The average asking price of property in Leighton Buzzard increased by 9.3% or £29,396 compared to a year ago, with particularly good demand from landlords and home-movers in the first few months of the year. This takes the current average asking price to £345,767, compared with £316,371 this time last year.
The rise in asking prices is being aggravated by buyers jumping into action looking to benefit from potential stamp duty savings (especially first-time buyers) or beat impending mortgage interest rate rises later in 2018. Of the numerous Leighton Buzzard buyers starting their property hunting in the usually active spring market this year, many faced paying even more than ever for the property of their dreams, although as I mentioned a few weeks ago, there are more properties for sale in Leighton Buzzard compared to 12 months ago.
Looking at the different sectors of the Leighton Buzzard property market, splitting it down into property types, one can see what is happening to each sector of the market with regard to their average asking prices now compared to a year ago. Firstly, looking at the Pound note amounts …
Interestingly, when one looks at the percentages, the most upward average asking price pressure is in the detached property type sectors.
Now, I must stress this growth in the asking prices of Leighton Buzzard property doesn’t mean the value of Leighton Buzzard property is going up by the same amount ... nothing could be further from the truth. Only time will tell if the current levels of Leighton Buzzard asking prices is a catch-up abnormality after a couple of months of restrained asking price rises in the first few months of 2018, or is it an initial sign that we are in for a better 2018 Leighton Buzzard Property market than all of us were expecting at the start of the year?
I believe these asking prices must be viewed with a pinch of salt, as it will be fascinating to see whether Leighton Buzzard properties actually sell at these higher asking prices. Just because house sellers (be they owner-occupiers or landlords liquidating their assets) are asking for more money it doesn’t mean buyers will be enthusiastic to part with their hard earned cash. Like my Mum and Dad used to say to me all those years ago, “You can ask ... but you might not get”.
Also, Leighton Buzzard homeowners and landlords wanting to sell their property need to be aware of progressively strained buyer mortgage affordability and the more those sellers increase asking prices, the more buyers will hit their maximum on the amount they are able borrow on a mortgage.
However, those Leighton Buzzard buyers who need a mortgage (be they owner-occupier or landlord), will paradoxically benefit from lower mortgage payments before interest rates rise … maybe another reason for the uplift in the number first time buyers and landlords buying? Only time will tell!
The rents paid by Leighton Buzzard tenants are now standing at £761 per calendar month (PCM), a rise of 1.55% year on year and 0.15% lower month on month.
However, this attention-grabbing monthly rent figure masks stark differences in the various different parts of the Leighton Buzzard rental market. Demand in Leighton Buzzard for high quality family homes with two or three bedrooms in good catchment areas for schools remains really robust due to tenants wanting access to the schools. Other influencing factors that make certain areas popular are the proximity to transport links. However, I have noticed a drop in demand (and thus rents achieved) for property where the landlord hasn’t kept the property fresh; in terms of decoration, carpets, replacement windows and poor heating.
So, what does all this mean for Leighton Buzzard landlords and tenants?
With the new tax rules for landlords, many believed that the number of rental properties would narrow throughout 2017, as landlords sold up their Buy to let properties and looked to invest their money elsewhere, but evidently this hasn’t happened (yet). Feasibly Leighton Buzzard landlords are re-mortgaging their Leighton Buzzard buy to let properties instead, as they still believe it’s a safer investment than looking, say at the stock market?
However, demand remained strong in 2017 for Leighton Buzzard private rental properties, meaning the rents being achieved were at a decent level for landlords. Keeping your outgoings low is also an important consideration and so I looked on a well-known financial services comparison site this morning and found a High Street bank offering a 5-year fixed rate for Buy to let landlords with a 40% deposit/equity for 2.17% … I can remember (as I am sure many of my readers of this blog can) when mortgage rates were at 15% - this is cheap money!
Looking at property values in Leighton Buzzard, over the last 12 months and specifically at the lower end of the market where buy to let landlords tend to buy their rental properties. Flats/apartments have risen in value by 3.54% whilst terraced properties have risen by 4.26%.
Some Leighton Buzzard landlords have seen the yields they are achieving remain squeezed.
However, most landlords can start to feel assured that as capital growth in Leighton Buzzard remains at a more realistic figure (good for long term stability in the property market) and long-term rents are on the rise, the overall corresponding annual return on investment (Annual ROI being annual capital + annual yield) has stabilised in all areas and is now starting to grow.
With additional people seeing renting as a long-term option, even with the challenges of the new tax regime, Leighton Buzzard landlords, with the support of a good advice and opinion, should continue to see renting as a good investment vehicle.
The Millennials were born between the mid 1980’s and late 1990’s thus making them between the age of around 22 to late 30’s. They are the imaginative, artistic youngsters who grew up with the newest tech and computers and who are huge aficionados of music festivals, gourmet pizzas, emoji’s, selfies and old school nostalgia. Also known as Generation Rent, many Millennials have discovered that renting is a good choice for their shelter and accommodation needs without the hassle that comes from buying a home. Nonetheless, that is not the only reason they don’t buy property. When they should be concentrating on their profession, putting down roots and starting a family, Millennials are still going through the pressure and strain of student loan liabilities whilst, at the same time, finding it tough to pay rent.
