Monday, 1 June 2020

What we could say about the ROYAL TUNBRIDGE WELLS property market


Bringing Help, Hope and Happiness to Home Seekers in TUNBRIDGE WELLS

We share a message with all of you in TUNBRIDGE WELLS who have been going through these surreal times we’ve been experiencing.

There are plenty of things we could say right now.

We could tell you about the pent-up demand being unleashed on the TUNBRIDGE WELLS property market as activity surges.

We could spell out the measures we are introducing to ensure the safety and well-being of our clients, colleagues, and community now that estate agency is back up and running.

We could even give you an insight into what looks set to be a six-month window of property changing hands right up until Christmas.
Yes, we could share all this with you, but not yet.

Our Message to You

And that’s because there’s a more important message we want to get across to you and our community in TUNBRIDGE WELLS.

We want to thank you for doing your bit to fight Covid-19.

We want to show our gratitude to you whether you are maintaining social distancing, carry out essential work, supporting a local business or volunteering to help your neighbours.

We also want to thank you for the support, messages, and patience you’ve shown us as we get our business up and running again in what looks likely to be the ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable future.

Help – Hope - Happiness

It’s said there are three stages of a crisis – Help – Hope - Happiness.
The first is when the crisis/disaster happens and then its immediate aftermath – this is the stage when people need help the most.
Then as time passes, it enters the hope phase as we start seeing the light at the end of our collective tunnel. And as the news ar

ound the crisis becomes more positive, we step into the happiness phase as life returns to normal.

We continue to do all we can to help our community in TUNBRIDGE WELLS. And we believe we are beginning to step further into the hope phase of the Covid-19 crisis as places start to reopen, the infection rate falls, sport and cultural events slowly start again, and the news becomes more positive.

Good News

From a property market perspective, there’s hope in the air.
And happiness is out there in the form of serious buyers and tenants keen to move following months of forced inaction.

We hope at some point we’ll get the chance to help you find a new home you’ll be very happy in.
Thanks once again and if there’s any community or property matter, you’d like to have a chat with us about we’re just a phone call away.

From all of us at Martin & Co

Friday, 22 May 2020

The Lockdown Landlords of Royal Tunbridge Wells


 Despite Government regulations that have been in place since the 26 March 2020, where in-person viewings have been illegal, Royal Tunbridge Wells buy to let landlords have during that time been chomping at the bit to build their property empire by looking at buying additional properties to their buy to let portfolio.

There are plenty of investors who think nothing of legally committing to buying a property ‘off plan’ before it’s built – yet over the last few weeks, it has become the norm in the second-hand Royal Tunbridge Wells property market and they have now stolen a march and bagged some property bargains.

Normally, the face to face viewing is step one of the second-hand house buying process ... yet now it’s becoming the ‘new normal’ that have meant some Royal Tunbridge Wells agents are carrying out semi-professional video viewings or 360-degree video tours. Even homeowners are getting in on the act and managing a Facetime or Zoom video viewing by walking around their house with their mobile phone. 

Yet the Government announced on Wednesday, 13th May 2020 that the Estate & Letting Agency industry could reopen meaning people could view houses, visit agents and move home be they tenants, buyers, landlords or home sellers. This is all subject to general and specific social distancing rules, specific hygiene regulations and suitable PPE being used.

What has been happening in the last few weeks in the Royal Tunbridge Wells property market?

The average time between sale agreed and exchange/completion of contracts on a house sale (i.e. the keys and monies get sorted) is 17 to 19 weeks, which means buying today would mean you wouldn’t be getting your hands on the property until late September or October at the earliest. 

