Yearly Archives: 2017

Doncaster Property News

Doncaster Buy-to-Let Return / Yields – 2.5% to 8.7% a year.

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The mind-set and tactics you employ to buy your first Doncaster buy to let property needs to be different to the tactics and methodology of buying a home for yourself to live in. The main difference is when purchasing your own property, you may well pay a little more to get the home you (and your family) want, and are less likely to compromise. When buying for your own use, it is only human nature you will want the best, so that quite often it is at the top end of your budget (because as my parents always used to tell me – you get what you pay for in this world!).

Yet with a buy to let property, if your goal is a higher rental return – a higher price doesn’t always equate to higher monthly returns – in fact quite the opposite. Inexpensive Doncaster properties can bring in bigger monthly returns. Most landlords use the phrase ‘yield’ instead of monthly return. To calculate the yield on a buy to let property one basically takes the monthly rent, multiplies it by 12 to get the annual rent and then divides it by the value of the property.

This means, if one increases the value of the property using this calculation, the subsequent yield drops. Or to put it another way, if a Doncaster buy to let landlord has the decision of two properties that create the same amount of monthly rent, the landlord can increase their rental yield by selecting the lower priced property.

To give you an idea of the sort of returns in Doncaster…


Now of course these are averages and there will always be properties outside the lower and upper ranges in yields: they are a fair representation of the gross yields you can expect in the Doncaster area.

As we move forward, with the total amount of buy to let mortgages amounting to £199,310,614,000 in the country, landlords need to be aware of the investment performance of their property, especially in the era of tax increases and tax relief reductions. Landlords are looking to maximise their yield – and are doing so by buying cheaper properties.

However, before everyone in Doncaster starts selling their upmarket properties and buying cheap ones, yield isn’t the only factor when deciding on what Doncaster buy to let property to buy.  Void periods (i.e. the time when there isn’t a tenant in the property between tenancies) are an important factor and those properties at the cheaper end of the rental spectrum can suffer higher void periods too. Apartments can also have service charges and ground rents that aren’t accounted for in these gross yields. Landlords can also make money if the value of the property goes up and for those Doncaster landlords who are looking for capital growth, an altered investment strategy may be required.

In Doncaster, for example, over the last 20 years, this is how the average price paid for the four different types of Doncaster property have changed…

  • Doncaster Detached Properties have increased in value by 221.6%
  • Doncaster Semi-Detached Properties have increased in value by 241.5%
  • Doncaster Terraced Properties have increased in value by 255.6%
  • Doncaster Apartments have increased in value by 239.4%

It is very much a balancing act of yield, capital growth and void periods when buying in Doncaster. Every landlord’s investment strategy is unique to them. If you would like a fresh pair of eyes to look at your portfolio, be you a private landlord that doesn’t use a letting agent or a landlord that uses one of my competitors – then feel free to drop in and let’s have a chat. What have you got to lose? 30 minutes and my tea making skills are legendary!

Doncaster Property News

Decreasing Numbers of Younger Homeowners in Doncaster

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Ethan Cooper, 37-year-old father of two from Doncaster, was out house hunting. It was a pleasant August Saturday afternoon, and our man cycles along on his bike. He cycles up a street of suburban semis, where he spots a few retired mature neighbours, chatting to each other over the garden fence. He leans his bicycle against a lamppost and launches softly into his property search.

Anyone on the road contemplating moving?” Ethan asks, “I am not a landlord or developer, I’m just a Doncaster bloke trying to get out of renting, buy a house, do it up and live in it with my wife and two children

The only way I will leave here is in a box”, answers an 80-something lady, wearing her fading Paisley patterned housecoat from the 1970’s.

I‘ve lived here since before you were born, its lovely up here .. we aren’t moving, are we Doris?” (as her neighbour sagely shook his head at his wife).

Ethan, like many Doncaster people born in the late 1970’s to the early 1990’s, is keen to get a slice of prime Doncaster real estate. Yet people like Ethan in Generation Y (or the Millennials as some people call them i.e. born between 1977 and 1994 and needing family housing now) are discovering, as each year passes by, they are becoming more neglected and ignored when it comes to moving up the property ladder.

