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2017 has started with some positive interest in the Baldock property market. Taking a snap shot of the Baldock 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:
So when we add in building plots and other types of properties that don’t fit into the four main categories, that means there are 58 properties for sale today compared with 45 a year ago, a rise of 29%.
Baldock asking prices, compared to a year ago, are 7% higher.
With that in mind, I wanted to look at what property was actually selling for in Baldock. Taking my information from the Land Registry, the last available six months property transactions for SG7 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.
So what does all this mean for the property owning folk of Baldock?
Well, with more property on the market than a year ago and asking prices 7% 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 Baldock property ladder, have much more price information about the Baldock property market at their fingertips than ever before.
Those Baldock 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 Baldock 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 Baldock 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 Baldock property is being marketed at the right price, send me a web link and I will give you my honest opinion.
If I were a buy to let landlord in Baldock 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 Baldock 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 Baldock property prices do drop, the downside to that is that first time buyers could be attracted back into the Baldock 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 Baldock landlord, almost a blessing in disguise.
Baldock has a population of 13,085, so when I looked at the number of people who lived in private rented accommodation, the numbers astounded me …
Yields will rise if Baldock 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 Baldock landlords add to their portfolio. Rental demand in Baldock is expected to stay solid and may even see an improvement if uncertainty is protracted. However, there is something even more important that Baldock 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 nephew and his partner. Both are in their mid/late twenties, both have decent jobs in Baldock 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 11.8% of Baldock 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 Baldock – 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!
For more views and opinions on the Baldock property market – visit the Baldock property market blog: www.baldockpropertyblog.co.uk.
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 Baldock property market, not just from your point of view, but also from every player’s point of view. Over the last 12 months, 235 properties have sold (and completed) in Baldock, worth £81.3m. Interestingly the number of properties changing hands in Baldock has also dropped when compared to a decade ago.
It might surprise you that first time buyers in 2017 will benefit from a slight decline in Baldock buy-to-let investors.
Those looking to buy a home in the spring and summer of 2017 will face a far less competitive Baldock 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 …
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 Baldock itself, first time buyers have borrowed more than £11.3m in the last 12 months to buy their first home. This is a ringing endorsement of their confidence in their jobs and the local Baldock 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 Baldock, at this moment in time there are 63 properties for sale, compared to 42 properties a year ago. All this will be welcome news amongst Baldock 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 Baldock property market like this, you might want to visit the Baldock Property Market Property Blog: