992,082 People use Biggleswade Train Station a year…..

Biggleswade station

How does that affect the Biggleswade Property Market?

It might surprise you that it isn’t always the poshest villages around Biggleswade or the swankiest Biggleswade streets where properties sell and let the quickest. Quite often, it’s the ones that have the best transport links. I mean, there is a reason why one of the most popular property programmes on television is called Location, Location, Location!

As an agent in Biggleswade, I am frequently confronted with queries about the Biggleswade property market, and most days I am asked, “What is the best part of Biggleswade and its villages to live in these days?”, chiefly from new-comers.  Now the answer is different for each person – a lot depends on the demographics of their family, their age, schooling requirements and interests etc. Nonetheless, one of the principal necessities for most tenants and buyers is ease of access to transport links, including public transport – of which the railways are very important.

Official figures recently released state that, in total, 1,359 people jump on a train each and every day from Biggleswade Train station. Of those, 598 are season ticket holders. That’s a lot of money being spent when a season ticket, standard class, to London is £5,656 a year.

So, if up to £3.38m is being spent on rail season tickets each year from Biggleswade, those commuters must have some impressive jobs and incomes to allow them to afford that season ticket in the first place. That means demand for middle to upper market properties remains strong in Biggleswade and the surrounding area and so, in turn, these are the type of people whom are happy to invest in the Biggleswade buy to let market – providing homes for the tenants of Biggleswade…

The bottom line is that property values in Biggleswade would be much lower, by at least 3% to 4%, if it wasn’t for the proximity of the railway station and the people it serves in the town

This isn’t a flash in the pan. Rail is becoming increasingly important as the costs associated with car travel continue to rise and roads are becoming more and more congested. This has resulted in a huge surge in rail travel.

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Overall usage of the station at Biggleswade has increased over the last 20 years. In 1997, a total of 408,877 people went through the barriers or connected with another train at the station in that 12-month period. However, in 2016, that figure had risen to 992,082 people using the station (that’s 2,718 people a day).

The juxtaposition of the property and the train station has an important effect on the value and saleability of a Biggleswade property. It is also significant for tenants – so if you are a Biggleswade buy to let investor looking for a property – the distance to and from the railway station can be extremely significant.

One of the first things house buyers and tenants do when surfing the web for somewhere to live is find out the proximity of a property to the train station. That is why Rightmove displays the distance to the railway station alongside each and every property on their website.

For more thoughts on the Biggleswade Property market or for any advice please pop into our office for a cup of tea, or give us a call on 01462 894565.

 

What will the General Election do to 7,034 Biggleswade Homeowners?

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In Biggleswade, of the 10,005 households, 3,131 homes are owned without a mortgage and 3,903 homes are owned by a mortgage.  Many homeowners have made contact me with asking what the General Election will do the Biggleswade property market?  The best way to tell the future is to look at the past.

I have looked over the last five general elections and analysed in detail what happened to the property market on the lead up to and after each general election. Some very interesting information has come to light.

Of the last five general elections (1997, 2001, 2005, 2010 and 2015), the two elections that weren’t certain were the last two (2010 with the collation and 2015 with unexpected Tory majority). Therefore, I wanted to compare what happened in 1997, 2001 and 2005 when Tony Blair was guaranteed to be elected/re-elected versus the last knife edge uncertain votes of 2010 and 2015 … in terms of the number of houses sold and the prices achieved.

Look at the first graph below comparing the number of properties sold and the dates of the general elections:

168 Graph One

It is clear, looking at the number of monthly transactions (the blue line), there is a certain rhythm or seasonality to the housing market. That rhythm/seasonality has never changed since 1995 (seasonality meaning the periodic fluctuations that occur regularly based on a season – i.e. you can see how the number of properties sold dips around Christmas, rises in Spring and Summer and drops again at the end of the year).

To remove that seasonality, I have introduced the red line. The red line is a 12 month ‘moving average’ trend line which enables us to look at the ‘de-seasonalised’ housing transaction numbers, whilst the yellow arrows denote the times of the general elections. It is clear to see that after the 1997, 2001 and 2005 elections, there was significant uplift in number of households sold, whilst in 2010 and 2015, there was slight drop in house transactions (i.e. number of properties sold).

