Mending the Broken Letchworth and North Hertfordshire Property Market



The long-lasting issue of the Letchworth and North Hertfordshire property market are laid bare as the final 2018 property transaction figures have just been published and they continue the post credit crunch trend of less people moving.

27.7% less of Letchworth and North Hertfordshire people are selling their homes annually since the credit crunch, when compared to the post Millennium years of 2000 to 2005.

This is not just an issue of the Letchworth and North Hertfordshire housing market slowing down since the credit crunch – the challenge is to split out shorter-term factors such as Brexit and the elections from longer-term structural issues of the UK society, because when these most recent property transaction figures are seen against longer-term trends for Letchworth and North Hertfordshire, they suggest more significant issues in the Letchworth and North Hertfordshire housing market.

In the late 1990’s, 2,498 properties were sold annually in Letchworth and the North Hertfordshire area, then in the same area, the Millennium boom saw transactions rise to 2,976 per annum. Property sales then almost halved to 1,753 per annum in the challenge of the global financial crash and subsequent retrenchment of the mortgage market.



So whilst there was a recovery from 2013 onwards, it was rather uninspiring when compared to the pre-credit crunch years, with a lacklustre performance in property transactions since mid 2010’s.

You might ask why we should be concerned about the number of property transactions and not the change in property values?

The amount of transaction numbers are a far more exact barometer for the health and potency of the local housing market.

As less people have been selling their homes locally, this is not only bad for the Letchworth and North Hertfordshire housing market but for the economy locally, especially when you consider how many allied businesses (builders,decorators, solicitors, removal vans, estate agents, mortgage advisers and others) lose out as a result.

Some say the deficiency of supply of property, mainly affordable first-time buyer property, is the chief reason why transaction figures remain stubbornly low. Others suggest the absence of suitable housing stock up the property ladder (particularly bungalows for the older generation), combined with rising demand is causing a bottleneck in our local housing market.

There has been much talk from Westminster about grand home-building programmes, yet we now require them to deliver on these undertakings and even then, it will be a few decades before we see a seismic change in the Letchworth and North Hertfordshire property market.

In the short-term, a quicker improvement may come from modifications to stamp duty. First time buyers do not need to pay Stamp Duty up to a certain level, yet those Stamp Duty concessions could be extended to those mature homeowners looking to downsize. This could liberate a meaningful number of mature family homes occupied principally by these mature generations and the tax lost through Stamp Duty could be replenished by a revaluation of the Council Tax bands.

Council Tax bandings were set in 1991 and the seven bands, the highest band starts at £320,000 (based on 1991 values). It seems irrational to us that upper value band, set in the 1991 revaluations, has not been increased, particularly as house prices in London have risen by over 400 per cent during the last 25years.

That would mean higher tax for those who do not move yet less

tax for those that do move – because we believe it would boost a far more liquid Letchworth and North Hertfordshire property market.

Just a thought of mending the local property market – what are your thoughts?

Planning a move? Trying to work out the best option for you?

For Selling Advice designed to achieve your aspirations and to move onto the next chapter in your life call 01462 419329 or e-mail us:

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If you are an existing landlord with us (or even another agent in Letchworth) or someone thinking of becoming a first time Letchworth landlord looking for advice and opinion and what (or not to buy in Letchworth), one source of information is the Letchworth Property Blog or drop me an email or phone call and let’s start a conversation – I do not bite and I do not do hard sell … and maybe, just maybe, I could help you get better returns from your property portfolio.

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