Saturday, 27 December 2014

Royal Tunbridge Wells Property Market – What has 2015 got install for us?

I had an interesting chat with a landlord who uses another letting agent in the town after he popped into our offices for a coffee whilst his wife was doing some last minute Christmas shopping. We got taking about the Royal Tunbridge Wells market and thought other landlords might be interested.

You see, property values didn’t stop dropping in Royal Tunbridge Wells until June 2012 so after a strong run over the last 30 months, the ever upward drive of house price rises has started to turn with increases now at an almost standstill for the first time since the start of 2013. Now it could be said this easing of the housing market in Royal Tunbridge Wells can be attributed partly to the time of year (last year property values in Royal Tunbridge Wells dropped by 0.1% in November but recovered by 1% in February 2014), it is obvious that estate agents in Royal Tunbridge Wells are wary about the direction of the market as a result of the not as strong demand and fewer house sales.

With the uncertainty of a possible interest rate rise, new mortgage rules, a general election on the horizon and recent warnings of a house price bubble. Although the main indicators suggest that buyers will start to gain the upper hand, especially with the new stamp duty rules announced recently by George Osbourne. However, there are many homeowners who don’t need to sell and won’t bother unless it’s economically beneficial to do so, but most homeowners are homebuyers, so what they loose with one they gain with another.

This is all good news for landlords looking to buy rental property with the changes in stamp duty and later in 2015, the new rules regarding pensions, where you will be able to take money out of your pension pot to invest in property. However, at the same time, I would say don’t just buy any old property in Royal Tunbridge Wells. First time landlords need to be cautious. The doubling of house prices every seven to ten years which has taken place since WW2 doesn’t seem to have been seen since the mid 2000’s. The property market is shifting with more properties being built and restrictions put on mortgage lending, the likelihood of the property market increasing at the same levels as the past are questionable. But investing in property is also about receiving the rent.

On the one hand going for high yielding Royal Tunbridge Wells property to rent out seems an obvious choice, but high yielding property often doesn’t go up in value that well and in some circumstances doesn’t keep up with inflation, meaning in real terms you have a depreciating asset (I spoke about this a few months ago in ‘The Royal Tunbridge Wells Property Blog’ when comparing the Ramslye estate to Culverden, where property values in Ramslye Estate had only risen by 102% in last 13 years yet the property values in the  Culverden housing market had risen by 158%!)).

So surely you should pick a property that has great capital growth then, because of the obvious potential to generate long term capital profit, especially with inflation eating away at our savings. However, rental yields on high capital growth properties (in areas such as Calverley Park, the Warwick Park area and Speldhurst) tend to be low meaning if you are taking a high percentage mortgage, the rent doesn’t pay the mortgage payments.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Royal Tunbridge Wells Property Prices?

A number of landlords, who own property in Royal Tunbridge Wells, have made contact with me recently asking for my thoughts on the future of the buy to let market in Royal Tunbridge Wells. In previous articles, we have talked about Royal Tunbridge Wells’s history of rents, property values, tenant demand and yields; all important matters for a landlord, but we haven’t discussed the future.

Property values rose by 9.7% (Oct 13 to Oct 14) in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Good news all round, but when you consider property values in the city have previously dropped by 17.8% between February 2008 and April 2009, this is not as good as the media would have you believe.  It should be no great surprise to hear that Royal Tunbridge Wells property values are starting slow up as we head in to the New Year.  Property values in the city were growing at 1.3% a month in the summer months this year, but in October they slowed down considerably.

The reality is we have had a year and a half of decent market conditions in Royal Tunbridge Wells, but now all that pent up demand is starting to fade. The big question moving forward is whether the Royal Tunbridge Wells market will now be held back by affordability and restricted mortgage lending, and what long term impact this will have on the Royal Tunbridge Wells property market.

