Boston property values increase by 2.19% … good or bad news?

It would appear that even the Brexit vote has not hindered Boston’s steady rise in property value, as Boston property values went up 2.19% last month alone, leaving Boston values 4.17% higher than a year ago. An increase in demand from buyers and an uninspiring level of supply has driven up the value of the Boston’s housing.

…And that is where the issue is. With Brexit, the coalition of the 2010-15, a double-dip recession and post credit crunch fallout – I was perplexed that the Boston property market, and values, has remained so strong, still 12.4% higher than 20 months ago. That is until you start to look into the real reasons why we find ourselves in such a great place.

Even the wary RICS said throughout the UK, most of its Chartered Surveyors anticipated house prices to increase in the next six months, which seems contradictory given economic cautions from Mr Hammond and HM Treasury. Even though inflation will rise to around 2% to 3% in 2017 and perhaps a little more in 2018 because of Sterling’s devaluation, together with a high probability of a decelerating GDP and a slight rise in unemployment, how can the RICS and most of my landlords be so confident about the value of our homes?

Well, look from where we are starting. Nationally, a base of low unemployment, low inflation and preposterously low interest rates, while in Boston, the local economy is doing quite well for itself. Confidence also plays a part. Confidence can supersede basic economic facts for a short time at least, which is why actual property market changes tend to be more exaggerated, as confidence can turn both positive and negative very quickly. The fact is, there is a long-term relationship between property values, wages and unemployment. For example, looking at the illustration, you can quite clearly see the ratio of property values to earnings is nowhere near as high as 2008 and currently is in the middle of the range for the last 30 years.

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By April 2017, Article 50 will be invoked. This will bring additional political and economic ups and downs. With both purchasers and vendors predisposed by the 24-hour news cycle, which let’s face it, gets more haphazard by the day, it is likely to prove a challenging couple of years … and yes, Boston property values might drop slightly in 2017, but based on what we know of the UK plc now, the UK and Boston property values are not projected to move that much over 2017 or 2018.  Going into the next two years, we are in much better financial shape as a country compared to the last two crashes of 1987 and 2008.

But, on the other side of the coin, what we also know is that we don’t know much about the form of our economic future or indeed many other facets of our lives. Confidence will continue to be the key player in the Boston housing market for a while longer – yet this may spur some much – needed second-hand market activity?

9.9% of Boston people live in shared households

Way back in the mid 2000’s the majority of developments being designed and constructed were a balance of one and two bed properties, compared to today where the majority of the buildings are more towards two and sometimes three bedrooms. It made me think if similar things were still happening in the Boston property market?

This is a really important point as knowing when and where the demand of tenants is going to come from in the coming decade is just as important as knowing the supply side of the buy to let equation, in relation to the number of properties built in Boston, Boston property prices, Boston yields and Boston rents.

In 2001, there were 24,000 households with a population of 55,700 in the Boston Borough Council area. By 2011, that had grown to 27,300 households and a population of 64,600.

.. meaning, between 2001 and 2011, whilst the number of households in the Boston Borough Council area grew by 13.76%, the population grew by 15.94 %

Nothing surprising there then. My analysis of the 2011 Census results, using the most recent in-depth data on household formation (eg ‘one person households’, ‘couples/ family households’ or ‘couple + other adults households and multi -adult households’), has displayed a sudden and unexpected break with the trends of the whole of the 20th Century. There has been a seismic change in household formation in Boston between 2001 and 2011.

Between 2001 and 2011, the population of Boston grew, as did the number of Boston properties because of new home building. However, the growth rate of new properties built in Boston was much lower than expected though, but still the population has grown by what was expected, meaning the average household size was larger than anticipated in Boston. In fact, average household size (ie the number of people in each property) in 2011 was almost exactly the same as in 2001, the first time for at least 100 years it had not fallen between censuses. (Since 1911, household size has decreased by around 20% every decade).

Looking at figures specifically for Boston itself,

  • One person households – 30.4%
  • Couples/family households – 59.7%
  • Couple + other adults/multi-adult households – 9.9%

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This decline was reflected in large scale shifts in the mix of household types. In particular, there were far more “couple + other adults households and multi -adult households” than expected (9.9% is quite a lot of households). It can be put down to two things; increased international migration and changes to household formation. A particularly important reason for the difference can probably be attributed to the evidence that migrants initially form fewer households. Also, changes to household formation patterns, including adult children living longer with their parents and more young adults living in shared accommodation.

So, what does all this mean for Boston Homeowners and Landlords? Quite a lot in fact. There has been a subtle shift to slightly larger households in the last decade, meaning smart landlords might be tempted to buy slightly larger properties to rent out.

