Wednesday, 22 December 2021

What Will Happen to Warrington House Prices in 2022?


Traditionally, if you had not sold your Warrington home by the first week in November, you would normally have to wait for the house sellers to return in the famous Boxing Day rush on the portals (Rightmove, Zoopla etc) to get potential buyers interested.

Yet matters have been different this year as the various lockdowns have caused a surge in house buying right up until when the Christmas edition of the Radio Times goes on sale.

So, the question is, how will 2022 look regarding the Warrington property market?

The last couple of years in the Warrington property market have been different in many ways. So much so, many Warrington homeowners are presently deliberating whether they should put their Warrington home on the market in January or wait until later in the summer.

Speaking to many Warrington buyers and sellers, (and in fact Warrington buy-to-let landlords) in the last couple of weeks in the run-up to Christmas, many were asking the very same question.

What is going to happen to Warrington house prices in 2022?

Some people asking this question are Warrington buyers troubling themselves that they are about to buy their Warrington home just before a potential property crash, yet others are Warrington homeowners wanting to know where the top of the market is before they sell. Even a handful of Warrington landlords unable to either start buying or start selling some of their rental portfolio.

Therefore, let’s see what has happened in 2021 to make a better judgement of what should happen in 2022.

Nobody has a crystal ball that can tell what 2022 holds, however most property experts are not forecasting doom and gloom for the British property market.

Whilst the final numbers won’t be known until Easter 2022, it is estimated that in 2021 one in fifteen privately owned homes in the UK are expected to have changed hands, being the busiest year in the last 14 years. Locally,

2,002 properties have changed hands in the last year in Warrington

Although that is only up to October 2021, so numbers will be much higher once all the final counts are in by March/April.

The pandemic made many Warrington families re-evaluate what they wanted from their Warrington home, with many wanting bigger rooms (and more of them). Many in the press dubbed this ‘the race for space’, meaning the property market was flooded with home buyers, most bringing forward the home move they had planned between now and 2025.

The issue was, there weren’t enough Warrington properties on the market to satisfy every Warrington buyer, meaning Warrington house prices have unsurprisingly been driven up.

The average price of a home today in Warrington is £239,200

Although it is still premature to say what will happen in 2022, most property commentators seem assured that we are not heading towards a house price crash, mainly due to one reason.

There aren’t enough properties on the market in Warrington. Simply supply and demand economics!

The property crash in 2008 was caused by everyone dumping their property on the market.

In January 2007, there were 990 properties for sale in Warrington, 
one year later in January 2008, that had risen to 1,816 properties, 
whilst today, that stands at 169

And I can’t see that changing for 2022.

In 2007, mortgage interest rates were 6.5% to 7.5%, so when the economy started to falter, everyone looked to sell their homes to reduce their outgoings as unemployment rose by over 60% in just a couple of years. This time round most people have mortgage rates of around 2% to 2.5% and unemployment is dropping, meaning they don’t need to sell their Warrington home.

Now of course the stamp duty tax holiday came to an end months ago, and Bank of England base interest rates are expected to rise moderately in the coming year, yet not to the level they were in 2007 (5.75%).

Nonetheless, demand for Warrington homes will still be there. I have even read some reports suggesting that more than 20% of British households are seriously thinking of moving between now and the summer of 2023, and this will support Warrington house prices whilst demand continues to exceed supply.

Warrington house prices will be 4.0% higher by the end of 2022

Another reason why I believe that will be the case is the return to home working. If, as a country, we will need to work from home each winter for the foreseeable future because of new variants, then this will cement the need for people wanting to move home for remote working.

It might be that Warrington buyers are looking for a dedicated office at home or that they feel they now no longer need to be in large built-up areas that are near to their work.

This increase in Warrington house prices is expected to entice even more Warrington house sellers onto the market, which will steady Warrington house prices slightly (as supply increases), yet I still believe there won’t be enough properties coming onto the market to satisfy the colossal demand.

What about the Warrington rental market?

Rents tend to grow in line with tenants’ wages. So, with many people getting decent pay rises and not enough properties being built, many economists are suggesting rents will be 14% to 19% higher by 2027. Even with the house price growth, the numbers for rental investments still look rosy.

