In 1979, more than 4 in 10 British people lived in a council house, yet today that figure is only 1 in 12, whilst according to Shelter 65% of families on the council house waiting lists had been on those lists for more than a year, and 27% had been waiting for more than five years.
Would it surprise you to know that in some parts of Runcorn, predominantly prosperous areas with high proportions of mature residents, the housing crisis is not one of supply so much as dispersal of that supply? Theoretically, in Runcorn there are more than enough bedrooms for everyone - it’s just they are disproportionately spread among the population, with some better-off and more mature households living in large Runcorn homes with many spare bedrooms, and some younger Runcorn families being overcrowded.
The balancing act of being a Runcorn buy to let landlord is something many do well at. Talking to numerous Runcorn landlords, they are very aware of their tenants’ capability to pay the rent and their own need to raise rents on their rental properties. Despite the perceived dark clouds of Brexit, evidence suggests many landlords feel more confident than they were in the summer and autumn of 2018 about aiming to push rents higher on their Runcorn buy to let properties.
One of the key factors of the health of the Runcorn property market is the number of properties for sale at any one time. The issue with housing is that when demand goes up, unlike with a chocolate bar factory, who can add a couple of hours overtime to increase supply/production to satisfy demand, it takes a good 18 months to two years from planning permission to someone moving into a home. I have talked at length (and proved) in previous articles that we are still not building enough homes in the long term in the Runcorn area, yet for the short term, a good indicator is the number of properties for sale and how long they have been on the market.
If you have been reading my articles on the Runcorn property market recently, you will see that in the three years since the referendum of the 'B' word (that word is banned in our household), we have proved beyond doubt that it has had no effect on the Runcorn property market nor the UK as a whole.
Nationally, the number of new homes created in 2018 was 222,194, the highest since 1989. Since 2002, the average number of properties built in the UK has only been 146,700 per year. You would think, seeing all the new homes sites around, you could ask are we building too many houses, especially off the back of those impressive 2018 build figures? However, to keep up with the ever-growing population, lifestyles and people living longer, official reports state the country actually needs 240,000 new homes built every year just to stand still.
Many Runcorn people ponder the best places to invest their hard-earned savings, and the best piece of advice I can give you is to do your homework and speak to lots of people. It depends on your attitude to risk versus reward. Normally, the lower the risk, the lower the reward while a higher risk is typically associated with the possibility of higher returns, yet nothing is guaranteed. At the same time, higher risk also means higher possible losses on your investment - yet if one looks at the bigger picture, the biggest threat to investing, predominantly when the investment is made in the short term, isn’t risk but actually volatility.
Moving home is said to be the third most stressful life event, following a member of your family dying or getting divorced. So it is always best to keep your stress levels down by investigating and doing your homework on both the particular area of Runcorn (or nearby conurbations) where you live (i.e. where you are selling) and where you want to search for your next Runcorn home. Being mindful of how fast (or slow) the different aspects of the Runcorn property market is moving is key because it could save you much heartache and many thousands of pounds.
A handful of Runcorn landlords and homeowners have been asking me what would happen if we had another property crash as 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.
The proportion of 25 to 34-year-olds who own their home in Runcorn has nearly halved in the last 20 years. So what does this mean for all the existing Runcorn landlords and homeowners together with all those youngsters considering buying their first home?
Anyone would think that national news, especially when it comes to talking about the property market, is just focused on London. In fact, over the last five years, the London property market has really manipulated the UK on averages to such an extent that many lenders like the Halifax and Nationwide publish two indices, a national one without London and one with.
Bargains – well yes and no – and let me explain why. To find a bargain you need to know the ‘market,' yet there is not one ‘property market' in the UK. The British property market is like a fly's eye - it looks one single lens but is in fact split into lots of fragmented pieces, and the same goes for the Runcorn property market. In fact, it can even come down to two streets adjacent to each other; one street selling like hot cakes for top dollar while the next street can stick at comparatively lower prices (i.e., if there is a school catchment boundary or differing postcode).
A few weeks ago, I suggested property values in Runcorn would be between 0.3%and 1.1% different by the end of the year. It might surprise some people that Brexit hasn’t had the effect on the Runcorn property market that most feared at the start of 2018.
With the government preparing to control tenant's deposits at five weeks rent, Runcorn landlords will soon only be protected in the event of a single month of unpaid rental-arrears, at a time when Universal Credit has seen some rent arrears quadrupling, and that's before you consider damage to the property or solicitor costs.
The conventional way of categorising property in Britain is to look at the number of bedrooms rather than its size in square metres (square feet for those of you over 50!). My intuition tells me that homeowners and tenants are happy to pay for more space. It’s quite obvious, the more bedrooms a house or apartment has, the bigger the property is likely to be. And it’s not only the additional tangible bedrooms, but properties with those additional bedrooms tend to have larger (and more) reception (living) rooms. However, if you think about it, this isn’t so surprising given that properties with more bedrooms would typically accommodate more people and therefore require larger reception rooms.
For most people in Runcorn, a mortgage is the only way to buy a property. However, for some, especially Runcorn homeowners who have paid off their mortgage or Runcorn buy to let landlords, many have the choice to pay exclusively with cash. So the question is, should you use all your cash, or could a mortgage be a more suitable option?
As we go full steam ahead into 2019, it’s certain that the Runcorn housing market in 2018 was a little more restrained than 2016 and 2017, and I believe this will continue into 2019. Property ownership is a medium to long-term investment so, looking at the long-term, the average Runcorn homeowner, having owned their property since the millennium, has seen its value rise by more than 134%.
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 Runcorn peoples’ future pension incomes that are my immediate concern. The fact is that so many of the future retirees in Runcorn over the coming decade, who never bought their home in the millennial years of the 1990s and 2000s, will have to make some tough decisions regarding what house they live in when they retire anytime between now and 2038.