Looking at the UK as a whole, because we can’t look at Royal Tunbridge Wells in just its little own bubble, the recent rapid rise in house values in some parts of the UK in the early part of the year (especially in London), along with earnings growth that remain below inflation and the possibility of an interest rate rise over the coming months, appear to have tempered housing demand. This weakening in demand has led to a modest easing in both property price growth and sales. A moderation in growth looks likely into next year as supply and demand become increasingly better balanced.

Now with the General Election on the horizon, whichever Government takes power, they, along with the Bank of England, have a thorny job to do in balancing the expected rise in interest rates with the continued resurgence of the housing market, to ensure the property market doesn’t drop and drag down the economic recovery forcing people into selling their property at a loss.

However, back to Royal Tunbridge Wells, long term property values which track peaks and troughs are more helpful to landlord investors. The questions I seem to be asked on an almost daily basis by landlords are:-

·         “Should I sell my property in Royal Tunbridge Wells, or even buy another?”
·         “Is the time right to buy another buy to let property in Royal Tunbridge Wells and if not Royal Tunbridge Wells, where?”
·         “Are there any property bargains out there in Royal Tunbridge Wells?”

Many other Royal Tunbridge Wells landlords, both who are with us and many who are with other  Royal Tunbridge Wells letting agents, like to pop in for a coffee to  discuss the Royal Tunbridge Wells property market, how Royal Tunbridge Wells compares with its closest rivals (Sittingbourne, Maidstone, Rochester and Tonbridge), and hopefully answer the three questions above. I don’t bite, I don’t do hard sell, I will just give you my honest and straight talking opinion.

In the meantime may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2015.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Is the Royal Tunbridge Wells Property market a runaway train?

Some of my landlords invest for yield, some invest for capital growth (and some for a bit of both). Everyone is different; if you are a landlord in Royal Tunbridge Wells, who invests for capital growth as opposed to yield, it is crucial to look to build in capital growth in a property by getting a property at a discount or by finding a way to add value.

So, how can you get a discount in this property market, with Royal Tunbridge Wells property values alight and property being snapped up over night? Achieving capital growth in Royal Tunbridge Wells is going to be tough over the coming few years isn’t it? Well yes and no. Looking at the headline figures, of the 1,047 properties available for sale today in Royal Tunbridge Wells, 581 of them are sold subject to contract, an impressive 55.4% which is obviously a sign of a runaway Royal Tunbridge Wells property market? Well, no it isn’t. Don’t get me wrong it is a lot better than it was a few years ago, but there are still good property deals to be had.

We asked Rightmove for all of the properties that had come on to the market in the last 28 days (264 to be precise), after one month, how many of those 264 had found buyers .. less than one in five (51 to be precise or 19.3%). Look at the last 56 days (2 months) and of the 501 properties that have come on to the market in Royal Tunbridge Wells, only 179 have a sale agreed on them (or 35.7%) .. the property market is good but it’s not a runaway train, is it?

The main thing is that landlords must take as much advice as possible. They will need to take a long and serious look at any existing properties or new ones to make sure they can achieve capital growth and that this increases in line with inflation.  

We are able to look at the whole of the Royal Tunbridge Wells property market.  There are good estate agents and bad ones, but one thing is always the same,  they are all paid by a vendor to sell you a property, not paid by you to help you buy. Therefore, when they show you that bargain, don’t get pressured into buying a property until you have a good feel for the market. We have many landlords who send me a web link of any Royal Tunbridge Wells properties they are interested in and I always give my honest opinion. (It might not be what you want to hear, but it will always what you need to hear!).

If you would like to discuss my thoughts on the rental markets Royal Tunbridge Wells, feel free to pop into our offices on Vale Road or email me on

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Sherwood – the place to buy a buy to let?

