My Latest Articles

28% of Bexhill people rent – Is that healthy?

Renting used to be a dirty word in the 1960’s and 1970’s. You either lived in a ‘Rigsby Rising Damp’ style bedsit with wood chip on the wall and a coin operated electric meter (that buzzed in the night) or you lived in a council house. In the latter part of the 20th Century, the British were persuaded that rent payments were ‘wasted money’. However, owning often makes less financial sense than renting and as the rate of home ownership is starting to drop substantially, as we roll the clock forward to today, there is no stigma at all to renting -a substantial amount of people are now doing it. In fact, of the 41,203 residents of Bexhill, 11,336 of you rent your house from either the local authority/social provider (ie council house or housing association) or private landlords – meaning 27.51% of Bexhill people are tenants.

The idea of home ownership is deeply embedded in the British soul, in fact 29,286 Bexhill people live in an owner occupied property (or 71.07%). Housing is at the heart of Government policy, as George Osborne has promised 200,000 new properties a year so first time buyers can buy their first home whilst recently changing the tax laws for buy-to-let landlords. To get votes, Margaret Thatcher (and everyone since) ran election campaigns promising everybody their own home, and as a country, we seem to equate home ownership the goal of British life.

So as more and more people are renting nowadays, are we turning to a more European way of living?

Continue reading “28% of Bexhill people rent – Is that healthy?”

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Private Renting in Bexhill increases by 102% in 20 years

You find me in a reflective mood today as I want to talk about the future of investing in property in Bexhill. The truth is that we have got lethargic, with many people having mistaken the ever rising Bexhill (and in fact the whole of the UK) property market since the 1960’s as the eternal gift that kept giving as property prices constantly rose and doubled every five to seven years.

The days of making money from property as easy as falling off a log, like taking candy from a baby are sadly over!

Whilst George Osborne has decided now is the time to milk the ‘Golden Cow’ of UK’s private landlords, with changes in taxation for buy to let property, many pundits are predicting the end of buy to let as we know it. However, it is still possible to make a reasonable, profitable and safe return on property with these changes. You see, I have always seen investing in the Bexhill buy to let market (as I would anywhere in the UK), as I might see mother nature, creating some truly wonderful stunning warm weather but at the same time, she will bite, creating catastrophic situations such as snowstorms and hurricanes.  You need to study the market, take advice and opinions from many people and then decide what the proverbial property weather will be … remember, tenants will always want a roof over their head and I don’t see the HM Government building the millions of houses required to house them?

Continue reading “Private Renting in Bexhill increases by 102% in 20 years”

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What would Brexit mean to the 14,500 Bexhill-On-Sea property owners?

If you read all the newspapers, the Brexit debate seems to be focused solely on central London. Many commentators have said Brexit would mean central London would have a lower standing in the world, meaning less people would be employed in Central London, with the implication of lower wages, fewer jobs etc. in Central London, but we are in Bexhill, not Marylebone, Mayfair or any part of Zone 1 London.

Now on the run up to the vote on the 23rd of June, I predict the ‘in’ camp will start to scare homeowners with forecasts of negative equity, and the ‘out’ camp will appeal the 20 somethings, who have been priced out of the property market with the prospect of a new era of inexpensive housing, should the fears of central London estate agents and developers, who believe the bottom will fall out of the market if we do leave, become real. The only reason the Mayfair’s, Knightsbridge’s, and Kensington’s of central London are attractive to foreign buyers are political and economic steadiness, an open and honest legal system and a lively cultural life. None of that is threatened by Brexit.

