‘Reassessment of Home’ Set to Continue Driving Behavioural Changes
While the buyer demand has moderated slightly, Zoopla’s latest insights report finds, it is still elevated from what could be considered a ‘normal’ year, and Zoopla data suggests that this is likely driven by behavioural trends seen throughout the pandemic.
It’s been a strange couple of years – and that’s reflected in huge shifts not just in our day-to-day lives, but also in the way we view our surroundings. We’ve spoken about this multiple times over the last six months – how changes to the way we work and where we work have driven changes, but the most recent Zoopla report seems to confirm these predictions.
What the report shows
Zoopla’s latest report features an executive summary with six main takeaways:
- Buyer demand has moderated as stamp duty holiday ends but remains elevated compared to ‘normal’ market conditions
- ‘Search for space’ among homebuyers, as well as increased numbers of first-time buyers and those making lifestyle changes, will continue to support activity through H2
- Total stock of homes for sale remains constrained, down 24% in the year to mid-June compared to the average in 2020
- Annual house price growth is at 4.7%, up from 2.2% a year ago
- Price growth hits 10-year high in Wales (+7.1%), Yorkshire & the Humber (+6.2%) and the North East (+5%)
- Price growth over the last year lifts 1.8 million homes into a higher stamp duty bracket
The phasing out rather than immediate cessation of the stamp duty holidays may account for a proportion of the elevated activity, but – as the report goes on to assert – the search for space and the changing attitudes that the last 18 months have had on our wants and needs for a home are likely responsible for the rest.
However, while the demand has stabilised (albeit at an elevated level), the available housing stock has failed to keep pace. This means that price growth is being driven by both the elevated number of buyers, but also by the shortfall in available properties.
What this means for Wirral landlords
At Wirral Homes, we have noticed similar levels of disparity in supply and demand in the rental market which reflects the trends Zoopla points out. While it is often more difficult for tenants to move, the contract durations that may have kept them in a property have ceased to be an issue as the situation has progressed throughout 2020 and into 2021, and there has been a significant shift in what tenants want from a property.
Requests for outdoor space have grown while location specific requests have fallen, and this opens up opportunities for landlords with vacant properties to look beyond their standard demographics and marketing channels to ensure that their properties remain profitable. For this reason, we would suggest that landlords begin to take stock of how their properties fit with what the market is currently demanding and look to market them accordingly.
Landlords need to begin to advertise the lifestyle benefits of their properties – the schools that they provide access to, the life they can provide, not just how close they are to the office. The demand is there, it may just need a change of approach.
What this means for tenants
While we wait for the Zoopla rental market report, there are a few things we can infer from the data we have so far. Fundamentally for renters, the main concern should be that – while furlough has allowed many people to work from home the last eighteen months – the end of furlough will see increased competition for central properties as those that are no longer allowed to work from home look to return to or move closer to their places of employment.
This means that city centre and immediate surroundings will see some level of reversal of the downward trend we have seen in rental prices in these areas over the last year. Similarly, the upward pressure on prices outside of these areas should reduce, causing prices in more rural areas to stabilise – though we wouldn’t expect a reversal here for the short to mid-term.
The main takeaway for tenants, therefore, is that they should begin to think carefully about timescales – those thinking of a move to the centre may benefit from a quicker move than planned, while those moving further out can take more time if they need it.
At Wirral Homes, we always try to ensure that we’re keeping up to date with the latest trends – for both the landlords we work with and the tenants we help to find a home. Want to find out what we can do for you? Contact Us today.
Wales Joins Scotland in Extending Help to Tenants with Rental Arrears
With curbs on section 21 eviction, changes to the model tenancy agreement and more leading to many landlords questioning the impact of recent legislation on their businesses, the announcement of £10 Mn in grants to tenants with Covid-19 related arrears has been met with enthusiasm.
Back in February, the BBC reported that around 750,000 UK families had fallen behind on housing costs – an increase of 450,000 since January 2020, leading to the BBC predicting a ‘rent-arrears crisis’. While the devolved governments have implemented eviction bans to ensure tenants avoiding losing their accommodation during the pandemic, there have been – unlike in many developed nations – no relief payments made to the public during the crisis and no effort to reverse the course of the possible crisis.
That changed in June when Scotland announced £10 Mn in grant money to support tenants in rental arrears as a direct result of the pandemic. Following this example, Wales has announced their own £10 Mn in grants – something seen as a positive step by the National Residential Landlords Association, a spokesperson from which stated:
What this means for Wirral landlords
As things stand, there has been no support announced by the Chancellor of England for tenants with rental arrears, as such there is not much that Wirral tenants or landlords can do at present if they find themselves in that position. However, as the Scottish and Welsh devolved parliaments have made funds available, there should be mounting pressure on the English parliament to follow suit – and you can find your MP here to let them know that you think this relief is as necessary here as it is in England’s neighbouring countries.
While large businesses have been able to claim relief during the pandemic, the government has been less forthcoming for small business owners and sole traders – but pressure from constituents combined with the moves made by Wales and Scotland could well be enough to generate a response.
However, as some Wirral landlords do have property in neighbouring Wales, it’s worth stating that the grants will be administered by local authorities and are open to tenants that are not receiving housing-related benefits. The grants will replace the ‘Tenancy Saver Loan’ introduced in December 2020 and anyone that received a Tenancy Saver Loan will have that loan converted to a grant.
Eligible people are able to register their interest with their local authority immediately, while grants will be processed from around the middle of July.
If you’re struggling with tenant/landlord relations, are worried about legal requirements or any other part of managing a property portfolio, you can Contact Us to speak to one of our experts and to see what we can do to help.
Tenant Fees Act Hits the News – Are You Operating Within the Law?
The pandemic has raised plenty of issues between landlords and tenants – many of which have come as a result of unscrupulous private landlords and tenants alike – have seen an increase in press coverage for stories such as a recent claim against a landlord over a death from pneumonia but, in truth, the vast majority of landlords should have little to worry about.
What is the Tennant Fees Act?
Introduced in 2019 and coming into effect in June of 2020, the Tenant Fees Act serves to ban letting fees and to cap the deposits paid by those tenants renting from private landlords in England. Aiming to reduce the cost that tenants can face both at the outset and during the course of a tenancy, the act serves to allow tenants to see, at a glance, what a property will cost.
Who does the ban on fees apply to?
The ban as represented by the act applies to all assured shorthold tenancies, tenancies for student accommodation and to licences to occupy housing in the private rental sector in England.
What fees can be charged?
The fees that can still be charged as of June 2020 are, simply, those essential for the proper letting of a property – and are as follows:
- Rent – a regular, agreed upon amount at agreed upon intervals. It is prohibited to charge a larger amount for the first month’s rent in order to cover any costs. The whole cost of the agreed period should be evenly split across the duration of the tenancy.
- A refundable tenancy deposit – this is a deposit which will be placed with a Government Custodial scheme DPS (Deposit Protection Scheme) which is capped at no more than 5 weeks’ rent (or 6 weeks rent if the annual rent is greater than £50,000).
- A refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) – capped at 1 week’s rent
- Payments associated with early termination of the tenancy – if requested by the tenant,
- £50 (or reasonably incurred costs, if higher) can be charged.
- Payment of utilities, communication services, TV licence and Council Tax
- Early termination – if a tenant requests to leave before the end of their tenancy, an early termination fee can be levied – this cannot exceed the financial loss a landlord or agent has suffered in permitting the tenant to leave early.
What this means for Wirral landlords
As ever with this type of story, the news will grow as tenants begin to win cases against landlords that have breached the conditions outlined in the act. However, most landlords will have been acting in accordance with the standards set out in the act for longer than the two years since it was announced. Where it may be a concern for some landlords is in situations where legacy charges have been carried over during renewal for longer tenancies.
As the act rendered all additional charges ‘prohibited payments’ from the 1st of June 2020, there may be situations where prohibited payments may have been collected during the period since the beginning of the act’s enforcement. In these situations, the payments taken in error should be returned to the tenant as soon as the error is discovered to prevent the possibility of court action and the penalty of a year’s rent (in actual fact, there are possible financial penalties of up to £30,000) being applied.
If you’re worried about the shorthold agreements currently in place with your tenants, or any other legal documentation, you can Contact Us to see what we can do to help you with this – or any of the many other legal queries that can arise in the course of successfully managing a property portfolio.
What Happens After the Boom? The Future of Wirral House Prices
We’ve mentioned in previous pieces that the economic outlook becomes increasingly uncertain toward the end of 2021 and in to 2022 and Nationwide are similarly cautious despite some of the headlines their commentary has provoked.
What Nationwide had to say
While many of the headlines based on the announcement from Nationwide that there were ‘fears of a negative equity crisis if…’ the announcement made was reasonably unsensational and set out a number of required criteria for that to happen – including a worst-case-scenario number of lay-offs once the governmental assistance some businesses have been receiving ends.
While there may be a larger than average number of buyers left with negative equity should house-prices collapse post-pandemic and stamp-duty holiday, which would see a surfeit of property hit the market and a drop in the number of buyers, it is unlikely to cause the problems that led to a multi-year stagnation post-financial crisis.
In fact, Nationwide has been one of the few lenders providing 90% mortgages for almost the entirety of the stamp duty holiday – and have not yet, at the time of writing, withdrawn the products. As such, we’d be willing to bet that the worst-case-scenario is not the expected outcome for their underwriters.
Do Wirral buyers and landlords need to worry?
While the increase in Wirral property prices has been substantial over the last 12-18 months, the rise is neither unprecedented over the last decade, nor in excess of what the market is capable of sustaining. Even the final uplift in property prices on the peninsula has only brought the average property price in-line with the national average of £250,000.
In fact, since the recovery from the 2008 financial crisis began around 2010, there have only been 3 years where the average Wirral property price has dropped (2012, 2013 and 2018) and those losses have been quickly recouped and exceeded in the year or two that followed. Indeed, the rise between 2015 and 2016 was actually greater as a percentage of total value than the increase between 2020 and 2021.
While there are, of course, reasons to be cautious as we approach the end of various packages of assistance that have helped to keep the property market growing over the last two years, Wirral is likely to be insulated from many of the main problems – with a generally wealthier population, homeowners on the peninsula are more likely to have worked from home during the pandemic and within industries which are likely to have been less harshly impacted by and more likely to recover from the pandemic.
For that reason, and with property demand still massively outstripping availability, there are unlikely to be a glut of unsold and unsellable properties hitting the market that could cause the drops likely to initiate the ‘crisis of negative equity’ that could occur elsewhere. In truth, it’s difficult to be certain how the end of the pandemic will impact buyer behaviour, its unprecedented nature makes the gloomy headlines less certain than many would have you believe.
What lies ahead for Wirral property prices?
Wirral will remain a fantastic place to invest over the coming year. With property prices hitting the national average, there is still room for growth in what has become a hugely popular area for buyers moving out of cities, for families and retirees. The factors that have made the peninsula hugely popular throughout the pandemic will not change regardless of governmental assistance – it is well connected, vibrant and developing, with hugely ambitious projects set to come to fruition in the next 5-10 years.
Though we would predict a lower rate of property value growth over the next year, growth should still be expected – and it’s still likely to exceed the national average (as it has done throughout the pandemic). While a higher-than-average growth may not see high single- or double-digit increases, owning a Wirral property will remain an excellent investment for all types of buyers – but especially for landlords with a long-term view of their portfolio.
Worried about your investment, or looking to discuss investing in the Wirral property market? Contact Us today to talk to one of our experts and see what we can do to help you grow your business.
Zoopla Research Predicts Busiest Year Since 2008 Financial Crisis
The latest House Price Index Report from Zoopla looks at the state of the property market up to the end of April 2021 and carries a wide variety of information that should be of interest to tenants and landlords alike.
What the report says
While uncertainty has been the watchword of the last few years economically, as we’ve discussed in previous articles – the property market has had some extraordinary circumstances provoke some unpredictable changes. With changes to what buyers have been looking for, to the way we view property and expect it to offer, buyers and renters have been moving, not just to increase the number of rooms as they start their families, or decrease them as that family grows up, but because property has taken on new meaning through the course of 2021 – and that is reflected in £461 Bn in property sales.
Head of research at Zoopla, Gráinne Gilmore, said:
The report’s executive summary lays out the following key talking points:
- Sales completions forecast to reach 1.5 million this year, up from 1.04 million last year and the highest level since 2007
- The value of sales in 2021 is forecast to be £461 billion, up 68% from 2019 amid a rise in higher value homes exchanging
- Total stock of homes for sale remains constrained, down 20.8% in the year to mid-May compared to the average last year
- Annual house price growth is at 4.1%, up from 2.3% a year ago
- On a regional basis, the largest price growth is in Wales, at 6.3% and Yorkshire & the Humber at 5.4%
- Price growth in London is at 1.9%, the lowest level since March last year
While general CPI inflation remains at around 1%, house price inflation is at around 4% YoY – though this is just shy of 5% in the North West, just over 6% in Wales and in the Liverpool city region the increase is almost 7% (the highest of any UK city). This means that property value is rising at a rate much faster than general levels of inflation, making property more valuable in real terms.