With constant advances in technology, medicine and lifestyles, people in the Runcorn area are, on average, living longer than they might have a few decades ago. As Runcorn’s population ages, the problem of how the older generation are accommodated is starting to emerge. We, as a town, have to consider how we supply decent and appropriate accommodation for Runcorn’s growing older generation’s accommodation needs while still offering a lifestyle that is both modern and desirable.
Read the national newspapers and they talk of doom and gloom in the British housing market with such things as strained buyer affordability (as property prices have increased over the past six years at a far faster pace than average salaries), a lack of new properties being built and the Brexit uncertainties over the last two and half years being blamed for the slow down. Yet in the last 12 months, people have still been moving, buying and selling in Runcorn at levels similar to the last six years. Something tells me we have a case of ‘bad news selling newspapers’.
Following on from my last article, if you recall I said that The Decks had the most properties sold in the WA7 Runcorn postcode, yet I felt that this information wasn’t telling the whole story, as some roads in Runcorn have more properties on them than others. Therefore, I promised that I would compare the average number of properties sold by the actual number of properties on that street, to find out the streets whose owners proportionally moved (or sold) more often than the rest of the locally
Many folks say moving home is the most stressful thing. Moving home is like someone collecting all your worldly goods, putting them into brown boxes on a lorry, making your whole life look like an Amazon delivery van, only to spend the next six months unpacking it all, whilst unable to find important things like your bank cards, ‘those’ shoes or special jewellery!
A few months ago, I wrote an article on Runcorn Property News about the length of time it took to sell a property in Runcorn and the saleability of the different price bands (i.e. whether the lower/middle or upper local property markets were moving slower or quicker than the others). For reference, a few months ago it was taking on average 49 days from the property coming on the market for it to be sold, subject to contract (and that was based on every Estate Agent in Runcorn). Today, it takes an average of 104 days. Does that surprise you with what is happening in the UK economy?
If you are one of the 952 Runcorn landlord’s that manages your own property, would it surprise you to know that there are 108 separate pieces of legislation that govern the rental of private houses to tenants? On top of the 108 pieces of law, there are a further 300+ regulations in the mix. While Runcorn landlords may once have preferred to manage their Runcorn buy-to-let properties themselves to boost their profits, many Runcorn landlords are starting to see this as a false economy.
What is it to be British? Our stubbornness, long-suffering stoicism, our vexation at injustice, our obsession with football and rugby? We are weather-obsessed, externally awkward, cautious, modest people while underneath seething like a volcano because someone jumped the queue! And our No.1 obsession is with the property ladder.
I have been asked a number of times recently what a hard Brexit would mean to the Runcorn property market. To be frank, I have been holding off giving my thoughts, as I did not want to add fuel to the stories being banded around in the national press. However, it’s obviously a topic that you as Runcorn buy to let landlords and Runcorn homeowners are interested in, so I am going to try and give you what I consider a fair and unbiased piece on what would happen if a hard Brexit takes place in March 2019.
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 just too hot to sleep at night, yet early indications were, that as the temperatures soared, the Runcorn property market appeared to be cooling ever so slightly.
The Runcorn housing market is a fascinating beast and has been particularly interesting since the credit crunch of 2008/9 with the subsequent property market crash. There is currently some talk of a ‘property bubble’ nationally as Brexit seems to be the ‘go-to’ excuse for every issue in the country. Upon saying that, looking at both what we do as an agent, and chatting with my fellow property professionals in Runcorn, the market has certainly changed for both buyers and sellers alike (be they Runcorn buy to let landlords, Runcorn first time buyers or Runcorn owner occupiers looking to make the move up the Runcorn property ladder).
I was recently reading a report by Rightmove that a North-South divide has started to appear in the UK property market, so I wanted to see if Runcorn was falling in line with those thoughts. In the North, there are 7.12% fewer properties on the market than 12 months ago, while in contrast, in the South, there are 14.7% more properties on the market than 12 months ago.
As we leave the memorably hot summer behind us, some interesting statistics have come to light on the Runcorn Property Market which will be thought-provoking for both homeowners and buy to let landlords alike.
Whether you are a Runcorn 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 Runcorn, independent research shows it is taking on average 49 days from the property coming on the market for it to be sold subject to contract.
There is no escaping the fact that over the last couple of decades, the rise in the number of buy to let properties in Runcorn 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, who have been daubed “generation rent” as landlords hoover up all the properties for their buy to let property empires. The 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.
The number of residential property transactions in Halton will be 12.9% lower in 2018, compared to 2017. According to my research, the seasonally-adjusted statistics for our local authority area suggest with the number of properties already sold in 2018, and the number of properties currently under offer or sold subject to contract (allowing for property sales to fall through before exchange of contracts) we, as an area, will end the year 12.92% lower compared to 2017.
Whether you are a Runcorn 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. One of the worst parts of the house selling process is not knowing how long you might be stuck in each step. At the moment, looking at every estate agent in Runcorn, independent research shows it is taking on average 104 days from the property coming on the market for it to be sold subject to contract.
This is great news for Runcorn first time buyers, and Runcorn 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 Runcorn 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.
Living in our own homes or owning buy to let property in Runcorn 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 Runcorn, consideration must be given to these markets, as directly and indirectly, they do have a bearing on us in Runcorn.
Over the last twenty years, there has been a shift in the way the Runcorn (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, 48.4% of Runcorn 25 to 29 years owned their own home (compared to 46% nationally (and 67.7% of Runcorn 30 to 34-year-olds in 2000 owned their own home – again compared to 64.2% nationwide) 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 25.8% of Runcorn 25 to 29-year-olds own their own home and 45.5% of Runcorn 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).
