Yearly Archives: 2018

Doncaster Property News

Doncaster ‘Home Owning’ Movers and Shakers in 2018

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It’s now commonly agreed amongst economists and the general public that the dramatic rise in Doncaster property prices of the last six years has come to an end.

Read the National newspapers, and they talk of doom and gloom in the British housing market with such things as strained buyer affordability (as property prices have increased over the past six years at a far faster pace than average salaries), a lack of new properties being built and the Brexit uncertainties over the last two and half years being blamed for the slow down – yet in the last 12 months, people have still been moving, buying and selling in Doncaster at levels similar to the last six years – something tells me we have a case of ‘bad news selling newspapers’.

So instead, let me share with you what, exactly, is happening in the Doncaster property market, and more specifically, who is moving and why in Doncaster. Most of the sales in Doncaster over the past twelve months were semi-detached properties, which on average sold for £124,400. Detached properties had an average sold price of £226,200 and terraced properties averaged at £90,300.

In Doncaster, in the homeowner sector in 2018 (i.e. owner occupation), 1,612 households moved within the tenure (i.e. sold the home they owned and bought another one) and 314 new households were created (i.e. they moved from living with family/friends and bought their first home without privately renting).

Doncaster Home Movers in 2018
Moved from Owner Occupation to Private Rented 591
Moved from Private Rented to Owner Occupation 750
Owner Occupation to Social Housing 80
Straight to Owner Occupation 314
Left Owner Occupation (i.e. Household Ended) 388
Owner Occupation to Owner Occupation 1,612


What does this mean for Doncaster buy to let landlords? Well looking at the graph, it appears bad news for landlords. There were 750 households that moved into the home owning (owner occupation) tenure from the private rented sector, whilst on the other side of the coin, 591 Doncaster households moved to the private rented sector from owner occupation … which appears on the face of it, a reduction in the private sector.

My research has calculated that in 2018, an additional 781 new households in the Doncaster private rental sector were created

…and it will continue to grow at those levels for the foreseeable future.

I have one final thought and opportunity for you Doncaster property investors. 388 owner occupied households in Doncaster sold in last year where the homeowners had passed away. These properties can be a potential goldmine and offer great returns. The reason being is some members of the older generation who have owned these homes for decades have spent money on high capital items (double glazing / central heating etc.) but not spent money on more superficial low-ticket items such as up to date carpets, kitchen, bathroom and decorating (vital if you want to sell your property for top dollar). These properties can often be bought cheaply because most buyers can’t see past the avocado or brown bathroom suite from the 1970’s and the dated decor, so if you were to buy wisely and do the works, you could sell it on for a healthy profit.

So, whatever is happening in the world with Brexit, Trump, China, and the Stock Market … the Doncaster housing market is in decent shape for the medium to long term. If we do have small corrections in values in the next 12 to 18 months, in the long term, house prices have always returned … and returned with vengeance. Like I say to anyone buying a property, be they a first time buyer, landlord or homeowner … property is a long game … and if you play the long game, you will always win (although isn’t that true in most aspects of life?).

Doncaster Property News

2 bed, 3 bed or 4 bed homes – Which Sell the Best in Doncaster?

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A few months ago, I wrote an article on the Doncaster Property Blog about the length of time it took to sell a property in Doncaster and the saleability of the different price bands (i.e. whether the lower/middle or upper local property markets were moving slower or quicker than the others). For reference, a few months ago it was taking on average 49 days from the property coming on the market for it to be sold subject to contract (and that was based on every Estate Agent in Doncaster) … and today … 101 days  .. does that surprise you with what is happening in the UK economy?

Well, a number of Doncaster landlords and homeowners, who are looking to sell in the coming months, contacted me following that article to enquire what difference the type of property (i.e. Detached/Semi/Terraced/Apartment) made to saleability and also the saleability of property by the number of bedrooms. As I have said before, whether you are a Doncaster landlord looking to liquidate your buy to let investment or a homeowner looking to sell your home; finding a buyer and selling your property can take an annoyingly long time… but anything you can do to mitigate that is helpful to everyone.

So, I did some research on the whole of the Doncaster property market .. and these were my findings …  to start with by type (i.e. Detached/Semi/Terraced/Apartment)….

