Thursday, 12 April 2018

1% More Warrington Home Owners Wanting to Move Than 12 Months Ago


As I have mentioned a number times in my local property market blog, with not enough new-build properties being built in Warrington and the surrounding area to keep up with demand for homes to live in (be that tenants or homebuyers), it’s good to know more Warrington home sellers are putting their properties on to the market than a year ago.

At the start of 2007 there were 990 properties for sale in Warrington but by July 2008, when the credit crunch was really beginning to bite, that number had risen to 1,850 properties on the market at a time when demand was at an all-time low, thus creating an imbalance in the local property market.

Basic economics dictates that if there is too much supply of something and demand is poor (which it was in the Credit Crunch years of 2008/9) … prices will drop. In fact, house prices dropped between 15% and 20% depending on the type of Warrington property between the end of 2007 and Spring 2009.

However, over the last five years, we have seen a steady decrease in supply of properties coming onto the market for sale and steady demand, meaning Warrington property prices have remained robust.  A stable housing market is one of the foundations of a successful British economy, as it’s all about getting the healthy balance of buyer demand with a good supply of properties. Nevertheless, if you had asked me a couple of years ago, I would have said we were beginning to see there was in fact NOT enough properties coming on to the market for sale … meaning in certain sectors of the Warrington property market, house prices were overheating because of this lack of supply.

So, it is pleasing to note, looking at the recent numbers …

There are 1% more properties for sale in Warrington today than a year ago

There were 427 properties for sale 12 months ago, and today that stands at 432. It doesn’t sound a lot, yet this is a small step in the right direction to a more stable property market.


Even better news, since the Chancellor announced the stamp duty rule changes for first time buyers (FTB), my fellow agents in Warrington say that the number of FTB’s registering on the majority of agent’s books has increased year on year. That has still to follow through into more FTB’s buying their first home, however, with the heightened levels of confidence being demonstrated by both Warrington house sellers and potential house buyers, I do foresee the Warrington Property Market will show steady yet sustained improvement during the first half of 2018.

What does this mean for Warrington landlords or those considering dipping their toe into the buy to let market for the first time? Landlords will need to keep improving their properties to ensure they get the best tenants. It is true that demand amongst FTB’s is increasing, albeit from a low base. Even with the new landlord tax rules, buy to let in Warrington still looks a good investment, providing Warrington landlords with a good income at a time of low interest rates and a roller coaster stock market.

If you are thinking of investing in bricks and mortar in Warrington, it is important to do things correctly as making money won’t be as easy as it has been over the last twenty years.  With a greater number of properties on the market .. comes greater choice. Don’t buy the first thing you see, buy with your head as well as your heart … and don’t forget the first rule of Buy To Let Investment …..

I will tell you that 1st rule in a couple of weeks!

Email me on manoj@hamletwarrington.co.uk or call on 01925 235338. If you are in the area, feel free to pop into the office – we are based on G5, Warrington Business Park, Long Lane, WA2 8TX. There is plenty of free parking and the kettle is always on.

Don't forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Warrington Property News.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Warrington Property Market Worth More Than Old Mutual

The value of all the homes in Warrington has risen by more than 238% in the past two decades, to £13.174bn, meaning its worth more than the stock listed company Old Mutual, which is worth £12.714bn.

Those Warrington homeowners and Buy-to-Let landlords who bought their homes twenty or more years ago have come out on top, adding thousands and thousands of pounds to the value of their own Warrington homes as the younger generation in Warrington continue to be priced out of the market.  This is even more remarkable because, in those twenty years, we had the years of 2008 and 2009 following the global financial crisis, where we saw a short term drop in Warrington house prices of between 15% and 20% (depending on the type of property). And although there have been a number of consecutive years of growth in property values recently in Warrington it hasn’t been anywhere near the levels seen in the early 2000’s.

Twenty years ago, the total value of Warrington property was worth £3.896m. Over those twenty years, total property values have increased by £9.278bn, meaning today, the total value of all the properties in Warrington is worth £13.174bn. Even more remarkable, when you consider the FTSE100 has only risen by 40.84% in the same time frame. Also, when I compared it with inflation, i.e. the UK Retail Price Index, inflation had risen by 72.2% during the same twenty years.


So, what does this all mean for Warrington?  Well as we enter the unchartered waters of 2018 and beyond, even though property values are already declining in certain parts of the previously over cooked central London property market, the outlook in Warrington remains relatively good as over the last five years, the local property market has been a lot more sensible than central London’s.