I then wanted to consider what happened to property prices. In the graph below, I have used that same 12-month average, housing transactions numbers (in red) and yellow arrows for the dates of the general elections but this time compared that to what happened to property values (pink line):

168 Graph Two

It is quite clear none of the general elections had any effect on the property values.  Also, the timescales between the calling of the election and the date itself also means that any property buyer’s indecisiveness and indecision before the election will have less of an impact on the market.

So finally, what does this mean for the landlords of the 1,330 private rented properties in Biggleswade? Well, as I have discussed in previous articles (and just as relevant for homeowners as well) property value growth in Biggleswade will be more subdued in the coming few years for reasons other than the general election. The growth of rents has taken a slight hit in the last few months as there has been a slight over supply of rental property in Biggleswade, making it imperative that Biggleswade landlords are realistic with their market rents. However, in the long term, as the younger generation still choose to rent rather than buy the prospects, even with the changes in taxation, mean investing in buy-to-let still looks a good bet. If you want to find out more about the Biggleswade property market or need some advice please pop into the office, call us on 01767 313488 or e-mail us at: lettings@satchells.co.uk.

Biggleswade rents to rise quicker than Biggleswade property prices in the next 5 years

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The next five years will see an interesting change in the Biggleswade property market. My recent research has concluded that the rent private tenants pay in Biggleswade will rise faster than Biggleswade property prices over the next five years, creating further issues to Biggleswade’s growing multitude of renters. In fact, my examination of statistics forecasts that ……

 By 2022, Biggleswade rents will increase by 24%, whereas Biggleswade property values will only grow by 19%.

Biggleswade 160 graph

Let me explain why I have come to those conclusions:

Over the last five years, property values in Biggleswade have risen by 39.3%, whilst rents have only risen by 15.2%.

Throughout the last few years, and compounded in 2016, tenant demand for rental properties continued to go up whilst the Press predicted some landlords expect to reduce their portfolios in the next couple of years, meaning Biggleswade tenants will have fewer properties to choose from, which will push rents higher. In fact, talking to fellow property professionals in Biggleswade, there appears to be privation and shortage of new rental properties coming on to the Biggleswade lettings market.

Landlords have some intriguing challenges ahead of them in the coming years most notably in that the Tories have changed the taxation rules for landlords in the way buy to let properties are to be taxed. On top of that, there is the ban on letting agent fees which is still to come into force (probably in 2018). When that happened in Scotland in 2012, Scottish letting agents passed on those fees to their landlords, who in turn increased the rent they charged to their tenants.

All I would say to Theresa May and Philip Hammond is that they must be wary about indicating both red and green lights at the same time to the private rented sector. They cannot expect the armies of small private landlords to continue to house around a fifth of the population and then tax the hell out of them. They did not invest in buy to let as a charity or to satisfy any philanthropic urges. Something has to give – and that will be significant rent rises over the coming few years (and before anyone gives me any derogatory comments about landlords … if it wasn’t for landlords buying all these buy to let properties over the last 15 years, I am not sure where everyone would be living today – because most of the Council houses were sold off in the 1980’s!).

With the challenges ahead, with the ‘B’ word (that’s budget if you wondered!), house price inflation will be tempered over the coming five years in Biggleswade. As I have discussed in previous articles, the number of properties on the market in Biggleswade remains close to historic lows, which is both good as it keeps houses prices relatively stable, yet not so good as it impedes choice for buyers… and hence why I believe property values in Biggleswade will only be 19% higher in five years’ time.

Whilst on the other side of the coin, with the challenges facing landlords and the significant shortage of new homes being built, Biggleswade people still need somewhere to live. If those people aren’t buying houses and the local authority aren’t building council houses in there thousands (because they have no money), with the average rent for a Biggleswade rental property currently standing at £896 per month …

Over the next five years, I predict the average rent in

Biggleswade will rise to £1,100 per month

These are interesting times. There is still money to be made in buy to let in Biggleswade – Biggleswade landlords will just need to be smarter and more savvy with their investments. If you are looking for such advice and opinion to help you meet those investment goals, please contact us on 01462 894565 or e-mail: lettings@satchells.co.uk.

