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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?

At the start of 2007, there were 1,356 properties for sale in Runcorn, but by April 2008, when the credit crunch was really beginning to bite, that number had risen to 2,012 properties on the market at a time when demand was at an all-time low, thus creating an imbalance in the local property market.

Basic economics dictates that if there is too much supply of something and demand is poor (which it was in the Credit Crunch years of 2008/9) prices will drop. In fact, house prices dropped between 15% and 20% depending on the type of Runcorn property between the end of 2007 and Spring 2009.

However, over the last five years, we have seen a steady decrease in the supply of properties coming onto the market for sale and steady demand, meaning Runcorn property prices have remained robust. A stable housing market is one of the foundations of a successful British economy, as it’s all about getting the healthy balance of buyer demand with a good supply of properties.

Around the UK, over 85% of towns in the UK have seen an increase in the number of properties for sale from a year ago, stunting their local property markets. However, there were 777 properties for sale 12 months ago, and today that stands at 713, meaning there are 8% less properties for sale in Runcorn today than a year ago, meaning the property market is holding its own locally.

Even better news, since the Chancellor announced the stamp duty rule changes for first-time buyers (FTB), my fellow agents in Runcorn say that the number of FTB’s registering on the majority of agent’s books has increased year on year. That has still to follow through into more FTB’s buying their first home, however, with the heightened levels of confidence being demonstrated by both Runcorn house buyers and those potential FTB house buyers, I do foresee the Runcorn property market will show steady yet sustained improvement during the first half of 2018.

What does this mean for Runcorn landlords or those considering dipping their toe into the buy to let market for the first time? Landlords will need to keep improving their properties to ensure they get the best tenants. It is true demand amongst FTB’s is increasing, albeit from a low base, so that will play a small factor in demand. Even with the new landlord tax rules, buy to let in Runcorn still looks a good investment, providing Runcorn landlords with a good income at a time of low-interest rates and a roller coaster stock market.

If you are thinking of investing in bricks and mortar in Runcorn, it is important to do things correctly as making money won’t be as easy as it has been over the last twenty years. With a fewer number of properties on the market comes less choice. Don’t buy the first thing you see, buy with your head as well as your heart and don’t forget the first rule of buy to let investment…

I will tell you that first rule in a couple of weeks!