all about the difference). If you have children planning to buy their first home or you are a 20 something wanting to buy your first home – you want them to drop. Also, landlords looking to add to their portfolio will want to bag a bargain (or two) and they would love a drop!

Yet, if you have recently bought a Rugby property with a gigantic mortgage, you’ll want Rugby property values to rise. If you are retired and are preparing to downsize, you will also want Rugby property values to rise (because you will have more cash left over after the move). Also, if you, a landlord looking to sell your portfolio or a Rugby home owner, who has remortgaged to raise money for other projects (meaning you have very little equity), you will want Rugby property values to rise to enable you to put a bigger deposit down on the next purchase.

So, before I discuss my thoughts on the future, it’s important to look at the past…

The last property crash, caused by the Global Financial Crisis, was between Q3 2007 and Q3 2009 … when property values in Rugby dropped 14.47%

…taking an average property from £177,450 in September 2007 to £151,770 by September 2009 … and since then – property values have over the medium-term risen (as can be seen on the graph). 

So … what is happening now?

The simple fact is people in the UK are moving less (and hence buying and selling less). Estate agents up and down the land are blaming “Brexit” for this but the reality is that the problems in the British housing market are a lot greater than measly old Brexit!

There is a direct link between how people feel about the property market (sentiment) and the actual performance of the property market. However, the question of whether people’s sentiment moves as a result of changes in the property market, or whether changes in the property market drive sentiment is a question that baffles most economists – you see if someone feels assured about their financial situation (job, money etc.) and the future of property, they are more likely to feel assured to spend their hard-earned earnings on property and buy and if you think about it … vice versa. So, I believe Brexit isn’t the issue  – it’s just the “go to” excuse people are using. Humans don’t like uncertainty, and Brexit itself is causing uncertainty – it is, after all, the great unknown.

So, is it the flux of global politics? Politics are causing hesitation in the posh £5m+ markets of Mayfair and other high value Monopoly board pieces – but certainly not in sleepy old Rugby (I don’t think Rugby is too high up on the house buying list of all these Saudi Prince’s and Russian Oligarchs) … no the issues are much closer to home.

So, coming back to reality, one the biggest driving factors in the current state of play in housing market has been the part Buy To let landlords have played in the last 15 years. Making money as buy to let landlord in these golden years was as easy as falling off a log – but not anymore! Landlords had been getting off quite lightly when it came to their tax position, but with Osborne changing the taxation rules on buy to let … things have become a little more difficult for landlords.

Landlords have been hit with a supplementary rate of stamp duty, meaning they pay 3% more stamp duty than first time buyers. High rate taxpayers in the past have been able to offset the interest payments from their buy to let mortgages against their self-assessment tax bills – at their marginal rate. Between now and 2020 … this is being reduced in small steps, so they will only be able to claim back relief at the basic rate of tax. The bottom line is that it will be much tougher for investors to make money on buy to let. Tied in with this, the mortgage rules were changed a few years ago, meaning it’s also become slightly tougher to obtain buy to let mortgages (although if I’m being honest – they need too).

And what of Rugby first time buyers? Well, a few weeks ago in my blog on the Rugby Property Market, if you recall, I mentioned that last year was the best year for over decade for first time buyers. For the last 30 years, buy to let investors have constantly had more purchasing power than first time buyers, as they were older and more established, together with their tax breaks. Yet, now as many amateur landlords are having second thoughts in staying in buy to let, this has given first time buyers a chance to get on to the property ladder.

What will happen to Rugby property values? The simple fact is we don’t have the conditions that caused the crash in 2007 (i.e. sub-prime lending in the US, causing banks not to lend to each other, thus stalling the global economy as a whole).Assuming everyone is sensible on the Brexit negotiations, the biggest issue is interest rates.  As long as interest rates remain comparatively low (and don’t get me wrong – I think we could stand Bank of England base interest rates at 1.5% to 2.5% and still be OK, then the thought of a massive property market crash still looks improbable.