The current average value of a property in Runcorn currently stands at £148,250 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 five years), but to answer this question we need to go back over 40 years, to 1975.
should you, as a landlord for buy to let or for personal occupation, buy a brand-new home? Well, let’s start by looking at the numbers…
My analysis has shown that up to the end of the last quarter, Runcorn first-time buyers purchased 175 Runcorn properties. With wages rising at 2.8%, unemployment at a low rate of 4.2% (down from 4.6% from a year earlier and the joint lowest since 1975), national GDP rising at 1.87% and inflation at 2.3%, tied in with indifferent house price growth (compared to a few years ago), this has given first time buyers a chance to get a foothold on the Runcorn property market.
I am of the opinion that buy to let investment in Runcorn, in the long-term, will bring substantial returns for landlords, irrespective of latest regulation and tax changes. Taking a very conservative (with a small ‘c’) view, I believe landlords will see a projected net profit of £186,585 per property over the next 25 years through capital gains and rental. When inflation is taken into account that works out at £109,899 (in today’s money) or around £4,396 per year. The breakdown applies to a basic tax-paying landlord placing a characteristic 25% deposit on a £103,700 terraced/town house property.
I have been doing some research, looking both at national and regional reports on the demand and supply of property and people together with future projections on the economy, population and family demographics with some interesting results. According to the Office of National Statistics, in the last financial year nationally, private renting grew by 74,000 households, while the owner-occupied dwelling stock increased by 101,000 and social (aka council and housing association) stock increased by 12,000 dwellings.
And if it does… who will be the winners and losers? Those Runcorn 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!
There is good news for Runcorn buy to let landlords as ‘top of the range’ well-presented properties are getting really decent rents compared to a year ago; however, this rise in rents is thwarting many potential first-time buyers from saving for both a deposit and money for a rainy day. On top of this, there is also a shortage of Runcorn homes coming on the market thus adding fuel to the slowdown and affecting not just Runcorn first-time buyers but also those going up the housing ladder.
It’s been nearly 18 months since Sajid Javid, the Tory Government’s Housing Minister, published the white paper “Fixing the Broken UK Housing Market”. Meanwhile, Runcorn property values continue to rise at 3.5% (year on year for the council area), and the number of new homes being constructed locally bumps along at a snail’s pace, creating a potential perfect storm for those looking to buy and sell.
This discovery is an important foundation for my concerns about the future of the Runcorn property market – when you consider the battle that today’s twenty and thirty-somethings face to buy their first home and get on the property ladder. This is particularly ironic as these Runcorn youngsters’ are being born in an age when the number of new babies born to new homes was far lower.
t’s been nearly 18 months since Sajid Javid, the Tory Government’s Housing Minister, published the white paper “Fixing the Broken UK Housing Market”. Meanwhile, Runcorn property values continue to rise at 3.5% (year on year for the council area), and the number of new homes being constructed locally bumps along at a snail’s pace, creating a potential perfect storm for those looking to buy and sell.
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).
In my blog about the Runcorn property market, I mostly only talk about two of the three main sectors of the local property market, the ‘private rented sector’ and the ‘owner-occupier sector’. However, as I often stress when talking to my clients, one cannot forget the third sector, that being the ‘social housing sector’ (or council housing as some people call it).
The average asking price of property in Runcorn dropped by 2.2% (£4,288) compared to a year ago, taking the current average asking price to £191,684, compared with £195,972 this time last year. The overall drop in asking prices is being put down to sellers being more realistic with their pricing and looking to benefit from the impending mortgage interest rate rises later in 2018. This is great news for first, second and third time buyers in Runcorn starting their property hunting in the usually active spring market this year facing the opportunity of paying less for the property of their dreams. The even better news is that while first-time buyers also have to pay less for their property, they also have the bonus of the Chancellor stopping stamp duty being paid by first-time buyers!
However, this attention-grabbing monthly rent figure masks stark differences in the various parts of the Runcorn rental market. Demand in Runcorn for high-quality family homes with two or three bedrooms in good catchment areas for schools remains robust due to tenants wanting access to the schools. Other influencing factors that make certain areas popular are the proximity to transport links. However, I have noticed a drop in demand (and thus rents achieved) for property where the landlord hasn’t kept the property fresh; in terms of decoration, carpets, replacement windows and inadequate heating.
The 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 to 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 of lots of small property markets all performing in different ways.
As I have mentioned a number times in my local property market blog, with not enough new-build properties being built in Runcorn and the surrounding area to keep up with demand for homes to live in (be that tenants or homebuyers), it’s worrying to note that less Runcorn home sellers are putting their properties on to the market than a year ago… or is it a worry?
The value of all the homes in Runcorn has risen by more than 219% in the past two decades, to £3.323bn, meaning its worth more than the stock listed insurance services company Pheonix Group Holdings, which is worth £3.108bn.
Buying and selling a home in Runcorn isn’t the easiest or cheapest thing you will ever do. Estate Agent fees, Solicitors fees, Survey fees, Mortgage fees, Removal Van … the costs just mount up throughout every step of the move. Last week, a Runcorn landlord asked me whether the Council Tax Band made a difference to a property’s appeal, be it tenanted or to owner occupiers, when it comes to being sold on the open market and whether extensions or improvements made a difference to the tax banding?
The degree to which young Runcorn people are locked out of the Runcorn housing market has been revealed in new statistics. A Runcorn landlord was asking me the other week to what effect homeownership rates in Runcorn in the early to middle aged adult age range had affected the demand for rental property in Runcorn since the Millennium. I knew anecdotally that it affected the Runcorn rental market, but I wanted some cold hard numbers to back it up. As you know, I like a challenge when it comes to the stats.. so this is what I found out for the landlord, and I’d like to share them with you as well.