Looking at the graph for the UK as whole …

Over 75 percent of Brits aged 65 and above (the baby boomers) are owner-occupiers, the biggest share since records began and a proportional rise of over 48.3% since the early 1980’s. Looking at those Baby Boomers (the current 65+year olds)  .. and roll the clock back 36 years (to when they were in their 30’s and 40’s and two thirds (65.6%) of them owned their own home.

Whilst today, just under a half of 25 to 49 year olds (47.3%) own their own home.

However, the biggest drop has been in the 18 to 24-year old’s, where homeownership has dropped from a third (32%) in the 1980’s to less than one in ten (8.9%) today. Looking at the Doncaster statistics, the numbers make even more interesting reading.

Government policy contributes to the generational stalemate. Stamp Duty rules prevent older Brits from moving as the price of land and planning rules make it harder to build affordable bungalows that are attractive to members of the older generation who want to move.

The average value of an acre of prime building land in the UK is between £750,000 and £800,000 per acre. Bungalows are the favoured option for the older generation, but the problem is bungalows take up too much land to make them profitable for new homes builders. The housing market is gridlocked with youngsters wanting to get on (then move up) the property ladder whilst the older generation, who want to move from their larger houses to smaller, more modern bungalows, can’t. The problem is – there simply aren’t enough bungalows being built and the high price of land, means they are prohibitive to build.

So, what is my point? Well, all I would say to the homeowners of Doncaster is that one solution could be to start to talk to your local councillors, so they can mould the planners’ thoughts and the local authority thinking in setting land aside for bungalows instead of two up two down starter homes? That would free the impasse at the top of the property ladder (i.e. mature people living in big houses but unable to move anywhere), releasing the middle aged gridlocked people in the ladder to move up, thus releasing more existing starter homes for the younger generation.

… and to you Ethan … the wandering new home searcher – if things are going to change, it will be years before they do .. so keep going out and spreading the word of your search for a new home for your family.

Doncaster

Slowing Doncaster Property Market? Yes and No!

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My thoughts to the landlords and homeowners of Doncaster…

The tightrope of being a Doncaster buy-to-let landlord is a balancing act many do well at. Talking to several Doncaster landlords, they are very conscious of their tenants’ capacity and ability to pay the rent and their own need to raise rents on their rental properties (as Government figure shows ‘real pay’ has dropped 1% in the last six months). Evidence does suggest many landlords feel more assured than they were in the spring about pursuing higher rents on their properties.

During the summer months, historic evidence suggests that the rents new tenants have had to pay on move in have increased. June/July/August is a time when renters like to move, demand surges and the normal supply and demand seesaw mean tenants are normally prepared to pay more to secure the property they want to live in, in the place they want to be. This is particularly good news for Doncaster landlords as average Doncaster rents have been on a downward trend recently. So look at the figures here…

Rents in Doncaster on average for new tenants moving in have risen 1.6% for the month, taking overall annual Doncaster rents 1.1% higher for the year

However, several Doncaster landlords have expressed their apprehensions about a slowing of the housing market in Doncaster. I think this negativity may be exaggerated.

The other side of the coin to property investing is capital values (which will also be of interest to all the homeowners in Doncaster as well as the Doncaster buy-to-let landlords).  I believe the Doncaster property market has been trying to find some level of equilibrium since the New Year.  According to the Land Registry…

Property Values in Doncaster are 2.21% higher than they were 12 months ago, rising by 2.5% last month alone!

The reality is the number of properties that are on the market in Doncaster today has dropped, albeit only by 1.1% since New Year, but even that can have an interesting effect on short-term property values. As tenants have had less choice, buyers also have less choice.

Be you a homeowner or landlord, if you are planning to sell your Doncaster property in the short-term, it is crucial, that whilst you allow room for negotiation, you must still realistically price your property when you bring it to the market. Given that everyone now has access to property details, including historic stats for how much property has sold for, buyers will be more astute during the offer and negotiation stages of a purchase.

Even with this short-term decrease in the number of properties for sale in Doncaster, property prices will remain stable and strong in the medium to long term. This is because the number of properties on the market today is still way below the peak of summer of 2008, when there were 1,657 properties for sale compared to the current level of 892.

Compared to 2008, today’s lower supply of Doncaster properties for sale will keep prices relatively high…and they will continue to stay at these levels for the medium to long term.