One of the final chunks of census data has recently been released by the Government, and for those of you who like to look at RTW housing market, it is a treasure trove of information. Information is so important when making decisions on what (or not) to buy when investing in property. A few weeks ago, I was discussing the roads around Rustall and Showfield’s Road. Today, I want to look at the area around the Sherwood area on the North Eastern edge of Royal Tunbridge Wells. The census data allows anyone to look at the data for housing estates or areas, but even better down to individual roads. Such information allows us to weigh up potential hotspots in the rental market and show potential landlords where there could be an opportunity.

There are, in the Sherwood area of Royal Tunbridge Wells, 7,249 people living in 3,001 properties. It is the home ownership percentages that really got me interested, as it is this information, tied in with our intimate knowledge of the market, where we can match tenant demand to an under supply of rental properties.  Of those 3,001 households in Sherwood, 23.4% own their property without a mortgage (compared to the 32% Royal Tunbridge Wells average) and additional 29% households own their property with a mortgage (again the Royal Tunbridge Wells average is only slightly higher at 33.7% and that includes all the posh villages!).

However, the thing that surprised me was the low level of private rented property. Normally, when you have low percentages of home ownership, the renting is high. However, this is quite the opposite in the Sherwood area where 8.2% (or be exact 245 households) are in the private rented sector (compared with the Royal Tunbridge Wells average of 15.7%). The reason being is that the Sherwood area has a high proportion of social housing, in fact 36.7% or 1,101 households are under social housing ownership and as a large proportion of the existing home owners bought their properties from the Council it does not give much room for the private rented sector in Sherwood. With such excellent demand from homeowners and tenants, this could be the right area to purchase your next buy to let investment, as average yields in the Sherwood area are in the region of 5%-6% and Sherwood’s values mostly performed well over the medium to long term.

Therefore, if you are considering buying a property for investment in the near future, I am always happy to give you my considered opinion on which property to buy (or not as the case may be) to give you what you want from your investment. If you are a landlord, new or old, we’re certainly more than happy for you to pop in and see us at our office's on Vale Road for a chat or email me direct on

Friday, 14 November 2014

What type of property in Royal Tunbridge Wells sells the best?

Knowing how saleable a property is half the battle when deciding what (or not) to buy for your next property investment. Why?  Well because one day, you may need to sell that property. If you go into the purchase with open eyes, you know most of the risks and can barter the price accordingly if you have to. Bearing this in mind, last week, a couple from East Peckham popped into our offices to ask about investing in property. Their concern was if we have another property slump (and we will because that is what has happened to the British property market ever since the 1950’s), if they did need to sell, what type of property would be easier to sell. Now everything sells, even during a slump, but I did some research and followed up their query – I was actually quite surprised with the results.
A good guide to judge the saleability of property is the number of properties for sale, compared to the numbers that are sold, subject to contract. Now I carried out this comparison last week, so the numbers will be marginally different today, but of the 30,606 households in Royal Tunbridge Wells there are 1,046 properties on the market for sale. Of those 1,046 properties, 494 properties are fully available on the open market waiting for a buyer and 552 have buyers and are sold subject to contract. That means 52.7% of property on the market has a buyer in Royal Tunbridge Wells (in Tonbridge only 49.1% properties on the market have a buyer and SevenOak’s properties have 51.1%).
However, delve deeper, and in Royal Tunbridge Wells today, 54.7% of flats on the market have a buyer and great news for terraced house property owners, as 60.7% have buyers.  Semi detached houses fair even better, with 121 of the 195 on the market now having buyers (making 62%). The properties that appear to be sticking though are bungalows at a comparatively lower 47.3% and detached houses at 41.3%. 
I am always giving advice to my existing and new landlords in Royal Tunbridge Wells on what to buy (or not as the case may be).  Having this detail of information at my finger tips, allows me to spot trends in the local market, which then enables to me to give the very best advice to my clients. I don't charge for that advice as I have plenty of opportunity to earn money by finding the best tenants for my landlords in the years to come on the investments I have advised on. 

