One of my landlords rang me last week from Hest Bank, after he had spoken to a friend of his. Over Christmas, they were discussing the Lancaster property market and neither of them could make their mind up if it was time to either sell or buy property. If you read the newspapers and the landlord forums on the internet, there is a good slice of doom and gloom, especially with changes in the taxation towards landlords, new legislation on checking tenants and the general uncertainty in the world economic situation.
I would admit, there are certain landlords in Lancaster who have over exposed themselves in the last few years with high percentage loan to value mortgages. Those mortgages, with their current (yet artificially low) interest rates, will start to suffer, as their modest monthly positive cash flow/profit, i.e. income (rent) less costs (mortgage, fees, tax), will become negative when the tax and mortgage rates rise throughout 2017 and beyond.
It appears to me these landlords seem to have treated the Lancaster Buy to Let market as a sure bet and have not approached this as a business and, as a result, they will suffer as they thought “let’s buy a house – rent it out so it covers the mortgage and make a few quid on top”. These are the people who will be thinking twice. I however see opportunity everywhere and won’t be stopping, I’m here to stay. It’s going to be an exciting new year.
Gone now are the days when you could buy any old house in Lancaster and it would make money. Yes, in the past, anything in Lancaster that had four walls and a roof would make you money because since WW2, property prices doubled every seven years. It really was like printing money but not anymore.
Since January 1997, the average price paid for a Lancaster flat/apartment has risen from £38,013 to today’s current average of £108,167 in the town. This is an impressive rise of 185%.
Terraced/town house have risen in the same time frame, from £40,640 to £134,932, an even better rise of 232%.
However, look back to 2005, and in that year, the average flat was selling for £126,883, meaning our Lancaster landlord would have seen a modest drop of 15% and the terraced owner would have seen an increase of 21%, as they were selling for on average £111,487 … which isn’t good for people who bought in 2005, but it gets worse when you take into account inflation.
Since 2005, then inflation, i.e. the cost of living, has increased by 33.4%. That means to retain its value, Lancaster terraced property bought for £111,487 in 2005 needs to be worth £148,688 today. Therefore, our landlord has seen the ‘real’ value of his property decrease by 12.4% (i.e. 21% less 33.4% inflation).
The reality is, since around the early 2000’s we haven’t seen anything like the capital growth in property we have seen in the past and it’s not predicted to grow at the rates it has previously done either. So it is high time anyone considering investing in property stopped believing the hype and did some serious research using independent investment expertise. You can still make money by buying the right Lancaster property at the right price and finding the right tenant. Think about it, properties in real terms are 12.4% lower than ten years ago, so investing in Lancaster property is not only about capital growth, but also about the yield (the return from the rent).
It’s also about having a balanced property portfolio that will match what you want from your investment. What is one of these many people ask me? Well we discuss such matters on this blog.
However if you want to ask me a questions, why not drop me an email to email@example.com or pop into my Lancaster office on Market Street.
Thanks for reading