Less people are moving than a few years ago, meaning less property is for sale. Fewer properties for sale mean property prices remain relatively high and this is because of a number of underlying reasons. Firstly, buy-to-let landlords tend not sell their properties as often than owner-occupiers, consequently removing the property out of the housing market selling cycle. Secondly, Stamp Duty is much higher compared to 10 years ago (meaning it costs more to move). Next, there is a dearth of local authority rental housing so demand for private rented housing will remain high. Then we have the UK’s maturing owner occupier population, meaning these older people are less likely to move (compared to when they were younger). Another reason is the lack of new homes being built in the country (we need 240k houses a year to be built in the UK and we are currently only building 145k a year!) and finally, the new mortgage rules introduced in 2014 about how much a person can borrow on a mortgage has curtailed demand.

Some final thought’s before I go – to all the Doncaster homeowners that aren’t planning to sell – this talk of price changes is only on paper profit or loss. To those that are moving … most people that sell, are buyers as well, so as you might not get as much for yours, the one you will want to buy won’t be as much, (swings and roundabouts as Mum used to say!)

To all the Doncaster landlords – keep your eyes peeled – I have a feeling there may be some decent buy-to-let deals to be had in the coming months. One place for such deals, irrespective of which agent is selling it, is my Doncaster Property Blog.

Doncaster

Doncaster’s New 3 Speed Property Market

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“What’s happening to the Doncaster Property Market” is a question I am asked repeatedly.  Well, would it be a surprise to hear that my own research suggests that there isn’t just one big Doncaster property market – but many small micro-property markets?

According to recent data released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), I have discovered that at least three of these micro-property markets have emerged over the last 20+ years in the town.

For ease, I have named them the …

  1. lower’ Doncaster Property Market.
  2. lower to middle’ Doncaster Property Market.
  3. ‘middle’ Doncaster Property Market.

The ‘lower’ and ‘lower to middle’ sectors of the Doncaster property market have been fuelled over the last few years by two sets of buyers. The first set, making up the clear majority of those buyers, are cash rich landlord investors who are throwing themselves into the Doncaster property market to take advantage of alluringly low prices and even lower interest rates. The other set of buyers in the ‘lower’ and ‘lower to middle’ Doncaster property market are the first-time buyers (FTB), although the FTB market is in a state of unparalleled deadlock as it’s been trampled into near-immobility and incapacity by the new 2014 stricter mortgage affordability regulations and also fewer mortgages with low deposits.

Some of you may be interested to know how I have classified the three sectors ..

  1. lower’ Doncaster housing market – the bottom 10% (in terms of value) of properties sold
  2. lower to middle’ Doncaster housing market – lower Quartile (or lowest 25% in terms of value) of properties sold
  3. middle’ Doncaster housing market – which is the median in terms of value

…. and if one looks at the figures for Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council area you can see the three different sectors (lower, lower/middle and middle) have performed quite differently.



You can see that it is the ‘lower’ market that has performed the best.

You might ask, what do all these different figures mean to homeowners and landlords alike?  Quite a lot – so let me explain. The worst performing sector (with the lowest Percentage uplift) was the ‘middle’ housing market. Therefore, interestingly, if we applied the best percentage uplift figure (i.e. from the ‘lower’ market percentage uplift), to the ‘middle’ 1995 housing market figure, the 2017 figure of £138,850, would have been £142,536 instead – a bit of a difference you must agree?

Now, I have specifically not mentioned the upper reaches of the Doncaster housing market for several reasons.  Firstly, the lower or middle market is where most of the buy to let investment landlords buy their property and where the majority of property transactions take place. Secondly, due to the unique and distinctive nature of Doncaster’s up-market property scene (because every property is different and they don’t tend to sell as often as the lower to middle market), it is much more difficult to calculate what changes have occurred to property prices in that part of the Doncaster property market – looking at the stats for the up-market Doncaster property market from Land Registry, only 11 properties in Doncaster (and a 5 mile radius around it) have sold for £1,000,000 or more since 1997.