Warrington house values will remain resilient for several reasons. Firstly, demand for rental property remains strong with persistent immigration and population growth.  Secondly, with 0.25% interest rates, borrowing has never been so cheap and finally, the simple lack of new house building in Warrington. Not even keeping up with current demand, let alone eating into years and years of under investment mean only one thing – yes it might be a bumpy ride over the next 12 to 24 months but, in the medium term, property ownership and property investment in Warrington has and always will, out ride out the storm.

In the coming weeks, I will look in greater detail at my thoughts for the 2018 Warrington Property Market. As always, all my articles can be found at the Warrington Property Market Blog 

Email me on manoj@hamletwarrington.co.uk or call on 01925 235338. If you are in the area, feel free to pop into the office – we are based on G5, Warrington Business Park, Long Lane, WA2 8TX. There is plenty of free parking and the kettle is always on.
Don't forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Warrington Property News.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

787 First Timer Buyers in Warrington Bought Their First Home in 2017


A little bit of good news this week on the Warrington Property Market as recently released data shows that the number of first time buyers taking out their first mortgage in 2017 increased more than in any other year since the global financial crisis in 2009. The data shows there were 787 first time buyers in Warrington, the largest number since 2006.

I expect in 2018 that this increase of first time buyers will level out and maybe dip slightly as, nationally, figures demonstrate that first time buyer’s average household income was £40,691 and this represented 17.3% of their take home pay. Although, it might surprise readers that it is actually cheaper to buy than it is to rent at the ‘starter home’ end of the housing market. Many of you can remember mortgage rates at 12% ... even 15%. Today, at the time of writing this article, I found on the open market, 189 first time buyer mortgages at 95% (meaning only a 5% deposit was required) with 3 year fixed rates from a reputable High Street bank at 2.49% ... they even did a 3 year fixed rate 100% mortgage for 2.89%!

Interestingly, looking at the other end of the market, the buy-to-let investment in Warrington was subdued, with only 161 buy-to-let properties being purchased with a mortgage. However, I must stress, whilst there is no hard and fast data on the total numbers of landlords buying buy-to-let, as HM Treasury believes only 30% to 40% of buy-to-let property is bought with a mortgage. This means there would have been further cash only buy-to-let purchases in Warrington – it’s just that the data isn’t available at such a granular level.

In terms of the level of mortgage debt in Warrington, looking specifically at the WA1 to WA5 postcodes, there hasn’t been a great deal of change in this over the last few years. 


This is pleasing to see, as new mortgage debt is created by first time buyers, buy-to-let landlords and home movers themselves, that is being roughly equalled by the amount being paid off with mature mortgaged homeowners in their 50’s and 60’s finally paying off their mortgage.

So, what does all this mean for the Warrington Property Market?  Well, the stats paint a picture, but they don’t inform us of the whole story. The upper end of the Warrington property market has been weighed down by the indecision around the Brexit negotiations and rise in stamp duty in 2014, when made it considerably more expensive to buy a home costing more than £1m. The middle part of the Warrington property market has been affected by issues of mortgage affordability and lack of good properties to buy, as selling prices have reached the limit of what buyers can afford under existing mortgage regulations. The lower to middle Warrington property market was hit by tax changes for buy-to-let landlords, although this has been offset by the increase in first time buyers.

If you are in the market and selling now and want to ensure you get your Warrington property sold, the bottom line is you have to be 100% realistic with your pricing from day one and you might not get as much as you did say a year ago (but the one you want to buy will be less – swings and roundabouts?). I know it’s not comfortable hearing that your Warrington home isn’t worth as much as you thought, but Warrington buyers are now unbelievably discerning.

So, if you are thinking of selling your Warrington property in the coming months, don’t ask the agent out a few days before you want to put the property on the market, get them out now and ask them what you need to do to ensure you get maximum value in the shortest possible time. I, like most Warrington agents, will freely give that advice to you at no cost or commitment to you.

Email me on manoj@hamletwarrington.co.uk or call on 01925 235338. If you are in the area, feel free to pop into the office – we are based on G5, Warrington Business Park, Long Lane, WA2 8TX. There is plenty of free parking and the kettle is always on.

