Monthly Archives: May 2017

Doncaster Market Research

Doncaster Flats Out Perform Property Market Average by 18%

Published by:

According to the Land Registry’s latest House Price Index for Doncaster and the surrounding locality, the value of apartments/flats are rising at a faster rate than terraced/town houses, semi-detached properties and even detached property.

Values of apartments in Doncaster have increased by 3.47% over the past year, which is proportionally 18% more than the Doncaster average rise of 2.93%. The last time flats/apartments in Doncaster out performed all the other types of property, by such a gulf, was back in the spring of 2003. For comparison, the other property types performed as follows ..

  • Detached homes rose by 3.63%
  • Semi-detached homes rose by 2.96%
  • Terraced/Town-Houses rose by 2.13%

This moderately increasing rate of property value growth is opportune – but no one should confuse it with a strong and vigorous healthy Doncaster property market. Instead, it is somewhat an indicator of the long-lasting lack of property on the market. In fact, I have spoken about the lack of homes for sale in Doncaster on a number of occasions in my Doncaster Property Blog and whilst it isn’t as bad as it was 12 months ago – choice is quite limited for buyers.

The average property value in Doncaster now stands at £152,500.

When split down into property types ..

So why have Doncaster apartments performed so well, and is it just a Doncaster thing? When I scrutinised the figures for the rest of the UK, it appears that apartments are pacemakers in the clear majority of the country. Of the 379 local authority areas in the UK, the value of apartments is rising faster than detached, semi-detached and terraced houses in 320 of them.

So, should Doncaster apartment owners be getting out the Champagne? Well, I would keep it on ice as the Land Registry figures are notorious for short term fluctuations. It’s hard to have faith in the fact that Doncaster house values rose rapidly last month given that, in the last six months, the Land Registry has frequently made downward revisions to their first published House Price Index figures.

Thankfully, the bigger picture from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) stated that home buying activity last month was up 2% over the same month in 2016 – not bad as we have had the Autumn, Winter and now Spring since Brexit. The CML stated first time buyer’s levels of affordability was being squeezed and that the average amount borrowed by those first-time buyers dropped slightly last month, but the overall amount borrowed (by all buyers) was an impressive 12% higher than the same month in 2016.

So, what next for the Doncaster Property market? I believe the uplift in the values of apartments is a short-term blip. The real issue is with the way wage growth might not keep up with inflation as the effects of 2016 exchange rate sucks in inflation (meaning real wage growth stagnates). This will mean buyer demand growth will be curtailed and with property values already so full, I believe a renewed hastening in house price growth is unlikely.

I believe we are starting to return to the housing market we saw in the mid 1990’s, Steady demand, steady supply – nothing silly when it comes to house price growth. Therefore, I believe, with what is happening around us – this isn’t a bad thing at all. HMS Doncaster Property Market…. “Nice and steady as she goes”, says the Captain.

Doncaster

3.91 Babies Born for Each New Home Built in the Doncaster area

Published by:

As more babies are being born to Doncaster mothers, I believe this increase will continue to add pressure to the over stretched Doncaster property market and materially affect the local property market in the years to come.

On the back of eight years of ever incremental increasing birth rates, a significant 3.91 babies were born for every new home that was built in the Doncaster council area in 2016.  I believe this has and will continue to exacerbate the Doncaster housing shortage, meaning demand for housing, be it to buy or rent, has remained high.  The high birth rate has meant Doncaster rents and Doncaster property prices have remained resilient – even with the challenges the economy has felt over the last eight years, and they will continue to remain high in the years to come.

This ratio of births to new homes has reach one its highest levels since 1945 (back in the early 1970’s the average was only one and a half births for every household built).  Looking at the local birth rates, the latest figures show we in the Doncaster council area had an average of 64.8 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44.  Interestingly, the national average is 61.7 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 and for the region its 61.9 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44.

The number of births from Doncaster women between the ages of 20 to 29 are much higher than the national average, but those between 35 and 44 were significantly lower.  However overall, the birth rate is still increasing, and when that fact is combined with the ever-increasing life expectancy in the Doncaster area, the high levels of net migration into the area over the last 14 years (which I talked about in the previous articles) and the higher predominance of single person households … this can only mean one thing … a huge increase in the need for housing in Doncaster.

Again, in a previous article a while back, I said more and more people are having children as tenants because they feel safe in rented accommodation.  Renting is becoming a choice for Doncaster people.

The planners and Politian’s of our local authority, central Government and people as a whole need to recognise that with individuals living longer, people having more children and whilst divorce rates have dropped recently, they are still at a relatively high level (meaning one household becomes two households) … demand for property is simply outstripping supply.

The simple fact is more Doncaster properties need to be built

… be that for buying or renting.

Only 1.1% of the Country is built on by houses.  Now I am not suggesting we build tower blocks in the middle of the Cotswolds, but the obsession of not building on any green belt land should be carefully re-considered.

Yes, we need to build on brownfield sites first, but there aren’t hundreds of acres of brownfield sites in Doncaster, and what brownfield sites there are, building on them can only work with complementary public investment.  Many such sites are contaminated and aren’t financially viable to develop, so unless the Government put their hand in their pocket, they will never be built on.

I am not saying we should crudely go ‘hell for leather’ building on our Green Belt, but we need a new approach to enable some parts of the countryside to be regarded more positively by local authorities, politicians and communities and allow considered and empathetic development.  Society in the UK needs to look at the green belts outside their leisure and visual appeal, and assess how they can help to shape the way we live in the most even-handed way.  Interesting times!

