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Category: Property Market Research

The 10,750 Exeter Savers batten down the hatches with low interest rates set to continue into the 2020’s

You might ask, what has the plight of the Exeter savers to do with the Exeter Property Market … everything in fact. Read the newspapers, and every financial wizard is stating that with the decision of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee in early August to cut the Bank of England base rate to an all time low of 0.25 per cent, savers should prepare themselves for interest rates to stay low well into the early 2020’s.

… And this isn’t some made up story to capture the headlines of newspaper editors. The yield (posh word for interest rate or return) on 10-year Government bonds is currently 0.61 per cent. This indicates that the money markets believe that the Bank of England’s base rate will, on average over the next ten years, be below the 0.61% rate they are buying the 10 year bonds at (because they would loose money if the average was over 0.61%). UK Interest rates are going to be low for a long time.

For those who have saved throughout their working lives and are looking for ways to maximise their savings, tying their money into property could prove advantageous. You see as a saver, I did a search of the internet and the best savings rate I could find was a 5 year fixed rate at 2.5% a year with Weatherbys Bank. Your £200,000 nest egg would earn you £5,000 a year – not much. However, on the other side of the fence, growth in Exeter house prices and princely buy to let yields have made property investment in Exeter an appealing option for many. According to my research, the…

Average Yield over the last five years for Exeter Buy to let property has been 4.4% a year… and average Property Values in over the same period have risen by 13.65%.

Using these averages, the Exeter landlord’s property would be worth £227,300 and they would have received a total of £44,000 in rent – making the total return £270,300. Meanwhile, whilst our 10,750 Exeter Saver’s, using the average savings rates for the last 5 years, even if they had reinvested the interest, their £200,000 would only be £221,184.

There are risks as well as benefits to buy to let though. As my blog readers know, I tell it like it is and investing in buy to let means locking up capital in a property that may fall in value. Another option would be stock market income based investment funds, which are paying around 5%, especially if put your nest egg into a tax free Stocks and Shares ISA. Although you can only add £15,240 a year into an ISA, but you would also have the ability to sell up quickly if you want … but one last thought…

The other side of the coin is that you cannot buy an unloved ‘stock market income based investment fund’ and set about renovating it and adding value yourself. The investment fund isn’t something that you can touch and feel, isn’t something tangible, isn’t something physical, isn’t something concrete, it isn’t bricks and mortar … and that is why my fellow Exeter homeowners and Exeter landlords is why the love affair of the British and Property will continue.

If you are considering becoming a new buy to let landlord in Exeter, what do you know about the Exeter property market? Do what many established landlords do and visit the Exeter Property Blog where there is a catalogue of articles like this and where the best buy to lets deals are in Exeter

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89% of Exeter Homeowners are over 35 – The effect of their Brexit vote on the Exeter Property Market

89% of Exeter Homeowners are over 35 – The effect of their Brexit vote on the Exeter Property Market

Well it’s 8 weeks since the Referendum vote and we have had a chance to reflect on the momentous decision that the British public took. Many of you read the article I wrote on the morning of the results. I had gone to bed the night before with a draft of my Remain article nicely all but finished, to be presented, at just after 5am, with the declaration by the BBC saying we were leaving the EU. I don’t think any of us were expecting that.

If you want to read a copy of that original Post Brexit blog post, please visit my blog and scroll back to late June to find it. In this article I would like to take my thoughts on from that initial article and now start to see the clearer picture as the dust settles on the UK, but more importantly, the Exeter Property Market.

In case you weren’t aware, the residents of the Exeter City Council area went against the National mood and voted as follows…

Exeter City Council     Remain Votes  35,270             (55.3% of the vote)

Exeter City Council     Leave Votes   28,533             (44.7% of the vote)

Exeter City Council Turnout            73.8%

I have been reading there is some evidence to indicate younger voters were vastly more likely to vote Remain than their parents and grandparents and, whilst the polling industry’s techniques may have been widely criticised, following them getting both the 2010 General Election and the recent Brexit vote wrong, anecdotally, many surveys seem to suggest there was a relationship between age and likelihood to support leaving the EU.

Interestingly, the average age of an Exeter resident is 38.1 years old, which is below the national average of 39.3, which might go someway to back up the way Exeter voted? What I do know is that putting aside whether you were a remain or leave voter, the vote to leave has, and will, create uncertainty and the last thing the British property market needs is uncertainty (because as with previous episodes of uncertainty in the UK economy – UK house prices have tended to go down).