As you can see, the star players are the semi-detached and terraced/town house variants of Doncaster property, whilst apartments seem to be sticking in Doncaster.

Next I looked at what the number of bedrooms does to the saleability of Doncaster property..

… and as you can see the one bed properties seem to be taking the longest time to sell ..and to answer the question in the title .. it’s four bed properties!

So, what does this mean for Doncaster buy-to-let landlords and homeowners?

There is no doubt that there is a profusion of properties on the market in Doncaster compared to 18 months ago … it’s not because more houses are coming on to the market, it’s because they are also taking a little longer to sell. This makes it slightly more a buyer’s market than the seller’s market we had back in 2014/5/6. Therefore, in some sectors of the Doncaster property market, it is much tougher to sell, especially if you want to sell your Doncaster home fast.

Therefore, to conclude, on the run up to the New Year, if you are looking to buy and plan to stay in the buy to let market a long time, perhaps take a look at the Doncaster properties that are sticking as there could be some bargains to be had there? Want to know where they are .. drop me a line and I will tell you a nifty little trick to find all the properties that are sticking.

Doncaster Property News

The £5,210,772 Ticking Time Bomb for Doncaster Landlords

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I just love looking over and keeping up to date the 108 pieces of legislation that govern the rental of residential property in the UK

                                                                                                                                                   …No Doncaster Landlord, ever

If you are one of the 3,283 Doncaster landlord’s that manages your own property, would it surprise you to know that there are 108 separate pieces of legislation that govern the rental of private houses to tenants. Oh, and on top of the 108 pieces of law, there are further 300+ regulations in the mix. Whilst Doncaster landlords may once have preferred to manage their Doncaster buy-to-let properties themselves to boost their profits, many Doncaster landlords are starting to see this as a false economy.

In the last four years, an additional 1,263 landlords in Doncaster have converted from self-managed to having their property managed by a letting agent in Doncaster, taking the total number of properties under management in Doncaster to 5,136 (out of a total of 8,419 private rental properties in Doncaster).

Now, don’t get me wrong, self-managing your Doncaster rental property can be a very fulfilling experience, allowing you, as a Doncaster landlord, to build a deep relationship with your tenant and your emergency 24 hour plumber, builder (happy to do small jobs at a drop of a hat), decorators, first name terms with their deposit provider, lawyer and EPC provider to name but a few. (Wow!)

Also, did you know if your tenants deposit isn’t registered, or doesn’t continue to be registered after the end the periodic tenancy upon renewal … you could be fined up to three times your deposit? With the average rental deposit in Doncaster being £529, each self-managed landlord in Doncaster could be fined £1,587 per tenancy if the deposit isn’t currently registered. Therefore…

…if every deposit of every Doncaster self-managed landlord’s property wasn’t registered, the total fines would amount to £5,210,772

Now of course, I am not suggesting for one minute all the self-managed landlords of Doncaster haven’t registered their deposits, yet almost on a daily basis, I come across horror stories to that effect. Another two (but by no means all) hot issues that the Courts are cracking down on, are doing immigration ‘Right To Rent’ checks on all tenants (yes all tenants) and confirmation proving the tenant received the ‘How to Rent’ guide. If that second issue cannot be proved (a ‘sent’ email won’t suffice), the landlord cannot serve the section 21 Notice, meaning the tenant cannot be served notice to vacate the property.

To many, it’s really a case of DIY or getting a qualified professional in … as those additional Doncaster landlords mentioned above have done since 2014. You might say, “Of course you are going to say all this – you are a Letting Agent”. Well the choice really comes down to your time and your knowledge. If a Doncaster landlord is not equipped, or able, to devote time keeping up-to-date of legislation and law nor doesn’t want to be bothered 24/7/365 about a blown light bulb, dripping taps, have that confrontational conversation with their tenants about missing rental payments, or arbitrate arguments and disagreements between your tenant and the neighbours, it is perhaps better to pass this accountability/responsibility onto a letting agent.

One thing I would say is all letting agents aren’t the same. Would it surprise you to know that letting agents aren’t regulated?