Spring is the time when most properties come onto the market, yet as one would expect, the number of Royal Tunbridge Wells properties coming onto the market has been somewhat reduced since lockdown as…

Only 27 Royal Tunbridge Wells properties have been
put up for sale in the last month

This reduction in supply of new properties coming onto the market, combined with this pent-up demand from both Royal Tunbridge Wells landlords and the ‘Boris-Bounce’, could in fact be good news for the Royal Tunbridge Wells property market, let me explain…

Rightmove stated that people going to their website initially dropped by 40% at the start of lockdown, yet now has recovered with a near doubling of people searching for properties with gardens (for both sales and renting). For many Royal Tunbridge Wells buy to let landlords (and in fact Royal Tunbridge Wells homebuyers), now is the very best time to do research into the Royal Tunbridge Wells property market. All the portals have access to 25 years of property sales with pictures, so you can compare and contrast what has happened to various different property types around Royal Tunbridge Wells to spot those under-priced bargains, meaning you can get moving quickly after lockdown.

Rather than feeling trapped or powerless, this time can be used fruitfully by Royal Tunbridge Wells buyers and Royal Tunbridge Wells sellers to get their ducks in a row

One of the biggest barriers in April was mortgage lending. In the early days of the pandemic, most mortgage lenders removed many of their best deals and enormously restricted their capacity. Currently though, we are seeing a revitalisation in the mortgage market. In May, with many mortgage products becoming accessible again for borrowers and with many mortgage companies integrating more digital processes (including Virtual Surveyor Mortgage Valuations in some cases) the mortgage market now has plenty of options available to those who are keen to obtain borrowing.

There is no doubt the Royal Tunbridge Wells housing market got off to a sturdy start in 2020. With Brexit at least partly resolved, the ‘Boris-Bounce’ was starting to take off. With Royal Tunbridge Wells house prices being robust and rental demand was high, the Royal Tunbridge Wells property market was already in a good place to deal with the subsequent Covid-19 issue.

I know there are a few doom mongers in the National Press spouting about a massive crash in the UK property market. There is a natural tendency for newspapers to latch onto the worst-case scenario in any economic forecast. Who can forget the country received similar projections in the lead-up to the 2016 Brexit vote with HMRC itself stating that UK house values would drop by at least 10% in the first 12 months should the UK vote for Brexit and 20% in two years! 

With the rollercoaster of the stock market in recent months, investing one’s money into good old-fashioned bricks and mortar has started to seem a good place again. 

Buying a property for investment means you have a tangible asset, something you can touch and feel (and understand). The returns from investing in property come from both capital appreciation and income from the rent, and yes whilst property values can go up as well as down, successful buy to let landlords are inclined to take a long-term view on their property investments. 
£992 per month
The average gross profit from a Royal Tunbridge Wells terraced/town house

To give you an example of the current buy to let returns, the average Royal Tunbridge Wells terraced/town house sells for £412,700. By taking the ‘The Mortgage Works’ BTL 5-year fixed rate of 1.64%, with only £5,094 in up-front fees, a 20-year repayment mortgage would cost you £1,246 per month or interest only mortgage would just cost £348 per month .... considering the average rent for a terraced/town house in Royal Tunbridge Wells is £1,340 per month ... even before management, tax, maintenance and other associated costs, that’s a decent gross profit (the £992 gross profit is an illustrative example using the interest only mortgage and the capital element would need repaying at the end of the term). 

Isn’t it funny the newspapers aren’t latching on to some reports to say the property market might go in the other direction? Remember – bad news sells newspapers!

So, should you wait to buy your Royal Tunbridge Wells buy to let investment?

Before you buy, consider factors like the strength of your financial future, your credit score and the current state of the property market and even more importantly, the state of the mortgage market. Look at the current interest rates, they have never been so low and deliberate the experts’ opinions and just as equally your own opinions as to whether Royal Tunbridge Wells property values are on the rise, will stay the same or are likely to fall.

Interest rates are at record lows, meaning borrowing money is cheap money now, so it may be a good time to buy, as you will pay a reduced cost for the pleasure of borrowing money to buy that investment. Yet, if you waited and Royal Tunbridge Wells property values are on the decline, it may be a good idea to wait, as you could end up getting a better deal on the same type of home, yet if that happens, access to the cheap finance might dry up (meaning you could save some purchase price, but the cost of borrowing could go up). It can be very hard to accurately predict what interest rates or property values will do, so these shouldn’t be deciding factors – but they are worth considering.

So, what will happen to the Royal Tunbridge Wells (and UK) property market?