What this report means for Wirral landlords
We’ve stated in previous articles that there are a number of ways landlords tend to treat real-terms (above inflation) property price increases – there are those that will look to exit the letting industry and cash in on one or more properties (this tends to be only popular among landlords owning one or two properties), there are those that will sell one or more properties and reinvest the profits into expanding, diversifying or improving their portfolio, and there are those that will look to reorganise their lending to free up capital to invest in their portfolio.
In truth, any of these options are perfectly rational for Wirral landlords – though it depends on how you see the future of the local market. At Wirral Homes, we believe that the number of projects currently in progress and the increasing investment in the area (as decentralisation of business, and remote working become an expectation rather than an option in some sectors) mean that property prices in the region are likely to remain on an upward trajectory in excess of the national average for at least the mid-term, making investment the recommended advice for our landlords.
What this report means for Wirral tenants
Affordability of rent is an issue throughout the UK and while the North West has some of the lowest rental costs as a percentage of income, there is still hope to be found for renters in the region in the projected flattening of rental prices which will come as a result of increased demand for city centre property. As we reach (hopefully) the end of lockdown measures, demand for city centre property has seen an increase – this will reduce upward pressure on rents in the more rural Wirral region, and therefore a stabilising of rent as demand and supply begin to reach more manageable levels.
Whether you’re new to the property sector or an old hand, it can be difficult to keep up to date with the constantly changing sector – but if you’d like a little help staying on top of things and reducing the stress of managing a property portfolio, you can Contact Us to see what we can do for you.
New CGI Images from Wirral Waters and Great News for Eco Friendly Landlords
With the promised launch of the first homes to take place at Wirral Waters in the summer, and with Wirral Council pushing for the peninsula to become one of the greenest places in the UK, there are a couple of stories that are likely to be of interest to those invested in the local property market.
The press was given a tour of the Peel L&P and Urban Splash East Float development about ten days ago, with fresh CGI depictions of the development’s potential look accompanying a tour around the newly laid foundations of what is looking like a fantastic mix of housing options (with the initial collaboration set to deliver 347 homes).
The development, which is likely to improve the general north bank area, turning a brownfield site into an attractive modern space will give the location and the waterfront a facelift. With developments like these – as we’ve mentioned in previous coverage of the subject – tending to have a knock-on effect on the surrounding area (especially with the job creation set to be central to the Peel L&P project and maritime resurgence predicted as a consequence), we expect to see an increase in demand in the surrounding areas.
We make sure we’re up to date on these – and all other developments with Wirral property markets, because we believe the best decisions are always the best informed ones. You can keep up to date with the latest news every week here on our blog.
Energy efficiency grants
Grants of up to £10K are available for the owners and residents of older Wirral properties can check their eligibility for the Green Grants here. With more energy efficient housing one of the main focuses of the current council’s plans, this scheme will provide grants for such improvements as insulation, solar panels and more.
The grants will depend on an in-depth survey of the property’s needs, as well as the provision of an up-to-date energy performance certificate (EPC) and the resident’s household income. Applications are set to be accepted to the 30th of September 2021 and grants must be spent by the end of the year (Friday 31st December).
Not only are energy efficient homes better for the environment, they are also cheaper to run for tenants and, with more and more tenants looking for environmentally friendly property and less expensive utility bills, they are also good for landlords.
While, for the most part, tenants will need to apply for the grants themselves – landlords can, with a tenant’s permission, apply for the grants on their behalf. If you’d like some help arranging the various visits and getting the paperwork in order, you can always speak to one of our experts to see how we can help manage the process.
What this means for Wirral landlords
The Wirral has been an incredible investment for landlords for at least a decade, but especially in the last couple of years, and the developments taking place and planned for the near future are likely to have an effect on property portfolios as Wirral becomes a more desirable and populous location.
At Wirral Homes, we believe that the peninsula is not only a fantastic place to live, but also that it’s getting better all the time. If you’d like us to be your experts on the local property market, Contact Us today to see what we can do for you.
Zoopla’s 2021 Q1 ‘UK Rental Market Report’ Analysed
The Zoopla report carries variations on a theme, and is similar in many ways to the HomeLet report covered last week – however, in addition to data on rent as a percentage of average income (with the North East again mentioned as offering the most affordable rents), there is some useful information in there on the possible developments we might see over the coming year.
What the report shows
The executive summary gives six main takeaways from the report, they are:
- Three distinct markets are emerging in UK rental market: the wider commuter zones and beyond, major city centres and London
- Across the UK outside London, there is strong rental demand amid constrained supply and rents are up +3% on the year
- Three English regions & Wales are recording the highest rental growth since March 2011
- Rental demand is building in city centres as lockdown eases and offices start to reopen
- In London, rental falls eased in Q1, with rents down -9.4% in the year to March, compared to -10% in the year to February
- Rental demand in inner London boosted as monthly rents in several boroughs hit their lowest levels since the index began in 2011, dramatically increasing affordability
As with the HomeLet report, there’s little that will come as a major surprise to Wirral landlords – there is upward pressure due to constrained supply in commuter zones which has led to increases across the region.
However, the data may come as a surprise – there was a 32% rise in rental demand over pre-pandemic levels, but a 5% reduction in supply over the same quarter in Q1. While the shortfall will be eased as some proportion of the population looks to move back to city centre property, there is still likely to be a significant gap between supply and demand.
Caused by many of the same issues as the shortfall in properties available to purchase (the relocation for space, as mentioned in coverage of previous reports), the rental property gap is also contributed to by smaller and single property landlords exiting during the last year. With rental demand tending to peak in the mid-late summer, there is likely to be further upward pressure for rent.
While the property market is a little uncertain (as all things are) as we begin to see the end of the pandemic on the horizon, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic – especially for Wirral landlords that can expect to see a steadily high demand, low re-let times and with a host of potential regeneration projects adding value to the region.
With 2021 unbelievably nearing its halfway point, it is still difficult to say for definite what the second half of the year has in store, but there is growing evidence that there will be continued growth as the UK adapts to life post-pandemic. While there may be fewer sales after the stamp duty holiday ends, there will remain plenty of opportunities for investment and reason to expect a steady yield from properties in the region.
Need some help keeping up with the rapidly changing UK property market, or help managing or growing your portfolio? We believe that the role of a letting agent is to be up to date with the latest information to help best represent our landlords’ interest. Contact Us today to see how we can help.
HomeLet’s April 2021 ‘Rental Index Report’ Analysed
With North West rental prices now averaging £791, the region has seen the sixth largest increase in rental costs in the UK and places as the fifth most expensive region to rent. This places the North West firmly in the middle of the pack – but with the end of the pandemic in sight, it will be interesting to see how things progress in the coming months.
What the report shows
The report offers the following five key takeaways:
- The average rent in the UK is now at a record high of £996 – the fifth month in a row that the average price has increased.
- When London is excluded, the average rent in the UK is now £853, showing an increase of 0.7% on last month, and an increase of 6.2% on last year.
- Nine of the twelve regions monitored by HomeLet showed a MOM increase in rental values between March 2021 and April 2021, with the North East seeing the largest increase of 2.4%.
- Eleven of the twelve regions monitored by HomeLet showed a YOY increase in rental values between April 2020 and April 2021, with the South West seeing the largest increase at 8.6%.
- However, rents in London continue to fall YOY, showing a 5.3% drop between April 2020 and April 2021 – the eleventh decrease in annual variance in subsequent months.
From the perspective of a Wirral landlord or tenant, what will be the most interesting is that – as with reports on the sale and purchase of property, the rental market too sees a shift between the city centre and the suburbs and from the suburbs to satellite towns and rural areas – with the increases almost flipped on their head from pre-pandemic norms.
In addition to being around the middle of the pack when it comes to increases and rental prices, the North West also rates as the second lowest (after the North East) in terms of rental costs to income ratio – meaning that, for the most part, the North West remains an excellent place to rent and work.
A note of caution
The report does, however, the report also offers some words of warning from HomeLet’s group CEO Andy Halstead who states:
The tone of much of Halstead’s message is somewhat downbeat, but while much of it deals with issues caused by the possible removal of section 21, the above quote is the real issue raised. There are a lot of people and businesses for whom and which the furlough scheme has proven a vital lifeline and, once it is withdrawn, there are likely to be job losses and a shock to the economy.
Unless this problem is addressed at its source by government – with a slower phased withdrawal of furlough or the assurance of backing for small businesses, there will be a knock-on effect on all sectors including the property market.
What this means for Wirral landlords
In short, the present situation makes the need for good landlord insurance – which offers cover for missed payments – even more plain. While we always advise our landlords to make sure they are covered by insurance, there should be a huge push to make sure that properties are covered for the losses that could follow one or more tenants in one or more properties losing their job as a direct effect of the end of furlough.
Need help keeping up with the latest news and changes to market conditions? Contact Us to see how we can help take the stress out of managing your property portfolio.
Are Landlords Growing in Confidence Heading Into Q2 of 2021?
Research by mortgage provider Paragon and BVA BDRC indicates that a larger proportion of landlords are looking to expand their property portfolio than at the same point last year, but with Wirral property commanding significantly higher prices than versus the same period, it’s understandable that there are some landlords considering letting one or more properties go.
With two of the North West’s largest increases year-on-year (according to Rightmove), it would be surprising if some Wirral landlords weren’t looking to sell one or two properties to invest the funds in the rest of their portfolio but, with yields high, the property market represents an interesting dilemma for landlords.
What does the Paragon and BVA BDRC research say?
The raw data doesn’t seem to be available anywhere, but the press release states that ‘almost 900’ landlords were surveyed, with 19% of all respondents stating an intention to invest – of which landlords with larger property portfolios more likely to add to their portfolio (around 30% of landlords with more than 10 properties).
Richard Rowntree, Managing Director for Mortgages at Paragon, stated:
The press release also states that less than a fifth of the landlords surveyed have expressed an intention to sell.
With a good representative sample size, but no information on how the sampling was performed across the various regions of the UK, we can’t really determine for definite how accurate the survey is – but it’s certainly better than many. As such, we think it represents a pretty good indication of the general feeling in the industry.
What does this mean for Wirral landlords?
Wirral landlords – like those in many of the rural and suburban areas of the UK – have experienced the last year somewhat differently to those in urban and city centre areas. As mentioned, the value of property has increased substantially more than in many other areas of the UK, and yields are higher than average and improving, so it’s no wonder some landlords may be in a quandary.
In our opinion, investment in Wirral is a hugely attractive prospect at the moment, and we would advise landlords managing a property portfolio to take this into account when calculating their prospects. The improved value may open up options for refinancing – releasing equity from the increased value of the portfolio in order to expand it. While the same increase in value will have obviously impacted purchase as well as sales prices, for landlords, there is a lot more room for manoeuvre in picking up a ‘fixer-upper’ if the portfolio will support such a property or properties while they are renovated.
There is a lot of regeneration work being planned in and around some of the historically lesser invested in areas of Wirral – and that could allow savvy investors to reap major rewards in the mid-term for those with a good knowledge of the area.
Want to discuss the possibilities on offer, or looking for a local expert to help you to manage and grow your Wirral property portfolio? Why not Contact Us today to see what we can do to help you get the most out of your portfolio?
Landlord’s Guide to Certifications
With so much to worry about, from marketing to maintenance, there’s often an information overload that can happen to new landlords, so we’ve put together this guide (and a growing series of free resources) to help you navigate the various responsibilities and obligations.
What certifications do landlords need?
The property sector has been increasingly regulated since the introduction of the Housing Act 1988 which made important changes to the rental system – including a change to all tenancies from January 1989 being either assured, or assured shorthold – this has progressed over the years to include a number of certificates and documents that a landlord needs in order to safely (for both parties) let a property. This includes:
- Electrical safety certificate
- Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
- Fire safety measures
- Gas safety certificate
- Landlord insurance
- Legionella risk assessment
- Proof of deposit protection
Electrical safety certificates
Some are legal requirements, others just best practice, but there are a number of different electrical certificates that landlords should look into.
Electrical Visual Inspection
While not yet a legal necessity, annual inspection of a property’s electrics is best practice for the modern landlord, and is used to determine if a property is in compliance with BS7671 electrical safety standards. A visual electrical inspection and should form part of the end of any tenancy as a minimum.
Portable Appliance Testing
On occasion, where a property is subject to licensing, landlords will need to have additional portable appliance testing (PAT), but investment in an annual test of these appliance is advisable to minimise risks for both landlord and tenant – and can be performed at the same time as the visual electrical inspection.
Electrical Installation Condition Report
By law, all tenants are entitled to a copy of a property’s EICR before they occupy the property, and a copy of the report must be passed to the qualified person who completes the next report, while local housing authorities must be supplied with a copy within seven days of a request.
