Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard Property Values (were) 7.3% higher than year ago – What’s the PLAN to fix the Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard Property Market?
It’s been over 18 months since Sajid Javid, the Tory Government’s Housing Minister published the White Paper “Fixing the Broken UK Housing Market”, meanwhile Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard property values continue to rise at 7.3% (year on year for the council area) and the number of new homes being constructed locally bumps along at a snail’s pace, creating a potential perfect storm for those looking to buy and sell.
The White Paper is important for the UK and Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard people, as it will ensure we have long-term stability and longevity in property market as whole. Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard homeowners and Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard landlords need to be aware of these issues in the report to ensure they don’t lose out and ensure the local housing market is fit for purpose. The White Paper wanted more homes to be built in the next couple of decades, so it might seem counter-intuitive for existing home-owners and landlords to encourage more homes to be built and a change in the direction of housing provision – as this would appear to have a negative effect on their own property.
Yet the country needs a diversified and fluid property market to allow the economy as whole to grow and flourish ... which in turn will be a greater influence on whether prices go up or down in the long term. I am sure every homeowner or landlord in Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard doesn’t want another housing crisis like we had in 1974, 1988 and most recently in 2008.
Now, as Sajid Javid has moved on to the Home Secretary role, the 17th Housing Minister in 20 years (poisoned chalice or journeyman’s cabinet post) James Brokenshire has been given the task of making this White Paper come alive. The White Paper had a well-defined notion of what the issues were.
The first of the four points brought up was to give local authorities powers to speed up house building and ensure developers complete new homes on time. Secondly, statutory methods demanding local authorities and builders build at higher densities (i.e. more houses per hectare) where appropriate. The other two points were incentives for smaller builders to take a larger share of the new homes market and help for people renting.
However, lets go back to the two initial points of planning and density.
For planning to work, we need a robust Planning Dept. Looking at data from the Local Government’s Association, in Central Bedfordshire, the council is above the regional average, spending £41.60 per person for the Planning Authority, compared the regional average of £36.50 per head – which will mean the planning department should have no problem meeting those targets.
However, 72% of planning applications are decided within the statutory 8-week initial period, below the regional average of 86% (see the graph below). I am slightly disappointed and also pleased with the numbers for our local authority when it comes to the planning and the budget allowed by our Politician to this vital service.
(2) Density of Population
3.6 people live in every hectare (or 2.471 acres) in Central Bedfordshire
It won’t surprise you that 154,109 of 254,381 Central Bedfordshire residents live in the urban conurbations of the authority, giving a density of 13.4 people per hectare (again – much lower than I initially thought), whilst the villages have a density of 1.7 people per hectare.
I would agree with the Governments’ ambition to make more efficient use of land and avoid building homes at low densities where there is a shortage of land for meeting identified housing needs, ensuring that the density and form of development reflect the character, accessibility and infrastructure.
It’s all very good building lots of houses – but we need the infrastructure to go with it.
Talking to a lot of Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard people, their biggest fear of all this building is a lack of infrastructure for those extra houses (the extra roads, doctors surgeries, schools etc.). I know most Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard homeowners and landlords want more houses to be built to house their family and friends ... but irrespective of the density ... it’s the infrastructure that goes with the housing that is just as important ... and this is where I think the White Paper failed to go as far as I feel it should have done.
Interesting times ahead I believe!
Nearly 3 babies have been born for every new home that has been built in Central Bedfordshire since 2012, deepening the Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard housing shortage.
This discovery is an important foundation for my concerns about the future of the Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard property market - when you consider the battle that todays twenty and thirty somethings face in order to buy their first home and get on the Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard property ladder. This is particularly ironic as these youngsters’ are being born in an age when the number of new babies born to new homes was far lower.
This will mean the babies being born now, who will become the next generation’s first-time buyers will come up against even bigger competition from a greater number of their peers unless we move to long term fixes to the housing market, instead of the short term fixes that successive Governments have done since the 1980’s.
Looking at the most up to date data for the area covered by Central Bedfordshire Council, the numbers of properties-built versus the number of babies born together with the corresponding ratio of the two metrics …
It can be seen that in 2016, 2.38 babies had been born in Central Bedfordshire for every home that had been built in the five years to the end of 2016 (the most up to date data). Interestingly, that ratio nationally was 2.9 babies to every home built in the ‘50s and 2.4 in the ‘70s. I have seen the unaudited 2017 statistics and the picture isn’t any better! (I will share those when they are released later in the year).
Our children, and their children, will be placed in an unprecedented and unbelievably difficult position when wanting to buy their first home unless decisive action is taken. You see it doesn’t help that with life expectancy growing year on year, this too is also placing excessive pressure on homes to live in availability, with normal population growth nationally (the number of babies born less the number of people passing away) accumulative by two people for every one home that was built since the start of this decade.
Owning one’s home is a measure many Brits to aspire to. The only long-term measure that will help is the building of more new homes on a scale not seen since the 50’s and 60’s, which means we would need to aim to at least double the number of homes we build annually.
In the meantime, what does this mean for Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard landlords and homeowners? Well the demand for rental properties in Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard in the short term will remain high and until the rate of building grows substantially, this means rents will remain strong and correspondingly, property values will remain robust.
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