To be honest – nobody knows. What I do know is the Swine Flu in 2009 caused some volatility in the UK property market, but the market stabilised within months. Even in disaster scenarios such as the current one, property remains comparatively stable and will continue to be one of the best places to invest in. 

Yes, we could see unemployment rise in the next 6 months (yet the Furlough Scheme has been extended until the autumn) and historically, it has been proved house price falls are not caused by high unemployment; yes GDP will drop drastically because of lockdown yet it could bounce back like it has in China; yes, the number of property transactions will drop, yet that will only really effect the pockets of Royal Tunbridge Wells removal people, Royal Tunbridge Wells solicitors & estate agents and the Chancellor of the Exchequer in lost stamp duty receipts; yes there is £82bn worth of property sales on ice during this lockdown (some of which might not complete) ... it’s all ifs, buts and maybes.

Calamity changes things: with every predicament, humanity shifts to become more productive - it’s the way it’s always been

The national debt at the end of the Napoleonic Wars of 1815 in today’s money was an eye watering £4,421,000,000,000 (£4.42 trillion) and even with the eye watering borrowing to fund Covid-19, it stands at £1,821.3 trillion – we have been here before and we came out stronger.

The Bank of England failed in 1825, yet we recovered stronger, the Great Depression of the 1930’s cut the Stock Market by 90%, yet we recovered, WW2 took national debt to 200% of GDP like it had in the Napoleonic Wars in the early 1800’s – yet we recovered, the oil crisis quadrupled oil prices in the 1970’s – and we came back …. the list goes on with hyper-inflation in the 1970s of 25%, mass unemployment in the 1980’s, Black Monday in 1987, Dot-com bubble in 2001 and credit crunch in 2008/9.  

With every economic crisis, the long-term effects of them make people look at their decision making differently

The simple fact is for decades, demand for homes has outstripped supply – hence why property values have remained so robust. People are living longer (71.1 years in 1960 and 81.1 years nowadays), the mass exodus of EU nationals has not taken place since Brexit and the birth rate has increased by 9.1% since the Millennium, which means since 2000, the country has needed at least 240,000 households more per year to satisfy the demand. On average, we have only built 150,000 households a year, meaning we have a shortfall of 90,000 households each year for 20 years … a true shortfall of 1.8m households ... and until we start building anything over that 240,000 requirement … demand will always outstrip supply – and we all know what happens to prices when that happens!

The Soothing Power of TUNBRIDGE WELLS’S Pets During Lockdown

How the pets of TUNBRIDGE WELLS are helping people in lockdown.

In this two-minute read, we look at the ways pets are bringing comfort, companionship, and calmness to people across TUNBRIDGE WELLS. And what you can do to help your furry friends in return.

It’s often said the UK is made up of animal lovers.

And since the lockdown began that love affair has grown even stronger.

According to a 2019 survey by a company called Statista, more than 40 per cent of households across the UK own pets.

Dogs and cats are the most popular, but also rabbits, turtles, indoor birds and even snakes are being kept in their thousands.

And here are four fabulous reasons why our furry friends (and all the others) are good for us, especially in lockdown.

1) During lockdown walking the dog has become an outlet for extra exercise and breaking the monotony of being stuck indoors.

2) Pets of all shapes and sizes have been providing much-needed companionship for many of us who are self-isolating or social distancing.

3) Stroking a dog, cat, or other animals has been proven to lower blood pressure and help you feel calmer, less stressed and more content.

4) Being playful with your pet increases your levels of the chemicals serotonin and dopamine, which create feel-good sensations in your brain.

For many pets, dogs, in particular, the period of lockdown has been enjoyable as they have had longer than usual walks, more cuddles, and a lot more attention from their owners and families.

But some animals, including our canine chums, need a little extra care during this uncertain period.

The renowned Battersea Cats and Dogs Home has issued advice for owners and people caring for animals during lockdown who are facing difficult circumstances. The link is at the end of this article.

From a property perspective, if you are selling or letting your property now, it’s advised that cats and dogs are kept away from anyone who is viewing it, just to be on the safe side.