Landlords found in breach of their duty in this respect can be fined up to £30,000, making it potentially very expensive for landlords that fail to comply.
Who conducts these tests?
These tests should always be conducted by a trained professional. While there is no similar scheme to Gas Safe for electricians, members of organisations such as NICEIC and ELECSA are able to self-certify their work and are, therefore, one of the better options for situations such as this which require proof of safety.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
In order to let a property, it must meet the minimum energy efficiency standard (currently ‘E’). In addition, it is a requirement for landlords to supply a copy of the report (including the recommendations) to prospective tenants; landlords also face a fine of up to £200 per advert if they fail to include the property’s energy rating.
Who conducts these tests?
EPCs can only be issued by an accredited domestic energy assessor, these can be found (for England, Wales and Northern Ireland) using the government portal, for landlords in Scotland, there is a separate service.
Fire safety measures
While there is no specific fire safety certificate, there are a host of rules that must be followed by landlords when looking to let a property. These include:
- Providing smoke alarms on each storey, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance
- Keeping fire escape routes clear at all times (and ensuring tenants do the same)
- All furniture and furnishings supplied must be fire safe
- Make sure that fire alarms and extinguishers are provided in any property classed as HMO (house in multiple occupation)
Who conducts these tests?
Unfortunately, there is no governing body or assessor that can assure your compliance with fire safety, instead it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that they are doing whatever they can to prevent fires. The London Fire Brigade does, however, have a useful guide to help landlords tick all of the necessary boxes.
Gas safety certificate
It is a legal requirement for landlords to ensure that all gas appliances conform with Part J, of the Building Regulations which must be assessed and issued a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate. Commonly referred to as a CP12, a landlord’s gas safety certificate is a document which must be provided to tenants by law (breeches of which are punishable by six months prison or a six thousand pound fine).
In addition to the initial certification (a copy of which should be kept for two years), an annual check-up should be conducted with a copy of the certificate supplied to the tenant within 28 days of the inspection.
Who conducts these tests?
Your gas safety certificate will need to be issued by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Gas Safe Register, which replaced CORGI in 2009 as the UKs gas registration body, operates a searchable online database of registered engineers, many of which will be able to offer the certification as a service.
Legionella risk assessment
Required at least bi-annually, a legionella risk assessment checks to see whether there is any risk to your water supply from the bacteria – which causes the potentially fatal legionnaires disease – to ensure that tenants are free from risk and that landlords don’t have to be worried about the possibility of being held legally accountable for any consequent problems.
Who conducts these tests?
While there is no legal requirement to have a professional undertake the assessment, the potential consequences of getting things wrong should cause landlords to think twice about testing themselves. However, as this is not illegal, landlords that believe they know the water-system well enough can find further information on the Health and Safety Executive website.
Proof of deposit protection
If you are letting a property using an assured shorthold agreement, you will need to place the deposit with one of three deposit protection schemes (we also have a guide covering inventory and deposit management) and your tenants are within their rights to request proof that this has been done – in fact, it is the landlords legal responsibility to provide this evidence within 30 days of receiving the deposit.
Who provides this document?
Once you have chosen which of the three companies you will be using to keep the deposit for the duration of the tenancy, they will be able to provide you with the written evidence to supply to your tenant.
While there’s a lot to consider when looking to manage a property, it is not impossible with a little research and effort. However, there are clear and often severe consequences for not complying with the various legal requirements and, for that reason, we always advise that you make absolutely certain that your certifications and documents are up to date and that you’ve covered all bases before you look to let your property.
Want help managing the various accreditations and certificates you’ll need to help let your property? Contact Us to speak to one of expert advisors and see what we can do to help take the stress out of managing your property portfolio.
May 11th Could See the End of Section 21 Notices
The government’s agenda for the next session of parliament will be set out in the Queen’s speech, and it is widely rumoured that part of that agenda will include the bill which has been a hot-button topic for both landlords and charities representing renters.
What is the Renter Reform Bill?
Announced in the Queen’s Speech on 19th December 2019, the Renter Reform Bill was described as: ‘[new] measures [which] will be brought forward to protect tenants and to improve building safety.’ This was followed by a consultation titled ‘A new deal for renting: resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants’ which included a proposed end to section 21 evictions, but with a strengthening of section 8 eviction processes; and another called ‘Tenancy deposit reform: a call for evidence’ which looked ‘at whether improvements can be made to deposit protection to the benefit of tenants and landlords.’ Overall, the bill is intended to improve outcomes for tenants and landlords as well as address issues with shorthold tenancies – with a possible removal of the ability of landlords to grant them in future.
What does this mean for landlords?
For the vast majority of landlords, the bill will be of no great concern as it aims to clamp down on unfair practices and poor conditions. While the possible end of shorthold tenancies and the removal of the section 21 notice has been met with some opposition, the aim is to provide good tenants with the housing security they need to prosper. In addition, there is no mention of any end to rental increases, so landlords can still expect to implement fair rental increases over the course of a tenancy, ensuring that neither party loses out.
What does this mean for tenants?
For tenants, the end of section 21 – the ‘no fault’ eviction – should be welcome news. While it has been the norm for many tenants to move regularly, this proposal will allow families greater housing security and the reduction in stress and upheaval that can result from having to move house every few years. In addition, charities such as Shelter are pushing for further measures to end unfair practices, stating:
What this means for Wirral
Wirral has been attempting to combat problem landlords for years now, with selective landlord licensing in areas that have been a problem historically, so landlords in the region will be well aware of the expectations that local government has of landlords in terms of the living conditions that tenants should be able to expect, and while it may seem to be better news for tenants than landlords, the proposed changes should be seen as an opportunity to secure long-term tenants that will respect the property and provide a secure rental income for years rather than months.
At Wirral Homes, we always attempt to provide secure housing for tenants and long term, profitable contracts for our landlords. We believe that it’s possible for both parties to be treated fairly and with respect and that this bill will simply legislate the practices of the excellent landlords we work with, and provide the kind of housing security that Wirral tenants need to make the region a better and more successful place for everyone.
Want help negotiating changing legislation – or just looking for a letting agent to help take the stress out of managing a property portfolio? Why not Contact Us to see what we can do for you?
Landlord’s Guide to Marketing a Property
All the way up to the early 2000s, a landlord could expect an advert in the local newspaper to deliver an appropriate tenant, but as their reach and readership declined, so too did their utility as a marketing channel for landlords. That leaves some new and established landlords with a lengthy learning curve to effectively market their rental property.
What is rental property marketing?
Rental property marketing is a combination of a number of skills and techniques, the main aim of which is to reduce the amount of time a rental property sits vacant by getting it in front of the right audience. This can include, but is not limited to:
- Use of social media and paid social media advertising
- Uploading the property to sites such as Zoopla
In order to know how and where to market the property, however, there are important steps you need to take which we’ll tackle one by one.
- Knowing your market
- Understanding what tenants in the area want
- Calculating your potential yield
- Advertising your property
Knowing your market
The first step to successfully marketing a rental property is knowing your market – not just the general area or city, but the ins-and-outs of the location of your property. In order to sell any product or service, it’s important to know as much as you can about it, and renting a property is no different. For that reason, you’ll need to consider the following:
- The local area – that means nearby schools, amenities, travel links and anything else about the location you could expect a tenant would want to know.
- Local availability – this is the vacant housing stock in the area; you can check this out online over a couple of weeks to see both the number of vacant properties that appear and the time it takes for them to find a tenant.
- The comparative finish of your property – although we always advise landlords to finish properties to a high standard, it is also advisable to know how your property compares to the competition as this should factor in to the rent you look to charge.
- The economic status of the area – this includes the employment percentages (whether you’ll be letting in an area with large populations of unemployed people or students should also factor in to your rental price) and general levels of income for the area.
- Location specific costs – that includes things such as landlord insurance premiums, ground rent for leasehold properties, council tax and anything else either you or the tenant can expect to pay.
- Your distance from the property (and how much you want to be involved) – while letting a property near to you is not always possible, being nearby is always easier if you want to be involved in the day-to-day needs of your tenants (in terms of repairs, servicing etc.)
Understanding what local tenants want
There are some commonalities with all people looking for accommodation and it’s important to know how many of those boxes your rental property ticks. Consider the following:
- Location – as previously, it’s important to know what is in the local area. How far away is the nearest city centre? How close is the local university campus? Tenants will want to know they can reach their place of employment or their lectures in a reasonable time.
- Cost – what are comparative properties charging in the area? Tenants will always want value for money, so knowing where your property sits on a local scale will help.
- Parking – is there parking for one or multiple vehicles? Is it off-road? With around 50% of adults in the UK having a driving license (75% in the UK), parking is an important consideration.
- Gardens and open spaces – especially following the pandemic, open spaces are a high priority for tenants and buyers alike, so even if you have a small space, ensure you’re making the most of it.
Using gross yield to calculate rental value
This is a fairly simple calculation in theory, you divide the average rental value by your property value – and that’s a useful indication of the gross yield you can expect for your property. You can also use the gross yield for an area to calculate a base rate for setting the rent for your property. There are plenty of places that have already done the calculations for you (we have most of the Wirral covered), but the raw data is also available from places like Home.co.uk and Zoopla.
While it’s not an exact science, and you will need to consider your monthly mortgage repayments, insurance, fees, repairs and maintenance and other property costs to ensure the rent you set will cover your outgoings, this calculation will give you an idea of where your property sits in the local market and allow you to set a competitive rent to ensure the best rates of occupancy.
Advertising your property
This can be tricky for new landlords – there are costs and platforms that will need to be navigated. The largest property portals, like Rightmove and Zoopla for example, do not deal directly with individual landlords, so you’ll need to pay for a third-party platform to add your property to one or both of them. Prices for these platforms cost between £30 and £150 and vary quite widely in what they offer in terms of the portals they deal with and the duration that an ad will be placed for.
In addition to deciding on which platform to use for this purpose, there are a few other things to consider:
- Images: you’ll want to include at least one photo of each room (including hallways/landings etc.) and the front and rear of the property and more if possible. If you don’t want to use a professional photographer, then you should at least take every effort to make it look like you did. Get the lighting right and make sure the rooms are set up to show them off.
- Description: like advertising any other project, your job is to sell the property with the description – so use your research of the local area, talk up the positive attributes of your property’s location, finish and features, try to sell the life your tenant could live in the property.
In addition to portals, there’s social media – both organic and paid. For a lot of people, social media sites have replaced newspapers and news sites as the primary news source. That has the combined effect of making ads in local newspapers less expensive, but also of making social media an important channel for marketing rental properties.
Organic social media
While you might share your posts about your rental properties from your main profile, you’ll want to set up a designated account from which to post information about your properties. Not only does this keep your business and personal life separate, it keeps a clear timeline which allows prospective tenants to see the properties quickly without scrolling through posts which might be irrelevant.
Paid social media
This could be a guide in itself, but the important things to consider here are budget and audience control – it’s very easy to spend a lot of money on social media advertising without the proper targeting in place. The research you did on your local area will again come in handy here – you’ll know the demographic of the local area.
Most social platforms will allow you to target demographics specifically – based on age, interests and many other criteria. In addition, you should look to geofence the area in which your ad will appear – this means adding a ‘miles from postcode’ element to your ad targeting to prevent the ad being shown to irrelevant audiences nationally or further afield which will quickly eat through your budget.
Although we’ve tried to offer enough information to get you going, marketing your own property can be a tough ask, so we’d encourage anyone looking to do so to look to one of the many landlord message boards for advice before making the commitment (and don’t wait until you have a vacant property to start thinking about it!).
Needing (or wanting) to market your property will often mean that you’ve decided to take the project on in full – so think about the other aspects you might have overlooked, like reference checks, contracts, deposit schemes, epc, gas safe and other certifications you need to legally let a property. Marketing is one of the trickier aspects of letting a property, but it’s far from the only one, so don’t open yourself up to legal problems by neglecting the rest.
Need a little help marketing your property, or looking for someone to ease the pressure of managing your property portfolio? Contact Us to see how we can help you take the stress out of letting your properties.
Birkenhead 2040 Framework Consultation Open for Contributions
Confirmed projects are set to be joined by several others in a bid to transform the town, the area is set to become a very different place to live and work. 2040 Framework, which boasts of an intention to offer residents the ‘connectivity of city living in harmony with nature’ is now welcoming contributions for an initial 8-week consultation period set to end on the 19th of May 2021, with the option to add comments on an interactive map.
Things are heating up with plenty of regeneration projects across Wirral, but there are few as ambitious as the transformation planned for Birkenhead – which council leader Janette Williamson states will be “the most transformational proposals for the town since the 1947 Town Plan”. With the Eureka! Mersey, Science and Discovery Centre set to open in 2022, the removal of the town centre flyovers set to begin, and development underway at Wirral Waters, fears that the regeneration could face further delays should be allayed for now.
The 2040 Framework itself is a hugely impressive document with ambitious plans to create a low carbon, nature filled town and a host of new infrastructure, commercial and residential areas.
