Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Barrowby Gate bargain

I have always had a soft spot for these Bocock built 3 bed town houses on Chichester Close (top end of Barrowby Gate, small cul de sac on the right hand side as the road swings to the left).

They are huge .. you could nearly fit a Vulcan in the them ..OK, being silly there, but they are massive.

 On the market with our friends at Wisemove (opposite the Angel and Royal)  .. I like this a lot   . Top draw inside  .. ahve a look at the internals

Thursday, 22 January 2015

What properties are actually selling in Grantham?

Prices up, prices down, prices stable .. the newspapers are full of good news, bad news and indifferent news about the Brit’s favourite subject after the weather .. the property market. The thing is the UK does not have one housing market. Instead, it is a patchwork of mini property markets all performing in a different way.  At one end of scale is London, which has seen average prices grow in the last twelve months by a shade under 19% (and again that is an average because some Borough’s  in London have risen by 26%) whilst in the land of Daffodils , by contrast, Wales only saw a 2% increase in property values (although in the Merthyr Valleys they dropped by over 11%).

Well we can’t ignore the rest of the UK, and we can’t forget that the Chancellor’s Stamp Duty reforms have polarised the London property markets above £1,000,000 because at the top end of the market, punitive Stamp Duty charges will dampen demand further. While the Bank of England warned of the growing London property price bubble in the Spring of 2014, even talk of a recovery in some areas was premature. In 2015, irrespective of where you are in the UK, one story will unite the patchwork quilt of markets –  really slow property value growth.

But what about Grantham? Well, we haven’t had the December figures from the Land Registry yet but the last few months’ activity and prices achieved would suggest neither house price growth nor drops.  In fact, most sellers are buyers anyway, so if you need to take less for yours, you won’t have to pay as much for the one you want to buy ... and that is good news for everyone as most move up market when they move. This is even better for landlord investors, as they can bag a bargain as well.

The question you should be asking though is not only is what happening to property prices, but which price band exactly is selling? I like to keep an eye on the property market in Grantham on a daily basis because it enables me to give the best advice and opinion on what (or not ) to buy in Grantham. 

If you look at Grantham and split the property market into four equalled sized (into terms of households) price bands. Each price band would have around 25% of the property in Grantham, from the lowest in value (the bottom 25% ) all the way through to the highest 25% (in terms of value).  Over the last two months (63days to be precise), in the lowest quartile, 
  • (those with asking prices under £110k) 70 properties have come onto the market in Grantham  and 28.5% of them (20 properties have a buyer and sold stc. 
  • The next quartile, between £110k-£149k, of the 74 properties that come on to the market, 29.7% of them (22 properties) have a buyer. 
  • The £149k - £230k price range has seen 48 properties come on to the market, and 22.9% of the properties have a buyer (11 properties). 
  • The most expensive 25%, the £230k plus range, has seen 10 of the 63 properties that came on to the market find buyers (15.8%).   Fascinating don’t you think?

The next three months’ activity will be crucial in understanding which way the market will go this year and I honestly believe we will not see any house price growth or drops this side of the election. Election or no election, people will always need a roof over their head and that is why the property market has rode the storms of Oil crisis in the 1970’s, the 1980’s depression, Black Monday in the 1990’s, and latterly the Credit Crunch together with the various house price crashes of 1973, 1987 and 2008.

And why? Because of Britain’s chronic lack of housing will prop up house prices and prevent a post spike crash. ... there is always a silver lining when it comes to the property market! 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Rules of Buy to Let in Grantham

If you have ever considered buy a property to let it out, then here are my rules of the Grantham buy to let market ..... 

Everything Lets
When I talk to potential investors, they are often concerned whether the property they buy will let. They needn’t be – it doesn’t matter if it’s a palace or a flea pit – everything lets, but that’s not a recommendation to buy a flea pit!

The question they should be asking is WHO it will let to – a 3 bed in the town centre is far more likely to attract sharers than a family for example. Every now I will talk to a landlord  who with a property that he’s been unable to let through another agent. I know without seeing it that either 
  1. it’s badly presented or 
  2. he’s overpriced it. 
  3. There isn’t usually a 3

Detach Yourself
YOU will not live in the property you buy. As such, whether YOU like it isn’t the primary consideration! This is a business transaction, and as such the question is whether it works from a business perspective? A classic example is the Earlesfield – it’s not the best place, but I’ve never known a landlord be short of a tenant in there!

Keep Your Figures Realistic
Grantham people need a lot of money to afford a deposit at the moment, so many are renting instead. This means there’s good demand for rental property, and lettings agents can rent most things, often for a premium. However at some point this will change. As such don’t assume that just because you can currently rent a tatty property, that will always be the case, and don’t assume because some estate agent is promising to get you £x in rental, that it will rent at that price for ever. Do your figures on a worst case scenario and you should end up with your expectations being exceeded, not unrealised.

Condition Is Important
Most letting agents prefer landlords to give them well presented properties in worse areas, than badly presented properties in good areas. That’s because nice tenants want nice properties, and as Grantham has very few no go areas, people are more likely to be flexible on where they live, as opposed to what they live in. As such you should either buy a nice property, or buy a grubby one and make it nice. Don’t buy a grubby one and expect a tenant to take it as it is. Any tenant that does take it probably won’t be that good a tenant.

Estate Agents
Watch them! I know most of the agents in Grantham, and most of them are very good agents. That's not to say there aren't bad agents, either way they are all paid by a vendor to SELL YOU a property, NOT paid by you to help you buy. As such they may not be as ‘on your side’ as they seem! Don’t get pressured into buying a property until you have a good feel for the market – if you miss out on a good deal, another will appear sooner or later. The market is good, but it isn’t like London. When you’re viewing a horrible property and the agent is saying it’s “fine as a rental” they are simply demonstrating they don’t know much about lettings.

Plain Sailing?
Some people clearly invest in property expecting there never to be any problems throughout their duration of ownership. This is a touch na├»ve, irrespective of the property you buy and the area you buy in. Your buy to let property is a business, and like any business, it will have problem customers at some point. You can mitigate your risk by instructing an agent that knows their stuff, and by insuring sensibly – the two big risks of buy to let (tenant doesn’t pay and tenant damages property) are both fully insurable. But even with this done you should expect hiccups at some point, so keep some money for a rainy day and if you’re the sort of person who would find some end of tenancy cleaning or a tenant losing their keys stressful, maybe something like stocks and shares would be a less personal way to invest your money!