20 February 2017

Our take on the Housing White Paper

Most people will be aware that the Government recently launched their Housing White paper in a bid to fix “Britain’s broken housing market”.  Here is our abridged version of it compiled with the help of Dataloft UK.
·         The Government has decided that much more emphasis needs to be given to the rental sector in a bid to help “Generation Rent”.  They will encourage major institutional investment in properties built purely for rent as well as attempting to improve the living standards of those already in rental properties and encouraging longer tenancies to be entered into, especially for families.
·         Measures are outlined to accelerate housebuilding on both public and privately owned land.  Land will have to be used more efficiently avoiding low density housing and encouraging higher density in more urban areas.
·         Small and medium sized developers are to be actively encouraged to get involved along with alternative methods of construction such as modular housing which can be prepared off site.  Both methods will be helped by a £3 billion Home Building Fund.  The maximum time limit between planning consent and starting on site is being reduced in the hope this will speed up delivery.
·         In an effort to improve transparency all councils will be required to produce housing demand plans showing how they intend to meet projected growth.  These plans must be updated every five years.  There will also be improved transparency on land ownership via the Land Registry database by 2030.

Follow our property blog for any further updates on this and other issues.

8 February 2017

The importance of tenant referencing

These days many Landlords buy rent guarantee insurance.  However, like all insurances, you have to make sure you comply with all the terms and conditions if you have to make a claim, which hopefully you won’t!  One of those terms will inevitably be to have the applicants thoroughly referenced prior to signing any agreement with them.

Tenant referencing should cover 3 main areas:
1.       Financial / Credit check – this can be the usual type of online credit check that anyone can do.  This is very quick and will give you an instant answer whilst showing up any “nasties”.  Some applicants will be in receipt of various benefits, some of which can be included in their financial statement.
2.       Employment reference – there are two main aspects to this, one being to check the applicant is earning what they say they are earning and secondly that the contract is for a longer term than the tenancy.  There is no point signing a 6 month tenancy with someone who potentially be out of work in 3 months! If the applicant is on a “zero hours” contract, check the terms of your insurance.  Thankfully we find these are getting rarer.
3.       Landlord reference – try and find a referencing company who will go back over at least the last 3 years addresses for an applicant.  Some applicants, if they fall out with their Landlord, have been known to move back in with relatives so this is what they put on their referencing.  However if you go back over a longer period the truth should come out!

There are now some referencing companies who offer a “tenant tracker” type arrangement.  This can be very useful in that, during a tenancy, should a tenant be in receipt of a County Court Judgement, however small, the referencing company will advise the Landlord or agent.  At this point there is no need to panic but it does give you the heads up to keep an eye on the tenant and possibly allow them to go on to a periodic contract, rather than another fixed term in order to give flexibility, should the worse come to the worse.


If you cover these bases you should comply with an insurance companies terms but please pop in and have a chat if you have any queries.

6 February 2017

Whitchurch property - do you know the facts and figures?

Here at Martin & Co, we think Whitchurch has a lot to offer a buy to let investor and home owner alike and we can guide you to the right places to identify property values and yields in Whitchurch and other useful property related information so you can make sure you get all the information you need about any future investments. Here are just a few property facts about our town of Whitchurch....
There are 125 streets, closes, roads etc in the Whitchurch area with 2615 households with 436 properties having changed hands since 2012.
Whitchurch is made up of 31% detached houses, 26% semi-detached, 32% terraced and 11% flats.  This compares to the national average which reads 23% detached, 28% semi-detached, 31%t terraced and 17% flats showing a much higher number of detached and much lower number of flats.
These figures very much reflect our knowledge of the town as it is an affluent area with some wonderful Victorian properties and interesting side streets and is very popular with both tenants and home owners alike having a vibrant feel about it with the added benefit of a train station giving direct links to London Waterloo.

If you want any advice on property investments in Whitchurch or anywhere else for that matter, just give us a call or pop in and see us.

3 February 2017

Good investment in Ludgershall giving 6.2% return!

Look at this two bed flat in Ludgershall I spotted this week:
This may not be the prettiest property you have ever seen but if you are looking for a healthy return this could be the one for you.  On offer at £135,000, even if you pay full price, with a rental value at £700pcm this shows a good return of 6.2% less management fees.

As with all flats though, check what the management fees are.  Do they keep a sinking fund or do you need to allow for that yourself?  How long is the lease?  Whats the approximate cost of renewal of the lease?
If the answers to these questions are favourable, this flat might be worth considering.  

Ludgershall is popular with tenants as they get a bit more for their money and these days there is a couple of good food shops and plenty of take away restaurants to keep everyone happy!

If you want any advice on whether a property you are interested in is a good buy, pop in and we will be happy to advise.

1 February 2017

Do semi-detached properties on Chartlon Road make good investments for Buy to Let?

I was talking to someone who lives in a detached house on Charlton Road in Andover. He wants to purchase his first Buy to Let property and has noticed our previous articles, so was interested in getting to know the industry a little bit more.
As he has lived in Charlton Road for over 8 years and he felt comfortable investing in there as he knew it well, we started to discuss the property market in this area. Firstly, we found that 32 semi-detached houses have sold in Charlton Road since the year 1996
Property values in Andover have risen on average by around a whooping 264% over the last 20 years but most semi-detached properties on Charlton Road have slightly beaten that rise.
When we look back to 1995, a three bedroomed semi-detached property in Charlton Road was bought for £60,000 and sold in 2015 for an impressive £240,000.  With excellent capital growth you would expect yields to be comparatively lower, but most three bedroomed properties can be picked up from £220,000 to £240,000 and could have achievable rents of £900 to £950 per month. This means annual yields can be around an attractive 5%!
If you would like to talk to us about your potential investment, please come into our office on Bridge Street.


30 January 2017

Recent survey shows 2 out of 5 tenants have no intention to buy

The Deposit Protection Service recently carried out a survey covering 1000 tenants who have deposits lodged with them.  They were asked if they had any intention to buy a property and 38.4% replied that they had no intention of buying a property.

Of those that do hope to buy 25.5% hope to do so in the next 6 months while 62% hope to do so within the year.

The Managing Director of the DPS, Julian Foster said “Renting is a vital part of the housing sector, and a significant proportion of the UK population choose to be tenants as it better suits their life plan or lifestyles.  “The UK needs a flexible residential sector that suits the varied life choices and priorities of our diverse population, and the rental sector plays an important role in providing people with real housing options.”


Whilst this is obviously great news for Landlords and Agents alike you have to wonder if this is a little bit of a time bomb waiting to go off long down the road with “Generation Rent” reach retirement.

27 January 2017

Andover property values have increased by £491 per week!

Recently, a landlord of ours came in to our office to discuss the rising property values in Andover. He owns a varied portfolio of rental properties, primarily in Andover, so it is interesting to compare the increase in property values around the area.
Over the last 12 months the average property value in Andover has risen by £25,517 to £328,694. This is a very respectable 8.42% increase or £491 per week. When we looked at the values for semi detached houses, this average increase is even greater at £31,712. This is a considerable average increase of £609 per week!
When I looked at some of the surrounding towns, Newbury has a lower average increase in property value, at around £413.69 per week, whilst Salisbury has an even more modest average increase of around £215.84 per week.  Still better than your money will do in the bank!

When considering this landlord’s buy to let portfolio, the rental values have remained fairly stable during the 12 months with some small increases.  However, it shows that Andover is becoming more and more popular with both buy to let investors and home buyers alike and from these figures you can see why!