Yet correspondingly, I cannot see Rugby property values rising quickly either.

The double-digit growth years in property values between 1999 and 2004 are well gone. A lot of that growth was caused by an explosion of buy to let landlords buying property to accommodate the influx of EU migrants in those years.  Mark Carney at the Bank of England can’t make interest rates any lower, so it’s difficult to envisage how credit conditions can get any easier!

Balance of probabilities … Rugby property values will hover either side of inflation over the next five years, but if we did have another crash, what exactly would that mean to Rugby homeowners – if they dropped by the same percentage amount, as they did in the last crash?

If Rugby property prices dropped today by the same percentage as they did locally in the Global Financial Crisis back in 2007/9 … we would only be returning to the property values being achieved in November 2015 … and nobody was complaining about those!

Therefore, looking at the number of people who have bought homes in the area since November 2015, that would affect approximately only 17% of local home owners and landlords … and only a small percentage would actually lose – because you only lose money if they decide to move (and come to think of it, some of those sellers would fall into the category mentioned above that would relish a price drop!). So, really not many people would lose out.

Interesting don’t you think?

Rugby Property Market – Which Houses are Actually Selling?

Beast from the East, Russia, Facebook, Brexit, Trump, House prices up, House prices down … the Press is full of column inches on Brit’s favourite subjects of politics, scandal, weather and not forgetting (and I appreciate the irony of this!) the property market. As an agent belonging a national group of letting and estate agents, talking to my fellow property professionals from around the UK, the one thing that is immediately apparent is the UK does not have one property market. It is a hodgepodge patchwork (almost like a fly’s eye) of lots of small property markets all performing in different ways.  

… And that made me think … is there just one Rugby Property Market or many?

I like to keep an eye on the property market in Rugby on a daily basis because it enables me to give the best advice and opinion on what (or not) to buy in Rugby, be that a buy-to-let property for a Rugby landlord or an owner occupier house for a home owner.  So, I thought, how could I scientifically split the Rugby housing market into segments, so I could see which part of the market was performing the best and the worst.

I decided the best way was to split the Rugby property market into four equal size price bands (into terms of households for sale). Each price band would have around 25% of the property in Rugby, from the lowest in value (the Lowest Quartile or 25%) all the way through to the highest 25% in terms of value, the Upper Quartile.  Looking at the market, I have calculated that these are the price bands in Rugby are as follows:

· Lowest Quartile (lowest 25% in terms of value) … Up to £160,000

· Lower/Middle Quartile (25% to 50% Quartile in terms of value) …  £160,001 to £230,000

· Middle/Upper Quartile (50% to 75% Quartile in terms of value) … £230,001 to £325,000

· Upper Quartile (highest 25% in terms of value) … £325,001 Upwards

So, having split the Rugby Property Market approximately into four equal sizes, the results in terms what price band has sold (subject to contract or stc) the most is quite enlightening –

The best performing price range in Rugby is the middle market. As I would expect, the upper quartile (the top 25%) is finding things toughest. Interestingly for Rugby landlords, the lower market is also selling well, meaning there are plenty of Rugby landlords buying properties to add to their buy to let portfolios. Even though the number of first time buyers did increase in 2017, it was from a low base and the vast majority of 20 something’s cannot buy, so need a roof over their head (hence the need to rent somewhere).

It is a fact that British (and Rugby’s) housing markets have ridden the storms of Oil crisis in the 1970’s, the 1980’s depression, Black Monday in the 1990’s, and latterly the Credit Crunch together with the various house price crashes of 1973, 1987 and 2008. No matter what happens to us Brexit or anything else … unless the Government starts to build hundreds of thousands extra houses each year, demand will always outstrip supply … so maybe a time for Rugby landlord investors to bag a bargain?

Want to know where those Rugby buy to let bargains are?  Follow my Rugby Property Blog or drop me an email because irrespective of which agent you use, myself or any of the other excellent agents in Rugby, many local landlords ask me my thoughts, opinion and advice on what (and not) to buy locally … and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on those thoughts … would you?