29 Dec

Liverpool property price rises set to be more restrained in 2017 due to Brexit

 

While Brexit has not yet had a sizeable impact on the Liverpool housing market, my analysis is pointing to the fact that the economic viewpoint still remains uncertain and Liverpool property price growth is likely to be more subdued in 2017 – although that isn’t a bad thing so let me explain.

Since the summer, apart from a little wobble of uncertainty a few weeks after the Referendum vote, property values (and the economy), on the whole has outperformed what most people were anticipating. In fact, when I looked at the property prices for our Liverpool City Council area, these were the results…

October 2016              – drop of 2.64%

September 2016         – rise of 0.55%

August 2016                – drop of 0.37%

July 2016                     – rise of 0.76%

June 2016                    – rise of 1.24%

Talking to fellow agents in London, the significant tidal wave of growth seen from 2013 through to 2015 in the capital has subdued over the last six months. However, as that central London house price wave has started to ripple out, agents are starting to see stronger property growth values in East Anglia and the South East regions outside of London, than what is being seen within the M25. So, fellow Liverpool landlords and homeowners, is this the time to get your surfboards ready for the London wave?

Well, we in Liverpool haven’t really been affected by what is happening in the central London property mega bubble (i.e. Kensington, Chelsea, Marylebone, Mayfair etc.). The property market locally is more driven by sentiment, especially the ‘C’ word … confidence. The main forces for a weaker Liverpool Property market relate to economic uncertainty surrounding the Brexit process, which I believe will impact unhelpfully on consumer confidence in the run up to and just after the serving of the Section 50 Notice by the end of Q1 2017.

In addition, the influence of reforms to the taxation of landlords is expected to result in a reduced demand from buy to let landlords, which will limit upward pressure on property values. However, on the other side of the coin, demand from tenants has been strong, but this has been counterbalanced by a strong supply of rental properties. In my opinion, there is a slight risk of rents not growing as much in 2017 as they have in 2016, but by 2018 they will rise again to counteract Philip Hammond’s changes to tenant fees.

The broader Liverpool rental market looks relatively positive with modest rental growth expected and rents might rise further if landlords begin to sell properties in an effort to offset to the impact of tax rises.

So what do I predict will happen to the Liverpool housing market in 2017? In Liverpool the growth of 1.6% for 2016 is set to fall to just 0.2% next year, then up 2.1% in 2018, 3.1% in 2018, 2.4% in 2019, 3.3% in in 2020 and finally 3.4% in 2021.

But these predictions do not take into account any effect of a possible snap General Election or further referendum on ratifying any Brexit deal (if that comes to pass in the future).

22 Dec

Liverpool Property Market – Q4 Update

Well, wasn’t 2016 been eventful. The ups and downs of Brexit, the Queen’s 90th, Andy Murray winning Wimbledon, Trump, Bake Off to Channel 4 and something close to the hearts of every buy to let landlord and homeowner in Liverpool … the Liverpool property market.

So, let’s look at the headlines for the Liverpool property market…

In the last month, Liverpool property values dropped by 0.02%, leaving them, year on year 2.6% higher, whilst interestingly, Liverpool asking prices are down 1.3% month on month. All three statistics go to show the Liverpool property market has recovered well after the summer lull, which was worsened by the uncertainty surrounding the EU vote back in June. Irrespective of all the issues, the average value of a Liverpool home now stands at £165,400.

Generally, Liverpool asking prices continue to hold up well, as asking prices are 4.3% higher year on year. At this time of year, asking prices tend to drop on the run up to Christmas and locally, they have dropped by 1.3% this month (November 2016), although this compares well with last year’s drop in Liverpool asking prices, as we saw asking prices drop by 1.9% in November 2015.

Now it’s true to say, after chatting with fellow property professionals in Liverpool, all of us have seen the number of property sales fall slightly, suggesting a slowing market, but it is very early days and it could be the time of year. Also, the numbers are limited, so it’s interesting to take note from a recent survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, stating new buyer enquiries and new instructions are falling at the same rate, suggesting that there will not be a downward pressure on property values.

Looking at the figures for the UK (as we can’t just look at Liverpool in isolation), property values are generally rising slower than a few years ago, but on a positive note, there’s still growth across the UK. You see, slowing property value growth isn’t solely Brexit related, but after a number years of double digit rises in property values, affordability has weakened and cooling price growth is widely seen to be a natural correction of the market.

On the other hand, interest rates being at a record low of 0.25% are helping the property market. The cut in interest rates in the late summer was the medicine for the post-Brexit worry and will, as a consequence, ensure that the UK economy continues to be underpinned by buoyant property prices.

So, what will happen in 2017 in the Liverpool property market?

Some say until we know what type of exit the UK will make from the EU it is hard to evaluate the outcome. Although, I believe, the whole Brexit issue is a sideshow to the main issue in the UK (and Liverpool) housing market as a whole. As I have mentioned time and time again over the last few months, the biggest issue is demand outstripping supply when it comes to the number of households required to house us all. Liverpool has an ever-growing population: with immigration (we still have at least two years of free movement from EU members into the UK), people living longer and the fact we need thousands of additional households as the country has nearly 115,000 divorces a year (where one household becomes two households).  These are interesting times ahead!

15 Dec

Liverpool Semi Detached House Prices rise by 219% in 20 years

The semi-detached house with its bay windows and net curtains has long been ridiculed as an emblem of safe, lacklustre and desperately uncool suburban life; the homes of the likes of Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping up Appearances and more latterly Alan Partridge – but they could have the last laugh – having enjoyed one of the highest price growths of any property type in Liverpool, up by an average 219% increase in the last twenty years.

