Growth location focus: Manchester
Manchester is the UK’s media hub, with MediaCityUK in the Salford area of the city acting as a magnet for creative talent, as well as the ideal incubator environment for new creative and digital start-ups.
As an eminently desirable urban location, Manchester is experiencing rapid population growth. The city’s 2018 population of 553,500 people is expected to grow to 631,500 by 2041 based on current trends – an increase of 14.1% according to the ONS.
“One reason that Manchester is such a key growth location is the city’s unique combination of economic opportunity and superb urban lifestyle. This blended offering led The Economist to crown Manchester as the UK’s most liveable city in its 2018 Global Liveability Index.”
The Greater Manchester urban area accounts for 40% of total GVA in the North West, making the city the focal point for the entire region. According to Savills, that region will lead the UK in terms of house price growth over the next five years, achieving compound growth of 21.6% by 2023. 2020 in particular looks to be an exciting year based on the Savills projections, with the North West tipped to enjoy house price growth of 6.0% over the course of the year.
Capitalising on this population growth is the Middlewood Corridor located in between Manchester and Salford, The Middlewood Corridor is the largest of three regeneration corridors (with over £1 bn of regeneration planned) that make up an ambitious renewal programme for Manchester and Salford. It is being built around existing retail parks, with regeneration work running from 2015 to 2030.
Middlewood Plaza is located in the heart of the Middlewood Corridor, marking the start of a new era for Manchester’s residential sector and those who invest in it. The development is set to capitalise on the enormous economic potential of the Middlewood Corridor Regeneration Zone, as well as benefit from the host of amenities that the completed district will provide. With prices starting from £157,281 and only 10% payable on exchange, this could be the development that gets you on the Manchester property market.
Buy-to-let Borrowing for an Ageing UK Population
Traditionally borrowing gets harder as you get older, but it is now getting easier to secure a buy-to-let mortgage when you’re over 60. This doesn’t mean over 60s can’t get a mortgage. But lenders might impose an age limit for taking out the mortgage, plus a maximum age for when the mortgage term will need to end.
When it comes to buy-to-let, retired borrowers may have previously found it difficult to secure a mortgage to purchase a buy-to-let property. Lenders were reluctant to offer them finance, particularly if they were still in debt in their retirement.
With around 1,000 mortgage deals available for terms of up to 40 years, which means a buy to let borrower aged 45 years old can easily expect to have a mortgage on a private rented home for 45 years. This seems to be working as the latest buy to let mortgage data from lender trade body UK Finance reveals landlord remortgages are outnumbering loans to buy new homes to let by nearly three to one. Borrowing to buy a new property to rent dropped by 7.7 per cent to 4,800 for the 12 months to the end of February 2019. Remortgages were up 2.1 per cent with 14,400 loans agreed over the same term.
“While theoretically age should not be as big a concern for Buy to Let lenders as for a residential property, the reality is that it is still a factor and many borrowers do face upper age limits. When it comes to BTL mortgages, repayments aren’t usually covered by pension savings or work salary as with residentials. Instead, affordability will usually be determined by the expected rental income from tenants (alongside the usual factors such as loan to value and other individual circumstances).”
Online Mortgage Advisor
Buy-to-let lenders are encouraging borrowers to stay in the market well into retirement as they lift age limits on mortgages. Figures from consumer group Which? suggest two out of three of the 2,057 deals available to landlords have a maximum age limit of at least 85 years old. Some go farther – with 9 per cent offering mortgages to borrowers up to 90 years old and a fifth without any age limit at all.
Age limits might still be a factor, but when it comes to determining whether a buy-to-let investment is affordable or not, many lenders will focus more on the rental cover than the age of the borrower. As long as borrowers can demonstrate that the monthly rent payable on the property is enough to cover mortgage repayments by between 125% and 145%, the investment will be determined as affordable.
With the population living longer, people are still wanting or needing to borrow money for a multitude of reasons. Now lenders aren’t standing in the way as the number of buy-to-let products available on the market is at its highest level since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2007, with many of these products will be available to landlords requiring finance, regardless of their age.
London House Prices increase as Boris Johnson moves forward with stamp duty tax reform
As we look towards the October Brexit dead line, what is the current state of the UK property market and what effect has Boris Johnson had in the small time he has been prime minster.
Before Boris Johnson became the new PM, he outlined his plans for an emergency budget which would significantly cut stamp duty and potentially reignite a stumbling property market. As Brexit, economic uncertainty and fulfilling policy pledges play heavily on his mind, overhauling SDLT will undoubtedly be the easiest part of Johnson’s role as PM. In his quest to revive the property market, Boris pledged to overhaul the current SDLT thresholds by scrapping SDLT on properties worth less than £500,000. Currently, only properties priced under £125,000 on all current property owners or a £300,000 threshold for first-time buyers (FTBs) are immune from SDLT. The aim to stimulate the more expensive sections of the property market by reversing duty increases on homes valued over £1.5 million by reducing the 12% duty to 7%.