The vision for the Birkenhead of 2040 is laid out in three statements:
- Birkenhead has grown into a thriving urban community on the left bank of the river Mersey.
- Chosen as home by families and entrepreneurs alike, drawn by the unique and historic waterfront environment and iconic design. A place of creativity, innovation and fun, a place to put down roots.
- Birkenhead has the connectivity of city-living but in harmony with nature. A place with room to breathe and space to grow.
With such wide-ranging changes necessary to bring this vision to life – including work on transport links and huge changes to the town to turn it into the low carbon town of the future, it will please a lot of people that have been disappointed by previous plans that a section of the document is dedicated to learning from ‘challenges [which have] hampered previous regeneration efforts.’ These include:
- A new delivery model which the document claims is ‘a game-changer for delivery – a dedicated, bespoke approach which can adopt the necessary 20-year time horizon, and assemble the skills required for truly transformational change.’
- High quality early delivery which intends to use the developments already in progress to drive further change.
- A strong partnership approach to place-making which has seen various partnerships established with Homes England and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to prepare joint business cases and secure funding.
- Investment in low-carbon infrastructure including a district heating system that will benefit old and new residential and commercial areas and a commitment to ‘attractive walking and cycling routes throughout the town’.
With residents now free to make comments on the interactive map, there is now the option to bring the community’s ideas to the attention of the council by highlighting one of three things:
- Asset – somewhere in Birkenhead that I think is beautiful.
- Opportunity – somewhere in Birkenhead which we should make more of.
- Change – somewhere in Birkenhead that needs to change.
While engagement with the consultation has been sparse, so far, hopefully the people of Birkenhead and Wirral in general will be inspired by the ambitious plans to put forward their ideas and help return Birkenhead to the iconic status it held in the past.
The online home of the consultation can be found here – and we hope that landlords and tenants alike, both of whom will benefit hugely from such plans to restore and improve the beauty and industry of Birkenhead for all.
At Wirral Homes, we like to keep our fingers on the pulse of the local property market – and you can be sure that extend the same commitment to our landlords and tenants. Contact Us today to see whether we can help you to find a home or let one.
A Landlord’s Guide to Inventory & Deposit Management
If there’s one thing that’s likely to sour an otherwise great relationship, it’s the end of a tenancy and the assessment of inventory and any possible deductions from a deposit. Years of positive interaction can be destroyed by misunderstandings or misconceptions, so we’re hopefully going to solve some of those problems here.
What is Inventory & Deposit Management?
While inventory management and deposit management are two separate things, at Wirral Homes, we consider them to be so interconnected that we combine our service to include both – a deposit is there to secure a landlord’s property and inventory against damage during the course of a tenancy agreement, so it makes sense to treat the management of inventory and of a tenant’s deposit as one thing with two aspects.
As such, we ensure that inventory is properly documented and assessed at the beginning and end of a tenancy and that the deposit is secured in a registered scheme and that both the interests of the landlord and tenant are served to the best of our abilities.
For a landlord looking to deal with such things for themselves, however, you would need to take each one separately.
How to Properly Manage Your Inventory as a Landlord
Whether you provide a furnished or unfurnished property, there will still be ‘inventory’ which should be reviewed before and after a tenancy. This includes making a record of things such as (but not limited to):
- Cracks or other indications of wear in the bathroom furniture (tiles, sinks, bathtubs etc.)
- Damage or faults with kitchen furniture such as cupboard doors, taps etc. (sticking or broken hinges, drips etc.)
- The state of curtains and carpets, for example – are there any holes, marks or discolouration?
- Furnished properties need to have the condition of all furniture noted. Including even the smallest rips in fabric or scratches on a coffee table
- The presence of and state of electrical and gas appliances – including their last test date and even the condition of the sockets they may be plugged in to
- Are there any chips, seal damage or other deterioration in the doors and windows?
Again, this list is far from exhaustive, and a full inventory report can take some time to properly compile. However, a well conducted review of inventory (with the tenant present if at all possible, or by an impartial third party if not), which is then distributed to all stakeholders, can prevent any costly and stressful disputes at the end of a tenancy.
The important thing here is clarity and transparency. By ensuring that the tenant is aware that the inventory is their responsibility and that they are satisfied that damage to the inventory beyond the level of reasonable wear and tear will also be their responsibility, you can foster an open and honest relationship at the outset and prevent problems in the long-term.
How to Properly Manage a Deposit as a Landlord
As there’s a legal requirement for deposits to be secured with a government approved deposit registration scheme inside of a 30-day period from the tenant moving in and the deposit being received, it is always advised that a landlord should be well acquainted with the process in advance of letting a property in order to avoid possible penalties.
Available deposit protection schemes:
These schemes can operate in one of two ways – either they can hold the deposit for free, which is known as a ‘custodial’ scheme, or you or your letting agent can hold the deposit and pay the scheme a fee to insure it, this is known as an ‘insured’ scheme.
The purpose of these is to provide both the tenant and landlord with a level of assurance that the deposit will be treated fairly and that disputes can be resolved impartially, it also has the benefit of making it more difficult for problem landlords to withhold a tenant’s deposit without good cause.
What can a landlord deduct from a deposit?
The deposit should, at all times, be considered the tenant’s money – provided this is kept in mind, it’s difficult to go too far wrong. As for deductions, the word to consider in all applicable legal information is always ‘reasonable’.
As such, the following could be considered reasonable deductions at the end of a tenancy (though, similarly, this is not an exhaustive list).
- Cleaning costs (to the standard at the beginning of the tenancy, if the tenant will not do so themselves)
- Damage (again, this requires the ‘reasonable’ proviso – if the bed is broken, but was used prior to the tenancy, then a new bed is unreasonable, but a replacement of the same condition would not be)
- Garden maintenance (to restore the garden to pre-tenancy level)
- Missing items (again, the condition of the missing item at the beginning of the tenancy should be considered)
- Unapproved changes to the property (redecoration, cat flaps etc.)
- Unpaid rent
- Unpaid utility bills (where the landlord suffers a direct loss)
Why Inventory & Deposit Management is Important
As mentioned throughout, the main reasons for the importance of proper inventory and deposit management are to maintain relationships and reduce the stress felt by all parties at the end of a tenancy. However, a secondary result is in reputation management – a tenant will always tell their friends and family about a poor experience, but when all efforts are taken to ensure fair treatment, you may find that a former tenant can be the perfect ambassador, willing to recommend you as a landlord – and word of mouth is still incredibly important even in the digital age.
Need some help to take the stress out of managing your property portfolio? Why not Contact Us today to see how we can help?
What Wirral Landlords Need to Know About New Tax Rules for 2021
Whether you are letting out a single room or a property portfolio, there are changes that will have some impact on how you manage your next set of tax returns. For that reason, we’ve decided to put together some information to help you prepare for the changes that took effect last week or that require prompt action.
What is a tax year?
Starting from the 6th of April each year and ending on the 5th of April the following year, a ‘tax year’ is the twelve-month period which is used to calculate an individual’s or businesses owed tax amounts. A new tax year also represents the renewal of various tax allowances.
What are the main changes for 2021/22?
The new tax year always brings changes for landlords but, after a difficult year for many, keeping up with various announcements can prove to be tough to do. However, the main things landlords will need to be aware of are as follows:
Capital gains tax allowance
2021 has continued to be a seller’s market and, as a result, some landlords have looked to capitalise on substantial increases in the value of property in some areas to raise money to invest elsewhere in their portfolio. The new tax year brings with it a new capital gains tax allowance, and while the rate of capital gains tax is subject to conversations at the governmental level at the moment, present levels for the disposal of residential property remain at 28% for higher rate and 18% for basic rate.
The new tax year will see no changes to the allowance either, with annual exemption remaining £12,300 for an individually owned property (rising to a pooled £24,600 for joint owned properties with a partner).
Making Tax Digital rules
It is the government’s stated ambition is to make the UK one of the more digitally advanced tax administrations. The ‘Making Tax Digital (MTD)’ programme is a core part of that, and makes fundamental changes to how the tax system works.
Landlords with property income above £10,000 annually will need to follow the new MTD rules for Income Tax from the start of their next accounting period after the 6th of April 2023, though
landlords can choose to get ahead of this change by using software to keep business records and send income tax updates to HMRC rather than filling in a self-assessment return.
Mortgage interest tax credit
Following the removal of mortgage interest tax relief in April of 2020, landlords will be looking to familiarise themselves with a new tax credit scheme for the first time this year. The tax credit is the equivalent of 20% of mortgage interest for the year. You can find out more about this 20% relief from Which which has compiled an extensive report on the details and impacts of the change.
Property income allowance
As with the capital gains tax allowance, the £1,000 allowance that landlords are permitted to receive before incurring tax is also renewed as of the 6th of April. Although the amount may not be life-changing, it is always worth ensuring that you are taking advantage of all of the available allowances when calculating your finances for the year – and this allowance also doubles for properties owned jointly with a partner.
Rent a Room scheme
For landlords that earn their money renting furnished accommodation on a long-term basis, the Rent a Room scheme allows untaxed earnings of up to £7,500. This allowance applies to resident landlords, and those running a bed and breakfast or guest house.
However, in this instance, if the income is shared with a partner or someone else, the allowance is halved to £3,750.
At Wirral Homes, we believe it’s our responsibility to ensure we’re up to date on any legislation that may impact our landlords or tenants – and it’s something we take very seriously. If you’d like to talk to us about how we can take the stress out of your property portfolio, or property search, Contact Us today.
Zoopla’s March 2021 Property Market Report Digested
Unsurprisingly, the extended stamp duty holiday and news of a replacement scheme has had a big impact on the demand for, and consequently the price of property throughout the UK, with the Wirral seeing the second highest growth after Wales for the year to February.
The main statistic from this month’s report is the predicted 1% growth for the year 2021. While the last year has seen huge growth powered by seismic changes to the way we live and work, the end to various support measures combined with an end to lockdown and eventual end of the stamp duty holiday look likely to combine to halt the growth – though not to reverse the trend entirely.
For the time being, however, the report features the growth to February which – for the North West – has reached 5.4% overall.
This may be at least partially, the report theorises, due to the proportion of property in the area which falls below the tapered stamp duty threshold that will be in place for much of the rest of the year.
The report puts it as follows:
“As such, we expect continued upwards pressure on pricing in the North and Midlands as demand, which we had expected to be sustained even if the stamp duty holiday ended, is now further encouraged by the continued savings on offer.“
However, the report continues to state that ‘the data signals that the ‘reassessment of home’ among existing homeowners is set to continue, resulting in a search for space – inside or out, or looking to live in a different location.’ Gráinne Gilmore, Head of Research at Zoopla summarised as follows:
“The search for space is driving continued demand for family homes, putting more upwards pressure on pricing for houses than for flats. Houses are also selling more quickly.”
While the forecast for 2021 overall is not as optimistic as could be hoped, the unprecedented growth of property value during what is essentially a slow boiling recession, and the fact that there is growth predicted at all is impressive.
Zoopla sums up the trends from February as follows:
- Demand spikes after Budget while new supply still lags
- The post-pandemic ‘search for space’ means average time to sell for houses falls to 42 days, some 20 days less than flats
- The ‘search for space’ is also putting more upwards pressure on price growth for houses, up +4.9% year on year, compared to flats, up +1.9% year on year
- Annual price growth at +4.1% in February, up from +1.8% growth a year ago
- Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds & Nottingham leading on city price growth, rising at more than 5% year on year
- Markets in North well positioned to take advantage of tapered stamp duty extension, with 70%+ of available supply priced at up to £250,000
All this means that landlords in the Wirral area find themselves in a position where growing their portfolio of properties may be expensive. However, using current equity to improve existing properties may represent an ideal opportunity to capitalise on the increased value of their properties and unlock the potential for higher rental values can come as a result.
At Wirral Homes, we feel it’s vital to stay up to date with trends both locally and nationally in order to give our landlords the best advice we can. Want to discuss how to maximise the return of your property portfolio? Contact Us today.
Four Years On – What’s Happening with New Ferry Regeneration?
With plans to use Compulsory Purchase Orders approved earlier this month set to end an ongoing impasse, and outline permissions granted in September of 2020, the area may be on the verge of seeing some much needed progress – though the completion of the project may still be some years off.
The local council, which has been granted £1.3 Mn to complete purchases of the outstanding properties, has stated that it hopes to find a developer to work with on the regeneration of the three sites as quickly as possible. The statement from Anita Leech, chair of the council’s economy, regeneration and Development Committee reads:
“Residents and businesses in New Ferry are quite rightly desperate for this transformation to take place as soon as possible.
“They have made their views known through a number of consultations and have played a significant part in helping shape and design the plans that we are looking to take forward.
“It has been a highly complex process, however, with much of the land needed in private ownership.
“The council has made steady progress, through an investment of more than £1.3 million, on acquiring pockets of land across the three sites and now is the time for us to conclude the purchase of the remaining land.