Is it the right time to buy your first property in Warrington?

This rise in Warrington house prices has had many people asking whether 2022 is the right time to buy their first home? Should they buy now before Warrington prices rocket even further or delay in the hope that house prices come back down?

As with any important decision in life, this will mainly depend on your own personal life and your motives for wanting to move.

If the Warrington home that you want to buy is on the market, available and you can afford the mortgage, then delaying could be detrimental. It’s like holding off for the ‘next generation TV’, it then coming out; then just as you are about to buy the TV, the next ‘next generation TV’ gets announced for six months’ time ... and the cycle is constantly in motion – so you end up never buying a TV … just like you will never buy your own home!

Buying property is a long-term game

Sometimes you just have to make your decision, get something bought and start the journey of the next 25 to 35 years of living in your family home whilst paying off your mortgage.

The present low interest rates for first-time buyers means that there are some very low mortgage deals available for those with a decent deposit, making it a good time to buy a Warrington property, especially if you fix the interest rate.

If your deposit is humbler, the Government’s 5% deposit mortgage guarantee scheme will still enable you to buy a property, albeit at a slightly higher interest rate.

Looking at the bigger picture, these are only my opinions. If inflation doesn’t get too out of hand and interest rates don’t go above 2% to 3%, it looks like Warrington house prices will, for 2022 and a few years beyond, continue upwards albeit with a slower trajectory than 2020/21 and probably with a few short, sharp up and down spikes on the way.

The bottom line is, ensure that any Warrington house move that you intend to make is something that you can afford, allow for future rises in interest rates and make plans for as many eventualities as possible. Do that, and you should be just fine.

These are my opinions – what are yours?

If you are a Warrington homeowner or Warrington landlord and think this may affect you - feel free to drop me a line.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts about excess ‘spare bedrooms’? Let me know in the comments.

If you are looking for an agent that is well established, professional and communicative, whether you’re buying, selling or looking for an investment opportunity, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of the Warrington property market.

Email me on manoj@hamletwarrington.co.uk or call on 01925 235 338 – we are based on the Warrington Business Park, Long Lane, WA2 8TX. There is plenty of free parking and the kettle is always on.

Don't forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Warrington Property News.

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW MUCH YOUR WARRINGTON HOME IS WORTH FOR FREE
Hamlet Homes Warrington, your local Estate Agent
Follow my Warrington Property Market Blog
Hamlet Homes Warrington LinkedIn Page
Hamlet Homes Estate Agents Warrington Facebook Page

Monday, 13 December 2021

Warrington People’s Addiction to Their Spare Bedrooms?

The Housing Minister, Chris Pincher, has suggested older homeowners are “rattling around” in their homes as they are too big for them. He implied they are selfish and should sell up and move to a retirement home when he spoke to a committee in the House of Lords. He stated that many British homes are “under-occupied” and could be better used by younger families with children.

He went on to say that the Government will aim to persuade UK housebuilders to build more developments suitable for OAPs, freeing up space in their existing homes, which in turn would open up more homes for first and second-time buyers.

So why is this an issue?

The fundamental problem of the Warrington housing ‘crisis’, is the point that the supply of Warrington homes has not historically met demand, thus increasing property values (and in turn rents), consequently ensuring home ownership becomes an unattainable ambition for the twenty something’s of Warrington.

Call me a pragmatist, but it’s understandable that either demand needs to drop or supply needs to rise to stop this trend getting worse for the generations to come.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire Westminster’s plans to help first-time buyers with their ‘First Homes’ initiative to increase the supply of new homes being built just for first-time buyers. Yet it’s targeted to deliver only 1,500 homes in around 100 locations in the next two years.

To give you an idea of how this a drop in the ocean the Government sponsored the independent Barker Review of Housing Supply Report in 2004, which was tasked at looking at what could be done to level the playing field regarding the housing needs for the UK. The report found that the UK needed 240,000 homes to be built each year just to meet the demand of a growing and aging population. Since 2000, the average number of properties built in the UK each year has only been 177,975 per year. This means we have been around 62,000 homes short per year. Therefore, after 20 years of this annual shortfall we, as a country, have 1,240,500 too few homes – hence the massive uplift in house prices over the last two decades.