Interestingly, when we look at the Homeownership rates in the Exeter City Council area, of the 29,912 properties that are owned in the Exeter City Council area (Owned being owned outright, owned with a mortgage or shared ownership), the age range paints a noteworthy picture.

Age 16 to 34 homeowners    3,421      or     11.4%  (Nationally 9.6%)

Age 35 to 49 homeowners    8,147      or     27.2%  (Nationally 29.2%)

Age 50 to 64 homeowners    8,724      or     29.2%  (Nationally 30.7%)

Aged 65+ homeowners         9,620      or     32.6%  (Nationally 30.5%)

So, looking at these figures, and the high proportion of older homeowners, you might think all the Exeter City Council area homeowners would vote Remain to keep house prices stable and younger people would vote out so house prices come down- so they could afford to buy?

But there’s a risk in oversimplifying this. The sample of the polling firms are in the thousands whilst the country voted in its millions. Other demographic influences have been at play in the way people voted, as early evidence is starting to suggest that class, level of education, the levels of immigration and ethnic diversity had an influence on the way the various parts of the UK voted.

So what I suggest is this – Don’t assume everyone over the age of 50 voted ‘Leave’ and don’t assume most 20 somethings backed ‘Remain’; because many didn’t!

.. and the Exeter Property Market – well read my original article in the Exeter Property Blog and you can make your own mind up.

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Asking Prices of Exeter Property down 1% in the last year

I had an interesting question the other day from a homeowner in Clyst Heath who asked me the difference between asking prices and values and why it mattered. When it comes to selling property, there must be agreement between the purchaser (buyer) and seller (vendor) for a property sale to take place. The value a buyer applies to a property can massively differ from the value a seller or mortgage company places upon it. The seller, the buyer and the mortgage company must find an agreeable value to assign to a property so the sale can proceed.

In many of my articles about the Exeter property market, I talk about values, i.e. what property in Exeter actually sells for, but I haven’t spoken about asking prices for while. Now asking prices are important as they are one of the four key matters a potential buyer will judge your property on (the others being location, bedrooms and type). Price yourself too high and you will put off buyers. So let’s take a look at the Exeter numbers.

Over the last 12 months asking prices (i.e. the price advertised in the paper and on Rightmove) in Exeter have decreased by 1%, taking the average asking price in Exeter to £321,300 (down from £323,500 twelve months ago).

Interestingly though, when we look at, say detached and terraced property, a slightly different picture appears. Twelve months ago, the average asking price for a detached house in Exeter was £471,300 and today its £467,200 (a drop of 1%); whilst over the same 12-month period, the average asking price of a terraced property was £257,800 a year ago, and today its £279,200 (a rise of 8%).

However, my research shows that the supply of property for sale in Exeter is beginning to increase. In December 2015, there were 817 on the market in Exeter today there are 855 properties on the market (up 5%). This will mean homeowners looking to sell will need to be conscious of how their property compares against others on the Exeter property market. The Exeter property market still has substantial momentum and sufficient demand remains. This noteworthy increase in supply since Christmas is currently providing more choice for buyers.

… And here is the second point to make. Asking prices are one thing, but what a property sells for (i.e. value) is a completely different matter. These are the average prices achieved (i.e. what they sold for or the average value) for property in Exeter over the last 12 months…

  • Overall Average          £262,700
  • Detached                     £388,400
  • Terraced                     £226,100

You can quite clearly see, there is a difference between what people are asking for property and what it is selling for. The underlying fundamentals of low interest mortgages and tight supply remain prevalent in the Exeter property market however, the number one lesson has to be this … if you want to sell, be realistic with your pricing.





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The Exeter Love Affair with its 15,900 Terraced Houses !

Call me old fashioned, but I do like the terraced house. In fact, I have done some research that I hope you will find of interest.

In architecture terms, a terraced or townhouse is a style of housing in use since the late 1600’s in the UK, where a row of symmetrical / identical houses share their side walls. The first terraced houses were actually built by a French man, Monsieur Barbon around St. Paul’s Cathedral within the rebuilding process after the Great Fire of London in 1666. Interestingly, it was the French that invented the terraced house around 1610-15 in the Le Marais district of Paris with its planned squares and properties with identical facades. However, it was the 1730’s in the UK, that the terraced/townhouse came into its own in London and of course in Bath with the impressive Royal Crescent.