“This is essential to avoid any delays in appointing a development partner to bring these much-needed regeneration plans to fruition as quickly as possible.”
While CPOs are not the way many would have hoped for the process to move on, progress has been needed for the site which many have felt has been neglected by local and national government. With outlines already approved, there are early indications of what the area may look like eventually, but further information and designs likely won’t appear until after the council has found a development partner.
Across the three sites, initial proposals include building 79 new residential units – which includes a mix of two and three-bedroom houses, as well as one and two-bedroom apartments – as well as planning consent for more than 1,000 m2 of retail floorspace.
While the wait continues – at least in the short-term – for observable progress on these new developments, residents have also been pleased to see the return of artist Paul Curtis to the area to take the total number of his murals to 12 over the coming weeks. The artist has stated:
“It took 18 months to get phase one started because some people were against it but thankfully the reception to that has been all positive, and the people who were against it initially are now all for it.”
The murals, which have brought a wonderful splash of colour to the area, will see Curtis in his grey Cherry Picker return to New Ferry for the continuation of the project which he hopes can have an impact. Along with the developments on the area affected by the explosion, the murals – he hopes – ‘send a message that something is starting to happen now. It has lifted the mood a little bit.’
With money available for the area – in addition to the funds available for the CPOs, there has been a further £3.2 Mn awarded to New Ferry as part of a larger regeneration fund – and the final hurdles seemingly overcome in taking ownership of the three sites for the purposes of regeneration, we can hope that we’ll start to see some real progress coming soon – especially as the wider area is set to experience sweeping changes over the coming years.
This has obvious implications for residents and landlords in the area – New Ferry has faced some hard times since the event in 2017, and that has led to it becoming a less attractive place both to rent and let properties. However, both landlords and renters alike can take great encouragement that there appears to be a much-needed sea change on the way.
Looking to take your next steps in the Wirral property market, or need advice from local experts? Contact Us today to see how Wirral Homes can help.
Is the Wirral Set for a Maritime Property Boom?
While there are, of course, confounding factors – including general growth in the UK economy, according to the data available on the UK land registry site, the period of 1994 to 2011 saw property prices outperform inflation by a considerable margin.
Reasons to be cheerful?
As the nation gears up for the end of the strictest lockdowns, there are several things that could prove to be major positives for the Wirral over the coming years – and many of them involve a reinvigoration of the region’s relationship with the sea.
From the investment in marine engineering and the building of a Maritime Knowledge Hub to help compliment the nearby Marine Engineering College and help to locally train the next generation of maritime expertise, to the recent announcement around free port status (both of which we’ve covered previously), the sea may once again prove to be a source of riches for Merseyside – and from the perspective of our audience, could prove to be a boon for the local property market.
This is not only a matter of import and export, however, or even of industry – there are plans which, if well executed, could boost tourism for the riverside, and even a number of environmental projects (including the 2019 decision to stop using pesticides on Hoylake beach which has led to the area becoming a haven for wildlife and praise from renowned naturalist David Attenborough).
All of this is likely to prove beneficial for property owners in the region – but, evidence suggests, the freeport status could supercharge the increasing value of Wirral property.
What is a free port?
Allowing goods to move via the UK without tariffs, freeports aim to boost local economies by increasing their attractiveness to transport companies which need to make stops for refuelling and supply between the exporting and importing nations. This is intended to increase the through flow for these free ports and, therefore, increase employment in everything from the service to engineering sectors. While there is mixed evidence as to the effectiveness of previous freeports, one thing that did improve during the period of 1984 and 2011 (when the Merseyside region was last designated a freeport) was property value.
Wirral property price boom?
While the data available from the land registry only dates back as far as 1994 and therefore only the last 17 years of the freeport’s tenure, what can be seen is that the average property value (using sale value) increased at a rate which massively outperformed inflation – with a cumulative 0.6% increase per month average (or 7.2% per year) which exceeded inflation by 4.3%. This, even when prices are adjusted for inflation, equates to a 90% increase in property values during the period.
If we take the years between 2012 and 2020 (for which we can attain figures), the performance of the Wirral property market – which averaged a 1.1% above inflation increase (at 3.36% per year) has still grown strongly, but nowhere near as well – even with the 2020 boost brought on by the global pandemic which skews the figures slightly.
Will this growth be repeated?
While it’s impossible to predict the future, the stars seem to aligning for a Wirral maritime renaissance and, combined with a predicted, albeit Brexit hampered, post pandemic economic recovery, the various construction projects and likely decentralisation of many previously office based jobs, the Wirral looks set to experience a huge regeneration over the next decade and that can only mean good things both for the local property market and the local population, which can hopefully look forward to some good times ahead.
Looking to invest in the Wirral property market, but not sure how or where to start? Looking for some help managing your growing property portfolio? Why not Contact Us today? Wirral Homes are your experts on the Wirral.
Wirral Regeneration Takes Next Steps
Although plans in various forms have been circulating for some time, decisions on the removal of two Birkenhead flyovers and a new announcement on Wirral Waters seems to indicate that the region’s regeneration is set to see real progress over the next couple of years.
Where is regeneration set to take place?
Following the cancellation of a £30 Mn regeneration plan in 2016, a more ambitious proposal was put forward by Wirral Council. While there have been plenty of false starts, the regeneration of Birkenhead looks set to begin. With projects such as the Urban Splash and Peel L&P project set to begin delivering 350 homes to the East Float area shortly, and the approval of the removal of two flyovers in the Birkenhead Central/Hind Street area along with £8 Mn in funding announced by the Liverpool City Regions Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram.
Rotheram also added:
When it is finished, this project should help to breathe new life into the area, create hundreds of affordable homes for local people and bring communities closer together.
What does the plan involve?
Rather than a single plan for regeneration, the proposals include several developments with a number of different partners. While the East Float project will feature a joint £60 Mn project between Urban Splash and Peel L&P, it is only a part of the wider Peel development of the waterfront, while the Birkenhead Central Gateway project has yet to announce official partners.
However, while we may not know all there is to know about the various regeneration projects, we do know that the Birkenhead Central Gateway project is set to make use of the expanded Hind Street brownfield site in order to create an area of commercial and housing development that will potentially deliver hundreds of new family homes. The Peel L&P project, however, which has been announced and re-announced for what feels like a decade or more, has been busy laying the groundwork for a hugely ambitious 300-acre waterfront redevelopment which is set to begin in earnest between now and 2025 at which point they expect five key locations to be completed.
What does this mean for investors in the Wirral’s property market?
The Wirral has received a host of exciting news in the last week – with the Liverpool City Region being granted freeport status at the latest budget announcement, the announcement that the Urban Splash and Peel project is to start taking shape this year, and the latest approval for the removal of the Birkenhead flyovers. Along with an extension to the stamp duty, this news should encourage anyone in two minds about investing in the area to take the plunge.
The regeneration plans, which are aiming to markedly improve the look and feel of the Birkenhead and Seacombe area as well as the health and happiness of residents mean that investment should see handsome returns as the changes begin to take place.
2020/21 has proven to be a perfect storm for the improvement of the Wirral property market as a whole, with the pandemic allowing former city dwellers to seek homes further from the city as home working became a permanent option for many as well as Brexit, for all its many possible downsides, appearing to prompt massive investment in the nation’s too long overlooked shipping and maritime industries.
All of this contributes to the huge potential that the Wirral and specifically, in this case, for lettings in Birkenhead and Seacombe areas have to provide fantastic returns – as the local area experiences a boom in industry, tourism and commerce over the next five years.
Interested in taking your next steps in the Wirral property market? Why not Contact Us to see how we can help?
Does Your Property Require a Selective Landlord License?
While the additional paperwork required to let properties in selective licensing zones may put some people off investing, there is something to be said for purchasing a potential bargain in an area specifically reserved for landlords who, like you, genuinely want to let out great property in great condition and expect a great return.
What is Selective Landlord Licensing?
Introduced following The Housing Act of 2004, landlord licenses are sometimes required by local authorities for properties within a set area(s). The purpose of this selective licensing is to allow councils to monitor and improve the condition of local, private sector housing. Councils operating the licensing practice do so in order to put a stop to landlords renting their properties in an unacceptable conditions.
Despite its excellent location and nearby amenities, housing stock in the area highlighted by the boundaries of the selective licensing area had been deteriorating until the introduction of selective licensing. Now, as the area regenerates, landlords prepared to apply for and abide by the rules of the license will no doubt be pleased by the performance of their investment.
|Property Numbers||Street||Postcode||Post Town|
|1-24||All||Alexandra Road||CH43 4XX||Prenton|
|1-40||All||Alfred Road||CH43 4XX, CH43 4TX||Prenton|
|12-24||Evens||Balls Road||CH43 5RE||Prenton|
|1-8||All||Belmont Road||CH43 4TR||Prenton|
|298-300||Evens||Borough Road||CH41 2RB, CH41 2UW||Birkenhead|
|3-39||Odds||Euston Grove||CH43 4TY, CH43 4TZ||Prenton|
|1-19||Odds||Francis Avenue||CH43 4XL||Prenton|
|1-65||Odds||Grange Mount||CH43 4XN||Prenton|
|4-58||Evens||Grange Mount||CH43 4XW||Prenton|
|1-14 Thomas Court||All||Grange Mount||CH43 4XU||Prenton|
|75-125||Odds||GrangeRoad West||CH43 4XB, CH43 4XF||Prenton|
|90-140||Evens||GrangeRoad West||CH43 4XF, CH43 4XG, CH43 4XQ||Prenton|
|1-28||All||Grange View||CH43 4TN, CH43 4TL||Prenton|
|1-20||All||Hawarden Avenue||CH43 4XJ||Prenton|
|1-8||All||Henthorne Street||CH43 4TA||Prenton|
|1-21||All||Merton Place||CH43 4XD||Prenton|
|1-27||Odds||Osborne Road||CH43 4XT||Prenton|
|13-67||Odds||Oxton Road||CH41 2QQ, CH41 2TL||Birkenhead|
|44-150A||Evens||Oxton Road||CH41 2TP, CH41 2TW||Birkenhead|
|7-61||Odds||Park Road South||CH43 4UN, CH43 4UW||Prenton|
|1-23||Odds||Quarry Bank||CH43 4XX||Birkenhead|
|1-22||All||Radnor Place||CH43 4XH||Prenton|
|1-20||All||Ravenscroft Road||CH43 4XY||Prenton|
|1-45A||All||Ridley Street||CH43 4TT||Prenton|
|2-32||All||Shaw Street||CH41 2XE||Birkenhead|
|1-33||All||The Lindens, Alfred Road||CH43 4YH||Prenton|
|2-3||All||Tetbury Street||CH41 2XP||Birkenhead|
|1-11||All||Town View||CH43 4YE||Prenton|
|1-3||Odds||Town View Mews||CH43 4YD||Prenton|
|The Spire||All||Westbourne Road||CH43 4TG||Prenton|
|12-98||All||Westbourne Road||CH43 4JE, CH43 4TF, CH43 4TG, CH43 4TQ||Prenton|
|32-42||Evens||Whetstone Lane||CH41 2TF||Birkenhead|
Within walking distance of Prenton Park, and in an area with easy access to good schools, great parks and other essentials, the Egerton North selective licensing area was only short of landlords that cared as much about the area as the local residents – something which has helped to begin the regeneration of the area since licensing was introduced.
|Property Numbers||Street||Postcode||Post Town|
|575A-605||Odds||Borough Road||CH42 0HD||Birkenhead|
|60-88||Evens||Church Road||CH42 0LH||Birkenhead|
|70-124||Evens||Derby Road||CH42 7HD||Birkenhead|
|18-28||Evens||Elm Road||CH42 0LX||Birkenhead|
|3-149||Odds||Elmswood Road||CH42 7HN, CH42 7HW||Birkenhead|
|1-89||All||Fountain Street||CH42 7JD, CH42 7JH||Birkenhead|
|2-23||All||Greenbank Road||CH42 7JS||Birkenhead|
|1-57A||All||Greenway Road||CH42 0ND, CH42 0NG||Birkenhead|
|4-156||All||Harrowby Road||CH42 7HU, CH42 7HS||Birkenhead|
|1-25||All||Harrowby Road South||CH42 7HY||Birkenhead|
|1-28||All||Heathbank Road||CH42 7LD||Birkenhead|
|2-66||All||North Road||CH42 7JE, CH42 7JG||Birkenhead|
|1-43||All||St. Catherines Gardens||CH42 7JJ||Birkenhead|
|1-7A||All||Walker Mews||CH42 0NH||Birkenhead|
|17-31||Odds||Walker Place||CH42 0LZ||Birkenhead|
|4-10A||Evens||Walker Street||CH42 0LY||Birkenhead|
|1-19 Walker Heights||Evens||Walker Street||CH42 0LY||Birkenhead|
|1-128||All||Whitford Road||CH42 7HZ, CH42 7JA||Birkenhead|
Egremont Promenade South
The Egremont Promenade South selective licensing zone includes the characterful red brick houses familiar to the area and neighbours some of the best performing areas on the Wirral. However, while poor maintenance and other housing stock issues have led to the introduction of the selective licensing, prospective investors will find fantastic value for money and great potential.