Therefore, one option that could resolve the housing crisis is if the Government literally looked closer to home, concentrating on matching households with the appropriately sized home … and this is what the government have shone a light on … people with too many spare bedrooms.

Is having a spare bedroom something that in this day and age is particularly wasteful? Well, let’s look at the numbers for Warrington.

25,032 Warrington homes have one spare bedroom.

Well, everyone in my opinion needs a spare bedroom, especially in the light of lockdown where many of us needed to work from home.

Ok, let’s see who has two or more spare bedrooms.

Of the 70,510 households in Warrington 26,422
have two or more spare bedrooms!

Of all the homes in Warrington, be they owned, privately rented or council house, 37.5% of Warrington homes have two or more spare bedrooms, compared to the national average 45.2%.

Breaking it down by ownership/tenure -

Of the 49,493 owned houses in Warrington, 23,508 have two or more spare bedrooms or as expressed as a percentage,

47.5% of Warrington owned homes have 2 or more spare bedrooms 
(compared to the national average of 53.9%).

Of the 12,230 council houses in Warrington, 1,495 have two or more spare bedrooms, or as expressed as a percentage,

12.2% of Warrington council homes have 2 or more spare bedrooms 
(compared to the national average of 11.6%).

Of the 8,787 private rented houses in Warrington, 1,419 have two or more spare bedrooms or as expressed as a percentage,

16.1% of Warrington private rented homes have 2 or more spare 
bedrooms (compared to the national average of 19.4%).

You can see there is the spare capacity in the Warrington housing market.

The Government hit the social housing sector with their ‘Bedroom tax’ in 2012, (also known as under occupancy charge or spare room subsidy) which meant that in council homes you would receive less in Housing Benefit or Housing Costs Element in a Universal Credit claim if you lived in a housing association or council property and were deemed to have one or more spare bedrooms.

Now it seems the Government have concentrated on the group that makes up the bulk of homeowners with spare bedrooms, the older owner occupiers of large properties, in their 60’s and 70’s, where the kids have flown the nest.

However, there are many explanations why these mature homeowners do not downsize. These people have lived in the same house for 30, 40 even 50 years, and as one matures in life, many people do not want to depart from what they see as the family home. Much time has been invested in making friends in their neighbourhood and it’s nice to have all those rooms in case every grandchild decided to visit, at the same time, and they brought their friends!

But is that a selfish point of view? Are we addicted to our spare bedrooms?

Or should the Government keep its nose out of where people live?

I would ask if the ‘Minister of Superfluously Sizeable Houses’ should be kicking you out of the Warrington home you worked for and have spent much of your life in? And why is it assumed that retired homeowners want to downsize to small little bungalows and apartments? Many love their spacious living rooms and kitchens (which are typically found in bigger houses).

This Government is in a muddle about housing policy.

On one side of the coin, the Government announced an increase in the tax burden on the British public with a rise to its highest level since the early 1950’s to pay for care and the NHS, yet on the other side of the coin, recently cancelling vote losing policies, so that mature people going into care do not need to sell their homes (which, if you think about it, they won’t live in anyway because they are going to long-term care). Whilst at the same time, to muddy the waters, they are suggesting to mature homeowners they have to move out of those same large homes to free it up for younger families? If the Government don’t know what the answer is, who does?

The subject of downsizing is a delicate one to unravel.

We all know mature homeowners and know that if they moved to a smaller Warrington home they would lose all the space they take for granted and would be unable to have the grandchildren over. Remaining in your large Warrington home is not greedy, it’s just the accepted human longing to enjoy a life after 50 plus years of working and paying your dues and taxes. You could say move to a managed retirement home? Yet many are very small and quite expensive.

I have spoken in previous articles in my blog on the Warrington property market that there aren’t enough bungalows being built either. And anyway, why should you have to relocate and wave goodbye to all your neighbours who have become friends and provide a support network?