The hot topic at the moment is the cost of renting, as both political parties have seen mileage in wooing these Millennial Generation Renters. The average rent in Leighton Buzzard is currently £830 per month making this a big-ticket item on the monthly budget. I was inquisitive to find out exactly how much Leighton Buzzard Millennials will spend on rent by the time they reach their mid 30’s. The average age people leave home in the UK is 22; so looking at a Leighton Buzzard 22-year-old (or Millennial) who left home in 2005 then between 2005 and today that Leighton Buzzard Millennial will have shelled out £117,453 in rent.
It’s no wonder local Millennials can’t afford to buy a Leighton Buzzard home given their tremendous debt. This means younger Leighton Buzzard Millennials will probably carry on renting for the foreseeable future, simply because the prospect of buying a home is not yet achievable.. that is until you look more deeply at the numbers…
Looking at the chart above, the average rent of a Leighton Buzzard property in 2005 was £688 per month (pm) … if it had risen by inflation, today, that would be £969 pm. As I have already mentioned in the article, today it only stands at £830 per month. Looking over the last 12 years, adding up all the differences between what the average actual rent was compared to what it should have been if rent had gone up by inflation, the average Leighton Buzzard Millennial tenant would have paid £130,131.
This means that an average 35-year-old Leighton Buzzard Millennial tenant, who has been renting since 2005, is better off by £12,678 when comparing the actual rent paid compared to what it would have been if it had risen by inflation. In a nutshell, tenants have done well due to the sub-inflation growth in rents.
In fact, if you recall I mentioned in an article a few weeks ago, the older Leighton Buzzard Millennials are starting to use those savings and are gradually shifting towards home ownership. They are finally catching up with the British homeownership dream as Bank of Mum and Dad help with the deposit. Also, the scrapping of Stamp Duty from the Government starts to kick in together with the realisation that if the 5% mortgage deposit can be scrapped together (yes, 95% first time buyer mortgages have been available since 2009), it is still a lot cheaper to buy than rent, meaning this will unquestionably drive demand for Leighton Buzzard homes for sale – good news for Leighton Buzzard homeowners.
… and what does this mean for Leighton Buzzard landlords?
Well the vast majority of younger Millennials are still renters and I foresee this to be the case for at least the next ten to fifteen years. Landlords will need to keep improving their properties to ensure they get the best tenants and they will see a much higher rent achieved. Millennials will pay top dollar for a top dollar property. It is important to do things correctly as making money won’t be as easy as it has been over the last twenty years. With a greater number of properties on the market .. comes greater choice. Don’t buy the first thing you see, buy with your head as well as your heart … because as I promised a few weeks ago, the first rule of Buy To Let Investment ….. “You are not going to live in the property yourself”
Beast from the East, Russia, Facebook, Brexit, Trump, House prices up, House prices down ... the Press is full of column inches on Brit’s favourite subjects of politics, scandal, weather and not forgetting (and I appreciate the irony of this!) the property market. As an agent belonging a national group of letting and estate agents, talking to my fellow property professionals from around the UK, the one thing that is immediately apparent is the UK does not have one property market. It is a hodgepodge patchwork (almost like a fly’s eye) of lots of small property markets all performing in different ways.
… And that made me think … is there just one Leighton Buzzard Property Market or many?
I like to keep an eye on the property market in Leighton Buzzard on a daily basis because it enables me to give the best advice and opinion on what (or not) to buy in Leighton Buzzard, be that a buy-to-let property for a Leighton Buzzard landlord or an owner occupier house for a home owner. So, I thought, how could I scientifically split the Leighton Buzzard housing market into segments, so I could see which part of the market was performing the best and the worst.
I decided the best way was to split the Leighton Buzzard property market into four equal size price bands (into terms of households for sale). Each price band would have around 25% of the property in Leighton Buzzard, from the lowest in value (the Lowest Quartile or 25%) all the way through to the highest 25% in terms of value, the Upper Quartile. Looking at the market, I have calculated that these are the price bands in Leighton Buzzard are as follows:
Surprisingly, the best performing price range in Leighton Buzzard is the upper end of the middle market. As I would expect, the upper quartile (the top 25%) is finding things toughest. Interestingly for Leighton Buzzard landlords, the lower market isn’t selling quite as well as other sectors, so maybe there could be some bargains out there for buy to let investment? Even though the number of first time buyers did increase in 2017, it was from a low base and the vast majority of 20 something’s cannot buy, so need a roof over their head (hence the need to rent somewhere).
It is a fact that British (and Leighton Buzzard’s) housing markets have ridden the storms of Oil crisis in the 1970’s, the 1980’s depression, Black Monday in the 1990’s, and latterly the Credit Crunch together with the various house price crashes of 1973, 1987 and 2008. No matter what happens to us Brexit or anything else ... unless the Government starts to build hundreds of thousands extra houses each year, demand will always outstrip supply … so maybe a time for Leighton Buzzard landlord investors to bag a bargain?
Want to know where those Leighton Buzzard buy to let bargains are? Follow my Leighton Buzzard Property Blog or drop me an email because irrespective of which agent you use, myself or any of the other excellent agents in Leighton Buzzard, many local landlords ask me my thoughts, opinion and advice on what (and not) to buy locally … and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on those thoughts ... would you?
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