That got your attention ... didn’t it!
But before we start, what is Generation X, let alone Generation Z, Millennials, Baby Boomers ... these are phrases banded around about the different life stages (or subcomponents) of our society. But when terminologies like this are used as often and habitually as these phrases (i.e. Gen X this, Millennial that etc.), it appears particularly vital we have some practical idea of what these terms actually mean. The fact is that everyone uses these phrases, but often, like myself, they are not exactly sure where the lines are drawn ...until now…
So, for clarity …
Generation Z: Born after 1996
Millennials: Born 1977 to 1995
Generation X: Born 1965 to 1976
Baby Boomers: Born 1946 to 1964
Silent Generation: Born 1945 and before
My research shows there are 4,363 households in Leighton Buzzard owned by Leighton Buzzard Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964) and Leighton Buzzard’s Silent Generation (born 1945 and before). It also shows there are 8,381 Generation X’s of Leighton Buzzard (Leighton Buzzard people born between 1965 to 1976). Looking at demographics, homeownership statistics and current life expectancy, around two-thirds of those Leighton Buzzard 8,381 Generation X’s have parents and grandparents who own those 4,363 Leighton Buzzard properties.
… and they will profit from one of the biggest inheritance explosions of any post-war generation to the tune of £1.569bn of Leighton Buzzard property or £280,595 each but they will have to wait until their early 60’s to get it!
However, it’s the Millennials that are in line for an even bigger inheritance windfall.
There are 5,313 Millennials in Leighton Buzzard and my research shows around two thirds of them are set to inherit the 6,271 Leighton Buzzard Generation X’s properties. Those Generation X’s Leighton Buzzard homes are worth £2.255bn meaning, on average, each Millennial will inherit £636,190; but not until at least 2040 to 2060!
While the Leighton Buzzard Millennials have done far less well in amassing their own savings and assets, they are more likely to take advantage of an inheritance boom in the years to come. This will probably be very welcome news for those Leighton Buzzard Millennials, including some from poorer upbringings who in the past would have been unlikely to receive gifts and legacies.
However, inheritance is not the magic weapon that will get the Millennials on to the Leighton Buzzard housing ladder or tackle growing wealth cracks in UK society, as the inheritance is unlikely to be made available when they are trying to buy their first home…but before all you Leighton Buzzard Millennials start running up debts, over 50% of females and around 35% of men are going to have to pay for nursing home care. Interestingly, I read recently that a quarter of people who have to pay for their care, run out of money.
So, if you are a Leighton Buzzard Millennial there potentially will be nothing left for you.
Of course, most parents want to give their children an inheritance, the consideration that what you have worked genuinely hard for over your working life won’t go to your children to help them through their lives is a really awful one … maybe that is why I am seeing a lot of Leighton Buzzard grandparents doing something meaningful, and helping their grandchildren, the Millennials, with the deposit for their first house.
One solution to the housing crisis in Leighton Buzzard (and the UK as a whole) is if grandparents, where they are able to, help financially with the deposit for a house. Buying is cheaper than renting – we have proved it many times in these articles … so, it’s not a case of not affording the mortgage, the issue is raising the 5% to 10% mortgage deposit for these Millennials.
Maybe families should be distributing a part of the family wealth now (in the form of helping with house deposits) as opposed to waiting to the end… it will make so much more of a difference to everyone in the long run.
Just a thought?
Daniel Bourke (Owner Belvoir Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard)
Yes, I said ‘rentirement’, not retirement ... rentirement and it relates to the 327 (and growing) Leighton Buzzard people, who don’t own their own Leighton Buzzard home but rent their home, privately from a buy to let landlord and who are currently in their 50’s and early to mid-60’s.
The truth is that these Leighton Buzzard people are prospectively soon to retire with little more than their state pension of £155.95 per week, probably with a small private pension of a couple of hundred pounds a month, meaning the average Leighton Buzzard retiree can expect to retire on about £200 a week once they retire at 67.
The average rent in Leighton Buzzard is £910 a month, so a lot of the retirement “income” will be taken up in rent, meaning the remainder will have to be paid for out their savings or the taxpayer will have to stump up the bill (and with life expectancy currently in the mid to late 80’s, that is quite a big bill … a total of £71,416,800 over the next 20 years to be paid from the tenant’s savings or the taxpayers coffers to be precise!
You might say it’s not fair for Leighton Buzzard tax payers to pick up the bill and that these mature Leighton Buzzard renters should start saving thousands of pounds a year now to be able to afford their rent in retirement. However, in many circumstances, the reason these people are privately renting in the first place is that they were never able to find the money for a mortgage deposit on their home in the first place, or didn’t earn enough to qualify for a mortgage …and now as they approach retirement with hope of a nice council bungalow, that hope is diminishing because of the council house sell off in the 1980’s!
For a change, the Leighton Buzzard 30 to 40 somethings will be better off, as their parents are more likely to be homeowners and cascade their equity down the line when their parents pass away. For example, that is what is happening in Europe where renting is common, the majority of people rent in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, but by the time they hit 50’s and 60’s (and retirement), they will invest the money they have inherited from their parents passing away and buy their own home.