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Bexhill Buy to Let sees returns of 12.23% in 2015

I remembered that a few days before Easter, I got chatting with one of my out of town landlords who was back in Bexhill visiting his family.  Brought up in Bexhill, he went to the Battle Abbey School back in the 1970’s and is now a University lecturer in central London.  To enhance his retirement, he has a small portfolio of four properties in the town and wanted my advice on where to buy the next property in Bexhill (as he lives in a college owned flat and anyway, would never dream of buying where he lives in Kensington)

Before I could advise him, I reminded him that the most important thing when considering investing in property is finding a Bexhill property with decent rental yields for income returns, yet at the same time, it must have the potential for capital growth from rising house prices over time.  Going into 2016, Bexhill landlords will be under more pressure to find the best permutation of yields and capital growth, as extra stamp duty charges for buying properties and a squeeze on mortgage interest relief will raise their costs.

However, (you knew there would be a however) before we look at yield and capital growth, one important consideration that often many landlords tend to overlook, is the propensity of how likely the rent will increase.  Interestingly, the average rent of a Bexhill property currently stands at £1,003 per month, which is a rise of 6.0% compared to twelve months ago (although it must be noted this rise in rents is for new tenancies and not existing tenants).

Anyway, back to yield and capital growth, the average value of a Bexhill property currently stands at £262,500, meaning the average yield stands at 4.59% per annum, which on the face of it, many landlords would find disappointing.  That is the problem with averages, so if I were to look at say 1 bed flats in Bexhill which are the sort of properties a lot of landlords buy, in Bexhill, the average value of a 1 bed flat is £110,000, whilst the average rent for a 1 bed flat is £495 per month, giving a yield of 5.40%.   However, if that wasn’t high enough, there are landlords in Bexhill who own some specialist properties with specialist tenancies, that are achieving nearly double that yield – again it comes down to your attitude to risk and reward (give me a call if you wanted a chat about those sorts of properties)

Ultimately investors want to be making gains from both rent and house price growth.   When combined, the rental yield and capital growth gives you the return on investment, and that is what I told our University friend from Kensington.   Return on investment is everything.   So, looking at property values in Bexhill have risen in the last year by 7.1%, which means the current annual return on investment in Bexhill for a typical 1 bed flat is 12.23% a year which isn’t bad.

Whether you are a soon to be new landlord or existing seasoned landlord in Bexhill, you might be interested in a blog about the Bexhill property market, where you will find similar articles to this one about what is happening in the Bexhill property market at www.bexhillpropertyblog.com and to answer the question on what he should buy, well on the same blog, once or twice a week, I post what I consider to be the best buy to let deals in Bexhill, irrespective of which agent it is being marketed with.   Maybe you should visit the blog as well?

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6,438 Spare ‘Spare’ Bedrooms in Bexhill – Is this the cause of the Bexhill Housing Crisis?

That isn’t a typo, of the 20,198 households in Bexhill, 6,438 of those properties don’t only have one spare bedroom, but two spare bedrooms! … and it is this topic I want to talk about this week, my Bexhill Property Market Blog readers – because this could be the cure for Bexhill’s housing crisis.  The fundamental problem of the Bexhill housing ‘crisis’, is the fact that the supply of homes to live in has not historically met demand, increasing property values (and in turn rents), thus ensuring home ownership becomes an unattainable ambition for the twenty something’s of Bexhill.

Call me a realist, but it’s obvious 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 Downing Street’s plans to build 200,000 starter homes which will be offered to first time buyers under 40 with a minimum 20% discount price.  However, the building of starter homes on current building sites, where new homes builders already have to build a certain number of affordable ‘starter’ homes at the moment under a different scheme, does not increase the stock of new ‘starter’ homes, it simply replaces one affordable scheme with another.

One option that could resolve the housing crisis is if the Government literally looked closer to home, concentrating on matching households with the appropriate sized home.

In Bexhill, 14,543 households have one spare bedroom and of these, 6,438 have two or more spare bedrooms.

Continue reading “6,438 Spare ‘Spare’ Bedrooms in Bexhill – Is this the cause of the Bexhill Housing Crisis?”

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Only 712 Council Houses in the Bexhill and Rother area left – opportunity or problem?