There is a case made by some that mature downsizers could be given stamp duty tax breaks to get them to downsize, yet I am not sure how this could be policed, and it doesn’t solve the problem of increasing the overall supply of property in the UK.

The real issue isn’t spare bedrooms, it’s the need to change the 
planning rules to increase the number and type of new homes 
being built that will satisfy these mature homeowners with excess 
spare bedrooms to move into.

Big national builders have exploited ham-fisted planning rules since the 1980s, but no political party seems to have the answer. Housing Minister Chris Pincher might say he wants to persuade builders to build more suitable homes for mature people, yet his Government’s actions don’t seem to match his words.

In the Queen’s Speech this spring, the Government announced a proposed new planning system, which would create “simpler, faster procedures for producing local development plans, approving major schemes, assessing environmental impacts and negotiating affordable housing and infrastructure contributions”, or in layman’s terms, allowing more building to take place.

However, word coming out of Government is those plans could be cancelled following the Conservatives’ surprise defeat in the Chesham & Amersham by-election to the Liberal Democrats in the summer, which was blamed by some Conservative MPs on the new proposed planning laws.

So, whilst the Government decide what to do, what can mature Warrington homeowners do if they feel they do want to downsize?

The biggest fear many mature Warrington homeowners have is they 
will sell their large Warrington home but be unable to find anything 
to buy – thus making themselves homeless.

In this current Warrington housing market, the issue isn’t selling your Warrington home, but ensuring you find the right home to move into. Feel free to drop me a line to discuss how we can potentially sell your own Warrington property, tell the buyer to wait, then we will go and find a home for you to move into in your chosen area of Warrington.

Of course, all this takes time and patience, yet this is what old school estate agents did before the internet and the property portals. There is no extra charge for this and even if we find you a buyer, and for whatever reason the move doesn’t go ahead, there will be no charge.

If you are a Warrington homeowner or Warrington landlord and think this may affect you - feel free to drop me a line.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts about excess ‘spare bedrooms’? Let me know in the comments.

If you are looking for an agent that is well established, professional and communicative, whether you’re buying, selling or looking for an investment opportunity, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of the Warrington property market.

Email me on manoj@hamletwarrington.co.uk or call on 01925 235 338 – we are based on the Warrington Business Park, Long Lane, WA2 8TX. There is plenty of free parking and the kettle is always on.

Don't forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Warrington Property News.

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW MUCH YOUR WARRINGTON HOME IS WORTH FOR FREE
Hamlet Homes Warrington, your local Estate Agent
Follow my Warrington Property Market Blog
Hamlet Homes Warrington LinkedIn Page
Hamlet Homes Estate Agents Warrington Facebook Page



 

Thursday, 9 December 2021

10 Tips for Buy-to-Let Success


Buying a property and letting it out can be very rewarding. Not only do you receive a rental income, but the property itself should also increase in value over time.

The property you are renting out is an investment, but you must make sure that it is looked after and well maintained.

Of course, you may also be busy with a job and family, and while buying to let is a business, it may not always be the first priority in your life.

That’s why we have put together our 10 Tips for Buy-to-Let Success guide. These tips are based on our many years of experience of helping landlords run successful businesses.

If you would like help and advice on the rental market in Warrington, email us at manoj@hamletwarrington.co.uk or call 01925 235 338.

1. Choose Your property Wisely

You may want to invest your money and start getting a return as quickly as possible, but first, you must do your homework and consider the type of property you want and what sort of tenant you need. You might be thinking about students, but what if there isn’t a market for students in the area?

Top tip Speak to the professionals. We know the Warrington market locally and can advise you accordingly.

2. Decide how Much Involvement You Want

Decide what sort of landlord you want to be. Will you be hands-on and do a lot of the maintenance work yourself, or do you want to get tradespeople in to do the work for you?

Top Tip If you’re relying on tradespeople, ask around and develop a list of trusted contacts to be used when required.

3. Will You Manage the Property?

There are quite a few things you need to do including getting gas and electric certificates, collecting rent, dealing with maintenance and other issues, even managing the process of eviction should it come to that.