Monday, 10 November 2014

Ashenden Walk, Tunbridge Wells - Buy to let deal of the week

I am so liking this lovely 2 bed semi on the market with Andrews for £250,000 .. lets well, sells well, half decent yield. On this street they have risen in value by nearly 20% in 2 years.

Dont hang about .. nice inside ..look at the pictures (via the Zoopla link)

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Showfields property market outperforms Rustall by 42%

I was talking to a couple last week, who are considering becoming landlords for the first time after they had come into some money knowing the return they would get investing in the Bank. They have lived in Royal Tunbridge Wells all of their lives and wanted to buy something in a street or area that they know well.  They were looking for advice upon what they should buy.

Their budget was in the £200,00 region, so I initially looked at terraced houses in Rustall. The average value of a two bed property in the Rustall area is £201,600 (although the price range is quite wide and they can go as low as £180,000 bringing them just into our price range but as high £230,000).  The two beds rent on average for £853 per month, giving us an average yield of 5.07%. 

Then in true “Escape to the Country” tv style I showed them a “mystery property” which was a one bedroomed flat in the Hunter’s Court development on Showfields Road on the Southern edge of Royal Tunbridge Wells.  Built in the 1960’s with looks that only a mother could love these one bedroom apartments sell well and let well achieving £595 per month rental and selling for on average £98,700 giving a yield of 7.23% a year. The yield on Showfields is proportionally 42.6% more than Rustall’s and at this price they could buy two and achieve a gross rent in the region of £1,200 per month.

However, to judge a rental investment, you must consider the capital growth as well as the yield. Since 2001, the average Showfields flat has risen by 50.1%, whilst terraced houses in Rustall have risen by 174% - quite a difference. Ultimately, we found both places to be a good investment depending on your own situation, but as you can see, Showfields Road/Hunter’s Court does offer better yields, but at the expense of capital growth which Rustall’s terraced houses  offers.  

If you are a landlord, new or old, we’re certainly more than happy for you to pop in and see us at our offices on Vale Road for a chat or email me direct on

Monday, 27 October 2014

7.6% Yield in Royal Tunbridge Wells

Here is today's best BuyToLet deal in RTWells. 

Freeman Foreman have this Studio apartment for sale at Offers between £90,000 to £100,000.

She will rent with your eyes closed for £575 per month, giving a yield of 7.6% if you buy her at tthe bottom end of the scale.

Contact Freeman Foreman for more details .. Zoopla link here ..

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Royal Tunbridge Wells vs Tonbridge .. the tale of two very different property markets

I was talking to one of my landlords from Bidborough the other week, when we were looking over a few properties that he was considering buying  in Royal Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge. As I know towns well, I was able to discuss the two towns in depth with him. We started to notice an interesting pattern in the house prices between the two. Royal Tunbridge Wells has always been a slightly more expensive town to buy in comparison to Tonbridge but depending on what type of property you buy, there are some fascinating differences.

A few weeks ago, we said that the average value of a property in Tonbridge was £395,000, compared to Royal Tunbridge Wells’s of £399,900 (making Royal Tunbridge Wells 1.2% higher). However, when you look deeper, things become quite interesting between the two towns. Terraced houses in Royal Tunbridge Wells are 17% higher than Tonbridge’s (£304,200 to £260,000), detached properties are even higher, 19.1% in Royal Tunbridge Wells (£701,500 compared to £588,600 in Tonbridge). Whilst semi detached houses are only 13.5% higher in Royal Tunbridge Wells (£373,900 to Tonbridge’s £329,33) but flats are only 0.1% cheaper in Royal Tunbridge Wells than Tonbridge’s  (a flat in Tonbridge is £237,300 compared to the average flat in Royal Tunbridge Wells at £237,100).