At Martin & Co we want all our clients and community to know we are taking every possible step to protect people (and their pets) as we go about our work safely and sensibly.

We’d love to see photos of your handsome hounds, cute cats, happier hamsters, and any other types of pets that are helping you raise a smile during the lockdown.

Thanks for reading, and we hope you and your beloved pets stay safe and well.


PS: Here’s that link: https://www.battersea.org.uk/pet-advice/how-care-your-pets-if-youre-ill-or-have-self-isolate-due-coronavirus

Friday, 8 May 2020

The Rights, Obligations & Responsibilities of the 2,167 Royal Tunbridge Wells Landlords & 5,353 Tenants During the Virus Outbreak

The last three or four weeks, unquestionably, have been one of the most life-changing times we have seen since WW2. The imminent threat of the Coronavirus has taken over the world, the UK and Royal Tunbridge Wells and will challenge you, our families, our relationships and test us all.

The drive of this worldwide action of social distancing is not just to stop you from getting ill with the virus; the bigger drive is to slow down the development of this virus so the NHS will not become overwhelmed with those who are most likely to need hospital care. Yet the issue of social distancing has certainly raised many questions around the landlord/tenant/agent relationship, so in this article I wanted to share with all the 2,167 Royal Tunbridge Wells landlords their rights, obligations and responsibilities to their Royal Tunbridge Wells tenants. I also wanted to highlight the rights, obligations and responsibilities of the 5,353 Royal Tunbridge Wells tenants in return.

These will be trying times for Royal Tunbridge Wells’ landlords and Royal Tunbridge Wells’ tenants alike, so let’s start…

A landlord has the responsibility to ensure the property is fit for habitation, so what if the Royal Tunbridge Wells landlord/agent is incapable of undertaking an emergency repair (or say the annual gas safety check) because the tenant is self-isolating or actually has the virus? The answer is the landlord should use their best efforts to fix the problem if it’s an urgent repair, yet if the landlord/agent are unable to do so they should record this fact and that it is related to the Coronavirus epidemic. One should then re-try as soon as is possible and appropriate, having full respect for information on self-isolation, personal-safety and social-distancing and ensure that you make a written note for future issue. My advice is that you or your agent (as we are with our Royal Tunbridge Wells tenants) need to uphold good lines of communication with the tenants touched by these current circumstances, so they are clear on what action you are taking and the timescales for this. 

Yet at the same time, there will be very few situations in the coming weeks when the contractors who the landlord/agent use will also be in self-isolation, meaning a handful of  the 5,353 Royal Tunbridge Wells tenants might have to wait for repairs to be sorted. We have some excellent Royal Tunbridge Wells contractors with their own backup plans and so together we will use our best endeavours to find an alternative contractor to fix any issues. If your agent has issues, then maybe we can help – do call me. Yet whatever you do, if this occurs, document everything and that it is related to the Coronavirus epidemic.

The total rent paid by Royal Tunbridge Wells’ tenants
each month is £6,150,600
It’s true the UK government has demanded that building societies and banks give a three-month mortgage holiday to those landlords that are unable to make mortgage payments. This is not free cash, the mortgage payments are basically postponed with interest to be collected at the end of this crisis, meaning your obligation as a Royal Tunbridge Wells tenant to pay the rent still exists. HM Government is offering employers an 80% wage support with the furloughing to avoid having to make people redundant and the rent for your Royal Tunbridge Wells rental home will be treated in the same way as the landlord’s mortgage.

The average Royal Tunbridge Wells rental payment currently
stands at £1,149 per month

Therefore, if you are incapable of being able to pay your rent, it will still build up and accumulate during this virus predicament and you will need to start a payment plan to pay it back on top of your normal monthly rent.  So if your rent is £1,149pm and you have already been living there for 2 months into a 12 month tenancy, there is still £11,490 to be paid over the next 10 months, so should you not pay anything for 3 months your rent would increase by 43% a month for the last seven months or you face eviction due to arrears (remember arrears have been put on hold – not removed during the virus outbreak). One option, subject to status and agreement by all parties, could be to renegotiate a new longer lease to pay off the arrears over a longer period. Again, the point here is communication from all sides – making sure there are no nasty surprises.

