Biggleswade First Time Buyers Mortgages taking 33.9% of their Wages

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I have heard from a number of older mortgage free Biggleswade homeowners worried about how unaffordable Biggleswade’s rising property prices are and they are concerned about how the younger generation of Biggleswade could ever afford to buy.  They often ask if it is right for landlords to make money on the inability of others to buy property and if, by buying a buy to let property, Biggleswade landlords are denying the younger generation the ability to in fact buy their own home.

Whilst doing my research for my many blog posts on the Biggleswade property market, I know that a third of 25 to 30 year olds still live at home. It’s no wonder people are kicking out against buy to let landlords as they are the greedy bad people who are cashing in on a social woe.  In fact, most people believe the high increases in Biggleswade’s (and the rest of the UK’s) house prices are the very reason owning a home is outside the grasp of these younger would be property owners.

However, the numbers tell a different story.  Looking at the age of first time buyers since 1990, the statistics could be seen to pour cold water on the idea that younger people are being priced out of the housing market.  In 1990, when data was first published, the average age of a first time buyer was 33, today it’s 31.

171 - fixed Graph showing Average Age of First time buyers

Nevertheless, the average age doesn’t tell the whole story.  In the early 1990’s, 26.7% of first time buyers were under 25, while in the last five years just 14.9% were.  In the early 1990’s, four out of ten first time buyers were 25 to 34 years of age and now its six out of ten first time buyers.

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Although, there are also indications of how unaffordable housing is, the house price to earnings ratio has almost doubled for first time buyers in the past 30 years.  In 1983, the average Biggleswade home cost a first-time buyer (or buyers in the case of joint mortgages), the equivalent of 2.8 times their total annual earnings, whilst today, that has escalated to 5.4 times their income.

Again, those figures don’t tell the whole story.  Back in 1983, the mortgage payments as percentage of take home pay for a Biggleswade first time buyer was 29.4%.  In 1989, that had risen to a staggering 75.9%.  Today, it’s 33.9%, and no that’s not a typo, 33.9% is the correct figure.

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To answer the questions about the younger generation of Biggleswade being able to afford to buy and if it was right for landlords to make money on the inability of others to buy property, it isn’t all to do with affordability as the numbers show.

What of the landlords?  Some say the government should sort the housing problem out themselves, but according to my calculations, £18bn a year would need to be spent for the next 20 or so years to meet current demand for households.  That would be the equivalent of raising income tax by 4p in the pound and I don’t think UK tax payers would swallow that.

If the Government haven’t got the money, who else will house these people?  Private sector landlords will and thankfully they have taken up the slack over the last 15 years.

Some say there is a tendency to equate property ownership with national prosperity but this isn’t necessarily the case.  The youngsters of Biggleswade are buying houses, but buying later in life. Also, many Biggleswade youngsters are actively choosing to rent for the long term, as it gives them flexibility, something our 21st Century society craves more than ever.

Council House Waiting List in Biggleswade Drops by 78% in last 3 years

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Should you buy or rent a house?  Buying your own home can be expensive but could save you money over the years.  Renting a property through a letting agent or private landlord offers less autonomy to live by your own rules, with more flexibility if you need to move.

Yet, there is a third way that many people seem to forget, but it plays an important role in the housing of Biggleswade people.  Collectively known as social housing, it is affordable housing, which is let by either Central Bedfordshire District Council or a housing association to those considered to be in specific need, at rents below those characteristic in the private rental market.

In Biggleswade, there are 1,072 social housing households, which represent 15.50% of all the households in Biggleswade.  There are a further 741 families in the Central Bedfordshire District Council area on their waiting list, which is similar to the figures in the late 1990’s. The numbers peaked in 2013, when it stood at 3,371 families, so today’s numbers represent a drop of 78%.

Biggleswade 172 Graph

Nevertheless, this doesn’t necessarily mean that more families are being supplied with their own council house or housing association property.  Six years ago, Westminster gave local authorities the authority to limit entitlement for social housing, quite conspicuously dismissing those that did not have an association or link to the locality.

