I had an interesting chat with a landlord who uses another letting agent in the City after he popped into our office for a coffee whilst his wife was doing some last minute Christmas shopping (Hmmmm, maybe it is time I started buying mine!). We got talking about the Oxford market and thought other landlords might be interested.
You see, property values didn’t stop dropping in Oxford until January 2013, so after a strong run over the last 20 months, the ever upward drive of house price rises has started to turn with increases now at an almost standstill for the first time since the start of 2013.
Now it could be said this easing of the housing market in Oxford can be attributed partly to the time of year (last year property values in Oxford didnt move between November and December), it is obvious that estate agents in Oxford are wary about the direction of the market as a result of the not as strong demand and fewer house sales.
With the uncertainty of a possible interest rate rise, new mortgage rules, a general election on the horizon and recent warnings of a house price bubble. Although the main indicators suggest that buyers will start to gain the upper hand, especially with the new stamp duty rules announced recently by George Osborne. However, there are many homeowners who don’t need to sell and won’t bother unless it’s economically beneficial to do so, but most homeowners are homebuyers, so what they lose with one they gain with another.
This is all good news for landlords looking to buy rental property with the changes in stamp duty and later in 2015, the new rules regarding pensions, where you will be able to take money out of your pension pot to invest in property (see my blog for bargains folks!). However, at the same time, I would say don’t just buy any old property in Oxford. First time landlords need to be cautious. The doubling of house prices every seven to ten years which has taken place since WW2 doesn’t seem to have been seen since the mid 2000’s. Sure, there is evidence that properties continue to appreciate but the likelihood of the property market increasing at the same levels as the past are questionable. That said, the wheels turn slowly at present but they do turn. There are plenty of bargains and very sound investments to be had out there if you know what to look for, other than a pretty looking property.
That is why in the New Year, due to the demand, I will be continuing to offer my advice to new and existing Oxford landlords, irrespective of whether you are a self managing landlord (ie you do it all yourself), landlords with other agents, people who are thinking of becoming a new buy to let landlord in Oxford for the first time in 2015 and finally our landlords that already let us manage their properties.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2015.