Doncaster landlords that do use a letting agent should not forget that passing over management to a letting agent doesn’t mean they can disregard legislation and they are still responsible for deposit/rent repayment legal directives, civil fines or action if the letting agent makes a mistake. Therefore, it’s important to pick a respectable letting agent from the start.

Nevertheless, for those Doncaster landlords that see their job as a professional landlord and want to be intricately involved in the day to day administration of their rental properties, it can be worthy pursuit.

If you are a self-managed landlord in Doncaster, and want to know if your paperwork is in order please feel free to drop me a line and I am more than happy to do an ‘MOT’ on it to ensure you are the right side of the law.

Doncaster Property News

Doncaster First Time Buyers Need 5.1 Times Annual Salary to Get on Housing Ladder

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What is it to be British? Our stubbornness, long-suffering stoicism, our vexation at injustice, our obsession with football and rugby, we are weather obsessed external awkward noncommittal modest people whilst underneath seething like a volcano because someone jumped the queue….. and our No.1 obsession is with the property ladder.

This ‘love affair’ with owning our own home has been both good and bad for the UK as a whole; giving people financial freedom in their later years whilst also reducing the quantity (and quality) of housing provision whilst adding the extra pressure of a ‘them and us’ society. Strong words I know .. but let me explain more.

I honestly believe that most Governments since the end of the 1970’s, Conservative and Labour, have attempted to nourish our addiction to home ownership (to keep the housing market on track) with the Council House Right to Buy sell off in the 1980’s, tax relief of mortgages, relaxation of the mortgage rules in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s and most recently, the Help to Buy scheme.

But the Brits haven’t always had this obsession.

Roll the clock back 100 years and, in 1918, just under a quarter of all Brits owned their own homes and the other 77% rented. Go back 50 years to 1968, and only 46% of people owned their own home, the rest rented. This homeownership thing is quite a recent phenomenon.

According to my research, anyone looking to get a foot onto the property ladder as a first-time buyer in Doncaster today, AS A SINGLE PERSON, would need to spend 5.1 times their earnings on a Doncaster first time buyer property.

 

Using the numbers from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the average value of a first-time buyer property in Doncaster today is £91,000, compared to £85,000 in 2007. If we divide those property values by the average annual earnings of first time buyers – in 2007, that was £14,802 pa and that has risen to £17,765 pa .. giving us the ratio of 5.1 to 1.

However, what must be remembered is that these are raw statistics from the ONS and don’t take into account other factors, like most people buy their first home as a couple. Also, mortgage rates are at an all-time low and who can remember mortgage rates of 15%+ in the 1990’s, meaning borrowing today is relatively cheap. Also, 95% Loan to Value first time buyer mortgages have been available since the end of 2009  (i.e. you only need to save a 5% deposit) and first time buyer rates of 2.19% fixed for 5 years can be obtained (correct at time of writing this article)… it is cheaper to buy than rent .. fact!

I believe there has been a mind-set change to owning a home. Home ownership was the goal of the youngsters in the latter half of the 20th century. Britain is changing to a more European model of homeownership, where people rent in early to mid-life, wait to inherit the money from their parents when in their 50’s and then buy.. thus continuing the circle – albeit in a different way to the last Century.

This means the demand for privately rented accommodation will, in the long term, only continue to grow. If you would like to know more about where the hot spots are for that growth in Doncaster, then one place would be my property blog INSERT URL HERE or if you want to drop me an email or telephone call, feel free to pick my brain on the best places to buy (and not to buy) in Doncaster to ensure your rental investment gets you want you want. The choice is yours!

Doncaster Property News

How Would a Hard Brexit Affect Doncaster House Prices?

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I have been asked a number of times recently what a hard Brexit would mean to the Doncaster property market. To be frank, I have been holding off giving my thoughts, as I did not want to add fuel to the stories being banded around in the national press. However, it’s obviously a topic that you as Doncaster buy to let landlords and Doncaster homeowners are interested in … so I am going to try and give you what I consider a fair and unbiased piece on what would happen if a hard Brexit takes place in March 2019.

After the weather and football, the British obsession on the UK property market is without comparison to any other country in the world. I swear The Daily Mail has the state of the country’s property market on its standard weekly rotation of front-page stories! Like I have said before on my blog, there are better economic indexes and statistics to judge the economy (and more importantly) the property market. If you recall, I said the number of transactions was just as important, if not more, as a bellwether of the state of the property market.