Interestingly, the rents in the social rented segment have also been growing at a faster rate than they have for private tenants.  In the South Bedfordshire District Council area, the average rent in 1998 for a council house / housing association property was £200.94 a month.  Whilst we have no up to date figures, because of the ‘Large Scale Voluntary Transfer’ of all or most of the local authority’s stock was transferred to a Private Registered Provider sector, so the average rent is no longer applicable.  Therefore, using the average rent increase for England of 108% (England’s average rent being £183.08 a month in 1998 and £381.03 a month today) we can guesstimate an average of approximately £415.

When comparing social housing rents against private rents, the stats don’t go back to the late 1990’s for private renting, so to ensure we compare like for like, we can only go back to 2005.  Over the last 12 years, private rents have increased nationally by a net figure of 19.7%, whilst rents for social housing have increased by 59.1%.

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What does this all mean for the homeowners, landlords and tenants of Biggleswade?

Rents in the private rental sector in Biggleswade will increase sharply during the next five years.  Even though the council house waiting list has decreased, the number of new council and housing association properties being built is at a seventy year low.  The government crusade against buy-to-let landlords together with the increased taxation and the banning of tenant fees to agents will restrict the supply of private rental property, which in turn using simple supply and demand economics, will mean private rents will rise.  This makes buy to let investment a good choice of investment again (irrespective of the increased fees and taxation laid at the door of landlords).  It will also mean property values will remain strong and stable as the number of people moving to a new house (and selling their old property) will continue to remain restricted and hence, due to lack of choice and supply, buyers will have to pay decent money for any property they wish to buy.

Interesting times ahead for the Biggleswade property market!

Should the 3,023 home owning OAP’s of Biggleswade be forced to downsize?

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This was a question posed to me on social media a few weeks ago, after my article about our mature members of Biggleswade society and the fact many retirees feel trapped in their homes.  After working hard for many years and buying a home for themselves and their family, the children have subsequently flown the nest and now they are left to rattle round in a big house.  Many feel trapped in their big homes (hence I dubbed these Biggleswade home owning mature members of our society, ‘Generation Trapped’). Should we force OAP Biggleswade homeowners to downsize?

In the original article, I suggested that we as a society should encourage, through building, tax breaks and social acceptance that it’s a good thing to downsize. However, should the Government force OAP’s?

One of the biggest reasons OAP’s move home is health (or lack of it).  Looking at the statistics for Biggleswade, of the 3,023 homeowners who are 65 years and older, whilst 1,778 of them described themselves in good or very good health, a sizeable 963 home owning OAPs described themselves as in fair health and 282 in bad or very bad health.

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9.33% of Biggleswade home owning OAP’s
are in poor health

If you look at the figures for the whole of  Central Bedfordshire Council (not just Biggleswade), there are only 818 specialist retirement homes that one could buy (if they were in fact for sale).

There are 956 homes available to rent from the Council and other specialist providers (again, you would be waiting for dead man’s shoes to get your foot in the door).  Many older homeowners would not feel comfortable with the idea of renting a retirement property after enjoying the security of owning their own home for most of their adult lives.  My intuition tells me the majority ‘would be’ Biggleswade down-sizers could certainly afford to move but are staying put in bigger family homes because they cannot find a suitable smaller property.  The fact is there simply aren’t enough bungalows for the healthy older members of the Biggleswade population and specialist retirement properties for the ones who aren’t in such good health …

We need to build more appropriate houses in Biggleswade

The government’s   Housing White Paper, published recently, could have solved so many problems with the UK housing market, including the issue of homing our ageing population. Instead, it ended up feeling annoyingly ambiguous. Forcing our older generation to move with such measures as a punitive taxation (say a tax on wasted bedrooms for people who are retired) would be the wrong thing to do.  Instead of the stick, maybe the Government could use the carrot tactics and offered tax breaks for down-sizers.  Who knows, but something has to happen?

Come to think about it,  the word ‘downsize’  is such an awful word.    I prefer to use the word ‘decent-size’ instead of ‘down-size’ as the other phrase feels like they are lowering themselves as though they are having to downgrade themselves in their retirement (and let’s be frank – no one likes to be downgraded).

The simple fact is we are living longer as a population and constantly growing with increased birth rates and immigration.  What I would say to all the homeowners and property owning public of Biggleswade   is more houses and apartments need to be built in the Biggleswade area, especially more specialist retirement properties and bungalows.  The government had a golden opportunity with the White Paper and were sadly found lacking.