So, if you are in this predicament, there is a lot of help accessible from the HM Government including Universal Credit or Employment Support as soon as possible to escape any interruptions to your payments. Remember, your Royal Tunbridge Wells landlord will need proof of your Universal Credit or Employment Support claims to give to their mortgage company to be able to start the mortgage holiday, so my advice to all the 5,353 Royal Tunbridge Wells tenants is keep in contact with your agent to ensure your Royal Tunbridge Wells landlord doesn’t suffer any avoidable hardship (which ultimately may end up with your home being repossessed because the mortgage payments were missed because you were unable to furnish the landlord with your own claim documents).

Communication is the #1 priority here. Whilst most agent’s premises are closed including our own, all are open for telephone and email enquiries, with staff working from home. This is a fast-changing time for everybody, for the 2,167 Royal Tunbridge Wells landlords and 5,353 Royal Tunbridge Wells’ tenants correspondingly and we will be ever vigilant to oversee the financial and monetary backdrop in the coming months. 

These are going to be tough times for the people of Royal Tunbridge Wells (and the world), financially and mentally; yet together we will come out of this stronger. By working together, working in partnership, again keeping lines of communication open with regards to your finances and your housing, by keeping safe and protecting our families and most of all by being kind to each other ... we will get through this, a little battered and bruised – yet hopefully better human beings for it?


Friday, 24 April 2020

What Will Be the Effect of Covid-19 on the Royal Tunbridge Wells Property Market?

So now we are only a matter of a couple of weeks into lockdown, yet can you believe it I am still speaking with agents from all over the UK, and I do not jest, properties are still being sold and let even in these unprecedented times. Yet I would like to address the question I have been asked many times recently “What will be the effect of Covid-19 on the Royal Tunbridge Wells property market in the short, medium and long term?”

These are obviously unchartered times, yet we can look back in history to give us clues and more recently, the bounce back that is happening in China (and their property market). The Covid-19 situation will touch all parts of the Royal Tunbridge Wells and UK property market, and so in this article, I will be considering its impact on Royal Tunbridge Wells property prices, transaction numbers (i.e. the number of people that move home), Royal Tunbridge Wells buy to let landlords and finally tenants and the rents they pay.

The Three Issues with the Virus and the Property Market

The first issue has to be the lockdown itself. Limitations on society’s capability to go about their normal working life will hinder the house buying/selling process. The practical difficulties of moving home and expediting the property sale; from the viewing itself, the Energy Performance Certificate being carried out, the surveyor checking the property for the lender etc., are all issues. Yet the estate agency and legal industries are coming up with some innovative solutions, from virtual viewings to legally watertight delayed completions, where the old owners stay in the house under licence during the lockdown, and the move will take place after the lockdown period.

Secondly, the UK housing market has never liked ambiguity or uncertainty and this virus will play a part on people’s feelings and sentiment towards moving home (or not). 

Thirdly and finally, there is the issue with the money people have, be that wages, whether they have a job (or not) and their overall affluence, on the back of the 29.4% stock market decrease in the last two months (correct at the time of writing this article).
                   
The Background Economics

The economy drives everything including the housing market – and the overall measure of the economy is the Gross Domestic Product figure or the GDP (the GDP is basically the total value of all the goods and services created by the whole UK economy in one year and it currently stands at £2.15 trillion). 

Looking at what has happened in China, most economists believe the UK will experience a short, yet sharp economic shrinkage in Q2 2020 with GDP set drop by 4% to 7% in the one quarter depending on the extent of the lockdown. Then GDP is expected to level out in Q3 2020, and then a significant ricochet (how significant depends who you listen to) in Q4 2020/Q1 2021. 

Now putting politics aside, I have been impressed with Boris Johnson’s response with wide-ranging support for the UK economy and businesses, and whilst it’s far from perfect, help has been in the guise of the Bank of England reactivating its Contingent Term Repo Facility increasing liquidity and keeping the money markets going (important as that was what the issue was with the Credit Crunch), business grants and Government backed loans, together with telling lenders to take a compassionate line to those unable to make mortgage holidays and finally the furloughing of staff, thus allowing a quicker recovery in the economy.