Don't forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Warrington Property News.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

An extension could add £42,725 to the value of your Warrington home




As our families grow bigger the need for more space, be that bedrooms or reception rooms, has grown with it. Also, as our older generation lives longer and nursing home bills continue to rise quicker than a rocket on the 5th of November  (the average nursing home bill in the area being £655 per week) many families are bringing two households into one larger one.

So, should you move somewhere larger, or extend your Warrington property to make it large enough for you and your family? In some circumstances the choice has been made for you. If you live in an apartment with no garden, there isn’t much of an opportunity of making it larger. But if you have a house with a garden or an attic with sufficient headroom, extending your home becomes a real prospect.

Even if it makes more sense to extend or move, the choice hangs on a number of different dynamics – your future plans, money (both saved and access to finance), in what way you are emotionally attached to your home, the particular area of Warrington you live in and finally, the type/style of house you prefer.

Interestingly, the average British home is 968 sq.ft, which as you can see from the table, is in the middle of developed nations when it comes to the size of a property. Of the 1.11m homes sold in 2016 in England and Wales, the average floor area of the houses was 1,119 sq.ft – that’s about an eighth the size of an Olympic sized swimming pool. Apartments averaged 530 sq.ft that’s just over ten times bigger than an average garden shed. Looking at apartments and houses together, the average size of properties sold in England and Wales 968 sq.ft  – are slightly smaller than the European average, and much smaller than households in the US. 



So back to the question in hand.. extending does mean you will have a lot of inconvenience whilst the work is being carried out. The location of your Warrington property, the quality of construction, what type of room(s) you want to add, your plot, neighbouring building lines, planning regulations and the overall demand for your type of Warrington home, will make a vast difference to the financial repercussions of extending versus moving.

A medium-sized 270 sq.ft single storey extension (say around 17ft x 16ft) will add on average £42,725 to the value of a property in Warrington

It’s important to note the end result of the extension needs to be a sensible and realistic home. A two bed semi-detached house extended to a four bedrooms with no lawn or driveway, or a home with outsized reception rooms downstairs and miniscule bedrooms upstairs, could be problematic if  and when you come to sell your home in the future. Irrespective of whether your strategy is to live in your extended home for a long time, you will want to side-step outlaying a lot of money on costly building work that will make it tougher to sell.

In terms of what it would cost to build an extension, you can expect to pay on average between £140 to £200 per sq.ft, depending whether the extension is a single or double storey extension and other factors including finish and type of extension (note – I have seen it cost a lot more than these figures – so please speak with a builder) … So taking a mid line figure, that same 270 sq.ft extension on your Warrington home would cost on average £55,080.

However, moving means there are substantial costs incurred - Estate Agency fees, Removal Van, Survey Fees, Legal fees and Stamp Duty on the property you are buying. Neither option is the obvious choice and comparing the costs of extending your Warrington home to that of moving is not a stress-free undertaking.

How realistic each option is will probably come down to one thing .. your mortgage provider. You will need a considerable sum of equity in your Warrington home before you can think of increasing your mortgage more, because most lenders will require you to have at least 10% to 20% equity left in your property after the extension or move has been done.

The best advice I can give .. don’t assume anything …. get advice and opinion from builders, mortgage brokers, architects, mortgage people and of course… an agent. Look at your options and make an educated decision with all the superficial and objective facts in front of you.

Email me on manoj@hamletwarrington.co.uk or call on 01925 235338. If you are in the area, feel free to pop into the office – we are based on G5, Warrington Business Park, Long Lane, WA2 8TX. There is plenty of free parking and the kettle is always on.
Don't forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Warrington Property News.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Warrington Landlord's The Do’s and Don’ts with Carbon Monoxide


Landlords are being urged to step up and ensure that all rented properties and accommodation meet recent laws relating to carbon monoxide alarms.The legislation, which came into effect in Autumn 2015, states that smoke alarms must be installed on every floor of a property and be tested ahead of any new tenancy, with carbon monoxide alarms placed in every room containing a solid-fuel burning appliance, including wood burners and open fires.

However, a survey we carried out identified that only 6% of students are aware that their digs is likely to need a CO alarm whilst only a third (32%) of student accommodation is believed to have a working CO alarm.To stop students being at risk from the ‘silent killer’, landlords and letting agents are being reminded of their obligations to install lifesaving detectors.Servicing of appliances and alarms should also be high on the agenda as new tenants move in, as well as the installation of alarms.Our survey discovered that just one in eight people in rented accommodation were aware of a landlord’s duty to provide a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms with a solid-fuel burning appliance in their properties. This contrasts with the overwhelming four in five people who are aware that a smoke alarm must be provided.