A little bit of good news this week on the Runcorn Property Market as recently released data shows that the number of first time buyers taking out their first mortgage in 2017 increased more than in any other year since the global financial crisis in 2009. The data shows there were 191 first time buyers in Runcorn, the largest number since 2006.
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 £655 per week) many families are bringing two households into one larger one.
According to the National House Building Council (NHBC), more than 16,900 new homes were registered to be built in the North West last year, an increase of 11.9% on 2016 levels of 15,100 dwellings. Great news when you consider it is one of the highest number of new builds in the region since the pre-recession levels of the Credit Crunch and the uncertainty of Brexit and the General Election.
That got your attention … didn’t it! But before we start, what is Generation X, let alone Generation Z, Millennials, Baby Boomers … these are phrases banded around about the different life stages (or subcomponents) of our society. But when terminologies like this are used as often and habitually as these phrases (i.e. Gen X this, Millennial that etc.), it appears particularly vital we have some practical idea of what these terms actually mean. The fact is that everyone uses these phrases, but often, like myself, they are not exactly sure where the lines are drawn …until now…
Yes, I said ‘rentirement’, not retirement … rentirement and it relates to the 397 (and growing) Runcorn people, who don’t own their own Runcorn home but rent their home, privately from a buy to let landlord and who are currently in their 50’s and early to mid-60’s. The truth is that these Runcorn people are prospectively soon to retire with little more than their state pension of £155.95 per week, probably with a small private pension of a couple of hundred pounds a month, meaning the average Runcorn retiree can expect to retire on about £200 a week once they retire at 67.
As I am sure you are aware, one the best things about my job as an agent is helping Runcorn landlords with their strategic portfolio management. Gone are the days of making money by buying any old Runcorn property to rent out or sell on. Nowadays, property investment is both an art and science. The art is your gut reaction to a property, but with the power of the internet and the way the Runcorn property market has gone in the last 11 years, science must also play its part on a property’s future viability for investment.
As we go headlong into 2018, I believe UK interest rates will stay low, even with the additional 0.25% increase that is expected in May or June. That rise will add just over £20 to the typical £160,000 tracker mortgage, although with 57.1% of all borrowers on fixed rates, it will probably go undetected by most buy-to-let landlords and homeowners. I forecast that we won’t see any more interest rate rises due to the fragile nature of the British economy and the Brexit challenge. Even though mortgages will remain inexpensive, with retail price inflation outstripping salary rises, it will still very much feel like a heavy weight to some Runcorn households.
Looking at the newspapers between Christmas and New Year, it seemed that this year’s sport in the column inches was to predict the future of the British housing market. So to go along with that these are my thoughts on the Runcorn property market. With the average 5-year fixed rate mortgage at 1.98% (down from 3.47% in 2014) and 2-year fixed rate at 1.47% (down from 2.37% in 2014), mortgage interest rates offered by lenders are at an all-time low (even with the slight increase on the Bank of England base rate a few months ago). Added to this, there has been a low unemployment rate of 5.3% in Runcorn, which has contributed to maintain a decent level demand for property in Runcorn in 2017 (interestingly – an impressive 649 Runcorn properties were sold in last 12 months), whilst finally, the number of properties for sale in the town has remained limited, thus providing support for Runcorn house prices, meaning …
I was recently reading a report by the Home website which suggested that hordes of landlords are selling their buy-to-let investments due to increasing burdens on them in the buy-to-let market. Their findings suggest the number of new properties that came onto the market nationally (for sale) jumped by 11% across the UK as a result. Those increasing burdens include new tax rules coming in over the next 3 to 4 years and the announcement that all self-managing landlords (i.e. landlords that don’t use a letting agent to look after their buy-to-let property) will soon need to register with a compulsory redress scheme to resolve tenant arguments and disputes; as Westminster wants to heighten standards in the Private Rented Sector.
Talk to many Runcorn 20 something’s, where home ownership has looked but a vague dream, many of them have been vexatious towards the Baby Boomer generation and their pushover ‘easy go lucky’ walk through life; jealous of their free university education with grants, their eye watering property windfalls, their golden final salary pensions and their free bus passes. If you had bought a property in Runcorn for say £12,000 in first quarter of 1977, today it would be worth £181,874, a windfall increase of 1415.6%.
My research shows that certain types of Runcorn property are more affordable today than before the 2007 credit crunch. Roll the clock back to 2007 just before the credit crunch hit which saw Runcorn property values plummet like a lead balloon and the Runcorn property market had reached a peak with the prices for Runcorn property hitting the highest level they had ever reached. Between 2008 and 2010, Runcorn property values lay in the doldrums and only started to rise in 2011, albeit quite slowly to begin with.
Well the fallout from the recent Budget is still continuing. I was chatting to a couple of movers and shakers from the Runcorn area the other day, when one said, “There isn’t enough land to build all these 300,000 houses Philip Hammond wants to build each year”. …and if you read the Daily Mail, you would be forgiven for thinking the Country was at bursting point … or is it?
I remember the days of George Osborne as Chancellor, with his hardhat and hi-vis jacket. He must have visited every new home building site in the UK with his trademark attire! For the last few years, the nearest Philip Hammond got to donning a ‘Bob the Builder’ outfit was at his grandchild’s birthday party. However, with what appears to be a change in focus by the Tories to ensure they get back in power in 2022, they appear to have fallen in love with house building again with the Chancellor’s promise to create 300,000 new households in a year.
It’s now been a good 12/18 months since annual rental price inflation in Runcorn peaked at 1.9%. Since then we have seen increasingly more humble rent increases. In fact, in certain parts of the Runcorn rental market over the autumn, the rental market saw some slight falls in rents. So, could this be the earliest indication that the trend of high rent increases seen over the last few years, may now be starting to buck that trend? Well, possibly in the short term, but in the coming few years, it is my opinion Runcorn rents will regain their upward trend and continue to increase as demand for Runcorn rental property will outstrip supply, and this is why.