So, what should every homeowner and buy to let landlord take from the information that there are many micro-property markets? Well, when you realise there isn’t just one Doncaster Property Market, but many Doncaster “micro-property markets”, you can spot trends and bag yourself some potential bargains. Even in this market, I have spotted a number of bargains over the last few months that I have shared in my Property Blog and to my landlord database, especially in the ‘lower’ and ‘lower/middle’ market. If you want to be kept informed of those buy to let bargains, have a look at my Blog .. it’s free to do so and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to miss out – would you?

I would love to know if you have spotted any micro-property markets in Doncaster.

Doncaster Property News

Supply and Demand Issues mean Doncaster Property Values Rise by 3.5% in the Last 12 Months

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The most recent set of data from the Land Registry has stated that property values in Doncaster and the surrounding area were 3.56% higher than 12 months ago and 11% higher than January 2015.

Despite the uncertainty over Brexit as Doncaster (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 Doncaster property market can also be seen from those two sides of the story.

Looking at the supply issues of the Doncaster 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 Wickersley, Oldcotes and Haxey.

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 Doncaster badly need, aren’t being built.

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 Doncaster saw in property values was just 16.67% in the 2008/9 credit crunch.

Despite the slowdown in the rate of annual property value growth in Doncaster to the current 3.56%, from the heady days of 7.66% annual increases seen in mid 2010, it can be argued the headline rate of Doncaster 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 Doncaster (and the UK).

For more thoughts on the Doncaster Property Market, please visit the Doncaster Property Market Blog.

Doncaster Property News

Doncaster Homeowners and their £2.93 billion Debt

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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 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 Doncaster according to the

Land Registry are 3.56% higher than a year ago

So, what does all this mean for the homeowners and landlords of Doncaster, especially in relation to property prices moving forward?

One vital bellwether 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 Doncaster property market, but in late 2007, and for the following year and half, Doncaster property values dropped each month like the notorious heavy lead balloon, meaning …


The credit crunch caused Doncaster property values to drop by 16.67%

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 Doncaster property market started to recover slowly in 2011 as certainty returned to the economy as a whole and Doncaster 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 Doncaster from the post Credit Crunch 2009 dip and are now 15.09% 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 Doncaster 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 Doncaster 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 Doncaster postcodes of DN1 to DN12, if you added up everyone’s mortgage, it would total £2,939,559,877!

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 Doncaster. Maybe, just maybe, you might want to consider taking some advice from a qualified mortgage adviser? There are plenty of them in Doncaster

If you are interested in the Doncaster Property Market, you might learn something by visiting the Doncaster Proprty blog.

Doncaster Property News

Doncaster Baby Boomers vs. Doncaster Millennials (Part 2)

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Well last week’s article “The Unfairness of the Doncaster Baby Boomer’s £2,349,210,000 windfall?” caused a stir. In it we looked at a young family member of mine who was arguing the case that Millennials (those born after 1985) were suffering on the back of the older generation in Doncaster. They claimed the older generation had seen the benefit of the cumulative value of Doncaster properties significantly increasing over the last 25/30 years (which I calculated at  £2.35bn since 1990). In addition many of the older generation (the baby boomers) had fantastic pensions, which meant the younger generation were priced out of the Doncaster housing market.

I replied there should be no surprise though that the older members of our society hold considerably more of our country’s wealth than the younger generation. This wealth is accrued and saved across someone’s life, and reaches it’s peak about the time of retirement. If we are to comprehend differing wealth levels between generations we need to compare ‘apples with apples’. It is much more important to track the wealth held by different generations at the same age, i.e. what was ‘real’ wealth of the 30-something couple in the 1960’s compared to a 30-something couple say in the 1980’s or 2010’s?

Looking back over the last 120 years at various economic studies, this growth in wealth from one generation to the next (at the age range), only happened over a 30 year period of between 1960 and late 1980’s. Since the 1990’s, wealth has not improved across the generations, in the same age range.

So could it be all about these people saving? The fact is, in the last 10 years, UK households have saved on average 7.5% to 8% of the household income into savings accounts, compared to an average of 6% to 7% in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. The baby boomers haven’t been actively squirreling away their cash for the last 30 or 40 years in savings accounts to accumulate their wealth. Most of their gains have been passive, lucky bonuses gained on the back of things out of their control (unanticipated and massive property value rises or people living longer making final salary pensions more valuable) – it’s not their fault!

