Monday, 25 July 2016

The Aylesbury Love Affair with its 9,700 Terraced Houses

Call me old fashioned, but I do like a terraced house.   In fact, I have done some research that I hope you will find of interest.  

In architecture terms, a terraced house is a style of housing in use since the late 1600’s in the UK, where a row of symmetrical / identical houses share their side walls. The first terraced houses were actually built by a French man, Monsieur Barbon around St. Paul’s Cathedral within the rebuilding process after the Great Fire of London in 1666.  Interestingly, it was the French that invented the terraced house around 1610-15 in the Le Marais district of Paris with its planned squares and properties with identical facades. However, it was the 1730’s in the UK, that the terraced house came into its own in London and of course in Bath with the impressive Royal Crescent.

However, we are in Aylesbury, not Bath, so the majority of our Aylesbury terraced houses were built in the Victorian era.  Built on the back of the Industrial Revolution, with people flooding into the towns and cities for work in Victorian times, the terraced house offered decent livable accommodation away from the slums. An interesting fact is that the majority of Victorian Aylesbury terraced houses are based on standard design of a ‘posh’ front room, a back room (where the family lived day to day) and scullery off that.  Off the scullery, a door to a rear yard, whilst upstairs, three bedrooms (the third straight off the second). The law was changed in 1875 with the Public Health Act and each house had to have 108ft of livable space per main room, running water, it’s own outside toilet and rear access to allow the toilet waste to be collected (they didn’t have public sewers in those days in Aylesbury – well not at least where these ‘workers’ terraced houses were built).  

It was the 1960’s and 70’s where inside toilets and bathrooms were installed (often in that third bedroom or an extension off the scullery) and gas central heating in the 1980’s and replacement Upvc double glazing ever since.  

Looking at the make up of all the properties in Aylesbury, some very interesting numbers appear.  Of the 29,792 properties in Aylesbury …

4,469 are Detached properties (15.0%)
9,503 are Semi Detached properties (31.9%)
9,701 are Terraced / Town House properties (32.5%)
6,104 are Apartment/ Flat’s (20.4%)
And there are 15 mobile homes, representing 0.05% of all property in Aylesbury.   

When it comes to values, the average price paid for an Aylesbury terraced house in 1995 was £51,590 and the latest set of figures released by the land Registry states that today that figure stands at £236,820, a rise of 359% - not bad when you consider detached properties in Aylesbury in the same time frame have risen by 234%. 

But then a lot of buy to let landlords and first time buyers I speak to think the Victorian terraced house is expensive to maintain.  I recently read a report from English Heritage that stated maintaining a typical Victorian terraced house over thirty years is around sixty percent cheaper than building and maintaining a modern house.  

Don’t dismiss the humble terraced house – especially in Aylesbury, it will do you proud!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

91.2% of Aylesbury Homeowners are over 35 - The affect of their Brexit vote on the Aylesbury Property Market

Well it has been nearly a month since the Referendum vote and we have all had a chance to reflect on the momentous decision that the British public took. Many of you read the article I wrote on the morning of the results. I had gone to bed the night before with a draft of my Remain article all but finished only to be presented with the declaration by the BBC saying we were leaving the EU. I don’t think any of us were expecting that.  

If you want to read a copy of that original Post Brexit blog post, please visit my blog  and scroll back to late June to find it.
 The picture is now becoming a little clearer as the dust settles on the UK, but more importantly, the Aylesbury Property Market.
In case you were not aware, the residents of the Aylesbury Vale District Council area voted as follows .. 
Aylesbury Vale District Council          Remain Votes  52,877             (49.5% of the vote)
Aylesbury Vale District Council          Leave Votes     53,956             (50.5% of the vote)
Aylesbury Vale District Council Turnout         78.4% 

I have been reading that there is some evidence to indicate younger voters were vastly more likely to vote Remain than their parents and grandparents. The polling industry's techniques may have been widely criticised, following them getting both the 2010 General Election and the recent Brexit vote wrong, anecdotally, many surveys seem to suggest there was a relationship between age and likelihood to support leaving the EU. 

The average age of an Aylesbury resident is 39.1 years old, which is below the national average of 39.3, which might go some way to back up the way Aylesbury voted? What I do know is that putting aside whether you were a remain or leave voter, the vote to leave has, and will, create uncertainty.  