A message to my Biggleswade   property investor readers, whilst this issue gets sorted in the coming decade(s), maybe seriously consider doing up older bungalows as people will pay handsomely for them be that for sale or even rent?  Just a thought!

 

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

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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.

‘Flipping’ Heck – Biggleswade Property Values Rise by £44.31 a day

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Investing in Biggleswade buy to let property is different from investing in the stock market or depositing your hard-earned cash in the Building Society. When you invest your money in the Building Society, this is considered by many as the safe option but the returns you can achieve are awfully low (the best 2-year bond rate from Nationwide is a whopping 0.75% a year!). Another investment is the Stock Market, which can give good returns, but unless you are on the phone every day to your Stockbroker, most people invest in stock market funds, making the investment quite hands off and one always has the feeling of not being in control.

However, with buy to let, things can be more hands on. One of the things many landlords like is the tactile nature of property – the fact that you can touch the bricks and mortar. It is this factor that attracts many of Biggleswade’s landlords – they are making their own decisions rather than entrusting them to city whizz kids in Canary Wharf playing roulette with their savings.

I always say investing in property is a long-term game. When you invest in the property market, you can earn from your investment in two ways. When a property increases in value over time, it is known as ‘capital growth’.

Capital growth, also known as capital appreciation, has been strong in recent times in Biggleswade, but the value of property does go up as well as down just like shares do but the initial purchase price rarely decreases.

Rental income is what the tenant pays you – hopefully this will also grow over time. If you divide the annual rent into the value (or purchase price) of the property, this is your yield, or annual return. So, over the last 5 years, an average Biggleswade property has risen by £80,860 (equivalent to £44.31 a day), taking it to a current average value of £310,838. Yields range from 5% a year and can reach double digits’ percentages (although to achieve those sorts of returns, the risks are higher).

However, something I haven’t spoken of before is the more specialist area of flipping property to make money. (flipping – buying a property, carrying out some minor cosmetics and re selling it quickly).  I have seen several investors recently who have made decent returns from this strategy. For example …..

One Biggleswade investor paid £240,000 for a two bedroom bungalow on Dells Lane in September 2014.

Click here to see the property advert

Some shots of the property before the work was completed:

It appears some cosmetic and re-modelling work was done to the property and it was resold a few months ago (December 2016) for £395,000 56.25% return before costs (or compound annual return equivalent of 22.04% AER

Some shots of the property after the work was completed:

Click here to see the property advert 

As my article mentioned a few weeks ago, more and more Biggleswade people may be giving up on owning their own home and are instead accepting long term renting whilst buy to let lending continues to grow from strength to strength. If you want to know what (and what would not) make a decent buy to let property in Biggleswade, then one place for such information would be the Biggleswade Property Blog.

Biggleswade’s ‘Generation Trapped’ and the £1.08bn legacy

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Last week, I wrote an article on the plight of the Biggleswade 20 something’s often referred to by the press as ‘Generation Rent’. Attitudes to renting have certainly changed over the last twenty years and as my analysis suggested, this change is likely to be permanent. In the article, whilst a minority of this Generation Rent feel trapped, the majority don’t – making renting a choice not a predicament. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) predicted that the private rental sector is likely to grow substantially by 1.8m households across the UK in the next 8 years, with demand for rental property unlikely to slow and newly formed households continuing to choose the rental market as opposed to buying.

However, my real concern for Biggleswade homeowners and Biggleswade landlords alike, is our mature members of the population of Biggleswade.  Currently OAP’s (65+ yrs in age) in Biggleswade are sitting on £605.5m of residential property.  However, what about the ‘Baby Boomers’, the 50yr to 64yr old Biggleswade people and what their properties are worth – and more importantly, how the current state of affairs could be holding back those younger generation renters.

In Biggleswade, there are 775 households whose owners are aged between 50yrs and 64yrs and about to pay their mortgage off.  That property is worth, in today’s prices, £240.8m. There are an additional 497 mortgage free Biggleswade households, owned by 50yr to 64yr olds, worth £154.5m in today’s prices, meaning…

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Biggleswade Baby Boomers and Biggleswade OAP’s are sitting

on £1.08bn worth of Biggleswade Property

These Biggleswade Baby Boomers and OAP’s are sitting on 3,220 Biggleswade properties and many of them feel trapped in their homes, and hence I have dubbed them ‘Generation Trapped’.