Runcorn homeowners will be among those affected by the latest rise in the Bank of England interest rates. The first increase in 10 years; they have just been raised from 0.25 percent to 0.5 per cent. This uplift comes as inflation hits a 51-month high of 2.9 per cent whilst the national unemployment rate is at an all-time low of 4.3 per cent.
As the winter months draw in and the temperature starts to drop, keeping one’s home warm is vital. Yet, with the price of gas and electricity rising quicker than a Saturn V rocket and gas, oil and electricity taking on average 4.4% of a typical Brit’s pay packet (and for those Brit’s with the lowest 10% of incomes, that rockets to an eye watering 9.7%), whether you are a tenant or homeowner, keeping your energy costs as low as possible is vital for the household budget and the environment as a whole.
I had the most interesting conversation the other day with a local Runcorn accountant, who asked me about my articles on the Runcorn property market. It was quite humbling to be given praise by such a professional, when he commented enthusiastically on the articles I write. He was particularly interested with the graphs, facts and figures contained within them – so much so he recommended his clients read them, as most of them were either Runcorn homeowners, Runcorn landlords and a lot of the time - both. However, one question that kept me on my toes was, “With so many House-Price-Indices, how do you know which one to use and how can you calculate what is exactly happening in Runcorn?”
In the credit crunch of 2008/9 the rate of home moving plunged to its lowest level ever. In 2009 the rate at which a typical house would change hands slumped to only once every 38 years. The biggest reason being that confidence was low and many homeowners didn’t want to sell their home as Runcorn property prices plunged after the onset of the financial crisis in 2008. However, since 2009, the rate of home moving has increased (see the table and graph below), meaning today: The average period of time between home moves in Runcorn is now 20 years.
As I mentioned in a previous article, the average house price in Runcorn is 4.45 times the average annual Runcorn salary. This is lower than the last peak of 2008, when the ratio was 4.73. A number of City commentators anticipated that in the ambiguity that trailed the Brexit vote, UK (and hence Runcorn) property prices might drop like a stone. The point is - they haven’t.
Moving to a bigger home is something Runcorn people with growing young families aspire to. Many people in two bedroom homes move to a three-bedroom home and some even make the jump to a four-bed home. Bigger homes, especially three-bed Runcorn homes are much in demand and it can be a costly move.
The mind-set and tactics you employ to buy your first Runcorn buy to let property needs to be different to the tactics and methodology of buying a home for yourself to live in. The main difference is when purchasing your own property, you may well pay a little more to get the home you (and your family) want, and are less likely to compromise. When buying for your own use, it is only human nature you will want the best, so that quite often it is at the top end of your budget (because as my parents always used to tell me – you get what you pay for in this world!).
I was having a lazy Saturday morning, reading through the newspapers at my favourite coffee shop in Runcorn. I find the most interesting bits are their commentaries on the British Housing Market. Some talk about property prices, whilst others discuss the younger generation grappling to get a foot-hold on the property ladder with difficulties of saving up for the deposit. and others feature articles about the severe lack of new homes being built (which is especially true in Runcorn!). A However, a group of people that don’t often get any column inches however are those existing homeowners who can’t move!
Jason Cox, 37-year-old father of two from Runcorn, was out house hunting. It was a pleasant August Saturday afternoon, and our man cycles along on his bike. He cycles up a street of suburban semis, where he spots a few retired mature neighbours, chatting to each other over the garden fence. He leans his bicycle against a lamppost and launches softly into his property search.
My thoughts to the landlords and homeowners of Runcorn… The tightrope of being a Runcorn buy-to-let landlord is a balancing act many do well at. Talking to several Runcorn landlords, they are very conscious of their tenants’ capacity and ability to pay the rent and their own need to raise rents on their rental properties (as Government figure shows ‘real pay’ has dropped 1% in the last six months). Evidence does suggest many landlords feel more assured than they were in the spring about pursuing higher rents on their properties.
The most recent set of data from the Land Registry has stated that property values in Runcorn and the surrounding area were 4.48% higher than 12 months ago and 13.82% higher than January 2015. Despite the uncertainty over Brexit as Runcorn (and most of the UK’s) property values continue their medium and long-term upward trajectory. As economics is about supply and demand, the story behind the Runcorn property market can also be seen from those two sides of the story.
“What’s happening to the Runcorn Property Market” is a question I am asked repeatedly. Well, would it be a surprise to hear that my own research suggests that there isn’t just one big Runcorn property market – but many small micro-property markets? According to recent data released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), I have discovered that at least three of these micro-property markets have emerged over the last 20+ years in the town.
As the dust starts to settle on the various unread General Election party manifestos, with their ‘bran-bucket’ made up numbers, life goes back to normal as political rhetoric on social media is replaced with pictures of cats and people’s lunch. Joking aside though, all the political parties promised so much on the housing front in their manifestos, should they be elected at the General Election. In hindsight, irrespective of which party, they seldom deliver on those promises.
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.
According to my research, of the 26,347 properties in Runcorn, 9,887 of those properties have mortgages on them. 91.9% of those mortgaged properties are made up of owner-occupiers and the rest are buy to let landlords (with a mortgage). … but this is the concerning part .. 2,135 of those Runcorn mortgages are interest only. My research also shows that, each year between 2017 and 2022, 26 of those households with interest only mortgages will mature, and of those, 6 households a year will either have a shortfall or no way of paying the mortgage off. Now that might not sound a lot – but it is still someone’s home that is potentially at risk.
