Thursday, 10 October 2019

Mending the Broken Thanet Property Market



The long-lasting issue of the Thanet property market are laid bare as the final 2018 property transaction figures have just been published and they continue the post credit crunch trend of less people moving.

29% less of Thanet people are selling their homes annually since the credit crunch, when compared to the post Millennium years of 2000 to 2005 

This is not just an issue of the Thanet housing market slowing down since the credit crunch - the challenge is to split out shorter-term factors such as Brexit and the elections from longer-term structural issues of the UK society, because when these most recent property transaction figures are seen against longer-term trends for Thanet, they suggest more significant issues in the Thanet housing market.

In the late 1990’s, 2,645 properties were sold annually in the Thanet area, then in the same area, the Millennium boom saw transactions rise to 3,672 per annum. Property sales then almost halved to 1,925 per annum in the challenge of the global financial crash and subsequent retrenchment of the mortgage market. Post credit crunch (2012 and beyond) locally, on average, 2,606 properties have sold annually.


So, whilst there was a recovery from 2013 onwards, it was rather uninspiring when compared to the pre-credit crunch years, with a lacklustre performance in property transactions since mid 2010’s.

You might ask why we should be concerned about the number of property transactions and not the change in property values? 

The number of transaction numbers are a far more exact bellwether for the health and potency of the local housing market.

As less people have been selling their homes locally, this is not only bad for the Thanet housing market but for the economy locally, especially when you consider how many allied businesses (builders, decorators, solicitors, removal vans, estate agents, mortgage arrangers and other people) lose out as a result.

Some say the deficiency of supply of property, mainly affordable first-time buyer property, is the chief reason why transaction figures remain stubbornly low. Others suggest the absence of suitable housing stock up the property ladder (particularly bungalows for the older generation), combined with rising demand, is causing a bottleneck in our local housing market.

I know there has been much talk from Westminster about grand home-building programmes, yet we now require them to deliver on these undertakings and even then, it will be a few decades before we see a seismic change in the Thanet property market.

In the short-term, a quicker improvement may come from modifications to stamp duty. First time buyers don’t need to pay Stamp Duty up to a certain level, yet those Stamp Duty concessions could be extended to those mature homeowners looking to downsize. This could liberate a meaningful number of mature family homes occupied principally by these mature generation and the tax lost through Stamp Duty could be replenished by a revaluation of the Council Tax bands?

Council Tax bandings were set in 1991 and the seven bands, the highest band starts at £320,000 (based on 1991 values). It seems irrational to us that upper value band, set in the 1991 revaluations, has not been increased, particularly as house prices in London have risen by over 400 per cent during in the last 25 years.

That would mean higher tax for those who don’t move yet less tax for those that do move – because we believe it would boost a far more liquid Thanet property market.
Just a thought of mending the local property market – what are your thoughts?

Monday, 7 October 2019

How long is the average Ramsgate property on the market for?



If you are either selling or buying a property in Ramsgate, there are a few reasons why it may be taking some time to sell your Ramsgate home or find that perfect place to call your new home. It may e taking longer than you thought to find a buyer for your home because of the current state of the property market or finding that perfect Ramsgate home may be taking too long because of a lack of properties to buy.

So, taking everything into consideration, all of these factors invite an obvious question; how long is too long to persist in the Ramsgate property market?

If you are looking to sell your Ramsgate property, it may have become infuriating when your home has been on the market for longer than you anticipated. Perhaps the property market is purely in a position where it's challenging to get a property sold quickly, or sold at the price you want to achieve for it. If you do live in a Ramsgate home that is towards the upper reaches of the price band, you have to be open to the idea that because it's worth so much more than the average property in Ramsgate and so more than most individuals can afford, you will have to wait longer to get it sold.

Your Ramsgate home might be taking longer to sell because your asking price is simply too high. Even if you are prepared to take a realistic offer, if you have an unrealistic asking price your overpriced Ramsgate property will undoubtedly turn off potential buyers from even being inclined to book a viewing.

Looking at the market in Ramsgate compared to a year ago makes very interesting reading…




When it comes to the average length of time on the market, it’s the detached homes in Ramsgate that appear to be taking longer to sell, yet the length of time Ramsgate terraced homes and apartments seem to be on the market has dropped. Semi-detached homes have remained the same.



The overall average length of time a Ramsgate property remains on the market has dropped by 3.3%, from 90 days a year to 87 days today 
 
The question that remains is, if you are having no luck selling should you leave your Ramsgate property on the market or not? This is basically down to your personal circumstances - a big decider has to be if you are moving up market or downsizing.

