Doncaster Property Blog » April 2017

Monthly Archives: April 2017

Market Research

3,751,802 People use Doncaster Train Station a year – How does that affect the Doncaster Property Market?

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It might surprise you that it isn’t always the poshest villages around Doncaster or the swankiest Doncaster streets where properties sell and let the quickest. Quite often, it’s the ones that have the best transport links. I mean, there is a reason why one of the most popular property programmes on television is called Location, Location, Location!

As an agent in Doncaster, I am frequently confronted with queries about the Doncaster property market, and most days I am asked, “What is the best part of Doncaster and its villages to live in these days?”, chiefly from new-comers.  Now the answer is different for each person – a lot depends on the demographics of their family, their age, schooling requirements and interests etc. Nonetheless, one of the principal necessities for most tenants and buyers is ease of access to transport links, including public transport – of which the railways are very important.

Official figures recently released state that, in total, 5,154 people jump on a train each and every day from Doncaster Train station. Of those, 1,241 are season ticket holders. That’s a lot of money being spent when a season ticket, standard class, to London is £976 a year.

So, if up to £1.21m is being spent on rail season tickets each year from Doncaster, those commuters must have some impressive jobs and incomes to allow them to afford that season ticket in the first place. That means demand for middle to upper market properties remains strong in Doncaster and the surrounding area and so, in turn, these are the type of people whom are happy to invest in the Doncaster buy to let market – providing homes for the tenants of Doncaster…

The bottom line is that property values in Doncaster would be much lower, by at least 3% to 4%, if it wasn’t for the proximity of the railway station and the people it serves in the town

And this isn’t a flash in the pan. Rail is becoming increasingly important as the costs associated with car travel continue to rise and roads are becoming more and more congested. This has resulted in a huge surge in rail travel.

Overall usage of the station at Doncaster has increased over the last 20 years. In 1997, a total of 2,200,430 people went through the barriers or connected with another train at the station in that 12-month period. However, in 2016, that figure had risen to 3,751,802 people using the station (that’s 10,307 people a day).

The juxtaposition of the property and the train station has an important effect on the value and saleability of a Doncaster property. It is also significant for tenants – so if you are a Doncaster buy to let investor looking for a property – the distance to and from the railway station can be extremely significant.

One of the first things house buyers and tenants do when surfing the web for somewhere to live is find out the proximity of a property to the train station. That is why Rightmove displays the distance to the railway station alongside each and every property on their website.

For more thoughts on the Doncaster Property market – please visit the Doncaster Property Blog

Market Research

Buying a Leasehold Property – What You Need to Know

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Did you know that four in 10 new properties in England and Wales are now sold as leasehold, ranging from one bedroom flats in city centres, to four bedroom detached homes in rural areas?

Before you buy a leasehold property, it is important to be aware of what your lease includes and understand any charges you may face when buying a leasehold home.

What is the Difference Between a Leasehold and a Freehold?

If you own the freehold to your home, it means that you own the building and the land it sits on. If your property is leasehold, you hold the property on behalf of the freeholder and rent the home until your lease expires. Leases are usually long term – often 90+ years, however some developers have sold homes with leases as high as 999 years.

What is Ground Rent?

Ground rent is an annual charge which the leaseholder must pay to the owner of the freehold. This is often a fixed sum however your lease may contain a clause which allows the landlord to increase the cost payable every five to eight years from the date of build.

Your agent, conveyancer or solicitor should be able to advise if there are any rent review clauses in your lease and check what this would mean for you. The costs of the ground rent may be negotiable so make sure to check this with your agent or the developer if you are buying a new build.

Why Do I Have to Pay a Service Charge?

A service charge is a fee that is payable by all residents which contributes towards the upkeep of the building. This could include cleaning of communal areas, upkeep of outdoor spaces and general maintenance. Generally, the fee payable is fixed however this may change year on year.

Make sure you ask your conveyancer or solicitor to explain all charges fully and enquire as to whether the lease administrator has any plans for works which you will be responsible to pay for.

Why Would I Be Asked to Pay an Administration Fee?

Administration charges are payments for services connected with your buying, selling or use of the property; they can include anything from charges for document applications to exit fees. The costs of any administration fees should be expressed in your lease agreement however your conveyancer or solicitor should be able to review your lease and advise you accordingly.

What Should My Agent Be Telling Me?

Your estate agent should pass on all material information in respect of the lease. This would include, but is not limited to;
  • The number of years remaining on the lease
  • Ground rent costs and when it is payable, together with details of if or how this will increase over time
  • The annual service charge costs and when it is payable
  • Details of any event-related fees & charges payable under the lease
  • Rent payable in the case of a shared ownership arrangement
  • Details of any other fees or charges contained in the lease
  • Details of any unusual restrictions or covenants affecting the use and enjoyment of the property

Keep in mind that estate agents are not solicitors, if you are concerned about any aspect of your contract or your lease, speak to an impartial solicitor.

What Else Should I Be Aware of When Buying a Leasehold Property?