So, why the big difference when looking at the different types of properties and their relevant prices in each town? Well, after investigating, it transpires that in Royal Tunbridge Wells, there are 118.75% proportionally more flats than Tonbridge (35% of properties in Royal Tunbridge Wells are flats compared to only 16% in Tonbridge). However, on the other side of the coin, Tonbridge has proportionally nearly three quarters more semi detached properties (in fact, Tonbridge must be the land of semis as 44% of property in the town are semi detached houses, compared to our 26% in Royal Tunbridge Wells).  However, both towns have similar numbers of detached and terraced houses.

The average value of a detached house, semi-detached house and terraced house in Royal Tunbridge Wells is considerably more than our neighbour in Tonbridge.  However, because Tonbridge has a higher proportion of the more expensive houses (ie detached and semi-detached) this means the gap, when looking at the overall average is much closer at 1.2%. These differing housing provisions in the two towns just goes to show that you need to know your marketplace and decide which is the right area for your money. If you are an existing landlord or one who is thinking of become one in Royal Tunbridge Wells, don’t hesitate to pop by our offices on Vale Road in Royal Tunbridge Wells or send me an email to 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Rochdale Road R.T.Wells - Buy To let heaven

Andrews, the Estate Agents, have just put this sweet terraced on the market for a very reasonable sub stamp duty £249,995.

Here is the link   .. its nice inside.

Will rent well and sell well ... dont hang about .. I think it wont be long before she goes

Monday, 13 October 2014

Freehold - Buy to let investment in RTW under £150k

Have a look at this 1 bed quarter house. Freehold so no nasty service charges. On the market with Woods and Pillcher at £150,000 and should rent easily for £750 per month if presented well. If you can pick her up for £140,000, that's a tasty 6.42% yield. Link below

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Royal Tunbridge Wells Census figures released - interesting news for RTW homeowners

It seems a distant memory three years ago when we were filling in our Census Returns, but now the figures are beginning to be released, especially the statistics about property. The figures for each individual town and council have been released, so let’s look at the area Tunbridge Wells District Council figures. 

 In the whole of the Council Borough area (the town of Tunbridge Wells and the immediate villages) there are 47,174 households,  with just under a two thirds of properties being owned,  65.7% % to be precise (30,999 households) of which 15,111 don’t have a mortgage (lucky people!). Renting interests me and 7,995 householders rent their house off a private landlord (or 16.9% of households to be exact).  If you recall in a previous article, I said 19.1% of households in Tunbridge Wells alone (just  town itself and not the Borough Council area) are privately rented, showing that more people rent in the town than they do in the villages.

So, with 16.9%  of households being rented in borough, which is just  above the  national average of 15.6%, where does that put our Borough when compared to others? For renting, Royal Tunbridge Wells Borough is just outside the top 25% of local authorities when it comes to renting (98th out of 347 authorities) but we are in the bottom third for home ownership (228th out of 347 local authorities). 

So does that mean renting isn’t booming in Royal Tunbridge Wells? .. quite the opposite! Demand continues to be good from quality tenants who are prepared a pay a decent rent, but only for a decent property. If you remember a few weeks back, I said the landlords in Royal Tunbridge Wells, on average over the last 12 months have achieved a total return of over 8.5% in the last year. If there were a glut of rental properties, there would be an over supply of property to rent, driving prices down. In the lettings industry, it is recognised there will always be 5% of the rental market up for rent at any one time, which means there should be 399 properties to let today in Royal Tunbridge Wells and  the rest of the Borough area (5% of 7,995 privately rented houses in the Borough is the 399) .. I am pleased to tell you there are only 286 as I write this article!

