Monday, 16 January 2017

Thanet OAP’s sitting on £966 m of Property






Thanet people aged over 65 currently hold more housing wealth in their homes than the annual GDP of the whole of the Shetland Isles… and this is a problem for everyone in Thanet!

Many retiree’s want to move but cannot, as there is a shortage of such homes for mature people to downsize into.  Due to the shortage, bungalows command a 10% to 20% premium per square foot over houses of the same size with stairs. To add to the woes, in 2014, just 1% of new builds in the UK were bungalows, according to the National House Building Council - down from 7% in 1996.

My research has found that there are 4,731 households in Thanet owned outright (i.e. no mortgage) by over 65 year olds.  Taking into account the average value of a property in Thanet, this means £966 million of equity is locked up in these Thanet homes, compared to the GDP of the whole of the Shetland Isles being £524 million of GDP.

A recent survey by YouGov, found that 36% of people aged over 65 in the UK are looking to downsize into a smaller home.  However, the Government seems to focus all its attention on first-time buyers with strategies such as Starter Homes to ensure the youngsters of the UK don’t become permanent members of ‘Generation Rent’.  Conversely, this overlooks the chronic under-supply of appropriate retirement housing essential to the needs of the Thanet’s rapidly ageing population. Regrettably, the Thanet’s housing stock is woefully unprepared for this demographic shift to the 'stretched middle age’, and this has created a new 'Generation Trapped’ dilemma where older people cannot move.

Some OAP’s who are finding it difficult to live on their own, are unable to leave their bungalow because of a lack of sheltered housing and ‘affordable’ care home places.  So, older retirees can't leave bungalows, younger retirees can't buy bungalows and younger people can't buy family houses.

Interestingly, adding insult to injury, the problem will only get worse, as in the 50 year old to 64 year old homeownership age range there are an additional 2,625 Thanet households that are mortgage free and a further 2,582 Thanet households who will be completing their mortgage responsibility.  With Government projections showing the proportion of over 65’s will rise by over a third from the current 17.7% to 24.3% of the population in the next 20 years ... this can only add greater pressure to the Thanet Property market.

House prices have rocketed over the last 40 years because the supply of property has not kept up with demand. With migration, people living longer and high divorce rates (meaning one family becomes two) we need, as a Country, 240,000 properties to be built a year to just stand still.  In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, the Country was building on average 180,000 to 190,000 households a year, but since the Credit Crunch (2009), that has only been between 130,000 and 145,000 households a year.

The solution …. release more land for starter homes, bungalows and sheltered accommodation because land prices are killing the housing market as the large firms dominating the construction industry are more likely to focus on traditional houses and apartments.  My opinion – until the Government change the planning rules and allow more land to be built on – Bungalows could be a decent bet for future investment as they continue to attract ever growing premiums?




Friday, 6 January 2017

Thanet First Time Buyers Are Paying 15.7% More Than 12 Months Ago





Figures just released by the Bank of England, show that for the first half of 2016, £128.73bn was lent by UK banks to buy UK property - impressive when you consider only £106.7bn was lent in the first half of 2015. Even more interesting, was that most of the difference was in Q2, as £68.12bn was lent by UK banks in new mortgages for house purchase, which is the highest it has been for two years. Looking locally, in Thanet last quarter, £485.1m was loaned on CT9 properties alone!

Even though the Bank won’t be releasing the Q3 figures until December 2016, as I discussed a few weeks ago, HMRC have published their own preliminary data to suggest Q3 will be even better, with a massive growth of buy-to-let landlords to the housing market in that time frame. Fascinating, as it seems to fly in the face of the popular narrative – that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit would negatively impact buyer sentiment.

And it’s not just buy-to-let landlords that seem to be flourishing. I am finding that first-time buyers are also a lot more confident too. Low, and now negative, inflation has had a tangible impact on household finances and first-time buyers feel more secure in their jobs. Couple with a low interest rate environment and you have all the ingredients for a strengthening property market. To back that up with numbers, of the £68.12bn of mortgages lent in the Quarter (Q2), £14.9bn was lent to first-time buyers (the highest proportion of that overall lending for over two years at 21.99%).

When I looked at the data for Thanet District Council area, the average price paid by first-time buyers (FTB’S) was £172,001, which is a rise of 1.57% from last month and a rise of 15.73% to twelve months ago. The Land Registry then categorise the remaining buyers into cash buyers or those buying with a mortgage. The average price paid by cash buyers was £199,866, a rise of 1.52% from last month and a rise of 15.63% to twelve months ago, whilst buyers with mortgages (but not FTB’s), the average price paid by them was £205,967, a rise of 1.64% from last month and a rise of 15.87% to twelve months ago.

What surprised me with these figures was how close the property prices, values and percentages were to each other. It just goes to show the combination of low mortgage rates and a stable job market will continue to have a positive effect on the Thanet and UK market.  And that is why, while there is undoubtedly more cautiousness in the market at present than a year or so ago (among borrowers and mortgage companies alike) - mortgage rates are so competitive that they are inducing people to commit to a home purchase.

It seems the great Brexit uncertainty was over hyped, and house price growth as well as mortgage approvals, could pick up pace into 2017.

For more information on the thanet proeprty market. www.thanetpropertyblog.com