…and herein lies the issue … it is assumed that these Millennials aren’t buying property in the same numbers like the older generation did in the past (because most of their wealth has come from house price inflation). The Millennials have often been described as ‘Generation Rent’, because they rent as opposed to buying property – because we are told they cant buy.

However, when Doncaster mortgage payments are measured against monthly income, home ownership is affordable by historic standards because mortgage rates are currently so low. As you can see, the ratio of average house price to average earnings in Doncaster hasn’t vastly changed over the last decade …

  • 2008 average house price to average earnings of a single person in Doncaster 5.11 to 1
  • 2017 average house price to average earnings of a single person in Doncaster 5.16 to 1


(i.e. in 2008, the average house price in Doncaster was 5.11 times more than the average person’s salary in Doncaster and this has only risen to 5.16 in 2017 – and all this off the property boom of the early 2010’s)

95% first-time buyer mortgages were reintroduced in 2010. The average interest rate charged for those 95% FTB mortgages has slowly dropped from around 5.5% in 2009 to the current 4% rate. Back in the 1980’s/1990’s mortgage interest rates were between 8% and 10%, and one time in the early 1990’s, reached 15%! The main difference between the two periods was the absolute borrowing relative to income is greater now than in the 1980’s. They call this the ‘mortgage to joint household income ratio’. In the 1980’s the mortgage was between 1.8x to 2x joint income; today it is 3.4x to 3.6x salary.

The simple fact is, in the majority of cases, it is still cheaper for a first-time buyer to buy a property with a 95% mortgage, than it is rent it. The barrier for these Millennials, has to be finding the 5% mortgage deposit – instead of being able to afford monthly mortgage outgoings at the current 95% mortgage rates?

Millennials make up 22,039 households in the Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council area (or 17.4% of all households in the area).  However, behind the doom and gloom, surprisingly, 40.1% did save up the 5% deposit and do in fact own their own home (that surprised you didn’t it!)

Nonetheless, the majority of Millennials in the area still do rent from a landlord (9,410 Millennial households to be exact). Yet, they have a choice. Buckle down and do what their parents did and go without the nice things in life for a couple of years (i.e. the holidays, out on the town two times a week, the annual upgraded mobile phones, the £100 a month Satellite packages) and save for a 5% mortgage deposit … or live in a lovely rented house or apartment (because they are nowadays), without any maintenance bills and live a life with no intention of buying (because renting doesn’t have a stigma anymore like it did in the 1960’s/70’s (secretly hoping their parents don’t spend all their inheritance so they can buy a property later in life – like they do in central Europe).

Neither decision is right or wrong – although it is still a choice. Until Millennials decide to change their choices – that is the reason why the country’s private rental sector will continue to grow for the next 30 years – meaning happy tenants and happy landlords.

Doncaster Property News

The Unfairness of the Doncaster Baby Boomer’s £2,349,210,000 Windfall? (Part 1)

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Recently I was having a chat with one of my second cousins at a big family get-together. The last time I had seen them their children were in their early teens. Now their children are all grown up, have partners, dogs and children. Wow – how time flies!

So, I got talking over a glass of lemonade with my 2nd cousins and a couple of their children, about the times of 15% interest rates and how the more mature members of our family had to endure the 3 day week, 20% inflation and the threat of nuclear annihilation in 4 minutes .. so, foolishly, I said what with all the opportunities youngsters had today, they had never had it so good!

Trust one of my cousin’s children to have gained some financial/economics qualifications before going to Law School, as they debated with me the genuine economic predicament of Millennials and how a combination of student debt, unemployment, global proliferation, EU migration and rising house values is reducing the salaries and outlook of masses of the UK’s younger generation, causing an unparalleled disparity of wealth between the generations. So of course I asked why that was?

They said Millennials were paying the price for the UK’s most spectacular bookkeeping catastrophe to date (bigger than the Bank bailout after the Credit Crunch). Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, nobody predicted us Brit’s would live as long as we do today, and in such abundant numbers. The OAP pensions that were promised in the past (be that Government State Pension or Company Final Salary Schemes) which appeared to be nothing fancy at the time, are now burdensomely over-lavish, and that is hurting the Millennials of today and will do so for years to come.