 Don’t get me wrong, tenants are more discerning in the properties they rent. Woodchip wallpaper and no central heating won’t cut the mustard anymore. However, present your Royal Tunbridge Wells property to a good standard and price it right and you should do very well. If you are considering becoming a landlord or are an established landlord who is thinking of buying another property to rent out in Royal Tunbridge Wells, please do your homework. Feel free to ask my opinion on what makes a 'decent property'. I don't sell property, so it's in my interest for you to buy the right property for you, not me. I don't charge for that opinion, because I hope you will recommend me to your friends, which in fact is the best compliment you can make.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Property Values along A26

In a previous article I said that average property values in Royal Tunbridge Wells had risen by £18,700, taking the average Royal Tunbridge Wells property to £399,900 ( a rise of 4.9% over 12 months). This is great news for anyone who owns their own home in the Royal Tunbridge Wells. 
However, the A26 has other towns along its length and as a landlord one must consider other towns to invest in. If you go North out of Royal Tunbridge Wells along the A26 the first town we get to is our sister town of Tonbridge, this town has seen an increase in property values by around £28,700 over the last 12 months, taking an average property up in value by 7.8% to £395,000.  Going further North, we get to Maidstone which has also seen some modest property value increases, taking the average property from £259,900  a year ago to £282,300, an £22,400 increase or an 8.6% rise.

In a Southerly direction, we get to Crowborough, where average property values have also impressively risen by £30,600 to £383,500 which a rise of 8.5% in 12 months.  If you go a little further South along the A26 we get to Uckfield where property values have only increased by 4.5% taking an average property from £372,600 to £389,400.   

I find it amazing that five places along the A26 – Maidstone, Tonbridge, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Crowborough and Uckfield, all within a stones’ throw of each other, can experience such variation in property prices. 

 With average rents steadily rising by 1 to 2% a year and with continuing troubles for first time buyers raising the £15,000+ for the deposit and fees, I can only see greater demand for rental properties in Royal Tunbridge Wells, which will mean that more people will continue to buy property for Buy to Let, and where there is greater demand, the price tends to go up. This however, is only my opinion.  

 If you want to chat about any matter relating to property in Royal Tunbridge Wells, pop in and see me or one of my team in offices on Vale Road in Royal Tunbridge Wells (near the Train Station) for a chat or email direct for any opinion on

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Royal Tunbridge Wells sees 8.5% return on investing in the rental market

I was talking to a landlord from Speldhurst the other day about the Royal Tunbridge Wells property market, following my recent articles in the Royal Tunbridge Wells newspaper. He wanted to know, with all the news about house prices rising, what had happened to average property prices in the last 12 months. According to my calculations, the ‘average value of a property’ in Royal Tunbridge Wells is now £399, 900, which is a rise of approximately £18,700 in the last 12 months (a rise of 4.9%).  Now by my calculations, the average rent being asked in Royal Tunbridge Wells is around £1,198 pcm, which means the yields/annual return are an impressive 3.6% per year.  Therefore, if you add the rise in property values and the annual yield a landlord can enjoy by receiving rent, the overall total return is approximately 8.5%.

When comparing this to what you get from investing in the banks, buy to let could be a good investment for you. As I reminded another landlord the other day from Langton Green, the Royal Tunbridge Wells property market has certainly changed since 2001. At the turn of the Millennium, of the 20,823 households in the town itself, 2,435 of those households (or 11.6%) were privately rented. Ten years later, over 2,740 new properties had been built in Royal Tunbridge Wells, but a lot of those had been bought for Buy to Let; because by 2011, there were 4,528 properties that were rented out to tenants .. that’s a lot of rented houses! (the people of Royal Tunbridge Wells might be interested to note that now 19.1% of houses in the town are privately rented compared to the UK average of 15.6%).

Don't get me wrong, there are pitfalls. My message to all the people of Royal Tunbridge Wells, be you an existing landlord or you are thinking of dipping your toe in the water for the first time is quite simple – take some independent advice before buying anything, unless you're 100% sure of what you're doing. I say this because I know what happens when people don't. Even if it's not from ourselves, there are still a few regulated  lettings agents in Royal Tunbridge Wells who are well placed to advise on whether the property you're considering will rent and at what potential price. We are certainly more than happy for you to pop in and see us at our office's on Vale Road in Royal Tunbridge Wells (near the Train Station)  for a chat or email direct for any opinion on