Renters were also shown in the poll to be unaware of a landlord’s responsibility to provide an up to date gas safety certificate. Only four in 10 had asked for this when moving into rented accommodation.
Our research also reveals a worrying lack of knowledge among the public of how to detect CO, the so-called ‘silent killer’.
When asked how you would know the gas is present, 28% of people believe you can smell it, 8% think you can taste it, 6% answered see it, 2% insist you can hear it, while 1% of those asked reckon you are able to touch it.
Key indicators that carbon monoxide is present in your property and things to warn your tenants to look out for are: if the cooker flames are yellow or orange, sooty marks on walls around boilers, stoves or gas fire covers, pilot lights that frequently go out or there is increased condensation inside windows.
True or False: It is possible to smell carbon monoxide being emitted in the home.
Answer: False. Carbon monoxide is both colourless and odourless so is almost impossible to detect without an alarm.
True or False: Carbon monoxide poisoning is extremely difficult to diagnose.
Answer: True. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to that of flu so it makes diagnosis very difficult. They include; headaches, nausea, dizziness, tiredness, confusion and eventually loss of consciousness.
Currently, GPs don’t all have access to equipment to check carbon monoxide levels and the only way to the presence of carbon monoxide is with a blood test. Some 46% of GPs have seen patients with carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms but only 18% say that they wouldn’t consider CO poisoning as a diagnosis. Find out more about the symptoms of CO here.
True or False: Carbon monoxide won’t leak if I have new gas appliances or if I have my appliances serviced regularly.
Answer: False. Although having brand new gas appliances, such as a new hob or boiler, will significantly reduce the chances of them leaking carbon monoxide it doesn’t rule them out.
CO can be emitted from appliances new or old and if you’re worried you should see your GP. Regular servicing of your gas appliances is the best way to reduce the risk of your property being subject to a CO leak and having an alarm fitted is the best way of detecting if and when something has gone wrong.
True or False: Carbon Monoxide can only leak from my boiler.
Answer: False. Carbon Monoxide can leak from any gas appliance in your property. This could include an oven, gas fire, or a boiler.
CO is produced when there is not enough oxygen to form carbon dioxide. For example, when a flame is burnt in a poorly ventilated space. This is why it is extremely dangerous to barbecue in a tent as there is often too little oxygen for carbon dioxide to be produced and so carbon monoxide is released instead.
One of the main things to look out for in your property are if flames on gas appliances burn a yellow or orange colour rather than blue as this could mean that they are not burning properly.
For a more information on how you can keep your tenants safe from the dangers of Carbon Monoxide, visit this webpage.

Email me on manoj@hamletwarrington.co.uk or call on 01925 235338. If you are in the area, feel free to pop into the office – we are based on G5, Warrington Business Park, Long Lane, WA2 8TX. There is plenty of free parking and the kettle is always on.
Don't forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Warrington Property News.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Warrington’s £181,394,640 “Rentirement” Property Market Time Bomb


Yes, I said ‘rentirement’, not retirement ... rentirement and it relates to the 1,161 (and growing) Warrington people, who don’t own their own Warrington home but rent their home, privately from a buy to let landlord and who are currently in their 50’s and early to mid-60’s.

The truth is that these Warrington people are prospectively soon to retire with little more than their state pension of £155.95 per week, probably with a small private pension of a couple of hundred pounds a month, meaning the average Warrington retiree can expect to retire on about £200 a week once they retire at 67.

The average rent in Warrington is £651 a month, so a lot of the retirement “income” will be taken up in rent, meaning the remainder will have to be paid for out their savings or the taxpayer will have to stump up the bill (and with life expectancy currently in the mid to late 80’s, that is quite a big bill …  a total of £181,394,640 over the next 20 years to be paid from the tenant’s savings or the taxpayers coffers to be precise!

You might say it’s not fair for Warrington tax payers to pick up the bill and that these mature Warrington renters should start saving thousands of pounds a year now to be able to afford their rent in retirement.  However, in many circumstances, the reason these people are privately renting in the first place is that they were never able to find the money for a mortgage deposit on their home in the first place, or didn’t earn enough to qualify for a mortgage …and now as they approach retirement with hope of a nice council bungalow, that hope is diminishing because of the council house sell off in the 1980’s!