Well last week’s article “The Unfairness of the Runcorn Baby Boomer’s £1,279,480,000 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 Runcorn. They claimed the older generation had seen the benefit of the cumulative value of Runcorn properties significantly increasing over the last 25/30 years (which I calculated at £1.28bn 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 Runcorn housing market.
Recently I was having a chat with one of my relatives at a big family get-together. The last time I had seen them their children were in their early teens. Now their children are all grown up, have partners, dogs and children. Wow – how time flies! So, I got talking over a glass of lemonade with my relative and a couple of their children, about the times of 15% interest rates and how the more mature members of our family had to endure the 3 day week, 20% inflation and the threat of nuclear annihilation in 4 minutes .. so, foolishly, I said what with all the opportunities youngsters had today, they had never had it so good!
50 years ago, in 1967, the first human heart transplant was performed by Dr Christian Barnard in South Africa. In the same year Sweden switched from driving on the left-hand side to the right-hand side of the road. The average value of a Runcorn property was £1,847, interest rates were at 5.5% and The Beatles released their Sgt Peppers album ... but what has that to do with the Runcorn property market today?? Quite a lot actually ...
On several occasions over the last few months, in my Runcorn 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 Runcorn for new tenancies only grew by 0.9% 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 Runcorn, an interesting pattern emerges ..
As a landlord myself, this is an article very close to my heart as in November 2015, George Osborne disclosed plans to restrain the buy-to-let (BTL) market, implying its growing attractiveness was leaving aspiring first time buyers contesting with landlords for the restricted number of properties on the market. One of things he brought in was that tax relief on BTL mortgages would be capped, starting in April 2017
Should you buy or rent a house? Buying your own home can be expensive but could save you money over the years. Renting a property through a letting agent or private landlord offers less autonomy to live by your own rules, with more flexibility if you need to move. Yet, there is third way that many people seem to forget, yet it plays an important role in the housing of Runcorn people. Collectively known as social housing, it is affordable housing, which is let by a housing association to those considered to be in specific need, at rents below those characteristic in the private rental market.
I received a very interesting letter the other day from a Runcorn resident. He declared he was a Runcorn homeowner, retired and mortgage free. He stated how unaffordable Runcorn’s rising property prices were and that he worried how the younger generation of Runcorn could ever afford to buy? He went on to ask if it was right for landlords to make money on the inability of others to buy property and if, by buying a buy to let property, Runcorn landlords are denying the younger generation the ability to in fact buy their own home.
“How far do Runcorn people go to move to a new house?” This was an intriguing question asked by one of my clients the other week. Readers of my property blog will know I love a challenge, especially when it comes to talking about the Runcorn Property Market! For the majority, the response is not very far. It is much more common for homeowners and tenants in Great Britain to move across town than to the next town or county.
According to the Land Registry's latest House Price Index for Runcorn and the surrounding locality, the value of apartments/flats are rising at a faster rate than terraced/town houses and semi-detached properties. Values of apartments in Runcorn have increased by 8.78% over the past year, which is proportionally 9% more than the Runcorn average rise of 8.06%. The last time flats/apartments in Runcorn out performed all the other types of property, by this much, was back in the autumn of 2003. For comparison, the other property types performed as follows ..
As more babies are being born to Runcorn and Halton mothers, I believe this increase will continue to add pressure to the over stretched Halton property market and materially affect the local property market in the years to come. On the back of eight years of ever incremental increasing birth rates, a significant 4.02 babies were born for every new home that was built in the Halton council area in 2016. I believe this has and will continue to exacerbate the Halton housing shortage, meaning demand for housing, be it to buy or rent, has remained high.
In Runcorn, of the 26,347 households, 6,296 homes are owned without a mortgage and 9,081 homes are owned by a mortgage. Many homeowners have made contact me with asking what the General Election will do the Runcorn property market? The best way to tell the future is to look at the past.
So all cards up in the air! A general election will be on the books, but one thing is for sure ... whoever gets the job to deal with Brexit has a hard job on their hands (I'm just glad its not me!) As it currently stands, by not assuring the rights of EU citizens in the UK, Theresa May has squandered an opportunity to give peace of mind to our EU co-workers working and living in Runcorn (and the rest of the UK). No.10 Downing Street’s point of view is that in promising the rights of EU citizens in the UK, it will postpone the same guarantee to the 1.5 million UK citizens living in the other nations of the EU.
The Runcorn Property Market is a very interesting subject and has been particularly fascinating over the last 12 years when we consider what has happened to Runcorn rents and house prices. There’s currently much talk of what will happen to the rental property market following Brexit. To judge that, I believe we must look what happened in the 2008/9 credit crunch (and what has happened since)
A Runcorn homeowner emailed me last week, following my article posted in the Runcorn Property Blog about the change in attitude to renting by the youngsters of Runcorn and how they thought it was too expensive for first time buyers to buy in Runcorn. There can be no doubt that buy to let landlords have played their part in driving up property values in Runcorn (and the UK) and from that made housing a lot less affordable for the 20 and 30 somethings of Runcorn.
The next five years will see an interesting change in the Runcorn property market. My recent research has concluded that the rent private tenants pay in Runcorn will rise faster than Runcorn property prices over the next five years, creating further issues to Runcorn’s growing multitude of renters. In fact, my examination of statistics forecasts that ..
2017 has started with some positive interest in the Runcorn property market. Taking a snap shot of the Runcorn property market for the first quarter of 2017, the picture suggests some interesting trends when it comes to the number of properties available to buy, their asking prices and what prices properties are actually selling for.
Investing in Runcorn buy to let property is different from investing in the stock market or depositing your hard-earned cash in the Building Society. When you invest your money in the Building Society, this is considered by many as the safe option but the returns you can achieve are awfully low (the best 2-year bond rate from Nationwide is a whopping 0.75% a year!).