Recently, the English Housing Survey stated 49% of these properties owned by the Generation Trapped, as I have dubbed them, are ‘under-occupied’ (under-occupied classed as having at least two bedrooms more than needed). These houses could be better utilised by younger families, but research carried out by the Prudential suggest in Britain it’s estimated that only one in ten older people downsize while in the USA for example one in five do so.

The growing numbers of older homeowners who want to downsize their home are often put off by the difficulties of moving. The charity United for all Ages, suggested recently many are put off by the lack of housing options, 19% by the hassle and cost of moving, 14% by having to declutter their possessions and 14% by family reasons such as staying close to children and grandchildren.

Helping mature Biggleswade (and the Country) homeowners to downsize at the right time will also enable younger Biggleswade people to find the homes they need – meaning every generation wins, both young and old. However, to ensure downsizing works, as a Country, we need more choices for these ‘last time buyers’.

Theresa May and Philip Hammond can do their part and consider stamp duty tax breaks for downsizers, our local Council in Biggleswade and the Planning Dept. should play their part, as should landlords and property investors to ensure Biggleswade’s ‘Generation Trapped’ can find suitable property locally, close to friends, family and facilities.

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

‘Generation Rent (Forever)’ – 1,091 Biggleswade Tenants have no intention of ever buying a property to call home

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The good old days of the 1970’s and 1980’s eh … with such highlights lowlights as 24% inflation, 17% interest rates, 3 day working week, 13% unemployment, power cuts … those were the days (not)… but at least people could afford to buy their own home. So why aren’t the 20 and 30 something’s buying in the same numbers as they were 30 or 40 years ago?

Many people blame the credit crunch and global recession of 2008, which had an enormous impact on the Biggleswade (and UK) housing market. Predominantly, the 20 something first-time buyers who, confronting a problematic mortgage market, the perceived need for big deposits, reduced job security and declining disposable income, discovered it challenging to assemble the monetary means to get on to the Biggleswade property ladder.

However, I would say there has been something else at play other than the issue of raising a deposit – having sufficient income and rising property prices in Biggleswade. Whilst these are important factors and barriers to home ownership, I also believe there has been a generational change in attitudes towards home ownership in Biggleswade (and in fact the rest of the country).

Back in 2011, the Halifax did a survey of thousands of tenants and 19% of tenants said they had no plans to buy a home for themselves. A recent, almost identical survey of tenants, carried out by The Deposit Protection Service revealed, in late 2016, that figure had risen to 38.4%, with many no-longer equating home ownership to success and believing renting to be better suited to their lifestyle.

You see, I believe renting is a fundamental part of the housing sector, and a meaningful proportion of the younger adult members of the Biggleswade population choose to be tenants as it better suits their plans and lifestyle. Local Government in Biggleswade (including the planners – especially the planners), land owners and landlords need an adaptable Biggleswade residential property sector that allows the diverse choices of these Biggleswade 20 and 30 year old’s to be met.

This means, if we applied the same percentages to the current 2,805 Biggleswade tenants in their 1,330 private rental properties, 1,077 tenants have no plans to ever buy a property – good news for the landlords of those 511 properties. Interestingly, in the same report, just under two thirds (62%) of tenants said they didn’t expect to buy within the next year.

Does that mean the other third will be buying in Biggleswade in the next 12 months?

155 Biggleswade

Some will, but most won’t … in fact, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) predicts that, by 2025, that the number of people renting will increase, not drop. Yes, many tenants might hope to buy but the reality is different for the reasons set out above.

The RICS predicts the number of tenants looking to rent will increase by 1.8 million households by 2025, as rising house prices continue to make home ownership increasingly unaffordable for younger generations.  So, if we applied this rise to Biggleswade, we will in fact need an additional 384 private rental properties over the next eight years (or 48 a year) … meaning the number of private rented properties in Biggleswade is projected to rise to an eye watering 1,355 households.