So, are you able to do much of this management yourself, or do you need an experienced lettings manager to take the strain?

Top Tip We can help you find a tenant, sort the contracts and look after the management – if you want us to!

4. Understand the Potential Net Returns

You may have money in the bank to invest in property. You may also have the desire to be a landlord and are thinking of the potential returns. But, have you actually done the maths?

Sit down with a pen and paper and do some research into all the other costs, for example:
  • Landlords Insurance
  • Servicing and gas and electric safety certificates
  • EPC certificate
  • Costs of repairs and maintenance
  • Tax
  • Void Periods
  • Tenant Acquisition
  • Utility Bills
  • Management Fees
This is to name but a few!

Top Tip Make sure you can afford it. This might sound silly, but if the returns aren’t as great as you think, and the additional costs rack up, you could be in for a surprise.

5. Be Aware that Property Prices can go Up and Down!


Property is a sound investment most of the time. We would definitely recommend being a buy-to-let landlord, particularly in Warrington, but you should be aware that property markets can go down as well as up.

Top Tip Be in it for the long run. Be patient as markets can fluctuate but a good landlord knows this and sticks with it.

6. Always get Insurance

We firmly advise that you need Landlords Insurance and Buildings Insurance and maybe even Contents Insurance too. It’s better to be safe than sorry and should anything untoward happen, you will know that you are covered.

Top Tip
Speak with an experienced insurance broker. They will go through the level of cover you need and why.

7. Be Efficient and Keep Records of Everything

A buy-to-let property is best when it has a paying tenant of course. When it is empty, it costs you money. Landlords who can move quickly when they need to find a tenant are the ones who have successful businesses.

Top Tip Make sure your paperwork is organised and in order. Keep a list of preferred suppliers including plumbers and electricians so that any work can be done quickly.

8. Choose the Right Lettings Agent

A good lettings agent will advise you on which area to look at when acquiring a property, and will know the sorts of rent you could expect to get. They’ll be able to recommend tradespeople, and be able to sort the contracts out. It’s worth doing your research and getting the right team in place.

Top Tip Seek recommendations from other landlords who have used an agent in your area.

9. Don’t Fall in Love with the Property


This is an interesting one. There’s a difference between liking a property and loving it. If you love it, you may well not see it as a business and it is a business that has to make money.

Top Tip You won’t be living in the property, but you can put your stamp on it in some way, perhaps the garden design for example.

10. Plan for the Future


While you have a property to rent out, ask yourself what your future plans look like:
  • What’s your long-term goal for the property?
  • Do you know whether you want to sell it eventually?
  • Do you want to keep it and live in it at some point?
Top Tip Set your goals right at the start. That way, you will know what to do and when to make the right decisions.

We have years of experience in helping buy-to-let landlords and we can help you. Please get in touch. Email us at manoj@hamletwarrington.co.uk or call us on 01925 235 338.

If you are looking for an agent that is well established, professional and communicative, whether you’re buying, selling or looking for an investment opportunity, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of the Warrington property market.

Email me on manoj@hamletwarrington.co.uk or call on 01925 235 338 – we are based on the Warrington Business Park, Long Lane, WA2 8TX. There is plenty of free parking and the kettle is always on.

Don't forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Warrington Property News.

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW MUCH YOUR WARRINGTON HOME IS WORTH FOR FREE
Hamlet Homes Warrington, your local Estate Agent
Follow my Warrington Property Market Blog
Hamlet Homes Warrington LinkedIn Page
Hamlet Homes Estate Agents Warrington Facebook Page
Hamlet Homes Estate Agents Warrington Twitter Page

Monday, 6 December 2021

Should Warrington Landlords be worried about these new rental regulations?


Everyone should be doing their bit to help reduce the UK’s carbon footprint on the globe – yet the question is, is that burden being put too much on the shoulders of Warrington landlords with potential bills of £7,600+ in the next four years?

The background - the UK has obligated itself to a legally binding target to be carbon neutral by 2050. One of the biggest producers of greenhouse gasses is residential homes.