I had the pleasure of attending an event last week with lots of other estate and letting agents from around the country. It always makes me feel so blessed to live in the north west of England where yields on buy to let are so good. In other parts of the county yields are so much lower and landlords are having to get in to HMO's or serviced accommodation to get the yields we are accustomed to.
The Runcorn housing market has gone through a sea change in the past decades with the Buy-to-Let (B-T-L) sector evolving as a key trend, for both Runcorn tenants and Runcorn landlords. A few weeks ago, the Government released a White Paper on housing. I have had a chance now to digest the report and wish to offer my thoughts on the topic. It was interesting that the private rental sector played a major part in the future plans for housing. This is especially important for our growing Runcorn population.
Last week, I wrote an article on the plight of the Runcorn 20 something’s often referred to by the press as ‘Generation Rent’. Attitudes to renting have certainly changed over the last twenty years and as my analysis suggested, this change is likely to be permanent. In the article, whilst a minority of this Generation Rent feel trapped
The good old days of the 1970’s and 1980’s eh … with such highlights lowlights as 24% inflation, 17% interest rates, 3 day working week, 13% unemployment, power cuts ... those were the days (not)… but at least people could afford to buy their own home. So why aren’t the 20 and 30 something’s buying in the same numbers as they were 30 or 40 years ago?
4 bedroom bungalow, 109 The Uplands. Possible Yield of over 11%! SOLD FOR £55K. I was surprised to notice that a 4 bedroom bungalow on The Uplands had recently sold in the SDL auction on 22nd February for £55,000. I though those days of the bargain properties with a price tag beginning with a 5 were well and truly over so it certainly put a smile on my face on a wet and windy day. From the pictures in the auction catalogue it looked like it needed a full refurbishment, but even with a £10,000 renovation, it will still have made someone a great little investment property.
Starting with the bigger picture, over the last 12 months in the UK, 1,061,557 properties were sold with a total value of £223.74 bn. To give that some context, ten years ago 1,581,727 properties sold with a total value of £405.56bn, so it can be seen the number of people moving
As a buy to let landlord in Runcorn today, I feel a little bruised by the assault made on my wallet after being (and continuing to be) ransacked over the last 12 months by HM Treasury’s tax changes on buy to let. To add insult to injury, Brexit has caused a tempering of the Runcorn property market
Recent statistics published by the Office of National Statistics show that there are 267,704 private rented households in the Country that are occupied by people aged 65 and older, meaning 4.39% of OAP’s are living in private rented property.
It was late May 2016, The Right Hon. Member for Tatton, Mr George Osborne, published an official HM Treasury analysis stating UK house prices would be lower by at least 10% (and up to 18%) by the middle of 2018 compared with what is expected if the UK remained in the European Union. So, eight months on from the Referendum, are we beginning to show signs of that prophecy? The simple answer is yes and no.
“How much would it cost to buy all the properties in Runcorn?” This fascinating question was posed by my almost 14 year old daughter as we were chatting over the Christmas holidays (doesn’t that seem an age away now!). I thought to myself, that over the Christmas break
Now I am excited about this week’s buy to let deal I have picked for you, as soon as I saw it come up for auction. it’s a beautiful character building on Church Street in Runcorn town centre. Now, the reason this is such an attractive deal, is that it is currently tenanted until 2021 where it is let to a charity
An Englishman’s Home is His Castle as Maggie Thatcher lauded - everyone should own their own home. In 1971, around 50% of people owned their own home and, as the baby-boomers got better jobs and pay, that proportion of homeowners rose to 69% by 2001.
The property I have picked out for you this week is on the market with Edwards Grounds. I have had my eye on this for quite a while as for the size of accommodation on offer, it is a great price. It has been on the market since June but has now been reduced to £104,950. It offers 4 bedrooms to the
Can we blame the 55 to 70-year-old Runcorn citizens for the current housing crisis in the town? Also known as the ‘Baby Boomer Generation’, these Runcorn people were born after the end of the Second World War as the country saw a massive rise in births as they slowly recovered from the economic hardships experienced during wartime.
If you are looking to invest in the Runcorn property market, the house I have picked out for you this week is a 3 bedroom mid terraced estate home on the market with Edwards Grounds, for £69,950.
Well, it doesn’t seem like two minutes ago that it was Christmas – and now it’s all over! One cold December morning, after arranging the office’s Christmas cards I thought I would nip out for a quick festive hot chocolate and cake at my favourite local coffee shop The Bake House. I met an old client of mine in the coffee shop and we got talking about the Runcorn property market.
While Brexit has not yet had a sizeable impact on the Runcorn housing market, my analysis is pointing to the fact that the economic viewpoint still remains uncertain and Runcorn property price growth is likely to be more subdued in 2017 - although that isn’t a bad thing so let me explain.
Runcorn people aged over 65 currently hold more housing wealth in their homes than the annual GDP of the whole of the Orkney Islands … and this is a problem for everyone in Runcorn! Many retiree’s want to move but cannot, as there is a shortage of such homes for mature people to downsize into.
Well, hasn’t 2016 been eventful. The ups and downs of Brexit, the Queen’s 90th, Andy Murray winning Wimbledon, Trump, Bake Off to Channel 4 and something close to the hearts of every buy to let landlord and homeowner in Runcorn ... the Runcorn property market.
The semi-detached house with its bay windows and net curtains has long been ridiculed as an emblem of safe, lacklustre and desperately uncool suburban life; the homes of the likes of Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping up Appearances and more latterly Alan Partridge – but they could have the last laugh - having enjoyed the highest price growth of any property type in Runcorn, up by an average 245%
Figures just released by the Bank of England, show that for the first half of 2016, £128.73bn was lent by UK banks to buy UK property - impressive when you consider only £106.7bn was lent in the first half of 2015. Even more interesting, was that most of the difference was in Q2, as £68.12bn was lent by UK banks in new mortgages for house purchase, which is the highest it has been for two years.