So, what does this all mean for buy to let landlords in Leighton Buzzard?
Have you noticed how the new homes builders don’t build bungalows anymore ... in fact some would said the ‘bungalow storey’ is over. The waning in the number of bungalows being built has more to do with supply than demand. The fact is that for new homes builders there is more money in constructing houses than there is in constructing bungalows. Bungalows are voracious when it comes to land they need as because bungalow has a larger footprint for the same amount of square meterage as a two/three storey house due to the fact they are on one level instead of two or three.
That means, as demand will continue to rise for bungalows supply will remain the same. We all know what happens when demand outs strips supply … prices (i.e. rents) for bungalows will inevitably go up.
Daniel Bourke (Owner Belvoir Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard)
As I am sure you are aware, one the best things about my job as an agent is helping Leighton Buzzard landlords with their strategic portfolio management. Gone are the days of making money by buying any old Leighton Buzzard property to rent out or sell on. Nowadays, property investment is both an art and science. The art is your gut reaction to a property, but with the power of the internet and the way the Leighton Buzzard property market has gone in the last 11 years, science must also play its part on a property’s future viability for investment.
Many metrics most property professionals (including myself) use when deciding the viability of a rental property is what properties are selling for, the average rent, the yield and an average value per square foot.
However, another metric I like to use is the average rent per square foot. The reason being is that is a great way to judge a property from the point of view of the tenant ... what space they get for their money. Now of course, location (location, location in a Phil and Kirstie style) has a huge influencing factor when it comes to rents (and hence rent per square foot). Like people buying a property, tenants also have that balancing act between better/worse location, more vs. less money and size of accommodation (bigger and more rooms equalling more money) and where they live (location) verses making ends meet.
Interestingly, I know there are a lot of you in Leighton Buzzard who like to see my statistics on the Leighton Buzzard property market, so before I talk about the rental figures per square foot, I wanted to share the £ per square foot on the values. In Leighton Buzzard, the current AVERAGE figures are being achieved (and I must stress, these are average figures, so there will an enormous range in these figures), but on average, properties in Leighton Buzzard, split down by type are achieving …
So, the rental figures:
The extent of space you get for your rent is replicated in the space you get for your money when buying a property. The average size of rental property in the Leighton Buzzard area is 794.1 sq ft (interesting when compared to the national average of 792.1 sq ft)
This means the average rent per square foot currently being
achieved on a Leighton Buzzard rental property is £13.55 per sq ft per annum
So, what we can deduce from this? Well the devil is always in detail!
Whilst I was able to quote the average overall figure and the fact my research showed it was quite clear from data that there is relationship between the average £ per sq ft figures on property values and average £ per sq ft on rental figures as a property grows in size. However, something quite intriguing happens to those figures, in terms of what the property will sell for and what it will rent for, when we change and increase the size of the property.
My research showed that doubling the size of any Leighton Buzzard property doesn’t mean you will double the value of it … in either value or rent. This is because the marginal value increases diminish as the size of the property increases. In layman’s terms … Subject to a few assumptions, double the size of the house doesn’t mean double the value … what really happens is a doubling of the size gives only an approximately 40% to 65% uplift in value, but here comes the even more fascinating part … when it came to the rental figures, double the size of the house meant only 20% to 45% in increase in rent.
In a future article, I will be discussing the actual added value an extension can bring ... but in the meantime, in an overall and sweeping statement, most of the time it makes sense to extend if you are going to live in the property as long as the extension is proportionate to the property, but if you are going to rent it out ... possibly not.
Daniel Bourke (Owner Belvoir Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard)
As we proceed headlong into 2018, I believe UK interest rates will stay low, even with the additional 0.25% increase that is expected in May or June. That rise will add just over £20 to the typical £160,000 tracker mortgage, although with 57.1% of all borrowers on fixed rates, it will probably go undetected by most buy-to-let landlords and homeowners. I forecast that we won’t see any more interest rate rises due to the fragile nature of the British economy and the Brexit challenge. Even though mortgages will remain inexpensive, with retail price inflation outstripping salary rises, it will still very much feel like a heavy weight to some Leighton Buzzard households.
Now it’s certain the Leighton Buzzard housing market in 2017 was a little more subdued than 2016 and that will continue into 2018. Property ownership is a medium to long-term investment so looking at that long-term time frame; the average Leighton Buzzard homeowner who bought their property 20 years ago has seen its value rise by more than 355%.
This is important, as house prices are a national obsession and tied into the health of the UK economy as a whole. The majority of that historic gain in Leighton Buzzard property values has come from property market growth, although some of that will have been added by homeowners modernising, extending or developing their Leighton Buzzard home.
Taking a look at the different property types in Leighton Buzzard and the profit made by each type, it makes interesting reading..