Buyers will compare your Ramsgate property to all the other homes on the market using the portals such as Rightmove, On the Market and Zoopla and even if your asking price is realistic, if your marketing (brochures, pictures, even video walk through) isn’t top dollar, they will dismiss your property.

Remember, the average buyer only views 4.5 properties before they buy and on average, each buyer will only spend just over 25 minutes viewing each home … 
 
The more properties that are on the market, the greater the choice for buyers (yet more competition for house sellers), so we wanted to look at how many homes were for sale in Ramsgate now, compared to 12 months ago.

As you can see, there are some big differences between the property types in Ramsgate.




As for buying a Ramsgate property, searching for that dream house can take time as you have to consider the needs of your spouse, children, schooling, etc., what you can realistically afford and whether your current location can accommodate you until you find that perfect Ramsgate home.

Don’t forget that upwards of 10% of homes do not make it to the portals (the portals are Rightmove, Zoopla and On the Market), so don’t just rely on the portals to let you know what is coming on the market. The number of times I speak to disappointed buyers who missed out because other buyers registered directly with the agent for property, whilst they relied on the portals.

When it comes to buying a Ramsgate home, and so you do not make any decisions you will regret later on, taking your time is always the more practical option. The amount of money that is involved in buying a home and all the costs connected with it means that you should not rush into buying or selling without due consideration.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

76.3% of Thanet OAP’s own their own home … and they are worth £1,109.1m

Yes, that number is staggering isn’t it ….

Of the 8,836 households in Thanet where the head of the household is 65 years or older, an astounding 6,738 (or 76.3%) of those are owned, which is just above the national average of 74.1%, which sounds great – yet nothing could be further from the truth.

I chat with many Thanet pensioners who would like to move but cannot, as there is a scarcity of such properties for Thanet mature people to downsize into. Due to their scarcity and high demand, Thanet bungalows on average get a 12% to 22% premium per square metre premium over two storey properties. To add insult to injury, a recent NHBC reported that only 1% of new builds in the Country were single storey bungalows (compared to 7% in the mid 1990’s).

Thanet OAP’s are sitting on £1,109.1m of equity in these Thanet homes

In a survey conducted a couple of years ago by YouGov, they established that just over one third of homeowning people aged 65 and over in the Country were looking to downsize into a smaller home. Yet, the Tory’s over the last nine years have appeared to target all their attention on first-time buyers with stratagems such as Starter Homes to safeguard the youngsters of the UK not becoming perpetual members of ‘Generation Rent’. Equally though, this doesn’t address the long-lasting under-supply of suitable retirement housing essential to the needs of the Thanet’s hastily ageing population.

Lamentably, the Thanet’s housing stock is tragically unprepared for this demographic shift to the 'overextended middle age’, and this has created a new 'Generation Confined’ quandary where older people cannot move.

Also, those older Thanet retirees’ who do live in the limited number of Thanet bungalows are finding it difficult to live on their own, as they are unable to leave their bungalow because of a lack of sheltered housing and ‘affordable’ care home places.

Meaning those older Thanet retirees can't leave their Thanet bungalows, younger Thanet retirees in their larger 2 storey family houses can't buy those Thanet bungalows (occupied by the older retirees) and those Thanet people in the 30’s and 40’s can't buy those larger 2 storey family houses (occupied by the younger retirees) they need to for their growing families ... it’s like everyone is waiting for everyone because of the bottleneck at the top.

For those wanting to see the complete stats for Thanet as whole …

Thanet’s (and the rest of the UK’s) property prices have soared over the last 50 years because the number of properties built has not kept up with demand. With restrictive planning regulations, migration, people living longer and excessive divorce rates (meaning one family becomes two) we need, as a Country, 240,000 properties to be built a year since the Millennium to just stand still.
At the turn of the Millennium, the Country was constructing on average 180,000 to 190,000 households a year, that figure dropped in the five years after the Credit Crunch to 135,000 and 145,000 households a year. Although we built 217,000 last year, we still have all those 19 years to make up for.
The answer …. allow more land for starter homes, bungalows and sheltered accommodation because land prices are stifling the property market as the large building firms are more likely to focus on traditional houses and apartments than bungalows (because they make more money from them).
My thoughts for the savvy Thanet property investors – until the Government change the planning rules and allow more land to be built on – Bungalows, especially ones that need some TLC after someone has passed away bungalows are a great bet for flipping and even potential rental returns for future property investment as more and more OAP’s will be renting in the decades to come?