Worries that the Brexit referendum would lead to a fast crash in Doncaster (and national) property values were unfounded, although the growth of property values in Doncaster has reduced since the referendum in the summer of 2016.

Now, it’s true the Doncaster property market is seeing less people sell and move and the property values are rising at a slower rate in 2018 compared to the heady days of the first half of this decade (2010 to 2015), but before we all start panicking, let’s ask ourselves, what exactly has happened in the last couple of years since the Brexit vote?

Doncaster house prices have risen by 3.01% since the

EU Referendum…

 …and yes, in 2018 we are on track (and again this is projected) to finish on 4,839 property transactions (i.e. the number of people selling their home) … which is less than 2017 … but still higher than the long term 12 year average of 3,866 transactions in the local council area.

 

So, it appears the EU vote hasn’t caused many major issues so far, however, if there was a large economic jolt, that could be a different game, yet how likely is that?

The property market is mostly influenced by interest rates and salaries.

A hard Brexit would subdue wage growth to some degree, yet the level of the change will depend on the undetermined type of Brexit deal (or no deal). If trade barriers are imposed on a hard Brexit, imports will become more expensive, inflation will rise and growth will fall, although at least we are not in the Euro, meaning this could be tempered by the exchange rate of the Pound against the Euro. In plain language, a hard Brexit will be worse for house prices than a deal.

So why did the Governor of the Bank of England suggest a disorderly hard Brexit would affect house prices by up to 35%?

I mean it was only nine years ago we went through the global financial crisis with the credit crunch. Nationally, in most locations including Doncaster, property values dropped in value by 16% to 19% over an 18-month period. Look at the graph and if we had a similar percentage drop, it would only take us back to the property value levels we were achieving in 2015.

And let’s not forget that the Bank of England introduced some measures to ensure we didn’t have another bubble in any future property market. One of the biggest factors of the 2009 property crash was the level of irresponsible lending by the banks. The Bank of England Mortgage Market Review of 2014 forced Banks to lend on how much borrowers had left after regular expenditure, rather than on their income. Income multipliers that were 8 or 9 times income pre-credit crunch were significantly curtailed (meaning a Bank could only offer a small number of residential mortgages above 4.5 times income), and that Banks had to assess whether the borrower could afford the mortgage if interest rates at the time of lending rose by three percentage points over the first five years of the loan … meaning all the major possible stumbling blocks have been mostly weeded out of the system.

So, what next?

A lot of Doncaster homeowners might wait until 2019 to move, meaning less choice for buyers, especially in the desirable areas of Doncaster. For Doncaster landlords, Doncaster tenants are also likely to hang off moving until next year, although I suspect (as we had this on the run up to the 2015 General Election when it was thought Labour might get into Government), during the lull, there could be some Doncaster buy to let bargains to be had from people having to move (Brexit or No Brexit) or the usual panic selling at times of uncertainty.

Brexit, No Brexit, Hard Brexit … in the whole scheme of things, it will be another footnote to history in a decade. We have survived the Oil Crisis, 20%+ Hyperinflation in the 1970’s, Mass Unemployment in the 1980s, Interest Rates of 15% in 1990’s, the Global Financial Crash in 2009 … whatever happens, happens. People still need houses and a roof over their head. If property values drop, it is only a paper drop in value … because you lose when you actually sell. Long term, we aren’t building enough homes, and so, as I always say, property is a long game no matter what happens – the property market will always come good.

Growth in UK property values as well as in Doncaster seems fated to slow over the next five to ten years, whatever sort of Brexit takes place.

Doncaster Property News

Doncaster Property Market: Is Sell to Rent the new Buy to Let?

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It doesn’t seem two minutes ago that it was 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade (32 degrees Celsius for my younger readers), hosepipe bans looked likely and it was simply too hot to sleep at night, yet early indications were, that as the temperatures soared, the Doncaster property market appeared to be cooling ever so slightly.

2.54% less people moved home in the Doncaster area in the first part of 2018, when compared to the average number of people moving home (in the same time frame) between 2014 and 2017

The average number of households who sold and moved locally between 2014 and 2017 in the winter and spring months was 318 homes a month.. yet in the same time frame in 2018, 310 (on average) sold and moved.

