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:

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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):

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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.

‘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.

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.

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?

Biggleswade 159 graph

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 

26% OF BIGGLESWADE HOMES ARE ONE PERSON HOUSEHOLDS

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I was having an interesting chat with a Biggleswade buy to let landlord the other day when the subject of size of households came up.  Looking at the statistics going back to the early 1960’s, when the average number of people in a home was exactly 3, it has over the years steadily dropped by a fifth to today’s figure of 2.4 people per household.  This doesn’t sound a lot, but if the population remained the same level for the next 50 years and then we had the same 20% drop in household size, the UK would need to build an additional 5.28 million properties (or 105,769 per year)….When you consider the country is only building 139,800 properties a year… it doesn’t leave much for people living longer and immigration.  Looking closer to home…….

In the Central Bedfordshire Council area, the average number of occupants per household is 2.3 people.

When we look at the current picture nationally and split it down into tenure types (i.e. owned, council houses and private renting), a fascinating picture appears.  The vast majority of homeowners who do not have a mortgage are occupied by one or two people (81% in fact), although this can be explained as residents being older, with some members of the family having moved out, or a pensioner living alone.  People living on their own are more likely to live in a council house (43%) and the largest households (those with four or more people living in them are homeowners with a mortgage – but again, that can be explained as homeowners with families tend to need a mortgage to buy.

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When we look at the Biggleswade figures for all tenures (Owned, Council and Private Rented) a slightly different picture appears…

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It gets even more interesting when we focus on just private rental properties in Biggleswade, as it is the rental market in Biggleswade that really fascinates me.  When I analysed the Biggleswade private rental household composition figures, a slightly different picture appears.  Of the 1,417 private rental properties in Biggleswade:

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As you can see, Biggleswade is not too dissimilar from the national picture but there is a story to tell.  If you are considering future buy to let purchases in the coming twelve to eighteen months, I would seriously consider looking at two bedroom apartments/houses.  Even with the numbers stated, there are simply not enough two bedroom apartments/houses to meet the demand.

If the property is located in the right part of Biggleswade and priced realistically, they will always let and when you come to sell, irrespective of market conditions at the time, they will always be the target of buyers.