|Property Numbers||Street||Postcode||Post Town|
|4-24||Evens||Blenheim Road||CH44 8BR||Wallasey|
|1-23||All||Church Gardens||CH44 8HF||Wallasey|
|2-48||All||Egremont Promenade||CH44 8BG, CH44 8BQ||Wallasey|
|Avenue Cottage||All||Greenwood Lane||CH44 1DQ||Wallasey|
|1-5 York Cottages||All||Greenwood Lane||CH44 1DQ||Wallasey|
|2-132||Evens||King Street||CH44 8AN, CH44 8AU, CH44 8AW||Wallasey|
|1-129 (exc. 73)||Odds||King Street||CH44 0BY, CH44 0BZ, CH44 8AT||Wallasey|
|1-19||All||Kinglake Road||CH44 8BS||Wallasey|
|1-9||Odds||Poole Road||CH44 1EB||Wallasey|
|2-42||Evens||Poole Road||CH44 1ED||Wallasey|
|2-42||Evens||Pooley Close||CH44 0FA||Wallasey|
|2||All||Rice Lane||CH44 0AF||Wallasey|
|3-19||Odds||Rudgrave Place||CH44 0EJ||Wallasey|
|2-8||Evens||Rudgrave Place||CH44 0EJ||Wallasey|
|2-36||Evens||Rudgrave Square||CH44 0FD, CH44 0EL||Wallasey|
|13-51||Odds||Rudgrave Square||CH44 0EL||Wallasey|
|1-16||All||Seabank Avenue||CH44 1EH||Wallasey|
|2-18||Even||Seabank Road||CH44 8BA, CH44 8BB||Wallasey|
|3-45||Odds||Seabank Road||CH44 0EE, CH44 8BA||Wallasey|
|1-32||All||St. Brides Road||CH44 8BN||Wallasey|
|1-21||All||St. Columbas Close||CH44 8EY||Wallasey|
|1-29||All||St. Elmo Road||CH44 8BL||Wallasey|
|2-24||All||St. Lucia Road||CH44 8BW||Wallasey|
|1-28||All||St. Vincent Road||CH44 8BJ||Wallasey|
|3-17||Odds||Tobin Street||CH44 8DF||Wallasey|
|1-21||All||Trafalgar Avenue||CH44 8BP||Wallasey|
|6-26||Evens||Trafalgar Road||CH44 0EA||Wallasey|
|11-73||Odds||Trafalgar Road||CH44 0DZ||Wallasey|
|1-66||Odds||Wright Place||CH44 8BD, CH44 8BE||Wallasey|
Between Seacombe, Liscard and and Wallasey, the Egremont South selective licensing area also includes Central Park and is within a reasonable walk from the ferry terminal for commuters to Liverpool. The area has huge potential and is beginning to realise it thanks to landlords willing to go the extra mile to improve the local housing stock.
|Property Numbers||Street||Postcode||Post Town|
|1-42||All||Alverstone Road||CH44 9AA||Wallasey|
|2-56||Evens||Birnam Road||CH44 9AX, CH44 9AY||Wallasey|
|1-15||All||Church Close||CH44 8HG||Wallasey|
|21-219||Odds||Church Street||CH44 8AF, CH44 8AG||Wallasey|
|1-11||All||Churchmeadow Close||CH44 8HQ||Wallasey|
|33-75||Odds||Clarendon Road||CH44 8EJ||Wallasey|
|44-90||Evens||Clarendon Road||CH44 8EP||Wallasey|
|1-16||All||Dalehurst Close||CH44 8AE||Wallasey|
|2A||All||Drayton Road||CH44 9EQ||Wallasey|
|1-11||All||Elmbank Street||CH44 9BG||Wallasey|
|49-87||Odds||Falkland Road||CH44 8EW||Wallasey|
|128-158||Evens||Falkland Road||CH44 8ER||Wallasey|
|1-12||All||Gorsebank Street||CH44 9BQ||Wallasey|
|2-50||Evens||Halville Road||CH44 9AZ||Wallasey|
|67-107||Odds||Liscard Road||CH44 8AE||Wallasey|
|62A-84||Evens||Liscard Road||CH44 8AA||Wallasey|
|South Lodge||All||Liscard Road||CH44 0BS||Wallasey|
|1-38||All||Lumley Road||CH44 9AB||Wallasey|
|1-77||All||Northbrook Road||CH44 9AP, CH44 9AR||Wallasey|
|1-9||All||Oakbank Street||CH44 9BE||Wallasey|
|1-8||All||Park Avenue||CH44 9DZ||Wallasey|
|1-77||All||Park Road||CH44 9EA, CH44 9EB||Wallasey|
|1-46||All||Parkside||CH44 9AH, CH44 9AJ||Wallasey|
|117-153||Odds||Poulton Road||CH44 9DF||Wallasey|
|102-122||Evens||Poulton Road||CH44 9DJ||Wallasey|
|1-17||All||Redfield Close||CH44 8HY||Wallasey|
|2-44||All||Rivington Road||CH44 9AN, CH44 9AW||Wallasey|
|1-22||All||Trentham Road||CH44 9EG||Wallasey|
|1-22||All||Withington Road||CH44 9BH||Wallasey|
The Seacombe Library selective licensing area is one which offers great transport connections, situated near the A59 and with rail connections to Liverpool and Chester nearby – as well as the ferry terminal. With the help of selective licensing, the area could quickly become a highly desirable place to rent and to own property.
|Property Numbers||Street||Postcode||Post Town|
|4-14||Evens||Addington Street||CH44 9DS||Wallasey|
|2-68||Evens||Albemarle Road||CH44 6LX||Wallasey|
|71-103||Odds||Bell Road||CH44 8DP||Wallasey|
|78-108||Evens||Bell Road||CH44 8DP||Wallasey|
|8-64||Evens||Belle Vue Road||CH44 6JY||Wallasey|
|136-192||All||Borough Road||CH44 6NH, CH44 6NE||Wallasey|
|2-77||All||Brougham Road||CH44 6PW, CH44 6PN||Wallasey|
|2-24||All||Bulkeley Road||CH44 9DR||Wallasey|
|1||All||Clarence Road||CH44 9ES||Wallasey|
|1-49||Odds||Edith Road||CH44 6LG||Wallasey|
|1-17||Odds||Ethel Road||CH44 6LR||Wallasey|
|2||All||Ethel Road||CH44 6LR||Wallasey|
|1-46||All||Florence Road||CH44 6LE, CH44 6LF||Wallasey|
|1-10||All||Gladstone Road||CH44 6JZ||Wallasey|
|1-19||Odds||Glenburn Road||CH44 6PY||Wallasey|
|6-57||All||Hatherley Street||CH44 6RA||Wallasey|
|1-13||Odds||Hood Street||CH44 6LS||Wallasey|
|2-36||All||Ilchester Road||CH44 9DP||Wallasey|
|1-63||Odds||Kenilworth Road||CH44 6QG||Wallasey|
|2-42A||Evens||Liscard Road||CH44 6LN, CH44 6LW||Wallasey|
|3-37||Odds||Liscard Road||CH44 6LT||Wallasey|
|1-45||All||Mainwaring Road||CH44 9DN, CH44 9DW||Wallasey|
|4-38||Evens||Naples Road||CH44 7HL||Wallasey|
|1-73||Odds||Poulton Road||CH44 6LB, CH44 9DD||Wallasey|
|22-58||Evens||Poulton Road||CH44 9DQ||Wallasey|
|1-71||Odds||Rappart Road||CH44 6QD||Wallasey|
|54-106||Evens||Rappart Road||CH44 6QF||Wallasey|
|1-5||Odds||Wesley Grove||CH44 6QB||Wallasey|
|1-61||All||Wickham Close||CH44 6RD, CH44 6RB||Wallasey|
The Tranmere Lairds selective licensing zone is next door to central Birkenhead centre, has excellent transport links and features properties of multiple sizes and huge potential. With the Tranmere area selected to help improve the local housing options, there is huge potential for landlord’s willing to help out to make great returns.
|Property Numbers||Street||Postcode||Post Town|
|2-178||All||Argyle Street South||CH41 9BX, CH41 9BY, CH41 9BZ, CH41 9DA||Birkenhead|
|Central Station House||35||Borough Road||CH41 2XS||Birkenhead|
|1A-53||Odds||Clifton Road||CH41 2SE, CH41 2SF||Birkenhead|
|1-8 Clifton Court||All||Clifton Road||CH41 2SE||Birkenhead|
|9-16 Venture Court||All||Clifton Road||CH41 2SE||Birkenhead|
|16-28||Evens||Frodsham Street||CH41 9DN||Birkenhead|
|1-18||All||Green Lane||CH41 9AG||Birkenhead|
|1-23||All||Helmingham Grove||CH41 9EY||Birkenhead|
|1-5||All||Hillside Close||CH41 9HU||Birkenhead|
|34-60||All||Hillside Road||CH41 9EQ, CH41 9ER||Birkenhead|
|1-11||All||Hinderton Close||CH41 9HE||Birkenhead|
|2-165||All||Hinderton Road||CH41 9AA, CH41 9AB, CH41 9AD, CH41 9AE, CH41 9AF||Birkenhead|
|1-38||All||Holborn Hill||CH41 9DJ||Birkenhead|
|1-86||All||Holt Hill||CH41 9DG,CH41 9DH, CH41 9DQ||Birkenhead|
|3-23||Odds||Holt Hill Terrace||CH42 5LB||Birkenhead|
|12-82||Evens||Holt Road||CH41 9ES||Birkenhead|
|2-40||Evens||Leighton Road||CH41 9DZ||Birkenhead|
|5-55||Odds||Leighton Road||CH41 9DU||Birkenhead|
|1-31||All||Marquis Street||CH41 9DU||Birkenhead|
|2-48||Evens||Old Chester Road||CH41 9AU||Birkenhead|
|45-69||Odds||Old Chester Road||CH41 9AW||Birkenhead|
|Station House||1||Old Chester Road||CH41 9AN||Birkenhead|
|1-12||All||Olive Crescent||CH41 9DR||Birkenhead|
|8-48||Evens||Olive Mount||CH41 9DP||Birkenhead|
|31-37||Odds||Olive Mount||CH41 9DL||Birkenhead|
|The Willows||39||Olive Mount||CH41 9DP||Birkenhead|
|1-2||All||Pearson Road||CH42 5LA||Birkenhead|
|1-64||All||Pembroke Court||CH41 9BJ||Birkenhead|
|1-49||39||Queen Street||CH41 9AS||Birkenhead|
|1-73 Vincent Naughton Court||All||Rodney Street||CH41 2ZA||Birkenhead|
|19-182||All||Rodney Street||CH41 2RG, CH41 2RN, CH41 2RQ, CH41 2SB, CH41 2SD||Birkenhead|
|4 Cromwell Row||All||Warrington Street||CH41 9AL||Birkenhead|
|1-2 Marquis Mews||All||Warrington Street||CH41 9AP||Birkenhead|
|1-19 Mersey View||All||Warrington Street||CH41 9AR||Birkenhead|
|1-8 Priory View||All||Warrington Street||CH41 9AX||Birkenhead|
|1-19 River View||All||Warrington Street||CH41 9AQ||Birkenhead|
|1-10||All||Westbury Street||CH41 9DT||Birkenhead|
|101-135 Vincent Naughton Court||Odds||Whetstone Lane||CH41 2TE, CH41 9DE||Birkenhead|
Whether you’ve found your potential investment in one of the special licensing areas, it’s well worth noting that – despite the additional paperwork – these zones are in place specifically to improve the housing on offer. For that reason, the inconvenience initially should be hugely outweighed by the gains possible if all landlords in the area look to do their part in making a difference to the local community.
Need help attaining a selective landlord license? Why not speak to one of our experts? Contact Us today.
Property Portfolio Management Guide
By carefully managing a property portfolio, or contracting the services of a property portfolio management company to do so for you, a landlord can improve profitability. This is achieved not only through portfolio expansion, but also by improving rental yields, increasing capital growth, minimising vacancy time and overheads.
What is property portfolio management?
Property portfolio management, as you would imagine, is more than a single thing – it’s a set of tasks which, if performed regularly and well, can improve the profitability of any property portfolio. These tasks include, but are not limited to:
Whether it’s via a landlord injecting money into his portfolio, or through leveraging the equity of existing properties to land a bargain, expansion is a key method of improving profitability for owners of property portfolios. By spreading investment either across a range of property markets, locations or classes, a diversification of the portfolio through expansion can help to minimise risks and improve overall performance.
Review and Optimisation
Regular review of property portfolios can help landlords take advantage of cost-saving options, identify areas of maintenance, refurbishment or improvement that could improve desirability, add value and improve rental yields. While time consuming, such regular reviews – at least at the end of every tenancy – can help ensure that each property is performing as well as it can while identifying and tackling any problems leaving a property performing less well than it should.
In addition to the big picture view, there is also the everyday maintenance and management of individual properties such as:
- Emergency support for tenants
- Health and safety obligations
- Marketing the property
- Monthly financial statements
- Refurbishment and improvement
- Rent collection and debt collection
- Tenant referencing
Obviously, the difficulty of these tasks grows exponentially as your property portfolio grows and can quickly outstrip the capacity of a single person to manage them.
How to manage a property portfolio
As the number of tasks grows quickly with each additional property, there has been a boom in the availability of portfolio management software. For a landlord wanting to manage their portfolio themselves, the best option may be to invest in one of these digital applications. With prices ranging from free to around £400 per year, it’s well worth considering the implications of trusting software with sensitive data and due diligence should be undertaken to ensure that any software used is safe.
Most software will tend to offer help with:
- Accounting and property expense management
- Contact & Supplier Management
- Expenses recording (including repeat expenses)
- Income tax liability reporting
- Legal Document storage
- Mortgage & loan management
- Online document storage
- Property details storage
- Tax reports
- Tenant & rent management
- Tenant details storage
What you will no doubt notice here is that much of the assistance offered by such programs is organisational, so don’t expect miracles if you’ve decided to undertake your own portfolio management – however, in most cases, it will beat the numerous spreadsheets you’ll need to achieve the same organisation boost otherwise.
You can find an introduction to some of the more popular management platforms here.
Should you manage your own property portfolio?
This will depend upon how much time you have to devote to management. As stated, despite misconceptions to the contrary, a properly managed property portfolio is far from passive income. You will need to conduct regular reviews, negotiations, marketing tasks and more – even if your properties require no work and the perfect tenants happen to knock on your door, there are plenty of legal obligations and certificates which will expire and need to be renewed.
That’s not to say that a personally managed portfolio is an impossibility – it is perfectly achievable for a portfolio of one or two rental properties to be managed part time or in addition to a full-time job, but once a portfolio grows too far beyond this, landlords will need to face up to a decision between taking on the management full time, or enlisting the services of a letting agent.
If you’d like to discuss your options with one of our experts, or have reached the point at which a letting agent is likely your best choice to maximise profitability in the long-term, Contact Us today.
Zoopla’s Latest UK Rental Market Report Digested
Zoopla terms the dropping city rental prices ‘The City Halo Effect’ as commuter towns make up for lost central revenue. One offered example given in the report was Birmingham which saw a 3.4% drop while surrounding Bromsgrove, Sandwell and Wolverhampton rose by an average of 5.3%.
As we’ve pointed out in our trends piece and previous coverage of recent housing market reports, there are both pandemic and more general factors underlying the changes taking place in the rental market. While rental demand has increased outside of London, the general rental stock has diminished – leading to shorter periods between lets.
While this is clearly troubling news for landlords in the nation’s capital, landlords in the rural and commuter towns of the Wirral will be pleased to note that there are falling periods between lets, a rise in demand for property and a resultant increase in rental value as renters compete for the available property.
What consensus seems to have been reached, both in this and several other reports commissioned over the last 12 months, is that tenants are looking to increase the amount of space they have at their disposal both in and out of doors and houses with additional rooms for home working and with gardens have seen a huge spike in interest – above and beyond even the general growth in these ‘halo’ areas.
Another facet of the increased rental demand mentioned in the Zoopla report is the withdrawal of many high-risk and first-time-buyer mortgages available on the market which will likely result in a boost to the rental market until some of these products return – though with the economic outlook for the UK still uncertain for at least the remainder of 2021, it is likely to be a slow process.
What this Means for Wirral Landlords
In short, the latest Zoopla report is an optimistic one for landlords with property portfolios with a large rural or commuter town element – the shift that many industries have made to more flexible work and work from home has meant that property in the Wirral is worth more and in greater demand from tenants.
However, while there is competition for properties, there is also a weight of expectation coming from the populations moving out from their city centre apartments and houses. The reasons they’re looking for properties in places like the Wirral, rather than in Liverpool, Manchester and Chester is that they want a well presented and spacious garden, they want rooms which can be easily adapted into a home office, and they want to know what their commute will be on those occasions when they need to head in to the office.
For that reason, landlords should be ensuring that their gardens are in prime condition ready for their close-up, and that the descriptions that accompany their properties on listing sites are written with the requirements of a new breed of renter in mind while still catering to the existing local market. You’ll also need to be on top of the local transport connections, as renters new to the area from nearby cities are likely to have a lot of questions!
Whether you’re new to the business of letting property, or have been involved in letting for years, the last eighteen months will have thrown up some unique problems and opportunities. Why not Contact Us today to see how our experts can help you adapt to a rapidly changing landscape.
February 2021 Market Reports Digested
In order to ensure that we’re offering the best advice and the most up-to-date information to both tenants and landlords, we stay up to date – but in the interest of transparency, we’re going to try and make sure you can be too.
Headline changes for the North West
The main figures of import for landlords and tenants are, no doubt, those of most interest to our audience, so we’ll deal with those first.
Annual change in house prices
Rightmove – 7% (3.3% UK Average)
Zoopla – 5.4% increase (4.3% UK average)
Annual change in rental prices
Rightmove – none given
Zoopla – 1.8% (-0.5% UK average)
In essence, this is reflective of a host of trends – some of which we pointed out in our 2021 trends post – including the race to beat the return of stamp duty and the increased popularity of commuter towns and villages as working from home, home schooling and other Covid-19 changes have altered people’s priorities around housing.
However, with the end to the stamp duty holiday approaching quickly and economic instability looming on the horizon, it remains to be seen what the government will do to prevent a housing crash – with some experts predicting an extension to the holiday will be announced in an effort to stave of such an event while the country deals with the economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
So, while it’s likely we could see a shift in the desirability of the sub-£250,000 market if the holiday is ended, we may see a slow-down and overall price fall until either an announcement is made or the holiday ends. Either way, this is unlikely to impact rental values which have been pushed up by other forces and may have a more prolonged upward trajectory until the rental market settles post-vaccine roll-out.
A northern surge?
According to Zoopla, there was a surge of more than 6% across areas of the north which they suspect is, at least in part, due to the perceived affordability of property in the north combined with the decentralisation of some types of employment.
A city slump?
However, despite the increasing value of property in the north, the cities of the north are still seeing drops in rental value as the same circumstances that are driving the house prices up make city centre living – and the connected lack of space – less desirable.
There is a full treatment of the rental market expected soon from Zoopla, so we’ll have a closer look then if we can, but the message from both the Zoopla and Rightmove data seems to be one of cautious optimism. With a debate on extending the stamp duty holiday ending in a deferral to the chancellor’s spring budget (not a definitive dismissal), there is a potential for the present housing boom to continue into the summer.
Unfortunately, as with so much this year, we won’t have answers to many of our questions until the summer (or March 3rd in the case of the stamp duty holiday). As such, the approach of Zoopla and Rightmove to defer to cautious optimism appears to be the sensible one.
Need your property valued, potential rental value estimated or want to discuss the state of the property market with one of our experts? Why not Contact Us today?
Landlords Using new ‘Model Tenancy Agreement’ Will No Longer be Able to Blanket Ban Tenant Pet Ownership
While the present rules won’t end pet-free letting, Andrew Rosindell MP is determined to see the rules become law – so landlords will need to familiarise themselves with the new rules as soon as possible, or that they are working with agents that are.
It has been almost standard practice for decades for landlords to place a blanket ban on pets – in fact, government research found that only 7% of private landlords advertise properties as pet friendly, leading housing minister Christopher Pincher to state that:
“It can’t be right that only a tiny fraction of landlords advertise pet friendly properties and in some cases people have had to give up their beloved pets in order to find somewhere to live.”
What does this mean for landlords?
While there is no rule that completely forbids landlords from keeping their properties pet free, the new guidance does mean that landlords must supply a valid reason for refusing pets within 28 days of a written request from a tenant. The guidance in the updated ‘Model Tenancy Agreement’ is as follows:
“Clause C3.5 prohibits a landlord from exercising a blanket ban on pets. A responsible pet owner will be aware of their responsibilities in making best efforts to ensure their pet does not cause a nuisance to neighbouring households or undue damage to the Property. A landlord should take steps to accommodate written requests from responsible tenants with pets. They should only turn down a request in writing within a 28 day period if there is good reason to do so, such as large pets in smaller properties or flats, or otherwise properties where having a pet could be impractical. Landlord consent is therefore the default position unless otherwise specified in writing by a landlord. If consent is given on the condition that additional deposit is paid by the tenant, the total deposit must not breach the deposit cap introduced under the Tenant Fees Act 2019 and must be protected in an authorised tenancy deposit scheme.”
As can be seen in the above section, there are provisions for landlords to ensure that their investment is taken care of through increased deposit amounts (within the standard deposit cap), as well as grounds for reasonable objection – in cases where they believe the pet would cause undue nuisance for neighbours, or is too large for the property, for example. However, the sentence to be aware of here is that ‘consent is therefore the default position unless otherwise specified in writing by a landlord’. This means that landlords wishing to maintain a property as a pet free let will need to ensure that they have a good reason and are prompt with their responses.
This does not prevent a landlord seeking to hold tenants financially accountable for damage caused by their tenant’s pets – and it may, therefore, be in the interests of landlords to stipulate that tenants with pets will face deductions to cover the cost of deep cleaning a property to ensure that it can still be let if the next tenant were to have pet allergies.
While there have been no changes to the underlying legislation – meaning that, should you draft your own legal documents, you can still ban tenants from owning pets, this does look like a first rather than final step in the process, so it may be that landlords will need to consider how they would respond to a legal change and begin to act as though the law has changed instead of having to react later on.
Are you currently using the Mode Tenancy Agreement and want help to update the document going forward, or looking for other legal advice? Our team of experts can help. Contact Us today to see what we can do for you.
The Pros and Cons of Using a Letting Agent
From cutting down on wasted time to providing valuable connections with trusted third parties, a good letting agent is an asset, but are there more pros than cons for you? That’s something only you can decide – but we hope we can help with that decision, too.
We’ll get to the pros and cons in a moment, but before we do, we’ve put together a quick list to help you decide whether you should even be considering either self-management or a letting agent. We find that these five things are often enough to help landlords decide whether either option is viable for them to even consider researching further.
Should you consider a letting agent?
|You should consider managing your property if…||You should consider a letting agent if…|
|You have the time to deal with your tenant’s queries, problems and disputes up to and including eviction.||You would prefer someone else is available to answer tenant queries and resolve problems up to and including eviction.|
|You have a register of professionals (electricians, plumbers, cleaners etc.) that can assist when required.||You need access to qualified and trusted professionals that can help resolve problems with your property.|
|You are up to date and can remain up-to-date on the latest rules and regulations that affect landlords.||You would rather somebody else was responsible for keeping up-to-date and keeping your property up-to-date with regulations.|
|You have been a landlord previously and are aware of the various pressures and responsibilities it involves.||You are new to being a landlord and require professional assistance while you get up to speed with requirements.|
|You are letting property near where you live, allowing you to conduct viewings and inspections.||You are letting property a distance from your own that would make in person attendance inconvenient.|
The next thing for a landlord to do if they have decided that a letting agent may be an option for them is to ask the following four questions of a few different letting agents to ensure that they would be working from the best possible list of options.
The next thing for a landlord to do if they have decided that a letting agent may be an option for them is to ask the following four questions of a few different letting agents to ensure that they would be working from the best possible list of options.
Four important questions to ask your letting agent
- Do they have access to an appropriate client money protection scheme?
- How do they find their tenants, and what does their referencing process entail?
- How would your property be maintained, and by which companies?
- Can they provide a clear list of all of their services and charges on a single page?
The pros and cons of using a letting agent
|The vetting that agents are able to undertake is often more thorough than a landlord acting alone, and referencing procedures attract reliable tenants.||Letting agents – and the pros opposite – come at a price. While managing your own properties is free, there will typically be a percentage charged by letting agents to manage your property for you.|
|Administration of the secure deposit protection scheme is taken care of without you having to worry.||If there are problems with your property – from legal filings to evicting a tenant from a property, it will mean extra administration, paperwork and possibly cost for the landlord.|
|Agents are able to deal with the paperwork generated by your property and ensure records are kept properly and up to date.||Many letting agents, if they arrange repair work on your behalf, may charge an arranging fee on top of the actual repair costs – while this is often nominal, it is something that should be considered.|
|Rent for your property is collected (and chased for) on your behalf.||Some letting agents may apply additional charges to third party services – this can include things like organising Energy Performance Certificates, Gas Safety Certificates and legal documentation. While this is not always the case, it can be worth asking whether these charges will be made and how much they will be.|
|Letting agents will deal with day-to-day management and maintenance issues – often without the landlord needing to be involved.|
|As experts in both their field and their local areas, letting agents can often achieve a higher rent.|
|Letting agents have to be up-to-date with current legislation affecting landlords and can ensure your properties operate in accordance with them.|
|In case of disputes and complaints, you have an objective, impartial mediator between you and your tenants.|
|Letting agents are experienced in mediation and can often prevent drawn out and expensive disputes.|
|In the event that eviction is required, letting agents know the correct legal procedures.|
|Letting agents can reduce workload and stress of letting a property.|
|Some letting agents can offer legal, insurance and tax advisory services.|
The long and short of much of the decision-making process in this area is going to be the value you place on your time. If you are looking at becoming a full-time landlord, or are sufficiently well connected to minimise the impact that being a landlord will have on your time, then a letting agency may not be required. If, however, you will be letting a property as a secondary endeavour and hoping for passive income, then you will definitely need to consider an agent.