So, Doncaster doesn’t seem to have been hit by the same issues affecting the rest of England where the average number of people moving home in the first part of 2018 is 11.99% less than between 2014 and 2017. So what is the issue? Many have cited Brexit as the issue – but I think it’s deeper than that.

Brexit seems to be the “go to excuse” for everything at the moment – my neighbour even blamed it for the potholes! Anyway a few weeks ago, I was out for a family get together in another part of the UK when one of my extended family said that they were planning on buying their first home this autumn most of those present said they were stupid to do so because of Brexit. Nonetheless, half an hour later, another distant cousin said to the same family crowd that they were planning to sell their home; to which most said they were also daft to do so because of Brexit.

Both sides of the argument can’t be right! So, what exactly is happening?

Well if you have been reading my blog on the Doncaster property market over the last few months, I have been discussing the threats and opportunities of the current state of fluidity in the Doncaster property market, including the issue of OAPs staying in homes that are too big for them as their children have flown the nest, interest rates, inflation, lack of new homes being built and the long term attitude to homeownership.. yet I have noticed a new trend in the last few months.. the emergence of the ‘sell to renter’.

Sell to Renter?

I have seen a subtle, yet noticeable number of Doncaster homeowners that have been selling their Doncaster homes, renting and wagering that, in the next few years, the Doncaster property market will tumble by more than what they spend on their short-term rental home, before they buy another Doncaster home in a couple of years i.e. a ‘sell to renter’. This type of ‘sell to renter’ is mostly predominant at the middle to upper end of the Doncaster property market – so I’m not too sure if it will catch on in the main ‘core’ market?

So, what does this all mean for Doncaster homeowners and Doncaster Buy To Let landlords?

Well, in the short term, demand for middle to upper market Doncaster rental properties could increase as these ‘sell to renters’ demand such properties. I would however give a note of caution to Doncaster landlords buying in this sector of the Doncaster property market as yields in this sector can be quite low. However, for homeowners of middle to upper market Doncaster properties, you might have less people wanting to buy your type of property, as some buyers are turning to renting?

Like I have always said, Doncaster properties are selling if they are realistically priced (realistic for the market – not a rose-tinted version where someone will pay 10% over the odds because everyone has access to the market stats with the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla!).

P.S Notice the spike in the graph, where the number of property sales jumped to 567 in the month of March 2016? That was all the Doncaster buy to let landlords snapping up buy to let properties before the stamp duty rules changed!

Doncaster Property News

Doncaster House Prices vs Doncaster Rents since 2006

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The Doncaster housing market is a fascinating beast and has been particularly interesting since the Credit Crunch of 2008/9 with the subsequent property market crash. There is currently some talk of a ‘property bubble’ nationally as Brexit seems to be the ‘go-to’ excuse for every issue in the Country. Upon saying that, looking at both what we do as an agent, and chatting with my fellow property professionals in Doncaster, the market has certainly changed for both buyers and sellers alike (be they Doncaster buy to let landlords, Doncaster first time buyers or Doncaster owner occupiers looking to make the move up the Doncaster property ladder).

Doncaster house values are 1.63% higher than a year ago, and the rents Doncaster tenants have to pay are 1.4% higher than a year ago

When we compare little old Doncaster to the national picture, national property values have risen by 0.4% compared to last month and risen by 3.0% compared to a year ago, and this will surprise you even more, as nationally, property values are 19.8% higher than January 2015 (compared to 11.4% higher in the EU in the same time frame).

However, if we look further back…

Since 2006, Doncaster house values are 7.57% higher, yet the rents Doncaster tenants have had to pay for their Doncaster rental property are 18.7% higher

…which sounds a lot, yet UK inflation in those 12 years has been 42%, meaning Doncaster tenants are 23.3% better off in ‘real spending power terms’.

Looking at the graph, the rental changes have been much gentler than the roller coaster ride of property values. I particularly want to bring to your attention the dip in Doncaster house values (in red) in the years of 2008 and 2009 … yet as Doncaster property values started to rise after the summer of 2009, see how Doncaster rents dipped 6/12 months later (the yellow bars)…. Fascinating!

