Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Royal Tunbridge Wells Tenant’s Deposits held total £5,759,828

With the Government preparing to control tenant’s deposits at five weeks rent, Royal Tunbridge Wells 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.
It can’t be disputed that the deposits Royal Tunbridge Wells tenants have to save for, certainly raises the cost of renting, putting another nail in the coffin of the dream of home ownership for many Royal Tunbridge Wells renters whilst at the same time, those same deposits being unable to provide Royal Tunbridge Wells landlords with a decent level of protection against unpaid rent or damage to the property.
In fact, the total of all the tenants’ deposits in 
Royal Tunbridge Wells, deposited or protected, is £5,759,828

When you consider the value of all the privately rented properties in Royal Tunbridge Wells total £2,643,744,933, the need for decent landlord insurance to ensure you are adequately covered as a Royal Tunbridge Wells landlord is vital.
However, I want to consider the point of view of the Royal Tunbridge Wells tenant.  Several housing charities believe spending more than a third of someone’s salary on rent as exorbitant, yet for the tenants they find themselves in that very position.  I feel especially sorry for the Royal Tunbridge Wells youngsters in their 20’s who want to rent a place for themselves, as they face having to pay out the rent and try and save for a deposit for a home. 
The average 22 to 29-year-old in Royal Tunbridge Wells spends 52% of their typical salary on a one bed rental property
….and 41% of their salary for a 2-bed home in Royal Tunbridge Wells.

40 years ago, British people who rented spent an average of 10% of their salary on rent, and only 14% in London. Looking in even greater detail, according to the ONS, over the past 60 years the proportion of total spending on all housing (renting and mortgages) has doubled from 9% in the late 1950’s to 18% today.  Whilst on the other hand, the proportion of total expenditure on food has halved (33% to 16%), as has the proportion of total spending on clothing (10% to 5%) ... it’s a case of swings and roundabouts!
Yet landlords also face costs that need to be covered from rents including mortgages, landlord insurance (especially the need for the often-inadequate deposits to cover the loss of rent and damage), maintenance and licensing.  In fact, rents in the last 10 years have failed to keep up with UK inflation, so in real terms, landlords are worse off when it comes to their rental returns (although they have gained on the increase in Royal Tunbridge Wells property values – but that is only realised when a property sells).
There are a small handful of Royal Tunbridge Wells landlords selling some/or all of their rental portfolio as their portfolios become less economically viable with the recent tax changes for buy to let landlords, which will result in fewer properties available to rent. 
However, this will reduce the supply and availability of Royal Tunbridge Wells rental properties, meaning rents will rise (classic textbook supply and demand), thus landlords return and yields will rise.  Yet, because tenants still can’t afford to save the deposit for a home (as we discussed above) and we are all living longer, the demand for rental properties across Royal Tunbridge Wells will continue to grow in the next twenty to thirty years as we turn to more European ways where the norm is to rent rather than buy in the 20’s and 30’s age range. This will mean new buy-to-let landlords will be attracted into the market, buy properties for the rental market in Royal Tunbridge Wells and enjoy those higher yields and returns … isn’t it interesting that things mostly always go full circle?

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Royal Tunbridge Wells Property Market – Outlook for 2019

Property values in Royal Tunbridge Wells’ are unexpectedly 3.9% higher than at the end of 2017, notwithstanding the uncertainty and threats over the potential impact of Brexit in 2019. This has exceeded all the predictions (aka guesses) of all the City of London economists, in an astonishing sign of strength for the local Royal Tunbridge Wells and wider national economy.

Nevertheless, the statistics from the Land Registry come after a lethargic year for the number of properties in Royal Tunbridge Wells compared to the actual prices achieved for those properties.  All this against a framework of amplified political ambiguity and ensuing years of rising Royal Tunbridge Wells’ property values that have reduced the affordability of homes in the locality. 

The average value of a Royal Tunbridge Wells property today 
currently stands at £493,200

Looking in finer detail, it isn’t a surprise that 1,076 property sales in Royal Tunbridge Wells over the last 12 months is somewhat lower than the long-term average over the last 20 years of 1,609 property sales per year in Royal Tunbridge Wells as the long-term trend of people moving less has meant a decline in the number of property transactions.

I believe locally, property value growth in Royal Tunbridge Wells will be more reserved in 2019 after two decades of weaker wage rises. One of main drivers in the demand (and thus the price people are prepared to pay for a home) is the growth of peoples wage packets. Interestingly, wage inflation over the last six months has risen from 2.4% in the late summer to its current level of 3.3% (which is higher than the average since the Millennium, which has been a modest 2.1%). One of the reasons why wages are growing in the short term is the unemployment rate in the country currently only stands at 4.1%, continuing to stay close to its lowest level since the 1970’s.

However, even though Royal Tunbridge Wells salaries and wages are rising comparatively higher than they were last year, looking over the long term, Royal Tunbridge Wells property values are 140.58% higher than they were in January 2002, yet average salaries are only 76.1% higher over the same time frame. This means over the last few years, with average property values so high comparative to salary/wages, many Royal Tunbridge Wells potential buyers have been priced out of being able to purchase their first home.

At first glance, these stats are actually rather positive during this reported time of political uncertainty and the height of Brexit commotion ... because I genuinely believe that to be the case. The press have always looked for the bad news (well they do say it is that that sells newspapers), and whilst I am not entering into the pros and cons of Brexit itself, the numbers do stack up quite well since the Brexit vote took place nearly 3 years ago.

Moving forward, when taken with the recent reduction in short to medium term number of property transactions (i.e. the number of Royal Tunbridge Wells properties sold), it should be noted that a lot of the this buoyant house price increase has a lot more to do with a shortage of properties on the market rather than an uplift in the Royal Tunbridge Wells housing market generally. And we can’t forget that Royal Tunbridge Wells isn’t in its own little bubble, as there are noteworthy differences across the UK in property value inflation. House prices in London and the South East have hardly risen or even fallen in some places, whilst in the Midlands, North and other parts of the country they have generally increased. 

Looking forward, I would say to the homeowners and buy to let landlords of the locality that I expect house price growth in Royal Tunbridge Wells to remain stable between 0.8% and 1.8% by the end of this year (although they could dip slightly during the summer) ... as long as nothing unexpected happens in the world economically or politically of course.