What Will Happen to Royal Tunbridge Wells Property Values?

There are a few doom-monger economists predicting Armageddon, yet I feel a lot of that is to get column inches in the newspapers. The Royal Tunbridge Wells property market is less exposed than it was in the previous four historical property crashes in 1972, 1979, 1988 and 2008. This is because of the following reasons..

1.     Before each of the four crashes, there had been a significant upward spike in property values prior to the crash. We have not experienced that over the last 12 months.

2.     Mortgage interest as a percentage of household income (nationally) was a massive 32% in 1988, 18% in 2008 – yet now it stands at just under 8% (because interest rates are so low).

This is all assuming we don’t have high unemployment. Yet historically, it has been proved house price falls are not caused by high unemployment. It is in fact, that it happens the other way round, that a housing downturn can (not always) create unemployment - yet with the Government furloughing people – this shouldn’t be such so much of an issue.

The value of an average Royal Tunbridge Wells home currently stands at £520,600

As I will explain in the next section, the biggest effect will be on transaction numbers, not on property values. I suspect in the summer there will be some Royal Tunbridge Wells homeowners who will want to sell at all costs, and not care what price they achieve. Savvy property buyers will swoop on those properties and drive a hard bargain, meaning there will be some short-term localised reductions in what properties sell in the summer for those that want to sell at any cost.   

Yet, these reductions will artificially amplify the property value indexes in a downward direction in the autumn (the ones the newspapers mention when they talk about property value changes) because they will be based on the very low levels of property transactions that will take place in the summer (because there is always a lag). Interestingly we have seen this many times over the years because just about every spring for the last 20 years, we have often seen negative or very subdued figures in the House Price Indexes in the months of January/February. This is because of the lack of property sales on the run up to Christmas a few months before. To give this all some context, property values in Royal Tunbridge Wells are 42.9% higher than 10 years ago – and nobody was complaining about those. To give you an idea what that is in pound notes … 

The average Royal Tunbridge Wells home has risen in value by £156,200 in the last 10 years
The swiftness of recovery in the autumn/winter from that point will depend on the state of the wider economy. With the measures (mentioned above) implemented by the Government, household incomes should continue to remain steady, and whilst holidays and luxuries may be shelved for a year, those Royal Tunbridge Wells people who have been locked up in their Royal Tunbridge Wells homes for weeks on end, might just consider making that move later in 2020, taking advantage of the ultra-low interest rates. This in turn ought to encourage a return to sturdier levels of house-price growth in the medium term (2021/2 onwards).

The Number of People Moving Home in Royal Tunbridge Wells Will Significantly Drop in 2020

I foresee the number of people moving home (i.e. the number of household transactions) in Royal Tunbridge Wells will significantly drop in 2020. This will only really affect the pockets of Estate Agents (as they charge their fee when people move – so if less people are moving, they will earn less) and the people associated with house moving.

Even with virtual viewings and creative legal work, the number of property transactions will be considerably obstructed over the next couple of months. Interestingly, in the Chinese cities that removed the lockdown first (in the middle of March) I have read in the press the number of property transactions has already bounced back to around half of the medium-term average after only three weeks!

This was caused by people delaying their move because of the ‘B’ word (Brexit) over the last 12/18 months, which interestingly saw a massive upsurge with the Boris Bounce in December/January and February.

Worse case scenarios suggested by economists state transactions will drop to 20% of the normal 10 year average number of transactions until the end of Q3 2020, return to 65% by Q1 2021, increase to 100% by the end of Q2 2021 and then 120% in 2022, yet most sensible economists (and often those that stay out of the limelight and don’t go chasing headlines), believe transactions will reduce to 45% to 50% of the 10 year average until the end of Q3 2020, improve to 80% in Q4 2020 and 100% by Q2 2021 with potential for higher transactions numbers in the order of 110% to 130% in 2022. 

