As many of you may have seen, Ian has announced that he will be exploring new ventures and has subsequently passed the baton of the Aylesbury Property Blog on to me, Declen Collins.
Having been involved in the Aylesbury Property Blog and the Aylesbury Property Videos over the last two years, The time for me to pick up the excellent work that Ian has done is upon me and I am excited to get going and keep the quality of information flowing.
As a property professional for the past 10 years has allowed me to me acquire a wide range of knowledge in the property arena, coupled with two years at the side of "Mr Aylesbury" Ian Davies, I feel I am well placed to keep you informed.
Please feel free to comment on posts and if you have subject matter you would like me to cover, please let me know.
Friday, 18 August 2017
The most recent set of data from the Land Registry has stated that property values in Aylesbury and the surrounding area were 7.98% higher than 12 months ago and 26.46% higher than January 2015.
Despite the uncertainty over Brexit as Aylesbury (and most of the UK’s) property values continue their medium and long-term upward trajectory. As economics is about supply and demand, the story behind the Aylesbury property market can also be seen from those two sides of the story.
Looking at the supply issues of the Aylesbury property market, putting aside the short-term dearth of property on the market, one of the main reasons of this sustained house price growth has been down to of the lack of building new homes.
The draconian planning laws, that over the last 70 years (starting with The Town and Country Planning Act 1947) has meant the amount of land built on in the UK today, only stands at 1.8% (no, that’s not a typo – its one point eight percent) and that is made up of 1.1% with residential property and 0.7% for commercial property. Now I am not advocating building modern ugly carbuncles and high-rise flats in the Cotswolds, nor blot the landscape with the building of massive out of place ugly 1,000 home housing estates around the beautiful countryside of such villages as Quainton, Whitchurch and Aston Abbotts.
The facts are, with the restrictions on building homes for people to live in, because of these 70-year-old restrictive planning regulations, homes that the youngsters of Aylesbury badly need, aren’t being built. Adding fuel to that fire, there has been a large amount of landowners deliberately sitting on land, which has kept land values high and from that keeping house prices high.
Looking at the demand side of the equation, one might have thought property values would drop because of Brexit and buyers uncertainty. However, certain commenters now believe property values might rise because of Brexit. Many people are risk adverse, especially with their hard-earned savings. The stock market is at an all-time high (ready to pop again?) and many people don’t trust the money markets. The thing about property is its tangible, bricks and mortar, you can touch it and you can easily understand it.
The Brits have historically put their faith in bricks and mortar, which they expect to rise in value, in numerical terms, at least. Nationally, the value of property has risen by 635.4% since 1984 whilst the stock market has risen by a very similar 593.1%. However, the stock market has had a roller coaster of a ride to get to those figures. For example, in the dot com bubble of the early 2000’s, the FTSE100 dropped 126.3% in two years and it dropped again by 44.6% in 9 months in 2007… the worst drop Aylesbury saw in property values was just 19.6% in the 2008/9 credit crunch.
Despite the slowdown in the rate of annual property value growth in Aylesbury to the current 7.98%, from the heady days of 12.71% annual increases seen in early 2010, it can be argued the headline rate of Aylesbury property price inflation is holding up well, especially with the squeeze on real incomes, new taxation rules for landlords and the slight ambiguity around Brexit. With mortgage rates at an all-time low and tumbling unemployment, all these factors are largely continuing to help support property values in Aylesbury (and the UK).
Monday, 14 August 2017
Over the last 12 months, the UK has decided to leave the EU, have a General Election with a result that didn’t go to plan for Mrs May and to add insult to injury, our American cousins elected Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. It could be said that this should have caused some unnecessary unpredictability into the UK property market.
The reality is that the housing and mortgage market (for the time being) has shown a noteworthy resilience. Indeed on the back of the Monetary Policy pursued by the Bank of England there has been a notable improvement of macro-economic conditions! In July for example it was announced that we are witness to the lowest levels of unemployment for nearly 50 years. Furthermore, despite the UK construction industry building 21% more properties than same time the previous year, there has still been a disproportionate increase in demand for housing, particularly in the most thriving areas of the Country. Repossessions too are also at an all-time low at 3,985 for the last Quarter (Q1 2017) from a high of 29,145 in Q1 2009. All these things have resulted in...
Property values in Aylesbury according to theLand Registry are 9% higher than a year ago
So, what does all this mean for the homeowners and landlords of Aylesbury, especially in relation to property prices moving forward?
One vital bellweather of the property market (and property values) is the mortgage market. The UK mortgage market is worth £961,653,701,493 (that’s £961bn) and it representative of 13,314,512 mortgages (interestingly, the UK’s mortgage market is the largest in Europe in terms of amount lent per year and the total value of outstanding loans). Uncertainty causes banks to stop lending – look what happened in the credit crunch and that seriously affects property prices.
Roll the clock back to 2007, and nobody had heard of the term ‘credit crunch’, but now the expression has entered our everyday language. It took a few months throughout the autumn of 2007, before the crunch started to hit the Aylesbury property market, but in late 2007, and for the following year and half, Aylesbury property values dropped each month like the notorious heavy lead balloon, meaning …
The credit crunch caused Aylesbury property values to drop by 19.6%Under the sustained pressure of the Credit Crunch, the Bank of England realised that the UK economy was stalling in the early autumn of 2008. Loan book lending (sub-prime phenomenon) in the US and across the world was the trigger for this pressure. In a bid to stimulate the British economy there were six successive interest rates drops between October 2008 and March 2009; this resulted in interest rates falling from 5% to 0.5%!