So, we have a win for tenants and a win for the homeowners, as they are also happy due to the increase in the value of their Doncaster property.

However, maybe an even more interesting point is for the long-term Doncaster buy to let landlords. The performance of Doncaster rental income vs Doncaster house values has seen the resultant yields drop over time (if house prices rise quicker than rents – yields drop).

Whilst, it’s true Doncaster landlords have benefited from decent capital growth over the last decade –with the new tax rules for landlords – now more than ever, it’s so important to maximise one’s yields to ensure the long-term health of your Doncaster buys to let portfolio. More and more I am sitting down with both Doncaster landlords of mine and landlords of other agents who might not be trained in these skills – to carry out an MOT style check on their Doncaster portfolio, to ensure your investment will meet your future needs of capital growth and income. If you don’t want to miss out on such a MOT check-up, drop me a line – what have you got to lose? 30 minutes of time against the peace of mind – the choice is yours.

Doncaster Property News

Great(er) Expectations: Why Doncaster Home Sellers are Having to Reduce Their Asking Prices by an Average of £8,900 Each

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As we leave the memorably hot summer behind us, some interesting statistics have come to light on the Doncaster Property Market which will be thought-provoking for both homeowners and buy to let landlords alike.

Over the last 12 months 3,748 households have changed hands in Doncaster, interesting when compared with the 10-year average of 3,462 households per year.

Yet, for the purpose of this week’s article, I want to discuss the pricing of the current crop of Doncaster’s property sellers and the prices they are asking for their homes and the prices they are achieving (or not as at the case may be). It is so important for all property owners to know the real story, so they can judge for themselves where they stand in the current Doncaster housing market, thus enabling them to make suitable and informed decisions… and that is why, in my blog about the Doncaster Property Market, I pride myself in telling the people of Doncaster the real answers, not just the ones they want to hear.

The national average of homes selling at or above the asking price currently stands at around 10%, so around 90% go below the asking price – but by how much? Well according to Rightmove, in the Doncaster area, the average difference between the ‘FINAL asking price’ to the price agreed is 3.5% … yet note I highlighted the word FINAL in the last statement.

You see some Estate Agents will deliberately over inflate the suggested initial asking price to the house seller, because it gives them a greater chance to secure the property on that agent’s books, as opposed to a competitor. This practice is called overvaluing. Now of course, each homeowner wants to get the most for their property, it is quite often their biggest asset – yet some agents know this and prey on those house sellers. You might ask, what is the issue with that?

Well, you only get one chance of hitting the market as a new property. Everyone has access to the internet, Rightmove and Zoopla etc, and your potential buyers will know the market like the back of their hand. If you have a 3 bed semi that is on the market for a 3 bed detached house price.. those buyers will ignore you. Your Doncaster property sticks on the market, potential buyers will keep seeing your Doncaster property on Rightmove each week, then start to think there is something wrong with it, dismiss it even further, until you, as the house seller have to reduce the asking price so much (to make it appear inexpensive) to get it away. According to our own research, the average house buyer only views between 4 and 5 houses before buying – so don’t assume viewers will come round your optimistically priced (i.e. overvalued) property, thinking they will knock you down – no quite the opposite!

So how widespread is overvaluing in Doncaster? The results might surprise you …

34.6% of properties in Doncaster, currently on the market, have reduced their asking price by an average reduction of 5.9% (which equates to £8,900 each)

So, all I ask is this.. be realistic and you will sell at a decent price to a decent buyer. First time – every time – enabling you to move on to the next chapter of your life.

Doncaster Property News

7 Reasons Why Doncaster Buy To Let Landlords Shouldn’t Be Criticised

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There is no escaping the fact that over the last couple of decades, the rise in the number buy to let properties in Doncaster has been nothing short of extraordinary.  Many in the “left-leaning” press have spoken of a broken nation, the fact many youngsters are unable to buy their first home with the rise of a new cohort of younger renters, whom have been daubed ‘Generation Rent’ as landlords hoover up all the properties for their buy to let property empires. The government has been blamed in the past for giving landlords an unfair advantage with the tax system. It is also true many of my fellow professionals have done nothing to avail themselves in glory, with some suspect, if not on some rare occasions, downright dubious practices.