However, I want to put aside all that historic growth and profit and looking forward to what will happen in the future. I want to look at the factors that could affect future Leighton Buzzard (and the Country’s) house price growth/profit; one important factor has to be the building of new homes both locally and in the country as a whole. This has picked up in 2017 with 217,350 homes coming on to the UK housing ladder in the last year (a 15% increase on the previous year’s figures of 189,690. However, Philip Hammond has set a target of 300,000 a year, so still plenty to go!
Another factor that will affect property prices is my prediction that the balance of power between Leighton Buzzard buy-to-let landlords and Leighton Buzzard first-time buyers should tip more towards the local first-time buyers in 2018.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders expects the number of buy to let mortgages to drop by 34% from levels seen in 2015. This is because of taxes being increased recently on buy-to-let and harder lending criteria for buy to let mortgages, which means I foresee a gradual move in the balance of power in favour of first-time buyers rather than buy-to-let landlords. First time buyers will also be helped by The Chancellor eradicating Stamp Duty for all properties up to £300,000 bought by first-time buyers in the recent budget.
This means Leighton Buzzard buy-to-let landlords will have to work smarter in the future to continue to make decent returns (profits) from their Leighton Buzzard buy-to-let investment. Even with the tempering of house price inflation in Leighton Buzzard in 2017, most Leighton Buzzard buy to let landlords (and homeowners) are still sitting on a copious amount of growth from previous years.
The question is, how do you, as a Leighton Buzzard buy to let landlord ensure that continues?
Since the 1990’s, making money from investing in buy-to-let property was as easy as falling off a log. Looking forward though, with all the changes in the tax regime and balance of power, making those similar levels of return in the future won’t be as easy. Over the last ten years, I have seen the role of the forward thinking letting agents evolve from a ‘rent collector’ and basic property management to a more holistic role, or as I call it, ‘landlord portfolio strategic leadership’. Thankfully, along with myself, there are a handful of letting agents in Leighton Buzzard whom I would consider exemplary at this landlord portfolio strategy where they can give you a balanced structured overview of your short, medium and long-term goals, in relation to your required return on investment, yield and capital growth requirements. If you would like such advice, speak with your current agent – or whether you are a landlord of ours or not – without any cost or commitment, feel free to drop me a line.
Daniel Bourke (Owner Belvoir Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard)
Looking at the newspapers between Christmas and New Year, it seemed that this year’s sport in the column inches was to predict the future of the British housing market. So to go along with that these are my thoughts on the Leighton Buzzard property market.
With the average 5-year fixed rate mortgage at 1.98% (down from 3.47% in 2014) and 2-year fixed rate at 1.47% (down from 2.37% in 2014), mortgage interest rates offered by lenders are at an all-time low (even with the slight increase on the Bank of England base rate a few months ago). Added to this, there has been a low unemployment rate of 3.1% in Leighton Buzzard, which has contributed to maintain a decent level demand for property in Leighton Buzzard in 2017 (interestingly – an impressive 911 Leighton Buzzard properties were sold in last 12 months), whilst finally, the number of properties for sale in the town has remained limited, thus providing support for Leighton Buzzard house prices, meaning …
Leighton Buzzard Property Values are 7.9% higher than a year ago
However, moving into 2018, there are greater pressures on people’s incomes as inflation starts to eat into real wage packet growth, which will wield a snowballing strain on consumer confidence. Interestingly though, information from the website Rightmove suggested over a third of property it had on its books in October and November had their asking prices reduced, the highest percentage of asking price reductions in the same time frame, over five years. Still, a lot of that could have been house-sellers being overly optimistic with their initial pricing.
In terms of what will happen to Leighton Buzzard property values in the next 12 months, a lot will be contingent on the type of Brexit we have and the impact on the whole of the UK economy. A lot of people will talk about the Central London property market in the coming year, and if the banking and finance sectors are negatively affected with a poor Brexit deal, then the London market is likely to see more of an impact.
Nevertheless, the bottom line is Leighton Buzzard homeowners and Leighton Buzzard landlords should be aware of what happens in the rollercoaster housing market of Central London, but not panic if prices do drop suddenly there in 2018. Over the last 8 years, the Central London property market has been in a world of its own (Central London house prices have grown by 89.6% in those last 8 years, whilst in Leighton Buzzard, they have only risen by 64.2%). So we might see a heavy correction in the Capital, whilst more locally, something a little more subdued.
Hindsight is always better than foresight and predicting anything economic is all well and good when you know what is around the corner. At least we have the Brexit divorce settlement sorted and, as the UK economy and the UK housing market are intertwined, it all depends on how we deal as a Country with the Brexit issue. However, we have been through the global financial crisis reasonably intact ... I am sure we can get through this together as well?
Oh, and house prices in Leighton Buzzard over the next 12 months? I believe they will end up between 1.2% higher and 2.5% higher, although it will probably be a bumpy ride to get to those sorts of figures.
If you would like to read more articles on my thoughts on the Leighton Buzzard property Market – please visit the Leighton Buzzard Property Market Blog https://www.leightonbuzzardpropertyblog.com
Daniel Bourke is the owner of Belvoir Lettings Dunstable and in his previous career in Architecture he was an Associate in a leading London Architectural practice