Great town centre property in Biggleswade – rental yield of around 5.7%

This property has gone onto the market with Wilson Peacock in Biggleswade.  Its in a good town centre location and the asking price £105,000, means a potential rental yield of around 5.7%!  View ASAP before it goes.  Take a look at the advert here

With 2,843 people in Private Rented Properties in Biggleswade- Should you still be investing in BiggleswadeBuy To Let?

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If I were a buy to let landlord in Biggleswade today, I might feel a little bruised by the assault made on my wallet after being (and continuing to be) ransacked over the last 12 months by HM Treasury’s tax changes on buy to let. To add insult to injury, Brexit has caused a tempering of the Biggleswade property market with property prices not increasing by the levels we have seen in the last few years. I think we might even see a very slight drop in property prices this year and, if Biggleswade property prices do drop, the downside to that is that first time buyers could be attracted back into the Biggleswade property market; meaning less demand for renting (meaning rents will go down). Yet, before we all run for the hills, all these things could be serendipitous to every Biggleswade landlord, almost a blessing in disguise.

Biggleswade has a population of 23,981, so when I looked at the number of people who lived in private rented accommodation, the numbers astounded me …

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Yields will rise if Biggleswade property prices fall, which will also make it easier to obtain a buy to let mortgage, as the income would cover more of the interest cost. If property values were to level off or come down that could help Biggleswade landlords add to their portfolio. Rental demand in Biggleswade is expected to stay solid and may even see an improvement if uncertainty is protracted. However, there is something even more important that Biggleswade landlords should be aware of: the change in the anthropological nature of these 20 something potential first time buyers.

At a recent family get together I got chatting with my wife’s nephew and his partner.  Both are in their mid/late twenties, both have decent jobs in Biggleswade and they rent. Yet, here was the bombshell, they were planning to rent for the foreseeable future with no plans to even save for a deposit, let alone buy a property. I enquired why they weren’t planning to buy? The answers surprised me as a 40 something, and it will you. Firstly, they don’t want to put cash into property, they would rather spend it on living and socialising by going on nice holidays and buying the latest tech and gadgets. They want the flexibility to live where they choose and finally, they don’t like the idea of paying for repairs. All their friends feel the same. I was quite taken aback that buying a house is just not top of the list for these youngsters.

So, as 11.9% of Biggleswade people are in rented accommodation and as that figure is set to grow over the next decade, now might just be a good time to buy property in Biggleswade– because what else are you going to invest in?  Give your money to the stock market run by sharp suited city whizz kids – because at least with property – it’s something you can touch – there is nothing like bricks and mortar!

 

120 Properties For Sale in Biggleswade … is this a good time to sell?

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2017 has started with some positive interest in the Biggleswade property market.  Taking a snap shot of the Biggleswade property market for the first quarter of 2017, the picture suggests some interesting trends when it comes to the number of properties available to buy, their asking prices and what prices properties are actually selling for.

Let us first consider the number of properties for sale, compared to 12 months ago:

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When we add in building plots and other types of properties that don’t fit into the four main categories, that means there are 120 properties for sale today compared with 102 a year ago, a rise of 26%.

 Secondly, Biggleswade asking prices, compared to the same as a year ago, are 2% higher.

With that in mind, I wanted to look at what property was actually selling for in Biggleswade. Taking my information from the Land Registry, the last available six months property transactions for SG18 show an interesting picture (note the Land Registry data is always a few months behind due to the nature of the house buying process and so November 2016 is latest set of data). The price shown is the average price paid and the number in brackets is the number of properties actually sold.

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So what does all this mean for the property owning folk of Biggleswade?

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Well, with more property on the market than a year ago and asking prices 2% higher, those trying to sell their property need to be mindful that buyers, be they first timers, buy to let landlords or people moving up the Biggleswade property ladder, have much more price information about the Biggleswade property market at their fingertips than ever before.