Yet has the denigration and unfair criticism of some Doncaster landlords gone too far?

It was only a few weeks ago, I read an article in a newspaper of one landlord who had decided to sell their modest buy to let portfolio for a combination of reasons, one of which being the new tax rules on buy to let that were introduced last year. The comments section of the newspaper and the associated social media posts were pure hate, and certainly not deserved.

Like all aspects in life, there are always good (and bad) landlords, just like there are good (and bad) letting agents … and so it should be said, there are good tenants and in equal measure bad tenants. Bad letting agents and bad landlords should be routed out … but not at the expense of the vast majority whom are good and decent.

But are the 3,292 Doncaster portfolio buy to let landlords at fault?

The Tories allowed people to buy their own Council house in the 1980’s, taking them out of the collective pot of social rented houses for future generations to rent them. Landlords have been vilified by many, as it has been suggested by some they have an unhealthy and ravenous avarice to make cash and profit at the expense of poor renters, unable to buy their first home. Yet, looking beyond the headline grabbing press, this is in fact ‘fake news’. There are seven reasons that have created the perfect storm for private renting to explode in the 2000’s.

To start with, the Housing Acts of 1988 and 1996 gave buy to let landlords the right to remove tenants after six months, without the need for fault. The 1996 Act, and its changes, meant banks and building societies could start to lend on buy to let properties, knowing if the mortgage payments weren’t kept up to date, the property could be repossessed without the issue of sitting tenants being in the property for many years (even decades!) … meaning in 1997, buy to let mortgages were born… and this, my blog reading friends, is where the problem started.

Secondly, in the early 2000’s, those same building societies and banks were relaxing their lending criteria, with self-certification (i.e. you did not need to prove your income), mortgages 8 times their annual salary, and very helpful interest only mortgage deals helped to keep repayments inexpensive.

Thirdly, the totally inadequate building of Council Houses (aka Local Authority Housing) in the last two decades and (so I’m not accused of Tory bashing) – can you believe Labour only built 6,510 Council Houses in the WHOLE OF THE UK between 1997 and 2010? Giving the Tories their due, they have built 20,840 Council Houses since they came to power in 2010 (although still woefully low when compared the number of Council Houses built in the 1960’s and 1970’s when we were building on average 142,000 Council Houses per year nationally). This meant people who would have normally rented from the Council, had no Council House to rent (because they had been bought), so they rented privately.

And then 3rd,4th, 5th, 6th and 7th

  • Less of private home building (again look at the graph) over the last two decades.
  • A loss of conviction in personal pensions meaning people were looking for a better place to invest their savings for retirement.
  • Ultra-low interest rates for the last nine years since the Credit Crunch meaning borrowing was cheap.
  • A massive increase in EU migration from 2004, when we had eight Eastern European countries join the EU. That brought 1.4m people to the UK for work from those countries – and they needed somewhere to live.

Thus, we got the perfect storm conditions for an eruption in the Doncaster Private Rented Sector.

Commercially speaking, purchasing a Doncaster property has been undoubtedly the best thing anyone could have done with their hard-earned savings since 1998, where property values in Doncaster have risen by 209.86%…

…and basing it on the average rental in Doncaster earned £114,912 in rent.

Yet, the younger generation has lost out, as they are now incapable to get on the property (especially in Central London).

The Government have over the last few years started to redress the imbalance, increasing taxes for landlords, together with the Banks being tighter on their lending criteria means the heady days of the Noughties are long gone for Doncaster landlords. In the past 20 years, anything but everything made money in property and it was easy as falling off a log to make money in buy to let in Doncaster – but not anymore.

Being a letting agent has evolved from being a glorified rent collector to a trusted advisor giving specific portfolio strategy planning on each landlord’s buy to let portfolios. I had a couple of instances recently of a couple of portfolio landlords, one from Tickhill who wanted income in retirement from his buy to let’s and the other from Wroot, who wanted to pass on a decent chunk of cash to his grandchildren to enable them to buy their own home in 15/20 years’ time.