It all sounds rather grim doesn’t it, until you dig deeper…

Remarkably, it must be stated the number of property transactions over the last 12 months in Royal Tunbridge Wells are only at 63.2% of the 10-year Royal Tunbridge Wells average … and this was before Covid-19

In the last 12 months, there have been 864 property transactions in Royal Tunbridge Wells, compared to a 10-year average of 1,368 per year

Yet, let’s not forget, these predictions are from the 10-year long term average, and as it can quite clearly be seen, transaction levels are already at a low, even without Covid-19 and nobody was complaining about that apart from estate agents and removal vans!

With the number of Royal Tunbridge Wells people moving being held back, I would anticipate seeing a build-up of supressed demand for Royal Tunbridge Wells property from Covid-19, on top of the pent-up demand from Brexit, especially with many Royal Tunbridge Wells families realising their Royal Tunbridge Wells homes aren’t large enough to contain them as the lockdown experience will push many Royal Tunbridge Wells households to move in late 2020 or possibly 2021 …and as every economics student knows, when demand outstrips supply (because we can’t all of a sudden build more houses), prices go up.

How Will This Affect Royal Tunbridge Wells’ First Time Buyers, Those Trading up, Downsizers and Landlords & Tenants?

FIRST TIME BUYERS - I believe the banks will be a little more wary when lending money to first buyers with their need for large percentage mortgages. The demand for the Help-to-Buy Scheme has been increasing year-on-year, yet its pace of growth has been declining in the last couple years – I foresee demand accelerating in the later parts of 2020. There could be some good deals to be had from new homes builders looking to release cash in Q3 and Q4 later in the year? Maybe the Bank of Mum and Dad might be able to help, yet they too will be stretched, although they might be able to release equity down the generations to their children and grandchildren (see the downsizers section).

TRADING UP – Many Royal Tunbridge Wells homeowners in their starter homes will be going stir-crazy in their smaller homes, and with interest rates at ultralow levels, some Royal Tunbridge Wells homeowners might forgo holidays and entertaining, and consider putting their weight and finances into moving up market in Royal Tunbridge Wells. That might also be easier, if the Royal Tunbridge Wells downsizers start to move as well.

DOWNSIZERS – There are many Royal Tunbridge Wells retired people, rattling around their large Royal Tunbridge Wells home, with their children having flown the nest and possibly moved away years ago. These Royal Tunbridge Wells people don’t need to move, and so are considered ‘optional home-movers’ – yet the Covid-19 crisis could be the catalyst to make them finally move to be nearer their family around the UK – releasing good sized Royal Tunbridge Wells family homes onto the property market for the ‘Trading Uppers’ to buy.

LANDLORDS & TENANTS – I suspect there won’t be many Royal Tunbridge Wells tenants moving in the next three to four months. Tenants have the peace of mind with a cessation on evictions until the summer and buy-to-let mortgage payment holidays for buy-to-let landlords whose tenants are in financial difficulty (note the tenants have to give proof to their landlord that they are unable to pay with their applications to Universal Credit etc., etc.,). There might be small reductions in average rents, as some Royal Tunbridge Wells landlords undertake to help their tenants in these chastened financial times, yet for most people, rents will continue to be paid, making no major impression on rental prices in 2020.

Let’s not forget, the level of average rents is directly related to tenants wages and I can’t see why this relationship between rents and tenants wages should break after Covid-19, so as wages are held back in the latter parts of 2020 the growth rents over the next year will be subdued. Finally, those Royal Tunbridge Wells buy-to-let landlords sitting on cash might be able to bag a bargain in the summer from a desperate seller, before normality returns in Q3 and Q4 2020.

Conclusion

We are in unchartered territory, yet for the reasons explained in this article and, assuming there are no other seismic shocks in the coming weeks and months – in a few years’ time – this will be seen as a bump (albeit a rather big bump)  - another part of the roller coaster ride of the UK and Royal Tunbridge Wells property market.



Thursday, 12 March 2020

Royal Tunbridge Wells Property Values rise by 402% since 2000

As soon as people find out I am an agent in the property game, I nearly always get asked “Tell me what is happening to the Royal Tunbridge Wells Property Market”, and the answer isn’t always the same or indeed what they want to hear.