If you are a landlord or investor and would like the benefit of having some free and impartial advice on what properties are the best to consider adding to your portfolio we would love to help you achieve the maximum rental yield. Please call the office on 01205 352019.

 

Private renting set to grow by 1,400 Boston households by 2025

A recent survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) states that almost 1.8 million new rental homes are needed by 2025 to keep up with current demand from tenants.

Some commentators predicted last winter that the buy to let was about to die, what with the new stamp duty changes and how mortgage tax relief will be calculated. Others even said 500,000 rental properties would flood the market nationally in the 12 months after the new Stamp Duty rules came into force on the 1st April 2016 as landlords left the rental market.

If the RICS and PwC are indeed correct, what does this mean for Boston? The fact is, as a country, we are facing a precarious rental shortage and a need to get Boston building in a way that benefits a cross-section of the Boston society.

Of the 17,600 households in Boston, currently 9,200 tenants live in 3,400 private rented properties. If we apportion those 1.8 million households equally around the Country, that means in nine years’ time, the number of rental properties in Boston needs to rise by 1,400 = 42%, taking the total number of rented properties in the city to 4,800.

“That means Boston landlords need to buy around 200 properties a year between now and 2025 to meet that demand”

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According to my calculations, an additional 3,900 people will want to live in all those ‘additional’ Boston rental properties – so why is the government penalising landlords?

Thankfully the new housing minister Gavin Barwell detached Teresa May’s new administration from the Cameron/Osborne laser-like focus of just home ownership to solve our housing issues, saying “we need to build more homes for every single type of person needing a home and not focus on one single tenure”. The private rented sector became a stooge under David Cameron’s watch and still, with increasingly unaffordable Boston house prices, the majority of new Boston households will be relying on the rental sector in the future to house them. I can only say Westminster must put in place the measures that will allow the rental sector to flourish. Any restrictions on the supply of rental property will push up rents (bad news for tenants), thus side-lining those members of Boston society who are already struggling. Let’s hope this new Government continues to see the contribution landlords give to the country as a whole.

As I am sure you are aware, we at Hill and Clark, are always happy to cast our eyes over any potential buy to let purchase in Boston. If you would like to benefit from getting some free and impartial but relevant advice then please feel free to contact our Boston office on 01205 352019

Boston Housing Crisis? Only 3% of Boston Homes Are For Sale

The Boston Property Market continues to disregard the end of the world prophecies of a post Brexit fallout with a return to business as usual after the summer break.

The challenge every Boston property buyer has faced over the last few years is a lack of choice – there simply hasn’t been much to choose from when buying, be it for investment or owner occupation. Levels are still well down on what would be considered healthy levels from earlier in this decade, as there is still a substantial demand/supply imbalance.

“Until we start to see consistent and steady increases in properties coming on to the market in Boston, the market is likely to see upward pressure on property values continue.”

For example, last few months PE20 has seen an average of 32 new properties coming on to the market, not bad when you consider for some months last year the average has been as low as 20. With the average Boston property value hitting a record high, reaching almost £161,000 according to my research, this shortage of properties on the market over the last two years has contributed to this ‘fuller’ average property figure, but there is a glimmer of hope that the Boston’s supply crisis may be starting to ease.

As I write this article, 3.07% of Boston properties are up for sale. In terms of actual chimney pots, that equates to 428 properties on the market in Boston (within 2 miles of the centre of Boston) – which, when compared to only a year ago when that figure stood at 333, is a serious increase in the number of properties available to buy. Split down into the type of property, it makes even more fascinating reading…

  • Detached Properties in Boston – 152 on the market a year ago compared to 176 on the market now – an increase of 16%
  • Semi Detached Properties in Boston – 81 on the market a year ago compared to 97 on the market now – an increase of 20%
  • Terraced Properties in Boston – 51 on the market a year ago compared to 68 on the market now – an increase of 33%
  • Flats / Apartments Properties in Boston – 36 on the market a year ago compared to 67 on the market now – an increase of 86%

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This is evidence of strength in the Boston housing market that many didn’t expect. Many believed that the Boston property market wasn’t going to be strong enough post Brexit – as what was a sellers’ market before the Brexit vote and Buyers’ market in the early months after it, may now be somewhere in between and the market might just be coming back into balance.

However, all this will mean property values won’t continue to grow at the same extent they have been over the last 12 to 18 months, and in some months, especially on the run up to Christmas and early in the New Year, values might dip slightly. This won’t be down to Brexit but a re-balancing of the Boston Property Market – which is good news for everyone.

If you are thinking of making a move we would love to help you by giving you some honest and informative advice – call the Boston Sales Department on 01205 347203

For more thoughts on the Boston Property Market, please visit the Boston Property Blog http://www.bostonpropertyblog.co.uk