The Current Market Conditions
Average house prices saw an annual rise of 1.2% (to April 2019 Gov.UK House Price Index)
Highest level of year-on-year growth in followed by Liverpool (4.9%), Manchester (4.1%) and Birmingham (4.0%).
According to the same dataset, London saw a 0% change in house prices. (Hometrack UK Cities House Price Index)
Despite the ongoing Brexit-induced pessimism, the latest Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) report stated that there has been an increase in buyer enquiries after declines over the first half of 2019. 12-month expectations are indicating continued growth in sales volumes and prices.
Nevertheless, affluent home buyers pushed the number of deals in central London over £5 million up 12% compared to a year ago, while the number of deals under £2 million rose 16%, according to LonRes. With Boris Johnson beating rival, Jeremy Hunt by 92,153 votes to 46,656 last month, the question on everyone’s lips is whether he will deliver on his promise of cutting stamp duty land tax (SDLT) after October 31st 2019.
How long will the London housing market pause for thought?
There are a number of indicators that the pre-Brexit, pent up buyer demand for London property is shortly to be unleashed. Chestertons’ Winter 2018/19 London Residential Property Market Report asserts that the “bottom of the market may be in sight,” while the rate of decline in the capital’s sales prices have slowed. Indeed, demand at the prime end of the market bounced back during the latter half of 2018.
“We’ve seen many buyers – both owner-occupiers and investors – taking a ‘wait and see’ approach in London as the Brexit deadline of 29 March approached. However, the delaying of that date to 12 April – and the 31 October – is testing purchasers’ patience. Add in the prospect of prices in London bottoming out and we could see a swift and decisive rise in transactions over the coming weeks and months.”
Prices in London fell during 2017 and again during 2018. Given the ongoing political impact of Brexit on sterling, this has made for some interesting opportunities for overseas investors. With indications that the market is bottoming out, many investors will now be looking to snap up properties at bargain (for London) prices while they have the chance.
At the same time, it’s likely that many of those waiting to buy property for their own use will also act in the coming weeks and months. As Brexit looks increasingly likely to drag on, many would-be purchasers may be prompted to act before London’s prices begin to rise too steeply again. As such, 2019 – or at least the latter half of it – could turn out to be a good year for property in and around the capital.
“Many property investment companies are looking closely at London again right now, as the market correction that has taken place over the past couple of years makes property ownership in the capital more attractive, particularly given the recent upward movement in rents and therefore yields. As such, London and the commuter belt certainly bear watching over the rest of this year.”
London’s property market is, of course, vast, as is the commuter belt that surrounds the city. Two areas likely to be of particular interest in the near future are Gerrards Cross and Reading, both of which offer a fast, direct commute into central London, as well as a good quality of life for the whole family. If the predictions of the market bottoming out and pent-up demand being unleased play out, it is likely that interest in both of these areas will spike significantly.
First Time Buyers, Brexit and Boris Johnson
An influx of deals agreed over the last several months will cause a substantial rise in House prices over the summer – according to new data from property experts Reallymoving and Rightmove.
Fuelled by past frustrations of political indecision, home buyers see the nearing deadline of Brexit as an essential milestone for establishing stability and future prosperity in the market. Investors encouraged by the light at the end of the tunnel now also see an opportunity to capitalise on exceptional value through buying in the last remaining months ahead of Brexit.
House pricing indexes forecast growth of upwards of 1.2% in August, followed by growth of 3.8% in September – marking a crucial turning point in the recovery of what has otherwise been a tough couple of years in the property market. (Reallymoving)
This Summer is also set to see renewed interest and appetite from overseas buyers with the promise of lower stamp duty and purchasing costs for home buyers and investors alike. The introduction of increased Stamp Duty in 2014 was arguably the leading driver in the 20% decline in property prices in areas of Central London in the following year; questions now linger as to whether the introduction of lower Stamp Duty will spark an immediate correction in house values and send prices soaring.
With the prospect of Boris Johnson in No.10 looking more likely than ever, Johnson’s condemnation of high taxation appears to be well received with investors drawn to the Country who have in the past been unmotivated by unattractive costs associated with investment.
“The spring market was more robust than expected and this has prompted positive growth through the summer, particularly for deals agreed in May which are translating to sales in July.”
A plan to cut stamp duty on home purchases in Britain may just be the boost needed by the slumping London property market and give first time buyers the opportunity to get on the property ladder across the UK.
“We have seen a spike in interest in commuter belt locations around the UK’s largest cities, London, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle. With high sales in growth location sites such as Gerrards Cross, Luton and Digbeth. There is huge pent-up demand in the UK property market amidst the political unrest if the UK is able to agree a deal with the EU we could see a rush of properties hitting the market in the late autumn along with a surge in buyer demand..”