With over 58 million views on Rightmove over the festive period, there has never been a better time to put your property on the market to let. Call into our office today to see how you can make the most of your investments.
“A pound saved is worth two pounds earned . . . after taxes” is what my Grandfather used to say. He loved his irony, yet was always a wise man, and it is tax I want to talk about today, in particular, property taxation .. Stamp Duty in fact. Apart from some minor exemptions, Stamp Duty is paid by anyone buying a property over £125,000 in the UK.
With our new Chancellor of the Exchequer revealing a ban on tenant fees in his first Autumn Statement on Wednesday what does this actually mean for Runcorn tenants and Runcorn landlords? The private rental sector in Runcorn forms an important part of the Runcorn housing market and the engagement from the chancellor in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement is a welcome sign that it is recognised as such.
Back in the Spring, there was a surge in Runcorn landlords buying buy to let property in Runcorn as they tried to beat George Osborne’s new stamp duty changes which kicked in on the 1st April 2016. To give you an idea of the sort of numbers we are talking about, below are the property statistics for sales either side of the deadline in WA7.
How's the Runcorn housing market doing? My husband John and I were reflecting last week. It is quite strange, let me explain... Even the Brexit vote has not significantly hindered Runcorn’s steady rise in property value, as Runcorn property values only went slightly down 0.89% last month, but still leaving Runcorn values 5.19% higher than a year ago.
The Runcorn Property Market continues to disregard the end of the world prophecies of a post Brexit fallout with a return to business as usual after the summer break. The challenge every Runcorn property buyer has faced over the last few years is a lack of choice – there simply hasn't been much to choose from when buying (be it for investment or owner occupation).
I was having a most interesting chat the other day with a Runcorn landlord when we were looking at a property. As I am sure you are aware, I am always happy to cast my eye over any potential buy to let purchase in Runcorn, be that you emailing me a Rightmove link, a brochure in the post or even treading the carpet and seeing it together. I don't charge for that, and you don't even need to be a client of mine.
I had an interesting chat the other day with a Runcorn landlord. He said he had been chatting with an architect friend of his who said back in the mid 2000’s, the developments he was asked to draw were a balance of one and two bed properties, compared to today where the majority of the buildings he is designing are more towards two and sometimes three bedrooms
You will be pleased to know that over the last month, the Runcorn property market has seen some interesting movement in house prices, as property values in the Halton Borough Council area rose by 0.7% in the last month, to leave annual price growth at 6.7%
Well its been a few months since Brexit and as we settle into the Autumn with Great British Bake Off, Strictly and the Football season ... the newspapers are returning to their mixed messages of good news, bad news and indifferent news about the Brit’s favourite subject after the weather ... the property market. The thing is the UK does not have one housing market.
Roll the clock back 35 years to 1981, and Mrs. T was in power, we had a Royal Wedding, Britain won the Ashes and Bucks Fizz won Eurovision with ‘Making your Mind up’ (I was only 7 but can remember it well). Haven’t things changed. The number of homeowners and property investors who said they wish they had hindsight and bought up every house in Runcorn all those years ago, especially when you consider what has happened to Runcorn property values, as… Runcorn Property Values since 1981 have risen by 648%
You might ask, what has the plight of the Runcorn savers to do with the Runcorn Property Market … everything in fact. Read the newspapers, and every financial wizard is stating that with the decision of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee in early August to cut the Bank of England base rate to an all time low of 0.25 per cent, savers should prepare themselves for interest rates to stay low well into the early 2020’s
I had an interesting chat with a Norton landlord who owns a few properties in the town. We had never spoken before (because he uses another agent in the town to manage his Runcorn properties) yet after reading my newsletter on the Runcorn Property Market, the landlord wanted to know my thoughts on how the recent interest rate cut would affect the Runcorn property market and I would also like to share these thoughts with you…
An interesting question I was thinking about is – “Are Runcorn Landlords meeting the Challenges of tenanted families bringing up their families in Runcorn?” Irrespective of whether you are tenant or a homeowner, to bring up a family,, the most important factors are security and stability in the home.
With Brexit and the fact immigration numbers will now be reduced in the coming years, there is an unending and severe shortage of new housing being built in the Runcorn area (and the UK as a whole). Even if there are short term confidence trembles fueled by newspapers hungry for bad news, the ever
Runcorn is already in the clutches of a population crisis that has now started to affect the quality of life of those living in Runcorn. There are simply not enough homes in Runcorn to house the greater number of people wanting to live in the town.
With the majority of properties in Runcorn having 3 or more bedrooms, does this create a problem or an opportunity. Find out our views here.
Although some have labelled it a governmental taxation ploy targeting landlords, there’s no denying that some good intentions form the backbone of the Landlord Licensing Scheme that came into effect across the Liverpool region on April 1st 2015.
During our journey as a professional residential lettings management company we have worked with a wide range of different landlords, from those renting out an individual property they inherited, to investors with a portfolio of property lets.
In the residential property lettings industry, it’s not uncommon to hear horror stories surrounding so-called tenants from hell. Making bad decisions over whom to let their cherished properties out to can result in landlords facing sizeable clean-ups, legal bills and the financial pain of having to restore a property back to its formerly admirable state.
As if landlords don’t already have enough on their plates, they are soon to be responsible for carrying out initial and subsequent periodic immigration checks on their tenants, under the ‘Right to Rent’ code of practice championed by the government.
Almost half of UK landlords will be affected by the government likely replacing the existing wear and tear allowance with a tax relief system from April 2016 onwards, according to research for the National Landlords Association (NLA).
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