To start with, it really does depend on whether you are a buyer or seller. The property market in Royal Tunbridge Wells (like in all parts of the UK) swings like a pendulum between being a seller’s market or a buyer’s market yet, unless you are a Royal Tunbridge Wells first time buyer, Royal Tunbridge Wells buy to let landlord or executors selling a deceased persons estate, the vast majority of the time, people are both (i.e. they are selling to buy on).

The balance of power/negotiating power ultimately depends on simple supply and demand economics. Low supply (i.e. number of properties on the market) and high demand (i.e. large number of buyers) for any product or service (including your Royal Tunbridge Wells property) means prices tend to go up and high supply and low demand would mean prices tend to go down.

Yet supply and demand isn’t the only issue. Location is as important as the type of property and where it sits on the property ladder (i.e. is it at the lower, middle or upper end of the property market when it comes to size, type, price etc.).

Interestingly, the Government have released lots of data about the Royal Tunbridge Wells property market and, after many hours of number crunching, I have found some interesting trends. Whilst most stats look at the overall average of property values/prices, The Office of National Statistics (ONS), also likes to look at the bottom 10% of the market and the bottom 25% of the market.

It’s called the property ladder for a good reason, and the health of the whole Royal Tunbridge Wells property market is very dependent on those bottom rungs of the ladder.

Therefore, three sets of data are segmented as follows, based on the statistics given by the ONS ..

1.     Lower 10th Percentile of the Royal Tunbridge Wells housing market – i.e. the bottom 10% in terms of value of properties sold – e.g. small apartments and ex-local authority properties in the less popular areas which mainly attract buy to let landlords.
2.     Lower Quartile of the Royal Tunbridge Wells housing market – i.e. lowest 25% of Royal Tunbridge Wells property in terms of value of properties sold e.g. starter homes, first time buyer homes and slightly more up market buy to let property.
3.     Overall Average of the Royal Tunbridge Wells housing market – which takes into account the whole market from the top to the bottom.

…. And if one looks at our figures for Royal Tunbridge Wells and the local authority as a whole, you can see the three different parts have performed quite differently.



The ‘Lower 10th Percentile’ and ‘Lower Quartile’ parts of the Royal Tunbridge Wells property market have been driven over the last 20 years by two sets of buyers. The first are landlord investors who fuelled the increase of private rented properties in Royal Tunbridge Wells. 

The other set of buyers in the ‘Lower 10th Percentile’ and ‘Lower Quartile’ Royal Tunbridge Wells property market are the first-time buyers (FTB), which over the last couple of years, has been in the ascendency. 

Looking at the stats themselves …


Lower 10th
Royal Tunbridge Wells percentile

(i.e. the bottom 10% of the property market)
Lower
Royal Tunbridge Wells Quartile

(i.e. the bottom 25% of the property market)
Overall Royal Tunbridge Wells Average
2000
£56,900
£74,900
£91,800
2019
£210,000
£280,000
£460,800

You might ask, what do all these different figures mean to Royal Tunbridge Wells’ homeowners and Royal Tunbridge Wells’ landlords alike? Quite a lot – so let me explain. 

If we applied the best percentage uplift figure (i.e. from the Royal Tunbridge Wells ‘Average’ market), to that Royal Tunbridge Wells ‘Lower 10th percentile’ housing market 2000 figure, the 2019 figure in the table above of £210,000, would have been £285,600 instead – quite a difference you must agree?

Every Royal Tunbridge Wells’ homeowner and Royal Tunbridge Wells’ buy to let landlord should learn from this information that there are many mini-property markets and not just look at the overall averages. When you comprehend there isn’t just one Royal Tunbridge Wells Property Market, but many Royal Tunbridge Wells “mini-property markets”, you can spot trends and bag yourself some potential bargains. 


There are so many bargains in the Royal Tunbridge Wells property market at the moment, especially for Royal Tunbridge Wells buy to let landlords looking to expand their property empire. Do feel free to give me a call or drop me a line if you would like to know where they are!