However, we are in Exeter, not Bath, so the majority of our Exeter terraced houses were built in the Victorian era. Built on the back of the Industrial Revolution, with people flooding into the towns and cities for work in Victorian times, the terraced house offered decent liveable accommodation away from the slums. An interesting fact is that the majority of Victorian Exeter terraced houses are based on standard design of a ‘posh’ front room, a back room (where the family lived day to day) and scullery off that. Off the scullery, a door to a rear yard, whilst upstairs, three bedrooms (the third straight off the second). Interestingly, the law was changed in 1875 with the Public Health Act and each house had to have 108ft of livable space per main room, running water, it’s own outside toilet and rear access to allow the toilet waste to be collected (they didn’t have public sewers in those days in Exeter – well not at least where these ‘workers’ terraced houses were built).

It was the 1960’s and 70’s where inside toilets and bathrooms were installed (often in that third bedroom or an extension off the scullery) and gas central heating in the 1980’s and replacement Upvc double glazing ever since.

Looking at the make up of all the properties in Exeter, some very interesting numbers appear. Of the 49,005 properties in Exeter …

6,499 are Detached properties (13.2%)

12,574 are Semi Detached properties (25.6%)

15,909 are Terraced / Town House properties (32.4%)

13,728 are Apartment/ Flat’s (28.0%)

And quite noteworthy, there are 295 mobile homes, representing 0.8% of all property in Exeter.

When it comes to values, the average price paid for an Exeter terraced house in 1995 was £49,720 and the latest set of figures released by the land Registry states that today that figure stands at £210,000, a rise of 322% – that’s not bad at all is it.

But then a lot of buy to let landlords and first time buyers I speak to think the Victorian terraced house is expensive to maintain. I recently read a report from English Heritage that stated maintaining a typical Victorian terraced house over thirty years is around 67% cheaper than building and maintaining a modern house- which is quite fascinating don’t you think!

For more thoughts on the Exeter Property Market – visit the Exeter Property Market Blog


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Population in the Exeter area set to rise to 143,300 by 2036

Population in the Exeter area set to rise to 143,300 by 2036

Exeter faces a predicament. The population is growing and the provision of new housing isn’t keeping up. With the average age of a Exeter person being 38.1 years (compared to the South West average of 41.6 years old and the national average of 39.4 years of age), the population of Exeter is growing at an alarming rate. This is due to an amalgamation of longer life expectancy, a fairly high birth rate (compared to previous decades) and high net immigration, all of which contribute to housing shortages and burgeoning house prices.

The figures below have been kindly produced by Durham University specifically for the Exeter City Council area. Known as the UK’s leading authority for such statistics, their population projections make some startling reading…

For the Exeter City Council area … these are the statistics and future forecasts

2016 population           127,120
2021 population           131,062
2026 population           135,433
2031 population           140,037
2036 population           143,296

The normal ratio of people to property is 2 to 1 in the UK, which therefore means…

We need just over 8,000 additional new properties to be built in the Exeter City Council area over the next 20 years.

Whilst focusing on population growth does not tackle the housing crisis in the short term in Exeter, it has a fundamental role to play in long-term housing development and strategy in the City. The rise of Exeter property values over the last six years since the credit crunch are primarily a result of a lack of properties coming onto the market, a lack of new properties being built in the City and rising demand (especially from landlords looking to buy property to rent them out to the growing number of people wanting to live in Exeter but can’t buy or rent from the Council).

Although many are talking about the need to improve supply (i.e. the building of new properties), the issue of accumulative demand from population growth is often overlooked. Nationally, the proportion of 25-34 year olds who own their own home has dropped dramatically from 66.7% in 1987 to 43.8% in 2014, whilst 78.2% of over 65s own their own home. Longer life expectancies mean houses remain in the same hands for longer.

The swift population growth over the last thirty years provides more competition for the young than for mature population. It might surprise some people that 98% of all the land in the UK is either industrial, commercial or agricultural, with only two percent being used for housing, which means one could propose expanding supply to meet a expanding population by building on green belt – that most Politian’s haven’t got the stomach to tackle, especially in the Tory’ strongholds of the South of England, where the demand is the greatest. People mention brownfield sites, but recent research suggests there aren’t as many sites to build on, especially in Exeter that could accommodate 8,000 properties in the next 20 years.

In the short to medium term, demand for a roof over of one’s head will continue to grow in Exeter (and the country as a whole). In the short term, that demand can only be met from the private rental sector (which is good news for homeowners and landlords alike as that keeps house prices higher).

In the long term though, local and national Government and the UK population as a whole, need to realise these additional millions of people over the next 20 years need to live somewhere. Only once this issue starts to get addressed, in terms of extra properties being built in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way, can we all help create a socially ecological prosperous future for everyone. For more thoughts on the Exeter Property market, please visit the Exeter Property Market Blog

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