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

Doncaster

Hard Brexit could cause 3,300 properties to be dumped onto the Doncaster Property market

Published by:

So all cards up in the air! A general election will be on the books, but one thing is for sure … whoever gets the job to deal with Brexit has a hard job on their hands (I’m just glad its not me!) As it currently stands, by not assuring the rights of EU citizens in the UK, Theresa May has squandered an opportunity to give peace of mind to our EU co-workers working and living in Doncaster (and the rest of the UK). No.10 Downing Street’s point of view is that in promising the rights of EU citizens in the UK, it will postpone the same guarantee to the 1.5 million UK citizens living in the other nations of the EU.

Putting aside the politics for one second, the simple fact is now Article 50 has been triggered, we have two years to make a deal with the EU; otherwise it will be a ‘hard Brexit’. Now you might not think a hard Brexit will affect you in your home in Doncaster … but nothing could be further from the truth.

Of the 297,200 people who are resident in the Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council area, 279,081 were born in the UK, 2,976 were born in EU countries from West Europe and 6,140 were born in EU countries from the former Soviet States in East Europe (the rest coming from other countries around the world).

The rights of these EU citizens living in the Doncaster area are not guaranteed and will now be part of the negotiation with Europe. It is true a lot of our EU next door neighbours in Doncaster will have acquired rights relating to the right to live, to work, to own a business, to possess a property, the right to access health and education services and the right to remain in a UK after retirement… yet those acquired rights are up for negotiation in the next two years.

So, what would a hard Brexit do to the Doncaster property market?

Well a hard Brexit could mean the nuclear option when it came to the Doncaster housing market. It could mean that every EU citizen would have to leave the UK.

In the Doncaster Metropolitan Borough area, 1,919 of the 2,976 Western European EU citizens own their own home and (so they would all need to be sold) and 4,739 of the 6,140 Eastern European EU citizens rent a property, so again all those rental properties would all come on the market at the same time.

Hard Brexit and mass EU Migration would mean c. 3,300 properties being dumped onto the housing market in a short period of time, meaning there would be a massive drop in Doncaster property values and rents, causing negative equity for thousands of Doncaster homeowners and many buy-to-let landlords would be out of pocket.

While there is no certainty as to what the future will hold, both UK expats in the EU and EU citizens in the UK rights will no longer be guaranteed and will be subject to bilateral renegotiation.

All I ask is that the politicians are sensible with each other in the negotiations. A lot of the success of the Doncaster (and UK) property market has been built on high levels of homeownership and more recently in the last 10/15 years, a growth of the rental sector with lots of demand from Eastern Europeans coming to Doncaster (and the surrounding area) to get work and provide for their families. Many Doncaster people have invested their life savings into buying a buy to let property.

Much will depend on what is politically realistic. Unilateral knee-jerk reactions and measures caused by a hard Brexit would not only likely cause major disruption or suffering to the 3 million EU citizens living in the UK, but also everyone who owns property in the UK … politics aside – a hard Brexit is in no one’s interests.

Uncategorised

Should the 12,428 home owning OAP’s of Doncaster be forced to downsize?

Published by:

This was a question posed to me on social media a few weeks ago, after my article about our mature members of Doncaster society and the fact many retirees feel trapped in their homes. After working hard for many years and buying a home for themselves and their family, the children have subsequently flown the nest and now they are left to rattle round in a big house. Many feel trapped in their big homes (hence I dubbed these Doncaster home owning mature members of our society, ‘Generation Trapped’).

So, should we force OAP Doncaster homeowners to downsize?

Well in the original article, I suggested that we as a society should encourage, through building, tax breaks and social acceptance that it’s a good thing to downsize. But should the Government force OAP’s?

Well, one of the biggest reasons OAP’s move home is health (or lack of it)

Looking at the statistics for Doncaster, of the 12,428 Homeowners who are 65 years and older, whilst 6,192 of them described themselves in good or very good health, a sizeable 4,459 home owning OAPs described themselves as in fair health and 1,777 in bad or very bad health.

14.3% of Doncaster home owning OAP’s are in poor health
But if you look at the figures for the whole of Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, there are only 89 specialist retirement homes that one could buy (if they were in fact for sale) and 679 homes available to rent from the Council and other specialist providers (again- you would be waiting for dead man’s shoes to get your foot in the door) and many older homeowners wouldn’t feel comfortable with the idea of renting a retirement property after enjoying the security of owning their own home for most of their adult lives.

My intuition tells me the majority ‘would be’ Doncaster downsizers could certainly afford to move but are staying put in bigger family homes because they can’t find a suitable smaller property. The fact is there simply aren’t enough bungalows for the healthy older members of the Doncaster population and specialist retirement properties for the ones who aren’t in such good health … we need to build more appropriate houses in Doncaster.

 The Government’s Housing White Paper, published a few weeks ago, could have solved so many problems with the UK housing market, including the issue of homing our aging population. Instead, it ended up feeling annoyingly ambiguous. Forcing our older generation to move with such measures as a punitive taxation (say a tax on wasted bedrooms for people who are retired) would be the wrong thing to do. Instead of the stick – maybe the Government could use the carrot tactics and offered tax breaks for downsizers. Who knows – but something has to happen?

.. and come to think about it, isn’t the word ‘downsize’ such an awful word?  I prefer to use the word ‘decent-size’ instead of ‘down-size’- as the other phrase feels like they are lowering themselves, as though they are having to downgrade themselves in their retirement (and let’s be frank – no one likes to be downgraded).

The simple fact is we are living longer as a population and constantly growing with increased birth rates and immigration. So, what I would say to all the homeowners and property owning public of Doncaster is … more houses and apartments need to be built in the Doncaster area, especially more specialist retirement properties and bungalows. The Government had a golden opportunity with the White Paper – and were sadly found lacking.

And a message to my Doncaster property investor readers whilst this issue gets sorted in the coming decade(s)  – maybe seriously consider doing up older bungalows – people will pay handsomely for them – be they for sale or even rent? Just a thought!