Bringing it back to property, the young 2nd cousin once removed ‘soon to be’ lawyer, stated that baby boomers born between 1945 and 1965 have been big recipients of the vast rising house prices over the 1970’s/80’s/90’s and 2000’s. Add to that their decent pensions, meaning cumulatively, their wealth has grown exponentially through no skill of their own.

This disparity of wealth between the older and younger generations could have unparalleled consequences for the living standards of younger Millennials…. So Houston Doncaster – do we have a problem??

Well Doncaster Property Blog readers, you know I like a challenge. I can’t disagree with some of what the younger family member said, but there are always two sides to every story, so I thought I would do some homework on the matter ..

Since 1990, the average value of a property in Doncaster has risen from £61,900 to its current level of £151,100. As there are a total of 26,635 homeowners aged over 50 in Doncaster; that means there has been a £2.35bn windfall for those Doncaster homeowners fortunate enough to own their own homes during the property boom of the 1990s and early 2000’s.

I must admit that the growth in property values in the 1990’s and 2000’s certainly helped many of Doncaster’s baby boomers. The figures do appear to put into reverse gear the perceived wisdom that each generation gets wealthier than the previous one  … and so with all this wealth, the figures do back up the youngsters argument that Millennials are being priced out of home ownership.

Or do they? Are they?

Next week, I will carry on this discussion where I will give the Baby Boomer’s defence to the prosecution’s case!

Doncaster Property News

Doncaster Buy-To-Let Predictions up to 2037

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On several occasions over the last few months, in my Doncaster Property Blog, I predicted that the rate of rental inflation (i.e. how much rents are rising by) had eased over the last year. At the same time I felt that in some parts of the UK rents had actually dropped for the first time in over eight years. Recent research backs up this prediction.

Rents in Doncaster for new tenancies only grew by 0.8% in the last 12 months (i.e. not existing tenants experiencing rental increases from their existing landlord). When we compare that current rate with the historical rental inflation in Doncaster, an interesting pattern emerges ..

  • 2016 – Rental Inflation in Doncaster was 4.8%
  • 2015 – Rental Inflation in Doncaster was 2.8%
  • 2014 – Rental Inflation in Doncaster was -3.4%

The reason behind this change depends on which side of the demand/supply equation you are looking from. On the demand side (from the tenants point of view) there is the uncertainty of Brexit and the fact that salaries are not keeping up with inflation for the first time in three years. Critically this means tenants have less disposable income to pay their rent. As an aside, it is interesting to note that nationally, rent accounts for 29% of a tenant’s take home pay (Denton House).

On the supply side of the equation (landlords point of view) Brexit also creates uncertainty. However, the biggest issue was a massive upsurge of new rental properties coming on to the market in late 2016, caused by George Osborne’s new 3% stamp duty tax for landlords in the first part of 2016. This meant a lot of new rental properties were ‘dropped’ on to the rental market all at the same time. The greater choice of rental properties for tenants curtailed rental growth/inflation. A slight softening of Doncaster property prices has compounded this.  Figures from The Bank of England suggested that first time buyers rose over the last 12 months as some were more inclined to buy instead of rent. Together, these factors played a part in the ongoing moderation of rental growth.

The lead up to the General Election in May didn’t help: after all people don’t like doubt and uncertainty. So now that we have a mandate for going forward over the next 5 years hopefully that has removed any stumbling blocks stopping tenants making the decision to move home.

Whether it be ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ Brexit negotiations (and with the Election result the Tory’s might have to be ‘softer’ on those negotiations) the simple fact is, we aren’t building enough properties for us to live in. Both in Doncaster, Yorkshire and the wider UK, long-term population trends imply that rents will soon be growing faster than inflation again. Look at the projections by the Office of National Statistics.

The fact is that I see this as a short-term blip and rents will continue to grow in the coming years. With rents only accounting for 29% of a tenants’ disposable income, the ability for most tenants to absorb a rent increase does exist.

Tenants will still require a vibrant and growing rental sector to deliver them housing options in a timely manner. As the population grows in Doncaster, and wider afield, any restriction to the supply of rental properties (brought about by poor returns for landlords) cannot be in the long-term best interest of tenants. Simply put rents must go up!

