Thursday, 21 July 2016

93.4% of Warminster Homeowners are over 35 - The affect of their Brexit vote on the Warminster Property Market

Well it’s been 4 weeks since the Referendum vote and we have had a chance to reflect on the momentous decision that the British public took. Many of you read the article I wrote on the morning of the results. I had gone to bed the night before with a draft of my Remain article nicely all but finished, to be presented, at just after 5am, with the declaration by the BBC saying we were leaving the EU. I don’t think any of us were expecting that.

If you want to read a copy of that original Post Brexit blog post, please scroll back to late June to find it. In this article I would like to take my thoughts on from that initial article and now start to see the clearer picture as the dust settles on the UK, but more importantly, the Warminster Property Market.

In case you weren’t aware, the residents of the Wiltshire County Council area went against the National mood and voted as follows ..

Wiltshire County Council        Remain Votes              137,258           (47.5% of the vote)
Wiltshire County Council        Leave Votes                 151,637           (52.5% of the vote)
Wiltshire County Council Turnout      78.8%

I have been reading there is some evidence to indicate younger voters were vastly more likely to vote Remain than their parents and grandparents and, whilst the polling industry's techniques may have been widely criticised, following them getting both the 2010 General Election and the recent Brexit vote wrong, anecdotally, many surveys seem to suggest there was a relationship between age and likelihood to support leaving the EU.

Interestingly, the average age of a Warminster resident is 40.8 years old, which is above the national average of 39.3, which might go someway to back up the way Warminster voted? What I do know is that putting aside whether you were a remain or leave voter, the vote to leave has, and will, create uncertainty and the last thing the British property market needs is uncertainty (because as with previous episodes of uncertainty in the UK economy – UK house prices have tended to go down).

Interestingly, when we look at the Home-ownership rates in the Wiltshire County Council area, of the 132,545 properties that are owned in the Wiltshire County Council area (Owned being owned outright, owned with a mortgage or shared ownership), the age range paints a noteworthy picture.

Age 16 to 34 homeowners      8,651    or       6.5%  (Nationally 9.6%)
Age 35 to 49 homeowners    36,988    or     27.9%  (Nationally 29.2%)
Age 50 to 64 homeowners    43,490    or     32.8%  (Nationally 30.7%)
Aged 65+ homeowners         43,416    or     32.7%  (Nationally 30.5%)

So, looking at these figures, and the high proportion of older homeowners, you might think all the Wiltshire County Council area homeowners would vote Remain to keep house prices stable and younger people would vote out so house prices come down- so they could afford to buy?

But there's a risk in oversimplifying this. The sample of the polling firms are in the thousands whilst the country voted in its millions. Other demographic influences have been at play in the way people voted, as early evidence is starting to suggest that class, level of education, the levels of immigration and ethnic diversity had an influence on the way the various parts of the UK voted.

So what I suggest is this – Don’t assume everyone over the age of 50 voted ‘Leave’ and don’t assume most 20 somethings backed ‘Remain’; because many didn't!

.. and the Warminster Property Market – well read my original article and you can make your own mind up. 

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Planning for 203 houses in Warminster Approved

Last month you may have read my blog post relating to the West Warminster Urban Extension and the Master Plan gaining approval. Further to this this Wiltshire County Council have, predictably, approved planning for 203 houses, as submitted by Redrow Homes on the site just off St Andrews road. Of the 203 homes 61 are set to be affordable houses.

It is without doubt that residents are concerned. Construction vehicles will be entering the site via the cul-de-sac and ultimately will form access to the new homes. So what will this mean for the home owners and house prices here? Well only time will tell but I would expect to see a a few of these properties on the market in the coming months.

In my opinion the very reason the development has been approved is because there is not enough housing available. In summary demand is high, supply is limited, borrowing is cheap (interest rates may come down to 0.25% tomorrow) and property in St Andrews road is still desirable.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Why This Two bed Warminster Porperty Sold In 24 Hours and went up £89,000 In Just Over Two Years!

With an asking price £225,000 Trinity Cottage on Vicarage Street, Warminster is in the top bracket for two bedroom  properties in town. However there is good reason why it was sold subject to contract within 24 hours of Northwood marketing it.

Previously listed for sale in 2014 the cottage sold for £136,000 but required (in estate agent terms) a degree of modernising.

So lets take a look at the before and after shots in this impressive property makeover......







Clearly the current vendors have spent considerably on the cottage in a market that has been buoyant, couple that with good taste, and professional photography then this is proof demand is certainly there.

You can see the property listing on Rightmove HERE

Population in the Wiltshire Council area set to rise to 535,600 by 2036. What does this mean for the Warminster property market?

Warminster faces a predicament. The population is growing and the provision of new housing isn’t keeping up. With the average age of a Warminster person being 40.8 years (compared to the South West average of 41.6 years old and the national average of 39.4 years of age), the population of Warminster is growing at an alarming rate. This is due to an amalgamation of longer life expectancy, a fairly high birth rate (compared to previous decades) and high net immigration, all of which contribute to housing shortages and burgeoning house prices.