To hit that carbon-neutral target (as one-fifth of the UK's carbon output comes from residential property), every UK home will need to achieve a minimum grade of ‘C’ on their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) by 2035. Each EPC has a rating between ‘A’ and ‘G’ - 'A' being the best energy rating and 'G' the worst – like an energy rating on a fridge or washing machine.

All UK rental properties have required an EPC. Yet, from April 2020, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations have required all private rental properties (including rental renewals) to have a minimum EPC rating of ‘E’ or above.

Yet new legislation being discussed by the Government’s Climate Change Committee has suggested that landlords should play their part and increase the energy efficiency of their private rented homes. Sounds fair until you dive into the details.

The Government is muting the idea that all new tenancies (i.e. when a new tenant moves in) in private rented properties should be at an EPC rating of 'C' or above by 2025 (and all existing tenancies by 2028). The issue is …

53.67% of all private rented properties in Warrington
have an EPC rating of ‘D’ or below.

The problem is some Warrington landlords will find it very expensive, neigh impossible, to improve the energy efficiency of their Warrington rented properties, especially those Warrington landlords who hold older housing stock such as terraced properties built in the 1800s. These Victorian terraced houses never perform well on EPC ratings as they have solid walls.

Now, of course, you can improve the EPC rating of a terraced house by improving roof insulation, boiler replacement, solar heating, and high-grade uPVC windows. Yet, with some terraced houses, there will come the point where you will be unable to get to the haloed 'C' rating without installing external or internal wall insulation, sometimes even floor insulation.

With wall insulation costing between £5k and £15k and floor insulation around £5k …

the bill to improve all Warrington’s private rented
properties will be a minimum of £36,099,000.

But before I talk about what the options are for Warrington landlords, here’s the weird part of EPC’s. An EPC rating is calculated on the cost of running a property and not the carbon output or energy efficiency, despite its name.

My advice to Warrington landlords - although it’s correct to create a future strategy, all I can say at this point is 'more haste less speed'. These rule changes are only a discussion paper, and it remains open for consultation by any member of the British public until 30th December 2021. That means the Government's strategies and tactics may change.


Given that 57% of private rented properties are below a ‘C’ EPC 
grade, it is hard to believe the Government could achieve this 
without making big cash grants available.

For example, there is presently a cap of £3,500 for energy improvements that Warrington landlords have to spend to get it to the existing EPC ‘E’ target grade on private rented homes (i.e. if you have a privately rented home at an 'F' or 'G' EPC rating, you only need to spend a maximum of £3,500 as a landlord on improving your EPC rating and still being legal even if those £3,500 don't get you to the current 'E' rating minimum). So, if the current rules allow an exemption to the EPC renting rules, if a Warrington landlord can’t improve their Warrington property enough, conceivably, could this be extended?

So, what are Warrington landlord’s options?

One thing you could do is put your head in the sand and hope it all goes away!

Another thing some savvy Warrington landlords do (be they my client, clients of other letting agents in Warrington or even self-managing landlords) is to sit down and plan a strategy for their Warrington rental portfolio. I print off all the EPC’s of their rental portfolio, look at the recommendations, then discuss a plan to ensure they are covered whatever the Government decides to make the new EPC rules. Like all things in life, plan for the worse and hope for the best.

If your agent isn't offering that service, please drop me a line because I would hate for you to miss out on the advice and opinion that so many Warrington landlords have already had from me. The choice is yours.

If you are looking for an agent that is well established, professional and communicative, whether you’re buying, selling or looking for an investment opportunity, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of the Warrington property market.

Email me on manoj@hamletwarrington.co.uk or call on 01925 235 338 – we are based on the Warrington Business Park, Long Lane, WA2 8TX. There is plenty of free parking and the kettle is always on.

Don't forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Warrington Property News.

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW MUCH YOUR WARRINGTON HOME IS WORTH FOR FREE
Hamlet Homes Warrington, your local Estate Agent
Follow my Warrington Property Market Blog
Hamlet Homes Warrington LinkedIn Page
Hamlet Homes Estate Agents Warrington Facebook Page