For a change, the Warrington 30 to 40 somethings will be better off, as their parents are more likely to be homeowners and cascade their equity down the line when their parents pass away.  For example, that is what is happening in Europe where renting is common, the majority of people rent in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, but by the time they hit 50’s and 60’s (and retirement), they will invest the money they have inherited from their parents passing away and buy their own home.

So, what does this all mean for buy to let landlords in Warrington?
Have you noticed how the new homes builders don’t build bungalows anymore ... in fact some would said the ‘bungalow storey’ is over.  The waning in the number of bungalows being built has more to do with supply than demand.  The fact is that for new homes builders there is more money in constructing houses than there is in constructing bungalows.  Bungalows are voracious when it comes to land they need as because bungalow has a larger footprint for the same amount of square meterage as a two/three storey house due to the fact they are on one level instead of two or three.

That means, as demand will continue to rise for bungalows supply will remain the same.  We all know what happens when demand outs strips supply … prices (i.e. rents) for bungalows will inevitably go up. 
Email me on manoj@hamletwarrington.co.uk or call on 01925 235338. If you are in the area, feel free to pop into the office – we are based on G5, Warrington Business Park, Long Lane, WA2 8TX. There is plenty of free parking and the kettle is always on.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Warrington Private Rents Hit £9.58 per sq. foot




As I am sure you are aware, one the best things about my job as an agent is helping Warrington landlords with their strategic portfolio management. Gone are the days of making money by buying any old Warrington property to rent out or sell on. Nowadays, property investment is both an art and science. The art is your gut reaction to a property, but with the power of the internet and the way the Warrington property market has gone in the last 11 years, science must also play its part on a property’s future viability for investment.

Many metrics most property professionals (including myself) use when deciding the viability of a rental property is what properties are selling for, the average rent, the yield and an average value per square foot.

However, another metric I like to use is the average rent per square foot. The reason being is that is a great way to judge a property from the point of view of the tenant ... what space they get for their money. Now of course, location (location, location in a Phil and Kirstie style) has a huge influencing factor when it comes to rents (and hence rent per square foot). Like people buying a property, tenants also have that balancing act between better/worse location, more vs. less money and size of accommodation (bigger and more rooms equalling more money) and where they live (location) verses making ends meet.

Interestingly, I know there are a lot of you in Warrington who like to see my statistics on the Warrington property market, so before I talk about the rental figures per square foot, I wanted to share the £ per square foot on the values. In Warrington, the current AVERAGE figures are being achieved (and I must stress, these are average figures, so there will an enormous range in these figures), but on average, properties in Warrington, split down by type are achieving …

·         Warrington Detached Property - £239 / sq ft
·         Warrington Semi Detached Property - £207 / sq ft
·         Warrington Terraced Property - £169 / sq ft
·         Warrington Apartments - £204 / sq ft

So, the rental figures:

The extent of space you get for your rent is replicated in the space you get for your money when buying a property. The average size of rental property in the Warrington area is 807.3 sq ft (interesting when compared to the national average of 792.1 sq ft)

This means the average rent per square foot currently being
achieved on a Warrington rental property is £9.58 per sq ft per annum

So, what we can deduce from this?  Well the devil is always in detail!

Whilst I was able to quote the average overall figure and the fact my research showed it was quite clear from data that there is relationship between the average £ per sq ft figures on property values and average £ per sq ft on rental figures as a property grows in size. However, something quite intriguing happens to those figures, in terms of what the property will sell for and what it will rent for, when we change and increase the size of the property.

My research showed that doubling the size of any Warrington property doesn’t mean you will double the value of it … in either value or rent. This is because the marginal value increases diminish as the size of the property increases. In layman’s terms … Subject to a few assumptions, double the size of the house doesn’t mean double the value … what really happens is a doubling of the size gives only an approximately 40% to 65% uplift in value, but here comes the even more fascinating part … when it came to the rental figures, double the size of the house meant only 20% to 45% in increase in rent.


In a future article, I will be discussing the actual added value an extension can bring ... but in the meantime, in an overall and sweeping statement, most of the time it makes sense to extend if you are going to live in the property as long as the extension is proportionate to the property, but if you are going to rent it out ... possibly not.

Email me on manoj@hamletwarrington.co.uk or call on 01925 235338. If you are in the area, feel free to pop into the office – we are based on G5, Warrington Business Park, Long Lane, WA2 8TX. There is plenty of free parking and the kettle is always on.