Talking to other Crewe agents, surveyors and solicitors in the area over the last few days, there are signs this has started a new impetus in the Crewe property market after a subdued six months, when a combination of tougher lending conditions, a natural correction after the strong recovery in Crewe property prices in 2014, and political uncertainty ahead of the General Election slowed demand.
Against the back drop of Labour's manifesto commitment to rent controls and compulsory three year tenancies, some Crewe buy to let landlords were waiting to see how these new policies would be implemented before they committed themselves to buying more property for their buy to let portfolio. Now that uncertainty has been removed, the long term picture is very positive.
So, with all that uncertainty now removed, where next for the Crewe property market? Well with inflation at zero and with the money markets very happy David Cameron is still at No.10, the Bank of England have no reason to raise interest rates until 2016 at the earliest. As mortgage rates are at their lowest levels since 2010, landlords with large deposits will now be wooed by the mortgage companies in the coming months with low rates.
Over the past couple of years, Crewe (and Nantwich) landlords have benefitted from a booming local job market. Unemployment in Crewe and Nantwich has dropped to 2.2%. A year ago, 1,782 people were claiming unemployment benefit compared to today's 1,177. With more jobs and better pay, as the level of rents is directly linked to tenant's wages, there has been an increase in the appetite of tenants to pay more for good quality Crewe rental properties, and we think that this will manifest itself in modest rent increases.
Some landlords might be nervous about the Government's plans for the housing market over the next five years, in terms of tenant demand for their rental properties. One plan is for Housing Association tenants to have the right to buy their property. These kind of tenants were never in the private rented sector and will actually increase the supply of properties in the housing stock in decades to come, so we don't see that as a problem . even if the scheme gets off the ground. The Government 'Help to Buy Scheme' has only helped to buy 43 Crewe and Nantwich properties since April 2013. Considering 1,314 properties have changed hands in the last year in Crewe and 497 in Nantwich , I don't think it has made a huge difference as yet to our local property market!The biggest factor, when it comes to tenant demand for rental property going forwards, comes from the shift in the mindset and attitudes towards renting itself. Twenty years ago you were seen as a second class citizen if you rented a property. In Crewe, as in the rest of the UK (apart from Central London), renting continues to offer good value for money for many tenants and encompasses a wide social spectrum. If you are an existing landlord in Crewe or especially if you are thinking of becoming one, then I do urge you to seek out specialist advice and opinion. On average we rent out 3 local properties every single working day, and we sell at least 1 investment property every week, so we have a lot of evidence that enables us to keep our finger on the pulse of the local market. We will happily give you our opinion on any property you are considering, the current state of the market and the advantages/disadvantages to investing in the Crewe property market.