Both of these landlord’s portfolios were woefully going to miss the targets and expectations both landlords had with their portfolios, so over the last six/nine months, we have sold a few of their properties, refinanced and purchased other types of Doncaster property to enable them to hit their future goals (because some properties in Doncaster are better for income and some are better for capital growth) … And that my blog reading friends is what  ‘portfolio strategy planning’ is!

If you think you need ‘portfolio strategy planning’, whether you are a landlord of ours or not (because the Wroot landlord wasn’t)  … drop me a line or give the office a call. Thank you for reading.

Doncaster Property News

3% Rise in the Doncaster Property Market

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The number of residential property transactions in Doncaster will be 3 percent higher in 2018, compared to 2017.

According to my research, the seasonally adjusted statistics for our local authority area suggest with the number of properties already sold in 2018, and the number of properties currently under offer or sold subject to contract (allowing for property sales to fall through before exchange of contracts) we, as an area, will end the year 2.98 percent higher compared to 2017.

So why are transaction numbers so important to Doncaster homeowners, Doncaster landlords, and potential first-time buyers?

Many economists and property market commentators believe transaction numbers give a more precise and truthful indicator of the health of the property market than just house values. In the six years before the Credit Crunch in 2007/8, the average number of completed property transactions in the local area (the local authority covered by Doncaster) stood at 6,279 per year .. yet in the three years following the Credit Crunch, on average, only 2,639 homes were changing hands per year in the area.

Roll the clock forward to more recent times and last year, in 2017, 4,650 homes changed hands (i.e. transacted and sold) in the area, higher than the local authority’s 23 years overall average of 4,603 homes per year.

In the past, a reduction in the number of properties selling has often been believed to be the first signal of a down turn in the housing market as a whole. Although, the down turn of the credit crunch years (2007/2008) was more a free-fall than a subtle down turn. Look at the graph and the ‘so-called’ halcyon days of the 2000 to 2006 property market were a roller coaster when it came to the number of transactions. House prices were rising in the six/seven years before the credit crunch (2000 to 2006), albeit, the rate of growth of Doncaster house prices did slow in late 2005 and 2006 (which does fit in nicely with the graph).

In other articles, I have mentioned the change in the number of houses for sale today compared to last year and further back. Although the market has seen in recent months (i.e. the short term) an increase in the number of properties for sale, fundamentally, in the medium term, there has been an underlying trend in the reduction of properties coming onto the market for sale in Doncaster (and nationally) and this has been one of the main drives behind the lack of properties selling .. Doncaster people aren’t moving as much as they were 30 years ago meaning fewer houses are selling each year.

However, this short-term increase in properties for sale hasn’t been even across the board. In certain sectors of the Doncaster property market, there is a glut of properties on the market at the moment and so prices and values are dropping on those types as sellers compete for the limited amount of buyers… yet, there are other sectors of the Doncaster property market where there is a dearth, a shortage of property, and buyers are fighting tooth and nail with silly offers to try and secure the sale. This means, there are some bargains for you Doncaster buy to let landlords. If you look hard enough, you could spot the same trends I have seen in Doncaster and find the individual property micro markets that fall into that first sector (with its glut).

So, if you want the inside track on the Doncaster property market, whether you are a landlord of ours or another agent, I am more than happy to guide you in the right direction if you drop me a line or an email (contacts details are easily found on this page – and I don’t bite or do hard sell – promise!).

So, to conclude, I believe we will finish on 4,788 housing transactions by the end of the year in the area .. higher than both last year’s figure and the long-term 23-year average. Looking at the short-term future, now it’s true some (not all) but some potential purchasers of property in Doncaster may be exhibiting more caution because of concerns that the Bank of England will continue to put up interest rates– to which I reply – yes of course they will when they are only ultra-low at 0.75%. Anyway, that is the reason why 90%+ of new mortgages over the last nine months have been on a fixed rate. Also, if they do go up a few percentage points – they are nothing compared to the 12%, 14%, even 15% mortgage rates many of my landlords saw in the early 1990’s.

 

We can all speculate (and I appreciate the irony of that as I write this article) but all I say to any Doncaster landlords, Doncaster homeowners or Doncaster first time buyers is act according to your own life cycle, budget on a modest increase in interest rates in the coming few years (yet protect yourself by fixing it), consider your own circumstances and finally, what you can afford.