Thankfully, after a period of stagnation, the Aylesbury property market started to recover slowly in 2011 as certainty returned to the economy as a whole and Aylesbury property values really took off in 2013 as the economy sped upwards. Thankfully, the ‘fire’ was taken out of the property market in Spring 2015 (otherwise we could have had another boom and bust scenario like we had in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s), with new mortgage lending rules. Throughout 2016, we saw a return to more realistic and stable medium term property price growth. Interestingly, property prices recovered in Aylesbury from the post Credit Crunch 2009 dip and are now 69.42% higher than they were in 2009.Now, as we enter the summer of 2017, with the Conservatives having been re-elected on their slender majority, the Aylesbury property market has recouped its composure and in fact, there has been some aggressive competition among mortgage lenders, which has driven mortgage rates down to record lows. This is good news for Aylesbury homeowners and landlords, over the last few months a mortgage price war has broken out between lenders, with many slashing the rates on their deals to the lowest they have ever offered. For example, last month, HSBC launched a 1.69% five-year fixed mortgage!
Interestingly, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the level of mortgage lending had soared to an all-time high in the UK.
In the Aylesbury postcodes of HP17 to HP22 if you added up everyone’s mortgage, it would total £2,621,296,368!
Since 1977, the average Bank of England interest rate has been 6.65%, making the current 323 year all time low rate of 0.25% very low indeed. Thankfully, the proportion of borrowers fixing their mortgage rate has gone from 31.52% in the autumn of 2012 to the current 59.3%. If you haven’t fixed – maybe you should follow the majority?
In my modest opinion, especially if things do get a little rocky and uncertainty seeps back in the coming years (and nobody knows what will happen on that front), one thing I know is for certain, interest rates can only go one way from their 300 year ultra 0.25% low level ... and that is why I consider it important to highlight this to all the homeowners and landlords of Aylesbury. Maybe, just maybe, you might want to consider taking some advice from a qualified mortgage adviser? There are plenty of them in Aylesbury.If you are in passing and have something you want to talk through, you are always welcome to pop in, the kettle will be on.
Monday, 7 August 2017
As the dust starts to settle on the various unread General Election party manifestos, life goes back to normal as political rhetoric on social media is replaced with pictures of cats and people’s lunch. All the political parties promised so much on the housing front in their manifestos, should they be elected at the General Election. In hindsight, irrespective of which party, they seldom deliver on those promises.
Housing has always been the Cinderella issue at General Elections. Policing, NHS, Education, Tax and Pensions etc., are always headline grabbing stuff and always seem to go ‘to the ball’. However, housing, which affects all our lives, always seems to get left behind and forgotten.Nonetheless, the way the politicians act on housing can have a fundamental effect on the wellbeing of UK plc and the nation as a whole.
One policy that comes to mind is Margaret Thatcher’s Council House sell off in the 1980’s, when around 1.4m council houses went from public ownership to private ownership. It was a great vote winner at the time (it helped her win three General Elections in a row) but it has meant the current generation of 20 somethings in Aylesbury (and elsewhere in the Country) don’t have that option of going into a council house. This has been a huge contributing factor in the rise of the private renting and buy to let in Aylesbury over the last 15 years.
Nevertheless, looking back to the start of the Millennium, Labour set the national target for new house building at 200,000 new homes a year (and at one point that increased to 240,000 under Gordon Brown for a couple of years). In terms of what was actually built, the figures did rise in the mid Noughties from 186,000 properties built in 2004 to an impressive 224,000 in 2007 (the highest since the early 1980’s) as the economy grew.
Then the Credit Crunch hit. It is interesting, that the 2010 Cameron/Clegg government did things a little differently. The fallout of the Credit Crunch meant a lot less homes were built, so instead of tackling that head on, the coalition side-stepped the target of the number of new homes to build and offered a £400m fund to help kick start the housing market (a figure that was a drop in the ocean when you consider an average UK property was worth around £230,000 in 2010). The number of new houses being completed dipped from 146,800 in 2011 to 135,500 the subsequent year.
So, one might ask exactly how many new homes do we need to build per year? It is commonly accepted that not enough new properties are being built to meet the rising need for homes to live in. A report by the Government in 2016, showed that on average 210,000 net additional households will be formed each year) up to 2039 (through increased birth rates, immigration, people living longer, lifestyle (i.e. divorce) and people living by themselves more than 30 years ago). In 2016, only 140,600 homes were built ... simply not enough!
Looking at the numbers locally in Aylesbury and the surrounding area we are not pulling our weight either when it comes to building new homes even though we are building more than we used to. In the 12 months up to the end of Q1 2017, 1,160 properties were built in the Aylesbury Vale District Council area. Go back to 2007, that figure was 730, 10 years before that in 1997, 750 new homes and further back to 1988, 760 new homes were built.
Who knows if Teresa May’s Government will last the five years? She will think she has bigger fish to fry with Brexit to get bogged down with housing issues. But let me leave you with one final thought.
The conceivable rewards in providing a place to live for the public on a massive house building programme can be enormous, as previous Tory PM’s have found out. Winston Churchill in 1951, asked his Minister for Housing (Harold Macmillan) if he could guarantee the construction of 300,000 new properties a year, he was notoriously told: “It is a gamble—it will make or mar your political career, but every humble home will bless your name if you succeed.”
Isn’t it interesting, that the Tories remained in power until 1964! Mrs May will have to work out if she wants to be the heiress to Harold Macmillan or David Cameron?
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