The ‘Right to Buy’ scheme was a policy introduced by Margaret Thatcher in 1980 which gave secure council tenants the legal right to buy the Council home they were living in with huge discounts. The heyday of Council ‘Right To Buys’ was in the 80’s and 90’s, when 1,719,368 homes in the country were sold in this manner between October 1980 and April 1998. However, in 1997, Tony Blair reduced the discount available to tenants of council houses and the numbers of properties being bought under the Right to Buy declined.

So what does this mean for Bexhill homeowners and landlords? Well quite a lot in fact!

Looking at the overall figures, 1,909 Council properties were bought by council tenants in the Rother District Council area between 1980 and 1998. Big numbers by any measure and even more important to the whole Bexhill property market (i.e. every Bexhill homeowner, Bexhill landlord and even Bexhill aspiring first time buyers) when you consider these 1,909 properties make up a decent 6.3% of all the privately owned properties in our area (because in local authority area, there are only 30,060 privately owned properties).

Continue reading “Only 712 Council Houses in the Bexhill and Rother area left – opportunity or problem?”

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Has owning a home become an unattainable dream for the 365 Bexhill 28 year olds?

My parents bought their first house in the 1960’s, they were in their early 20’s. Interestingly, looking at some research by the Post Office from a few years ago, in the 1960’s the average age people bought their first house was 23. By the early 1970s, it had reached 27, rising to 28 in the early 1980’s.

This year alone, 365 people in Bexhill will turn 28 and 383 in 2017 and dare I say 365 in 2018 year in year the conveyor belt carries on where are the Bexhill youngsters going to live?

Ask a Bexhill ‘twenty something’ and they will say they do not expect to buy until they are in their mid thirties – seven years later than the 1980’s. Some people even say they will never be able to buy a property and the newspapers have labelled them ‘Generation Rent’ as they are people born in the 1980s who have no hope of getting on the property ladder. One of the major problems facing young Bexhill people is the large deposit needed to get a mortgage or is it?

Continue reading “Has owning a home become an unattainable dream for the 365 Bexhill 28 year olds?”

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Bexhill’s ‘Generation Rent’ to grow by 720 households by 2021

The growth of the private rented sector, and the arrival of an investor class of buy to let landlords within it, is an issue that won’t be going away anytime soon, no matter what you read in the Daily Mail”, I said, as I chatted over a coffee with a landlord client of mine at Blueberries Coffee Shop on Endwell Road in Bexhill-On-Sea. Whether you are a landlord of mine (or not as the case maybe), I am always happy to look over any properties you are thinking of buying for buy to let purposes and more so over a coffee!

Some commentators are saying buy-to-let is about to die, with the new stamp duty changes and how mortgage tax relief will be calculated. Some say 500,000 rental properties will flood the market nationally in the next 12 months as investors leave the rental market. Have you heard the phrase ‘Bad news sells newspapers’? Let me explain why buy-to-let in Bexhill is only going in one direction – and not the direction the papers say they are going.

According to Sheffield University, buy-to-let investors will continue fuelling the growth of the private rented sector in the coming decades. By their estimates (and they are considered a centre of excellence on the topic), the rate of homeownership nationally will fall to 50% (today it is 87.4% in the Bexhill area) by 2032, while the rate of private sector renting will increase to 35% (interestingly, in the Bexhill area it stands at 17.1% today).

Therefore, the demand for rental accommodation in Bexhill and the TN39/40 postcode area will grow by 720 households in the next five years … and these are the reasons why, irrespective of the distractions set out in the newspapers

Bexhill property values over the last six years have risen a lot more than average wages/salaries, meaning as homeownership and mortgage availability is dependent on your ability to pay has served to push home ownership further out of reach for many, at a time when the stock of council houses has actually withered. (Nationally, the number of council houses in the last ten years has dropped from 3.16m to 2.18m households – a drop of 31.1%).

Now it’s true the Tory’s efforts to fix the deficiency of affordable housing have focused on those who want to buy a home, ranging from Help to Buy, their much vaunted Help to Buy ISA and Starter Homes Scheme, an initiative offering a 20% discount for first time buyers … but if you are unable to save for the deposit, none of this means anything to the ‘20 something’s’ of Bexhill and they still need a roof over their heads!

