Tuesday, 16 October 2018

How Would a Hard Brexit Affect Warrington House Prices?



I have been asked a number of times recently what a hard Brexit would mean to the Warrington property market. To be frank, I have been holding off giving my thoughts, as I did not want to add fuel to the stories being banded around in the national press. However, it’s obviously a topic that you as Warrington buy to let landlords and Warrington homeowners are interested in ... so I am going to try and give you what I consider a fair and unbiased piece on what would happen if a hard Brexit takes place in March 2019.

After the weather and football, the British obsession on the UK property market is without comparison to any other country in the world. I swear The Daily Mail has the state of the country’s property market on its standard weekly rotation of front-page stories! Like I have said before on my blog, there are better economic indexes and statistics to judge the economy (and more importantly) the property market. If you recall, I said the number of transactions was just as important, if not more, as a bellwether of the state of the property market.

Worries that the Brexit referendum would lead to a fast crash in Warrington (and national) property values were unfounded, although the growth of property values in Warrington has reduced since the referendum in the summer of 2016.

Now, it’s true the Warrington property market is seeing less people sell and move and the property values are rising at a slower rate in 2018 compared to the heady days of the first half of this decade (2010 to 2015), but before we all start panicking, let’s ask ourselves, what exactly has happened in the last couple of years since the Brexit vote?

Warrington house prices have risen by 8.73% since the
EU Referendum...

...and yes, in 2018 we are on track (and again this is projected) to finish on 3,231 property transactions (i.e. the number of people selling their home) ... which is less than 2017 ... but still higher than the long term 12 year average of 3,002 transactions in the local council area.





So, it appears the EU vote hasn’t caused many major issues so far, however, if there was a large economic jolt, that could be a different game, yet how likely is that?

The property market is mostly influenced by interest rates and salaries.

A hard Brexit would subdue wage growth to some degree, yet the level of the change will depend on the undetermined type of Brexit deal (or no deal). If trade barriers are imposed on a hard Brexit, imports will become more expensive, inflation will rise and growth will fall, although at least we are not in the Euro, meaning this could be tempered by the exchange rate of the Pound against the Euro. In plain language, a hard Brexit will be worse for house prices than a deal.

So why did the Governor of the Bank of England suggest a disorderly hard Brexit would affect house prices by up to 35%?

I mean it was only nine years ago we went through the global financial crisis with the credit crunch. Nationally, in most locations including Warrington, property values dropped in value by 16% to 19% over an 18-month period. Look at the graph and if we had a similar percentage drop, it would only take us back to the property value levels we were achieving in 2015.

And let’s not forget that the Bank of England introduced some measures to ensure we didn’t have another bubble in any future property market. One of the biggest factors of the 2009 property crash was the level of irresponsible lending by the banks. The Bank of England Mortgage Market Review of 2014 forced Banks to lend on how much borrowers had left after regular expenditure, rather than on their income. Income multipliers that were 8 or 9 times income pre-credit crunch were significantly curtailed (meaning a Bank could only offer a small number of residential mortgages above 4.5 times income), and that Banks had to assess whether the borrower could afford the mortgage if interest rates at the time of lending rose by three percentage points over the first five years of the loan ... meaning all the major possible stumbling blocks have been mostly weeded out of the system.

So, what next?

A lot of Warrington homeowners might wait until 2019 to move, meaning less choice for buyers, especially in the desirable areas of Warrington. For Warrington landlords, Warrington tenants are also likely to hang off moving until next year, although I suspect (as we had this on the run up to the 2015 General Election when it was thought Labour might get into Government), during the lull, there could be some Warrington buy to let bargains to be had from people having to move (Brexit or No Brexit) or the usual panic selling at times of uncertainty.

Brexit, No Brexit, Hard Brexit … in the whole scheme of things, it will be another footnote to history in a decade. We have survived the Oil Crisis, 20%+ Hyperinflation in the 1970’s, Mass Unemployment in the 1980s, Interest Rates of 15% in 1990’s, the Global Financial Crash in 2009 ... whatever happens, happens. People still need houses and a roof over their head. If property values drop, it is only a paper drop in value ... because you lose when you actually sell. Long term, we aren’t building enough homes, and so, as I always say, property is a long game no matter what happens - the property market will always come good.

