Local property market information for the serious investor

Month: October 2017

Cardiff Home Owners Are Only Moving Every 15.5 Years

As I mentioned in a previous article, the average house price in Cardiff is 7.54 times the average annual Cardiff salary. This is higher than the last peak of 2008, when the ratio was 6.91. A number of City commentators anticipated that in the ambiguity that trailed the Brexit vote, UK (and hence Cardiff) property prices might drop like a stone. The point is – they haven’t.

Now it’s true the market for Cardiff’s swankiest and poshest properties looks a little fragile (although they are selling if they are realistically priced) and overall, Cardiff property price growth has slowed, but the lower to middle Cardiff property market appears to be quite strong.

Scratch under the surface though, and a different long-term picture is emerging away from what is happening to property prices. Cardiff people are moving home less often than they once did. Data from the Office of National Statistics shows that the number of properties sold in 2016 is again much lower than it was in the Noughties. My statistics show…

 

The Total Number of Property Sales Per Annum in the

City of Cardiff Council Area Since 1995

1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
4,233 5,299 6,343 5,464 6,562 6,489 7,708 8,826 8,309 7,953 6,177
                     
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
8,029 7,644 4,193 4,187 4,048 4,048 3,930 4,633 5,692 5,380 5,470

Even though we are not anywhere near the post credit crunch (2008 and 2009) low levels of property sales, the torpor of the Cardiff housing market following the 2016 Brexit vote has seen the number of property sales in Cardiff and the surrounding local authority area level off to what appears to be the start of a new long term trend (compared the Noughties).

 

Interestingly, it was the 1980’s that saw the highest levels of people moving home. Nationally, everyone was moving on average every decade. Even though it was during the Labour administration of the late 1970’s where the right to buy one’s council house started, it was the Housing Act of 1980 that that really got council tenants moving, as Thatcher’s Tory government financially encouraged council tenants to buy their council-rented homes – for which countless then sold them on for a profit and moved elsewhere. The housing market was awash with money as banks were allowed to offer mortgages as well as the existing building societies, meaning it made it simpler for Brits to borrow even more money on mortgages and to climb up the housing ladder.

But coming back to today, looking at the property sales figures in the Cardiff area since 2010/11, a new trend of number of property sales appears to have started. Interestingly, this has been mirrored nationally. The reasons behind this are complex, but a good place to start is the growth rate of real UK household disposable income, which has fallen from 5.01% a year in 2000 to 1.68% in 2016. Also, things have deteriorated since the country voted to leave the EU as consumer price inflation has risen to 2.7% per annum, meaning inflation has eaten away at the real value of wages (as they have only grown by 1.1% in the same time frame).

With meagre real income growth, it has become more difficult for homeowners to accumulate the savings needed to climb up the housing ladder as the level of saving has also dropped from 4.26% of household income to -1.11% (i.e. people are eating into their savings).

Next week I will be discussing how these (and other issues) has meant the level of Cardiff people moving home has slumped to once every 15.5 years.

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No. 16 Arabella Street

Here is number 16 on my top  20 streets in Cardiff, I am at Arabella St in Roath.

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Cardiff Buy-to-Let Return / Yields – 1.8% to 12.6% a year

The mind-set and tactics you employ to buy your first Cardiff buy to let property needs to be different to the tactics and methodology of buying a home for yourself to live in. The main difference is when purchasing your own property, you may well pay a little more to get the home you (and your family) want, and are less likely to compromise. When buying for your own use, it is only human nature you will want the best, so that quite often it is at the top end of your budget (because as my parents always used to tell me – you get what you pay for in this world!).

Yet with a buy to let property, if your goal is a higher rental return – a higher price doesn’t always equate to higher monthly returns – in fact quite the opposite. Inexpensive Cardiff properties can bring in bigger monthly returns. Most landlords use the phrase ‘yield’ instead of monthly return. To calculate the yield on a buy to let property one basically takes the monthly rent, multiplies it by 12 to get the annual rent and then divides it by the value of the property.

This means, if one increases the value of the property using this calculation, the subsequent yield drops. Or to put it another way, if a Cardiff buy to let landlord has the decision of two properties that create the same amount of monthly rent, the landlord can increase their rental yield by selecting the lower priced property.

To give you an idea of the sort of returns in Cardiff…

Cardiff Property type Average Price paid (last 12 months) in Cardiff Average Rent Achieved in last 12 months in Cardiff Lower End of Yield Range in Cardiff Average Yield in Cardiff Upper End of Yield range in Cardiff
Detached £375,706 £998 1.81% 3.19% 4.03%
Semi-Detached £235,789 £815 3.29% 4.15% 5.97%
Terraced £195,905 £1,583 8.46% 9.70% 12.61%
Flats £142,072 £632 3.96% 5.34% 6.29%

Now of course these are averages and there will always be properties outside the lower and upper ranges in yields: they are a fair representation of the gross yields you can expect in the Cardiff area.

As we move forward, with the total amount of buy to let mortgages amounting to £199,310,614,000 in the country, landlords need to be aware of the investment performance of their property, especially in the era of tax increases and tax relief reductions. Landlords are looking to maximise their yield – and are doing so by buying cheaper properties.

However, before everyone in Cardiff starts selling their upmarket properties and buying cheap ones, yield isn’t the only factor when deciding on what Cardiff buy to let property to buy.  Void periods (i.e. the time when there isn’t a tenant in the property between tenancies) are an important factor and those properties at the cheaper end of the rental spectrum can suffer higher void periods too. Apartments can also have service charges and ground rents that aren’t accounted for in these gross yields. Landlords can also make money if the value of the property goes up and for those Cardiff landlords who are looking for capital growth, an altered investment strategy may be required.

In Cardiff, for example, over the last 20 years, this is how the average price paid for the four different types of Cardiff property have changed…

  • Cardiff Detached Properties have increased in value by 242.2%
  • Cardiff Semi-Detached Properties have increased in value by 253.8%
  • Cardiff Terraced Properties have increased in value by 258.2%
  • Cardiff Apartments have increased in value by 249.6%

It is very much a balancing act of yield, capital growth and void periods when buying in Cardiff. Every landlord’s investment strategy is unique to them. If you would like a fresh pair of eyes to look at your portfolio, be you a private landlord that doesn’t use a letting agent or a landlord that uses one of my competitors – then feel free to drop in and let’s have a chat. What have you got to lose? 30 minutes and my tea making skills are legendary!

 

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No 17. Moorland Road

Here is number 17 on my countdown of the top 20 streets in Cardiff based on their turnover and popularity

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