The semi can now laugh in the face of its posher detached counterpart, which saw a rise of only 191% in the same 20-year period. Looking at smaller properties, flats/apartments only rose 148%, whilst terraced houses did better at 222% (although they were starting from a lower base and demand from buy to let landlords has had a big part in driving the values on that type of house (i.e. the price a buy to let landlord is prepared to pay is driven by the rent the landlord can achieve).

In 1996 the average value of a Liverpool semi stood at £50,700, today it stands at £162,000

Such is the attractiveness of semis, which are cheaper than detached houses but have most of the same benefits for families. Semi-detached houses were built in their hundreds of thousands by the Victorians and Edwardians between the wars and through to the present day. Interestingly in the late 19th Century and early 20th century – they often weren’t referred to as semi-detached – but as villas!

So whilst Europeans live on top of each other in apartments us British chose, in the late Victorian and early Edwardian times, suburban comfort, being near … but not too near, the neighbours! I once heard someone say the semi-detached house was a peculiar crossbreed that doesn’t stand on its own — it is inseparable from its neighbour — yet somehow still embodies a dream of suburban independence.

Nearly one in three houses in Liverpool is a semi-detached house

There are 75,112 semi-detached properties in Liverpool and they represent 31.21% of all the households in Liverpool. Liverpool has such a mix of semi-detached properties with the older classic bay fronted semis to more modern ones built in the last couple of decades. Especially with the older ones, the semi offered a hall to provided separation between the reception rooms and privacy for their occupants. Also the downstairs offered larger rooms to accommodate dining tables, whilst upstairs, bedrooms were smaller, yet cosy.

However, probably the most overlooked aspect of popularity for semis is the garden. The front garden, designed to separate the house from the world, and the back garden designed for private relaxation. The semi in the suburbs was relaxing, well presented, plumbed and enhanced by a garden so that when a window was opened the air had a chance of being genuinely fresh… and it’s for all those reasons why 875 semi-detached houses have been sold in Liverpool in the last 4 months alone.  Still as popular today as they were with the Victorians all those years ago – some things just stand the test of time!

For more thoughts on the Liverpool Property Market – please visit the Liverpool Property Market Blog at www.liverpoolpropertyblog.com

8 Dec

£13m paid in Stamp Duty by Liverpool Residents

13m-paid-in-stamp-duty-by-liverpool-residents

“A pound saved is worth two pounds earned . . . after taxes” is what my Grandfather used to say. He loved his irony, yet was always a wise man, and it is tax I want to talk about today, in particular, property taxation .. Stamp Duty in fact.

Apart from some minor exemptions, Stamp Duty is paid by anyone buying a property over £125,000 in the UK. It presently raises £10.68bn a year for the HM Treasury (interesting when compared with £27.6bn in fuel duty, £10.69bn in alcohol duty and £9.48bn in tobacco duty).

In the latest set of data from HMRC, in the MP constituencies that cover Liverpool, property buyers paid £13m stamp duty in one year alone – a lot of money in anyone’s eyes (although not as much as the £441m in income tax that all of us in the same area paid last year).

13m-paid-in-stamp-duty-by-liverpool-residents-graph

However, as you may know, George Osborne introduced an additional tax for landlords and from 1st April 2016 they had to pay an additional 3% stamp duty surcharge on top of the normal stamp duty rate when purchasing a buy to let property. There were tales of woe and Armageddon with a report by Deutsche Bank suggesting that the new surcharge could see house prices fall by as much as 20%.

HMRC data released in the Summer for Quarter 2 (Q2) of 2016 did seem to back up those fears as they published some worrying figures; only one in seven properties purchased was a second home or buy-to-let (in real numbers, only 30,300 of the 207,900 properties in Q2 were bought by landlords).

In previous articles, I spoke about the slump of property transactions after the 1st of April (as landlords rushed through their property purchases in March to beat the April deadline). In Q2 of 2016, £1.976bn was raised in Stamp Duty from Residential Property. Of that £1.976bn, £652m was paid by buy to let landlords (£424m in normal stamp duty and £228m in the additional 3% surcharge).

However, looking at Q3, the numbers have improved significantly. Of the 235,000 property sales, nearly one in four of them (56,100 to be precise) were bought by buy to let landlords and of the £2.208bn in stamp duty, £864m was paid in ‘normal’ stamp duty by BTL landlords and an impressive £442m paid by those same landlords in the additional stamp duty surcharge.

The statistics suggest buy to let investors have thankfully not been deterred by the stamp duty surcharge introduced in April this year. The figures also show that 65.4% of “buy to let” purchases cost less than £250,000, 23.7% of properties were in the £250k to £500k range and 10.9% (or 6,100 additional properties) of buy to let properties bought cost over £500k – interestingly nearly one in four (22.2%) of £500k properties purchased in Q3 were buy to let properties.

It just goes to back up what I stated a few weeks ago when I suggested that many investors had rushed to make purchases before 31st March, making figures in the following months (Q2) artificially low when the 3% supplement was introduced, but in Q3 the number of buy to let properties purchased increased by 85%.

It just goes to show you shouldn’t believe everything you read in the newspapers! I can assure you the Liverpool property market is doing just fine. For more thoughts on the Liverpool Property Market like this .. visit the Liverpool Property Market Blog www.liverpoolpropertyblog.com