Interestingly, when we look at the Homeownership rates in the Aylesbury Vale District Council area, of the 50,301 properties that are owned in the Aylesbury Vale District Council area (Owned being owned outright, owned with a mortgage or shared ownership), the age range paints a noteworthy picture. 
Age 16 to 34 homeowners      4,410    or       8.8%  (Nationally 9.6%)
Age 35 to 49 homeowners    16,325    or     32.4%  (Nationally 29.2%)
Age 50 to 64 homeowners    16,481    or     32.8%  (Nationally 30.7%)
Aged 65+ homeowners         13,085    or     26.0%  (Nationally 30.5%) 

So, looking at these figures, and the high proportion of older homeowners, you might think all the Aylesbury Vale District Council area homeowners would vote Remain to keep house prices stable and younger people would vote out so house prices come down- so they could afford to buy?  

But there is a risk in oversimplifying this. The sample of the polling firms are in the thousands whilst the country voted in its millions. Other demographic influences have been at play in the way people voted, as early evidence is starting to suggest that class, level of education, the levels of immigration and ethnic diversity had an influence on the way the various parts of the UK voted.  

So do not assume everyone over the age of 50 voted ‘Leave’ and do not assume most 20 somethings backed ‘Remain’; because many did not! 
.. and the Aylesbury Property Market – well here at the coal face things seem to be returning to ‘normal’ rather quickly. The rules of supply and demand have not changed. The supply of property is so weak that demand would have to fall off a cliff to make any real impact and that is not happening. Mortgages are still available at the best rates we have seen for years.

Hopefully we will see an end to the speculative pricing of some agents, we are certainly seeing many properties being reduced in price…but this is usually from an overly high starting point. Good property priced correctly is still selling well to both first time buyers and investors.
Not sure what strategy is appropriate for the post Brexit market? Pop in and talk it through when you are passing...
Nala with siblings at Fairford Leys dog show


Thursday, 14 July 2016

Population in the Aylesbury area set to rise to 231,200 by 2036

Aylesbury faces a predicament. The population is growing and the provision of new housing is not keeping up. With the average age of an Aylesbury person being 39.1 years (compared to the South East average of 40.0 years old and the national average of 39.4 years of age), the population of Aylesbury is growing at an alarming rate. This is due to an amalgamation of longer life expectancy, a fairly high birth rate (compared to previous decades) and high net immigration, all of which contribute to housing shortages and burgeoning house prices.

Some of my colleagues work closely with Durham University and they have kindly produced some statistics specifically for the Aylesbury Vale District Council area. Known as the UK’s leading authority for such statistics, their population projections make some startling reading…
For the Aylesbury Vale District Council area ... these are the statistics and future forecasts 

2016 population           189,862
2021 population           202,376
2026 population           213,556
2031 population           222,887
2036 population           231,241
The normal ratio of people to property is 2 to 1 in the UK, which therefore means...
We need just over 21,500 additional new properties to be built
in the Aylesbury Vale District Council area over the next 20 years. 

Whilst focusing on population growth does not tackle the housing crisis in the short term in Aylesbury, it has a fundamental role to play in long-term housing development and strategy in the town. The rise of Aylesbury property values over the last six years since the credit crunch are primarily a result of a lack of properties coming onto the market, a lack of new properties being built in the town and rising demand (especially from landlords looking to buy property to rent them out to the growing number of people wanting to live in Aylesbury). 
Although many are talking about the need to improve supply (i.e. the building of new properties), the issue of accumulative demand from population growth is often overlooked. Nationally, the proportion of 25-34 year olds who own their own home has dropped dramatically from 66.7% in 1987 to 43.8% in 2014, whilst 78.2% of over 65s own their own home. Longer life expectancies mean houses remain in the same hands for longer. 
The swift population growth over the last thirty years provides more competition for the young than for mature population.  It might surprise some people that 98% of all the land in the UK is either industrial, commercial or agricultural, with only two percent being used for housing, which means one could propose expanding supply to meet an expanding population by building on green belt – that most Politian’s have not got the stomach to tackle, especially in the Tory’ strongholds of the South of England, where the demand is the greatest. People mention brownfield sites, but recent research suggests there aren’t as many sites to build on, especially in Aylesbury that could accommodate 21,500 properties in the next 20 years.
In the short to medium term, demand for a roof over of one’s head will continue to grow in Aylesbury (and the country as a whole). In the short term, that demand can only be met from the private rental sector (which is good news for homeowners and landlords alike as that keeps house prices higher). 
There is talk from various sections of the media that prices are going to fall in both the rental and sales market as a result of Brexit. Following the rules of supply and demand I struggle to see how this could be so. The demand remains high and is likely to do so, supply of stock remains sluggish…these two factors will continue to support prices.
If you want to discuss your post Brexit investment strategy just email me at

Is there really a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?