Those Biggleswade people who are looking to sell their property in 2017, need to be aware of the risks of over pricing their property when initially placing it on the market. Over the last 12 months, I have noticed the approach of a few Biggleswade estate agents is to suggest an inflated asking price to encourage the homeowner and secure the property to sell on their books. The down side to this is that when offered to the market for the first time, buyers will realise it is overpriced and wont waste their time asking for a brochure. They won’t even view the property, let alone make an offer. So when the price is reduced a few months later, the property has become market stale and continues to be ignored.

Whilst the Biggleswade property-market has an unassailable demand for property – there is one saying that always rings true – as long as the property is being marketed at the right price it will sell.

 If you want to know if your Biggleswade property is being marketed at the right price, send me a web link and I will give you my honest opinion.

Fantastic luxury apartment in converted country house in Broom

Taylors in Biggleswade are marketing this luxury two bedroom apartment in a superb country house in fantastic grounds.  At £210,000 this does seem like a great opportunity to secure a rental property to provide an immediate and good return of around 5%.  Don’t delay  – take a look at the advert here and contact Taylors ASAP!

 

Biggleswade property of the day…..

Taylors in Biggleswade have just brought this two bedroom house to the market for £220,000 in the centre of town, round the corner from the mainline station.  Take a look at our video and Taylors advert and call them quick – likely to go soon!

Biggleswade property of the day – modern apartment on Kings Reach!

Take a look at our video about a great investment opportunity in Biggleswade.  Thomas Morris are selling this “almost new” apartment for £210,000 and must be worth consideration – act quickly, call Thomas Morris now!  You can see their rightmove advert here 

Biggleswade first time buyers borrow £34.6m in the last 12 months

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Starting with the bigger picture, over the last 12 months in the UK, 1,061,557 properties were sold with a total value of £223.74 bn. To give that some context, ten years ago 1,581,727 properties sold with a total value of £405.56bn, so it can be seen the number of people moving house has dropped by over a third over the last decade.

Whether you are a landlord, homeowner or tenant, it’s always important to keep an eye on the Biggleswade property market, not just from your point of view, but also from every player’s point of view. Over the last 12 months, 721 properties have sold (and completed) in Biggleswade, worth £205.8m.  Interestingly the number of properties changing hands in Biggleswade has actually increased when compared to a decade ago.

It might surprise you that first time buyers in 2017 will benefit from a slight decline in Biggleswade buy-to-let investors.

Those looking to buy a home in the spring and summer of 2017 will face a far less competitive Biggleswade property market than the same time of year in 2016, when the urgency to beat the buy-to-let stamp duty hike was in full swing.

Many landlords brought forward their purchases to beat the tax, and since then, the number of buy-to-let purchases has dropped slightly. First time buyers have taken advantage of that and have increased their buying. In fact, looking at the Bank of England figures, this is what UK lenders have lent on buy-to-let properties versus first time buyers over the last 12 months  …

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Q4 2015 – £1bn buy-to-let mortgages vs £1.31bn for first time buyers

Q1 2016 – £1.35bn buy-to-let mortgages vs £1.08bn for first time buyers

Q2 2016 – £760m buy-to-let mortgages vs £1.28bn for first time buyers

Q3 2016 – £827m buy-to-let mortgages vs £1.42bn for first time buyers

When looking at the figures for Biggleswade itself, first time buyers have borrowed more than £34.6m in the last 12 months to buy their first home. This is a ringing endorsement of their confidence in their jobs and the local Biggleswade economy. Those 20 and 30 something’s who are considering being first time buyers in 2017 will find that the number of properties on the market has never been as good as it has for quite a while, meaning you have more choice of properties and less competition from so many buy-to-let landlords than a year ago.

Rightmove announced nationally that new seller enquiries are 26% up on the same time last year giving the stoutest indication that we may see a slight ease in the lack of properties on the market. When I look at Biggleswade, at this moment in time there are 101 properties for sale, compared to 77 properties a year ago. All this will be welcome news amongst Biggleswade first-time buyers with a combination of a proportional reduction in new investors and landlords.

2017 will be an interesting year for all homeowners, be they buy-to-let landlords, existing homeowners or future homeowners.  For more thoughts on the Biggleswade property market like this, you might want to visit the Biggleswade Property Market Property Blog:

www.biggleswadepropertyblog.co.uk