Developers have been known to sell the freeholds of entire developments to third party companies who then charge escalated fees to the homeowner when they come to purchase the freehold. Spiralling fees and onerous clauses have led to some building societies and banks refusing mortgages on leasehold properties – this can make them very difficult to sell.
Can I Buy the Freehold?
Being able to buy the freehold to your property is not a legal right and the freeholder can choose whether to sell it or not. Before you commit to buying a property, look into who owns the freehold and find out whether it is likely to be sold on and who too. If you are buying a new build, ask the sales office to quote you a price for purchasing the freehold.
If you live in an apartment or large complex, there are steps you can take to purchase your freehold, take a look at our helpful guide on buying the freehold to your flat.
Read Your Contract Carefully
Some leases have clauses which obstruct your use of the property and some restrictions are not always obvious. Read your lease carefully and if you are unsure of anything, speak to your solicitor immediately. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are entering in to, how much you will be expected to pay on an annual basis and if there are due to be any increases.
Market Research

Doncaster Rents To Rise Quicker Than Doncaster Property Prices In Next 5 Years

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The next five years will see an interesting change in the Doncaster property market. My recent research has concluded that the rent private tenants pay in Doncaster will rise faster than Doncaster property prices over the next five years, creating further issues to Doncaster’s growing multitude of renters. In fact, my examination of statistics forecasts that ..

 By 2022, Doncaster rents will increase by 21%, whereas Doncaster property values will only grow by 16%.

Let me explain why I have come to those conclusions:

Over the last five years, property values in Doncaster have risen by 11%, whilst rents have only risen by 7.8%.

Throughout the last few years, and compounded in 2016, tenant demand for rental properties continued to go up whilst the Press predicted some landlords expect to reduce their portfolios in the next couple of years, meaning Doncaster tenants will have fewer properties to choose from, which will push rents higher. In fact, talking to fellow property professionals in Doncaster, there appears to be privation and shortage of new rental properties coming on to the Doncaster lettings market.

Landlords have some intriguing challenges ahead of them in the coming years most notably in that the Tory’s have changed the taxation rules for landlords in the way buy to let properties are to be taxed. On top of that, there is the ban on letting agent fees which is still to come into force (probably in 2018). When that happened in Scotland in 2012, Scottish letting agents passed on those fees to their landlords, who in turn increased the rent they charged to their tenants.

All I would say to Theresa May and Philip Hammond is that they must be wary about indicating both red and green lights at the same time to the private rented sector. They can’t expect the armies of small private landlords to continue to house around a fifth of the population and then tax the hell out of them. They didn’t invest in buy to let as a charity or to satisfy any philanthropic urges. Something has to give – and that will be significant rent rises over the coming few years (and before anyone gives me any derogatory comments about landlords … if it wasn’t for landlords buying all these buy to let properties over the last 15 years, I am not sure where everyone would be living today – because most the Council houses were sold off in the 1980’s!).

With the challenges ahead, with the ‘B’ word (that’s budget if you wondered!), house price inflation will be tempered over the coming five years in Doncaster. As I have discussed in previous articles, the number of properties on the market in Doncaster remains close to historic lows, which is both good as it keeps houses prices relatively stable, yet not so good as it impedes choice for buyers… and hence why I believe property values in Doncaster will only be 16% higher in five years’ time.

Whilst on the other side of the coin, with the challenges facing landlords and the significant shortage of new homes being built, Doncaster people still need somewhere to live. If those people aren’t buying houses and the local authority aren’t building council houses in there thousands (because they have no money), with the average rent for a Doncaster rental property currently standing at £455 per month …

Over the next five years, I predict the average rent
in Doncaster will rise to £550 per month

These are interesting times. There is still money to be made in buy to let in Doncaster – Doncaster landlords will just need to be smarter and more savvy with their investments. If you are looking for such advice and opinion to help you meet those investment goals, one place you can find more information is the Doncaster Property Blog.

Market Research

Only 891 Properties For Sale in Doncaster

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2017 has started with some positive interest in the Doncaster property market.  Taking a snap shot of the Doncaster property market for the first quarter of 2017, the picture suggests some interesting trends when it comes to the number of properties available to buy, their asking prices and what prices properties are actually selling for.

Let us first consider the number of properties for sale, compared to 12 months ago:

Next, Doncaster asking prices, compared 
So when we add in building plots and other types of properties that don’t fit into the four main categories, that means there are 891 properties for sale today compared with 885 a year ago, a rise of 1%.

to the same as a year ago, are 4% higher.

With that in mind, I wanted to look at what property was actually selling for in Doncaster. Taking my information from the Land Registry, the last available six months property transactions for DN4 show an interesting picture (note the Land Registry data is always a few months behind due to the nature of the house buying process and so November 2016 is latest set of data). The price shown is the average price paid and the number in brackets is the number of properties actually sold.

Well, with more property on the market than a year ago and asking prices 4% higher, those trying to sell their property need to be mindful that buyers, be they first timers, buy to let landlords or people moving up the Doncaster property ladder, have much more price information about the Doncaster property market at their fingertips than ever before.So what does all this mean for the property owning folk of Doncaster?

Those Doncaster people who are looking to sell their property in 2017, need to be aware of the risks of over pricing their property when initially placing it on the market. Over the last 12 months, I have noticed the approach of a few Doncaster estate agents is to suggest an inflated asking price to encourage the homeowner and secure the property to sell on their books. The down side to this is that when offered to the market for the first time, buyers will realise it is overpriced and wont waste their time asking for a brochure. They won’t even view the property, let alone make an offer. So when the price is reduced a few months later, the property has become market stale and continues to be ignored.

Whilst the Doncaster property-market has an unassailable demand for property – there is one saying that always rings true – as long as the property is being marketed at the right price it will sell.

 If you want to know if your Doncaster property is being marketed at the right price, send me a web link and I will give you my honest opinion.