My colleagues work closely with Durham University and they have kindly produced some statistics specifically for the Wiltshire Council area. Known as the UK’s leading authority for such statistics, their population projections make some startling reading…

For the Wiltshire Council area ... these are the statistics and future forecasts

2016 population           489,784
2021 population           503,925
2026 population           515,951
2031 population           526,169
2036 population           535,633

The normal ratio of people to property is 2 to 1 in the UK, which therefore means...

We need just over 23,000 additional new properties to be built
in the Wiltshire Council area over the next 20 years.

Whilst focusing on population growth does not tackle the housing crisis in the short term in Warminster, it has a fundamental role to play in long-term housing development and strategy in the town. The rise of Warminster property values over the last six years since the credit crunch are primarily a result of a lack of properties coming onto the market, a lack of new properties being built in the town and rising demand (especially from landlords looking to buy property to rent them out to the growing number of people wanting to live in Warminster but can’t buy or rent from the Council).

Although many are talking about the need to improve supply (i.e. the building of new properties), the issue of accumulative demand from population growth is often overlooked. Nationally, the proportion of 25-34 year olds who own their own home has dropped dramatically from 66.7% in 1987 to 43.8% in 2014, whilst 78.2% of over 65s own their own home. Longer life expectancy mean houses remain in the same hands for longer.

The swift population growth over the last thirty years provides more competition for the young than for mature population.  It might surprise some people that 98% of all the land in the UK is either industrial, commercial or agricultural, with only two percent being used for housing, which means one could propose expanding supply to meet a expanding population by building on green belt – that most Politian’s haven’t got the stomach to tackle, especially in the Tory’ strongholds of the South of England, where the demand is the greatest. People mention brownfield sites, but recent research suggests there aren’t as many sites to build on, especially in Warminster that could accommodate 23,000 properties in the next 20 years.

In the short to medium term, demand for a roof over of one’s head will continue to grow in Warminster (and the country as a whole). In the short term, that demand can only be met from the private rental sector (which is good news for homeowners and landlords alike as that keeps house prices higher).

In the long term though, local and national Government and the UK population as a whole, need to realise these additional millions of people over the next 20 years need to live somewhere. Only once this issue starts to get addressed, in terms of extra properties being built in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way, can we all help create a socially ecological prosperous future for everyone

Friday, 8 July 2016

3 Bedroom Property In Warminster with 4.86% Yield

The market for two and three bedroom houses in Warminster really seems to be under pressure at the moment with very few properties available they are in high demanad. This Three Bedroom home on St Andres road has just come on with Cooper and Tanner. The property looks to be presented very well and offers a delightful garden.

I cant see this property being on for very long as in my opinion would be a great rental property with an estimated 4.86% yield thats assuming it sells for full asking price and achieves £800pcm. Equally this would make a great family home.

You can see the full listing on Rigthmove HERE

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

When Is The Best Time To Sell My Property In Warminster?

I had a homeowner from Plants Green email me the other day. She said she had been following my blog (the Warminster Property Market Blog) and wanted to pick my brain on when is the best time of the year to sell a property. Trying to calculate the best time to put your Warminster property on the market can often seem something akin to witchcraft and, whilst I would agree that there are particular times of the year that can prove more productive than others, there are plenty of factors that need to be taken into consideration.

Even if you are putting your property on the market, you don’t know how long it will take to find a buyer - no crystal ball to help with that one. At the moment, the latest set of figures for all estate agents in Warminster, show the average length of time it takes to find a buyer for any Warminster property is as follows ..

Detached                    176 days
Semi                              82 days
Terraced                       50 days
Flat                                74 days
Overall average          126 days

If we roll the clock back to January 2016, the overall average time it took to find a buyer (again using data from all of the Warminster Estate Agents) was 118 days.

So, on the face of it, things have haven’t improved over the last six months or so. But, when I looked at the data going back to 2008, the average length of time it takes to sell a property usually drops between January and the Summer months, for it to rise on the run up to Christmas. For example ..

Winter 2008 - 133 days           Summer 2008  - 108 days

and in more recent times …

Winter 2013 - 179 days           Summer 2013  - 169 days
Winter 2014 - 151 days           Summer 2014  -   93 days
Winter 2015 - 117 days           Summer 2015  -   91 days

Coming back to the present, even if you placed your property on the market today in Warminster, if it takes you on average eighteen weeks to find a buyer, then you can expect solicitors and the chain to take an additional eight and twelve weeks after that, before you move. It comes down to personal choice as to when you place your property on the market. Children often affect the decision. On one side you might delay putting that for sale board in your front garden so you can move in the summer school holidays, but on the other side, you might want to move sooner to be in the catchment area of a preferred school, in plenty of time for the next academic year?

There are times of the year when it's better to sell, and times when waiting a little longer can pay off in the long run. In a nutshell, I would say this is the way of the seasons ..
Spring: Customarily there are more house-buyers as the Daffodils show themselves
Summer: Sellers may miss out on house-buyers being on holiday
Autumn: The enthusiasm for buying homes returns
Winter: Interest diminishes as festive period looms 

What this means to buyers and landlord investors is that they often pick up a bargain in later months of the year, as there is less competition from owner occupiers. So, whilst there are better months to achieve a quicker sale, the only piece of advice I can give to every home  owner and landlord in Warminster, is do the right thing for yourself, do your homework and buy (and sell) with both your head as well as your heart.