THE BEXHILL LOVE AFFAIR WITH ITS 1,300 TERRACED HOUSES

Call me old fashioned, but I do like the terraced house. In fact, I have done some research that I hope you will find of interest! In architecture terms, a terraced or townhouse is a style of housing in use since the late 1600’s in the UK, where a row of symmetrical / identical houses share their side walls. The first terraced houses were actually built by a French man, Monsieur Barbon around St. Paul’s Cathedral within the rebuilding process after the Great Fire of London in 1666. Interestingly, it was the French that invented the terraced house around 1610-15 in the Le Marais district of Paris with its planned squares and properties with identical facades. However, it was the 1730’s in the UK, that the terraced/townhouse came into its own in London and of course in Bath with the impressive Royal Crescent.

The majority of our Bexhill terraced houses, along with the majority of our Town Centre, was built in the Victorian era. Built on the back of the Industrial Revolution, with people flooding into the towns and cities for work in Victorian times, the terraced house offered decent liveable accommodation away from the slums. An interesting fact is that the majority of Victorian Bexhill terraced houses are based on standard design of a ‘posh’ front room, a back room (where the family lived day to day) and scullery off that. Off the scullery, a door to a rear yard, whilst upstairs, three bedrooms (the third straight off the second). Interestingly, the law was changed in 1875 with the Public Health Act and each house had to have 108ft of liveable space per main room, running water, it’s own outside toilet and rear access to allow the toilet waste to be collected (they didn’t have public sewers in those days in Bexhill – well not at least where these ‘workers’ terraced houses were built).

It was the 1960’s and 70’s where inside toilets and bathrooms were installed (often in that third bedroom or an extension off the scullery), gas central heating in the 1980’s and replacement UPVC double glazing ever since.
Looking at the make up of all the properties in Bexhill, some very interesting numbers appear.

Of the 12,699 properties in TN39 …
5,688 are Detached properties (44.7%)
2,290 are Semi Detached properties (18.0%)
1,319 are Terraced / Town House properties (10.3%)
3,390 are Apartment/ Flat’s (26.7%)

And quite noteworthy, there are 12 mobile homes, representing 0.09% of all property in Bexhill.
When it comes to values, the average price paid for a Bexhill terraced house in 1995 was £38,410 and the latest set of figures released by the land Registry states that today that figure stands at £198,610, a rise of 417% – not bad when you consider apartments in Bexhill in the same time frame have only risen by 177%.

But then a lot of buy to let landlords and first time buyers I speak to think the Victorian terraced house is expensive to maintain. I recently read a report from English Heritage that stated maintaining a typical Victorian terraced house over thirty years is around sixty percent cheaper than building and maintaining a modern house- which is quite fascinating don’t you think!

Don’t dismiss the humble terraced house – especially in Bexhill! For more thoughts on the Bexhill Property Market – visit the Bexhill Property Market Blog at www.bexhillpropertyblog.com or www.redwell-estates.co.uk or give me a call on 01424 224242 especially if you are a landlord looking to improve your portfolio.

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Bexhill Property Market Do We Have the Right Sort of Bexhill Homes For the 21st Century?

Here I talk about the type of properties that are currently built in Bexhill, whether we’re building the right sort of properties to meet the current levels of demand in Bexhill and what the future holds for both landlords and homeowners in Bexhill with this information.

Would it surprise you to know that in some parts of Bexhill, predominantly prosperous areas with high proportions of mature residents, the housing crisis is not one of supply so much as dispersal of that supply? Theoretically, in Bexhill there are more than enough bedrooms for everyone – it’s just they are disproportionately spread among the population, with some better-off and more mature households living in large Bexhill homes with many spare bedrooms, and some younger Bexhill families being over crowded.

Yet it is not the fault of these well-off mature residents that this is the current situation. Let’s be frank, Bexhill doesn’t have enough housing full stop (otherwise we wouldn’t have the large Council House waiting list and all the younger generations renting instead of buying), but up until now it hasn’t been clear that Bexhill actually also has the wrong types of properties.

We’re not building the smaller homes in Bexhill that are needed for the starter homes and we aren’t building enough bungalows for the older generations, so they can be released from their larger Bexhill homes, thus allowing those growing Bexhill families to move up the ladder.

Looking at the stats for Bexhill, and TN39 in particular…

When I compared Bexhill (TN39) with the regional stats of the TN postcode, the locality has proportionally 53.7% more apartments, yet 45% less terraced/townhouses. Looking nationally, Bexhill (TN39) has proportionally 90.2% more detached homes and quite surprisingly, proportionally 58.2% less terraced/townhouses.

I am finding that there has been a shortage of smaller townhouses and smaller apartments being built in Bexhill over the last 20 years, because most of the new builds in the last couple of decades seem to have been either large executive houses or the apartments that have been built were of the larger (and posher) variety, even though demand for households (as life styles have changed in the 21st Century) have been more towards the lower to middle sized households.

The builders do want to build, but there’s a deficiency of building land in Bexhill, and if there’s a shortage of building land, then of course new homes builders build whatever gives them the biggest profit. The properties that give them the largest profit are the biggest and most expensive properties and they certainly are not bungalows as they take up too much land. So who can blame them?

Yet would it surprise you to know that it’s not a lack of space (look at all the green you see when flying over the UK), it’s the planning system. Green belts must be observed, but only 1.2% (yes 1.2% – that isn’t a typo) is built on in this country as a whole with homes – we need the planners to release more land (and then force/encourage builders to build on it – not sit on it). Another problem is that of the smaller new homes that have been built, most of them have been snapped up for renting, not owning.

So, what’s the answer? Build more Council houses? Yes, sounds great but the local authority haven’t enough money to cut the grass verges, let alone spend billions on new homes in Bexhill. The Government did relax the planning laws a few years ago, for example for changing office space into residential use, yet they could do more as currently new homes builders have no incentive to build inexpensive homes or bungalows that the system needs to make a difference.

So, what does this mean for Bexhill homeowners and Bexhill landlords?

Changing the dynamics of the Bexhill, regional and national property market will only change in decades, not years. The simple fact is we are living longer, and we need 240,000 to 250,000 houses a year to stand still with demand, let alone start to eat into 30 years of under building where the average has been just under 170,000 households a year.

That means, today as a country, we have a pent-up demand of 2.25m additional households and we need to build a further 4.2m households on top of that figure for population growth between 2019 and 2039. So, irrespective of whether we have short term blip in the property market in the next 12/18 months, investing in property is, and always will be, a great investment as demand will always outstrip supply.

What do you think? Let me know and Ill pass it on because Bexhill will alter over the next 20 years and become unrecognisable to the Bexhill of today. For more news about the property market in Bexhill go to my website www.redwell-estates.co.uk or www.bexhillpropertyblog.co.uk, theres lots of interesting topics to choose from.

This is Patrick Stappleton Author of the Bexhill Property Market Blog and MD of Redwell Estates. My email is patrick@redwell-estates.co.uk and my phone is 01424 224242. 

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