I get a lot of enquiries from people who are reading my articles on The Chelmsford Property Blog and in the Essex Chronicle about the Chelmsford Property market and in particular what has happened to rents in Chelmsford in recent years.
One particular Chelmsford landlord rang me after reading the Chelmsford Property Blog wanting to know more of the story of what was happening to rents in the City. The reason he asked was that his current agent hadn't increased his rent for a number of years and he was questioning whether he was getting the best return from his buy to let investment.
Just over a year ago, I wrote an article stating that rents in Chelmsford were 5.4% higher than they were in 2008, when the rental market took a dip due to the market being flooded with property. Another year on and rental prices are now 18% higher than they were in 2008, a huge increase.
The Chelmsford rental market is all about supply and demand - isn't it so in all parts of the economy? On the supply side, 217 rental properties have come up for let in the last 31 days in Chelmsford according to Rightmove. It sounds a lot doesn't it? That is, until you consider there are 8,349 rental properties in Chelmsford. That means only 2.5% of the rental stock of properties in Chelmsford is coming onto the market. One reason for this lack of new rental properties coming on the market is the fact that tenants seem to be staying in properties longer.
With this lack of supply, newer tenants have to pay more to secure the property they want. This is the crux of the matter.. properties they want. Older properties in Chelmsford that haven't been maintained, still retain their wood chip wallpaper from the 1970's and thread bare carpets have seen their rents drop. Tenants want either modern properties with all the mod cons or older style properties that have been presented to an exceptional standard . and, generally, they are prepared to pay for the privilege. Any properties, old or modern, put on the market in good or excellent condition will rent in a matter of a few days.
Interestingly, looking at Chelmsford property values, the Land Registry has just released its latest set of data on property values. Throughout April 2015, the latest set of data, property values are still creeping up in Chelmsford, with 0.7% growth, meaning they are now 9.4% higher than they were a year ago. When one looks at the regional picture, the East of England average property values rose by 1.9% in the last month. The difference doesn't concern me, as the regional and local property values always even themselves out over the months.
Looking forward, after considering all the statistics and talking to other property professionals, I expect property values in Chelmsford to rise by 3% to 5% over the coming 12 months.
..and so back to my chat with the landlord.. Each property is unique and so, as his tenancy agreement allows him to inspect the property with notice to the tenant, we will be visiting the property next week!
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