The average letting agent will earn the money they cost, the best letting agents are an asset to your property, and will deliver value in the rental price they can achieve, the savings they can make in maintenance and repair and in the time and stress reduction they will provide you. Want to know more about engaging a letting agent, or to ask us some questions? Contact Us today!
7 Things to Be on The Look Out for in 2021
There are a number of things to be on the lookout for in the coming year – some we can’t do anything about, such as the pandemic and Brexit, but there are some we can, and that’s where we need to keep on top of things.
Stamp Duty Holiday
While there may be additional measures put in place to counter economic issues, the present stamp duty holiday is set to end, meaning that all landlords hoping to take advantage of the current 3% flat rate (in England, on purchases up to £500,000) need to ensure that their purchases are completed prior to the March 31st cut off.
End to Mortgage Holidays
If the latest lockdown – which increasingly looks set to last until at least March – is likely to cause issues with your payments, or those of your tenants, then you have until March 31st to apply for a mortgage holiday:
- Those that haven’t taken a payment holiday can apply for deferrals of up to six months.
- Those that have a first deferral in place, or that resumed payments after one deferral, can apply for another which will take them to the six-month limit.
- Those that have already had six months of deferrals are not eligible for further payment holidays.
Deposit Protection Schemes
There will be new rules for deposit protection from April 2021. With possible fines up to £30,000 for landlords and agents failing to join one of the six approved schemes which hold funds in accounts registered with the Financial Conduct Authority, landlords will need to ensure they take this particular change extremely seriously.
End of ‘no reason’ eviction
While consultation began on section 21 notices back in 2019, there is likely to be an outcome one way or the other on the ability for landlords to end ‘rolling tenancies’ with no reason required and a two month notice period. Although the Renters’ Reform Bill has been held up indefinitely by the pandemic, the vaccine rollout could see the bill make some progress in 2021 – the bill also includes the possibility of a moveable ‘lifetime deposit’ which would follow tenants from one property to the next in place of security deposits and the opening up of the rogue landlord database to the public.
An additional 2% surcharge will need to be paid on purchases by overseas investors from April of 2021 (in addition to the regular by-to-let surcharge). Any non-UK residents – those who have spent fewer than 183 days resident in the UK in the year prior or in the after the purchase – will be required to pay this additional charge on all purchases.
Right to Rent Uncertainty
Current rules on the requirements for landlords regarding the ‘right to rent’ are set to expire on the 30th of June 2021 with no clear guidance as to what will replace them. While we can hope that the new requirements will be made clear soon, the only thing landlords can do in the meantime is continue to check that tenants have the right to live in the UK using valid passports and ID cards until that happens.
Electrical Safety Rules
From the 1st of April existing tenancies will also be subject to the new guidance on electrical safety – with all properties needing their electrical installations inspected at least every five years and tenants provided with a copy of the report within 28 days of completion. While new tenancies have been subject to the terms since July 2020, landlords will need to ensure that all of their existing tenancies are in line with the rules by the end of March.
2021 is still shrouded somewhat by the joint uncertainties of Covid-19 and Brexit, but there are definite hurdles that landlords will need to be aware of throughout the year – and if you’d like some help navigating them, then you can Contact Us for expert advice.
Landlord Legal Requirements – What You Need To Know
With the rental market booming, there are a lot of new landlords taking their first steps in the business – so we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to help out.
Gas Safety Certificate
A valid Gas Safety Certificate must be obtained for all rented residential accommodation. A copy of the Gas Safety Certificate (CP12) must be provided to the tenants at the outset of the tenancy. Failure to do so may prohibit service of the prescribed Section 21 notice should it be required. If no certificate is provided, a County Court may argue that a landlord cannot file a Section 21 notice while the tenancy continues to exist. In addition to the initial certificate, annual check ups must be performed, and tenants must receive the replacement certificate within 28 days. Wirral Homes can arrange a Gas Safety Certificate on a landlord’s behalf if requested.
Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
Landlords hoping to rent out a property in England are required to have an electrical inspection conducted prior to the commencement of a tenancy. This report on the condition of the property is known as an EICR and must be performed by a qualified person. Pre-existing tenancies will need to have an EICR performed before the 1st of April 2021 and, from that point on, ECIRs need to be issued to a tenant prior to their moving in. We recommend that landlords obtain a new ECIR at the beginning of each tenancy (although visual inspections may suffice) and Wirral Homes can organise an EICR or visual inspection on your behalf.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Any property which is to be let requires a valid EPC. These certificates are valid for a period of 10 years, and the property needs to be reassessed for a new certificate. We recommend that, if you have made any energy efficiency improvements to the property, a new EPC should be sought to reflect the new standard of performance. In addition to this, landlords of properties with an EPC rating of F or G may not be able to let their properties. If you require an EPC but aren’t sure where to start, let us handle it for you.
Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
There is a legal requirement for smoke alarms to be provided on every floor of a rental property, and a carbon monoxide alarm in every room with a solid fuel source.
Documentation: Tenant’s Deposit with Deposit Protection Scheme
The tenant’s deposit must be protected under one of the three approved tenancy deposit schemes. The prescribed documentation regarding this deposit must be given to the tenant within 30 days of a landlord receiving the funds. Security deposits are also limited to the equivalent to 5 weeks of rental value – something we can manage through our partner scheme.
Landlord License (if required)
In order to rent your property, you may need a landlord license from the local authorities. This is dependent on the property’s location. You can contact your local council for more information and, if you need help or advice you can rely on our inhouse legal department.
ICO Registered: Data Protection Compliance
Landlords must comply with General Data Protection Regulations by registering with the ICO. A privacy notice must be provided to tenants which outlines why the landlord is entitled to use the personal information provided by tenants, guarantors, referees, etc.
Health and safety legislation requires that risk assessments for the legionella bacteria which can cause Legionnaires disease are taken. The assessments must identify and assess potential sources of exposure, and steps taken to prevent/control any risk that is identified – and for landlord’s that need help, Wirral Homes works with trusted professionals that can carry out the required inspections.
Right to Rent Guide
Upon starting a new tenancy, tenants must be provided an up to date copy of How to rent: the checklist for renting in England. Failure to do so will result in not being able to serve a valid Section 21 notice in England. Under the ‘Right to rent’ legislation landlords must ensure their tenants are not illegal immigrants and are consequently permitted to rent in this country. More details on this subject can be found on the governments website.
Furniture Fire Resistance Compliance
All furniture provided by the landlord must be fire resistant. The furniture must meet the fire resistance requirements laid out for furniture and furnishings in the Fire Safety Regulations Act of 1988.
There is no requirement for annual checks (as with gas appliances) but the Electrical Equipment Safety Regulations state that landlords must ensure that all electrical equipment and systems are safe, and maintained in a safe condition during the tenancy.
Coronavirus Government Measures
Landlords are required to adhere to the updated government guidelines regarding the Covid-19 outbreak. These measures cover a whole range of requirements from minimising health risks to assessing financial support.
Duty of Care
Rental properties must be fit for human habitation and in a good state of repair. Landlords have a duty of care to their tenants and failure to adhere to this obligation can lead to punishments.
While we’ve tried to be as thorough as possible, it bears noting that this blog is for information purposes only, and is not an exhaustive list. As we are not intending this guide to constitute legal or advice, or to be a legally binding document, we recommend you seek legal or professional advice before entering into any kind of tenancy agreement – and if you need help with this, you can Contact Us and our in-house legal team will do everything they can.
Wirral.co.uk is Live – Home of Your Experts on the Wirral
Our challenge? To create a website that would serve both landlords and prospective tenants – enabling both to learn all they may need about the Wirral and to pair them with their perfect match to help make for happy, long-term tenancies. We think we may have done it!
Built from the knowledge we’ve accrued throughout our years of experience in the lettings industry, Wirral.co.uk is a hub not only for the promotion of the property we have available, but also of our industry and local knowledge, with a breakdown of property prices and possible yields, a comprehensive list of and description of our many services and in-depth location guides to help tenant and landlord alike discover the Wirral.
We have attempted to include a little of everything – while Zoopla is a fantastic outlet for us, especially with our premium package allowing for increased exposure, it primarily acts as a search engine for those people who know what they want. While there is an art in ensuring that your property captures their attention, prospective tenants that aren’t sure need that little bit more help – and that’s why we’ve put together more than 40’000 words of in-depth local knowledge on the main areas of the Wirral. We know we can sell your property to a tenant, but now we can sell the Wirral, too.
As we enter a new year, we’re expecting big things from 2021 – and we hope you’ll sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date on what it brings.
We’re really proud of how we’ve managed to distil our years of experience into the new site – but we’re not done! We want to hear from you if you think we’ve missed something that you desperately need. Whether you want to offer some feedback, or would like to harness our expert knowledge, Contact Us today!
House Prices in the UK Up by More Than £13000
The Guardian, among other news outlets, carried reports today which highlight the 2020 boom in property prices as a direct consequence of the global pandemic.
Covid-19 sparked a “race for space” among householders fleeing cities and searching out bigger homes. A tentative recovery in the market after lockdown ended morphed into a raging boom after the chancellor cut stamp duty in England and Northern Ireland until 31 March 2021. Wales and Scotland followed suit, although the cuts were not as generous. In England and Northern Ireland, buyers have been able to save £10,000 on a £400,000 property and £15,000 on one costing £500,000.Patrick Collinson – The Guardian, 20th December 2020
This shift in how we feel about our homes – which has led many to prioritise space over convenience – is also, likely, linked to the rise in work from home, with employees able to risk leaving the big city for larger properties elsewhere. This has also led to a massive increase in sales and rises above the 7.6% average in commuter towns.
Getting away from the hustle and bustle has proven so popular in fact, that ‘detached’, ‘rural’ and ‘secluded’ have risen to become the fourth, fifth and sixth most searched for terms.
Also adding to these trends has been a similar boom in buy-to-let sales. According to a separate report carried by The Guardian on the 14th of December, landlords made up 15% of all property sales in November – no doubt as a result of the soon to end stamp duty holiday.
With the stamp duty holiday set to end on the 31st March 2021, however, there may be more in the pipeline – though missing the March deadline could see landlords paying an additional thousand pounds if their sales are delayed past the cut off.
With plenty of people still listing their properties for sale despite the Christmas holiday, there are still bargains to be had and prizes to be won for savvy investors, however, provided they are able to get their deals completed quickly!
Find out how 2020 may have impacted your property portfolio – and what you need to do to maximise its potential. Contact Us today!
Wirral Letting Agents by Social Media Following
It may not be the most important part of a tenant’s discovery process when looking for a new place to call home, but traditional letting agencies are behind the times if they don’t understand that social media needs to be taken seriously.
When it comes to finding a property, tenants begin their search online – and that means letting agents need to be as visible as possible both on search engine results pages and on social media. That’s why Wirral Homes has spent its time building an audience that can help you find your property’s next tenant.
One of the things our experienced team has worked on since Wirral Homes was created is building our following on Facebook – a visual platform that we have found works well for property. The results are as follows:
|Rank||Letting Agent||Facebook Followers|
|5||Jones and Chapman||902|
|8||Martin & Co||318|
|10||Market Street Homes||204|
While we are not naïve enough to believe that a letting agents work is done when they top a table of social media followers, we use this to illustrate the change of approach to social media that Wirral Homes represents. Our lives are increasingly lived online – especially throughout the last year – and the lettings industry has remained, in large parts, restrained by a traditional approach.
While a board outside the house and an advert on sites like Zoopla are incredibly important, there is huge untapped potential in social media for letting agents – and that is potential we intend to tap. How many times have you seen something interesting online and tagged a friend? Who would be the first to know if you were moving and what you were looking for in a new property? A social media following does not end with the number given, it’s a network of the friends of each follower – each a potential recommendation for one of the properties we’re letting at the time.
By focusing on building a social media presence while we built this website, we were not seeking to replace traditional approaches, but looking to supplement them. In ensuring we achieve maximum exposure of the property portfolios we manage, we also minimise the time properties spend vacant – and that, in the end, is one of the letting agent’s most important jobs.
For more information on how we’re approaching letting, or to speak to us about the services we offer, Contact Us today!