Growth in UK property values as well as in Warrington seems fated to slow over the next five to ten years, whatever sort of Brexit takes place.

If you are looking for an agent that is well established, professional and communicative, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of your investment property.



Email me on manoj@hamletwarrington.co.uk or call on 01925 235338. If you are in the area, feel free to pop into the office – we are based on G5, Warrington Business Park, Long Lane, WA2 8TX. There is plenty of free parking and the kettle is always on.


Thursday, 11 October 2018

Warrington Property Market - Summer 2018 Update



I was recently reading a report by Rightmove that a North South Divide has started to appear in the UK property market – so I wanted to see if Warrington was falling in line with those thoughts.  In the North, there are 7.12% less properties on the market than 12 months ago, whilst in contrast, in the South, there are 14.7% more properties on the market than 12 months ago.

With the decline in the number of properties for sale in the North compared to 12 months ago, that means the North is more of a sellers’ market.  However, on the other side of the coin, there is a significant rise in buyer choice in all of the Southern regions, showing there are signs of a buyers’ market, which in some markets is a driving force for a buyers’ market and some downwards price pressure.

So, looking closer to home at asking prices and the number of homes on the market. In the North West region, according to Rightmove, the average asking prices of new to the market properties are 4.9% higher than 12 months ago and 1.1% higher over the last month.  Now I must stress, this is asking prices – not what is happening to actual property values.  Also, regionally, there are 4.1% less properties on the market than 12 months ago.

Even closer to home, overall, the number of properties and building plots for sale in Warrington has increased by 11%, going from 453 properties for sale a year ago to 502 properties for sale as I write this article, meaning Warrington does not in fact match the regional trend.

Looking at the individual types of Warrington property, you can quite clearly see the different markets within Warrington.  The two sets of figures that stand out are the increase in Apartments for sale, rising 27% and the increase in Semi-detached properties by just 1%.

Type
Properties for Sale 12 months ago
Properties for Sale Today
Change
Detached Property in Warrington
85
94
11%
Semi Detached Property in Warrington
149
151
1%
Terraced/Town House in Warrington
116
136
17%
Apartments in Warrington
79
100
27%

(NB There are a handful more Building plots and other types of property that can’t be placed into the four category’s ... and it’s those that make up the total numbers in the paragraph above the table)

Although these figures don’t tell the whole story because in certain areas of Warrington, certain types of properties (particular locations and Primary school catchment areas) are in short supply.  This has caused some frustration with buyers of those types of properties with this lack of supply, which in turn has sparked some very localised asking price growth within those hot spot areas, although sometimes to levels where sellers optimism turns into silly over the top asking prices.

This means the property sticks, which isn’t sustainable, therefore as a consequence, there are certain parts of the Warrington housing market with upward asking price movements being offset in part by intermittent asking price reductions where home owners or their estate agents have been over optimistic with their initial marketing asking price.

What does this mean for homeowners and landlords in Warrington?

If you are planning to sell your home or buy to let investment, the key for determined sellers is to set your asking price correctly from the start.  It’s so vital to be competitive to attract buyers.  Everyone has access to three main property portals (Rightmove, On the Market and Zoopla) so can easily compare your property against similar ones.  When you do search these portals, make sure you ask the website to show properties that are sold subject to contract as well to check what properties are selling for in your neighbourhood. Unless you have something highly unusual or unique, this perhaps isn’t the best market to set an optimistic asking price in hoping to find someone who would pay that silly price.

And if you are buying in Warrington?  The numbers of buyers are lower than a few years ago, although those buyers that are in the market have become quite serious.  The times of time wasting “carpet treaders” (estate agency slang for the same type of people car dealers call tyre kickers) are long gone.  Those buyers that are in the market are real buyers, wanting to buy, but only at the right price.  We live in a 21st century society that is “time-poor” so nobody is wanting to even view a house, let alone pay over the odds if they believe the asking price is too high.  So, if you are buying, do your homework, ask plenty of questions of the agent, find out the motivation of the sellers and the real reasons behind why they are moving ... and you might just bag a good deal?

If you are looking for an agent that is well established, professional and communicative, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of your investment property.


Email me on manoj@hamletwarrington.co.uk or call on 01925 235338. If you are in the area, feel free to pop into the office – we are based on G5, Warrington Business Park, Long Lane, WA2 8TX. There is plenty of free parking and the kettle is always on.