Doncaster Property News

8,419 Doncaster Landlords – Is This a Legal Tax Loop-Hole?

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In November 2015, George Osborne disclosed plans to restrain the buy-to-let (BTL) market, implying its growing attractiveness was leaving aspiring first time buyers contesting with landlords for the restricted number of properties on the market.  One of things he brought in was that tax relief on BTL mortgages would be capped, starting in April 2017.  Before April 2017, a private landlord could claim tax relief from their interest on their BTL mortgage at the rate they paid income tax – (i.e. 20% basic /40% higher rate and 45% additional rate).

So, for example, let’s say we have a Doncaster landlord, a high rate tax payer who has a BTL investment where the rent is £900 a month and the mortgage is £600 per month.  In the tax year just gone (16/17), assuming no other costs or allowable items …

  • Annual rental income £10,800.
  • Taxable rental income would be £3600 after tax relief from mortgage relief
  • Meaning they would pay £1,440 in income tax on the rental income

And assuming no other changes … the landlord would have income tax liability’s (at the time of writing May 2017) in the tax years of …

  • (17/18) £1,800
  • (18/19) £2,160
  • (19/20) £2,520
  • (20/21) £2,880

Landlords who are higher rate tax payers are going to have be a lot smarter with their BTL investments and ensure they are maximising their rental properties full rental capability.  However, there is another option for landlords.

The Doncaster landlords who own the 8,419 Rental properties
in the City could set up a Limited Company and sell their
property personally to that Limited Company

In fact, looking at the Numbers from Companies House – many landlords are doing this.  In the UK, there are 93,262 Buy To Let Limited Companies, and since the announcement in November 2015 – the numbers have seen a massive rise.

  • Q2 2015 / Q3 2015 – 4,193 Buy to Let Limited Companies Set Up
  • Q4 2015 / Q1 2016 – 5,403 Buy to Let Limited Companies Set Up
  • Q2 2016 / Q3 2016 – 3,007 Buy to Let Limited Companies Set Up
  • Q4 2016 / Q1 2017 – 7,149 Buy to Let Limited Companies Set Up

So, by selling their buy to let investments to their own limited company, owned 100% by them, these landlords could then offset the costs of running their BTL’s as an ‘allowable expense’ – effectively writing off the cost of 100% of their mortgage outgoings, wear and tear and upkeep, letting agent’s fees etc.

I am undeniably seeing more Doncaster landlords approach me for my thoughts on setting up a BTL limited company, so should you make the change to a limited company?

In fact, I have done some extensive research with companies house in the 15 months (1st January 2016 to 31st March 2017 and 113 Buy To Let Limited Companies have been set up in the DN postcode alone).

Well if you are looking to hold your BTL investments for a long time it could be very favourable to take the short-term pain of putting your BTL’s in a limited company for a long-term gain.  You see, there are huge tax advantages to swapping property ownership into a limited company but there are some big costs that go with the privilege.

As the law sees the new Limited Company as a separate entity to yourself, you are legally selling your BTL property to your Limited Company, just like you would be selling it on the open market. Your Limited company would have to pay Stamp Duty on the purchase and if you (as an individual) made a profit from the original purchase price, there could be a capital gains tax liability of 18% to 28%.  The mortgage might need to be redeemed and renegotiated (with appropriate exit charges).

On a more positive note, what I have seen though by incorporating (setting up the Limited Company) is landlords can roll up all their little buy to let mortgages into one big loan, often meaning they obtain a lower interest rate and the ability to advance new purchase capital.  Finally, if the tax liability is too high to swap to a limited company, some savvy buy to let investors are leaving their existing portfolios in their personal name whilst purchasing any new investment through a limited company?  Just an idea (not advice!).

It’s vital that landlords get the very best guidance and information from tax consultants with the right qualifications, experience and insurance.  Whatever you do, always get the opinions from these tax consultants in writing and you shouldn’t hurry into making any hasty decisions.  The modifications to BTL tax relief are being progressively eased in over the next three years so there is no need to be unnerved and rush into any decisions before finding out the specifics as they relate precisely to your personal situation, because with decent tax planning (from a tax consultant) and good rental / BTL portfolio management (which I can help you with) … whatever you do – let’s keep you the right side of the line!