If I were a buy to let landlord in Letchworth 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 Letchworth 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 Letchworth property prices do drop, the downside to that is that first time buyers could be attracted back into the Letchworth 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 Letchworth landlord, almost a blessing in disguise.
Letchworth has a population of 32,897, so when I looked at the number of people who lived in private rented accommodation, the numbers astounded me …
Yields will rise if Letchworth 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 Letchworth landlords add to their portfolio. Rental demand in Letchworth is expected to stay solid and may even see an improvement if uncertainty is protracted. However, there is something even more important that Letchworth landlords should be aware of: the change in the anthropological nature of these 20 something potential first time buyers.
Last weekend we had a family get together for birthday celebrations. I got chatting with my wife’s nephew and his partner. Both are in their mid/late twenties, both have decent jobs in Letchworth 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 8.5% of Letchworth 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 Letchworth – 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 Letchworth Property Market – visit the Letchworth Property Market Blog: http://www.letchworthpropertyblog.co.uk