Currently, 7,437 people live in private rented accommodation in Bexhill and TN39/40 area

So whilst it appears Bexhill “Generation Rent” youngsters will continue to rent and to not to buy for the reasons set out above, Bexhill buy-to-let landlords will be lifted by the projections of greater rental demand. Bexhill and the area around it still offers the prospect of strong economic growth forecasts and has a reputation as a lively and desirable place to live.

So, by 2021, the number of rental properties in Bexhill and TN39/40 will rise to 4,950

This prediction in growth of the Bexhill rental market is even on the back of the government clamping down on tax reliefs for landlords. The point is this, gone are the days of making guaranteed returns on BTL property. For the last 20 to 30 years, irrespective of which property you bought, making decent money on buy to let property was like shooting fish in a barrel – anyone could do it – but not now. You must take a more considered approach to your existing and future portfolio, especially in Bexhill. The balance of capital growth and yield, especially in this low interest rate world we live in, means Bexhill landlords need to do more homework to ensure the investment in property gives the desired returns. One place for Bexhill landlords and homeowners to visit for such information is the Bexhill Property Market Blog at www.bexhillpropertyblog.com

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£200,000 inheritance – Is buying Bexhill Property still the best place for my windfall?

I had an interesting email from someone in Bexhill a few weeks ago that I want to share with you. In a nutshell, the gentleman lives in Little Common, he is in his mid 60’s and still working. He has a decent pension, so that when he does retire in a couple of years’ time, it will give him a comfortable life. He had recently inherited £200,000 from an elderly aunt. One option he told me was put it into a savings account. The best he could find was a 2 year bond with the Post Office which paid 1.9%; meaning he would get £3,800 in interest a year. One of his other options was to buy a property in Bexhill to rent out and he wanted to know my thoughts on what he should buy, but he had concerns as he didn’t want to take a mortgage out at his time of life. He was also worried about all the tax changes he had read about in the papers for landlords.

Notwithstanding the war on Bexhill landlords being waged by George Osborne, the attraction of bricks and mortar endures for many. As our man is a cash buyer, he would not have to deal with the intricate cut to mortgage interest tax relief that will diminish, or even eradicate, the profits of many Bexhill landlords. It’s true he would face the extra 3% in stamp duty to buy a second property, but with some good negotiation techniques, that could soon be mitigated.

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2,203 Bexhill Homes bought by private landlords in the last 20 years – Is this the end for first time buyers?

There I was, out with the family at Egerton Park last weekend, when a smart gentleman approached me. ‘Hello’, he said, ‘You’re the person that writes that Property Blog aren’t you? We have met before at that Chamber of Commerce meeting in Bexhill a few months ago’. I then recognised him and, whilst I won’t mention his name, he runs a small well known independent retailer in the town … It’s amazing who you see when out walking! Anyway, I was at a loose end for five or ten minutes as the other half was sorting things with the family, so we had a chat.

He wanted to know my thoughts on the future of the Bexhill property market, and I would now like to share with you that conversation, my Bexhill property Blog reading friends. People are always going to need a roof over their heads and somewhere to live will never go out of fashion – it’s a necessity for every single person. The 22 to 30 year olds of the town have a choice to what type of roof they have … they rent from the Council, they can rent from a private landlord or finally they can get a mortgage and buy one. In the 1970’s/80’s and 90’s, the expected thing was to save like mad for two years for the deposit (going without luxuries) whilst living at home or renting a cheap two up two down, then buy your first house. However, more recently fewer Bexhill youngsters have been buying, choosing to rent instead – mainly from private landlords (as Councils have been selling off council housing on the Right to Buy Schemes). The numbers are truly staggering … and I want to share them with you.

Continue reading “2,203 Bexhill Homes bought by private landlords in the last 20 years – Is this the end for first time buyers?”

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