Local W4 market information for homeowners, Landlords & Investors.

Category: Property Market Research

194% increase in Property Values in Chiswick since the Millennium

Chiswick house prices since the Millennium have risen by 194.82%, whilst average salaries in Chiswick have only grown by 51.27% over the same time frame. This has served to push homeownership further out of reach for many Chiswick people as they have to battle against raising considerable deposits and meet sterner lending criteria, as a result of new mortgage regulations introduced in 2014/5. The private rental market in Chiswick has grown throughout the last twenty years with buy-to-let investors purchasing a high proportion of newly built residential properties that were built and designed for the owner occupier sales markets. For example, in the Brentford and Isleworth Constituency, roll the clock back 20 years and there were 44,907 properties in the Constituency, whilst the most recent set of figures show there are 51,083 properties – a growth of 6,176 properties.

However, anecdotal evidence suggests that a large majority of those 6,176 were bought by Chiswick buy-to-let landlords, as over the same 20-year time frame, the number of rental properties has grown from 3,768 to 13,599 in the Constituency – a rise of 9,831 properties.

Nevertheless, some say this historic growth of the Chiswick rental market might start to change with the new tax rules for landlords introduced by Mr. Osborne over the last seven or eight months. Yet the numbers tell another story. Across the board, mortgage borrowing climbed to a 9 year zenith in March this year as the British property markets traditional Easter rush corresponded with landlords hurrying to beat George Osborne’s new stamp duty changes – buy-to-let landlords borrowed £7.1bn in

March 2016 (the latest set of figures released) which was 163% up on the £2.7bn borrowed in the previous March.

 

You see, from my point of view, I don’t think things will get worse in the buy-to-let market in Chiswick and these are the reasons why I believe that:

 

Firstly, what else are Chiswick landlords going to invest in if it isn’t property – the stock market? Since the Millennium, the stock market has risen by an unimpressive total of 5.54%, quite different to the 194.82% rise in Chiswick property prices?

 

Secondly, its true the 3% stamp duty is the first blow on top of a number of other tax changes to be phased in between 2017 and 2021, such as landlords facing a constraint in their ability to offset mortgage interest and, if sizeable numbers of landlords do take the decision to sell their portfolios, this will lead to a substantial amount of second hand properties being put up for sale. Yet that might not be a bad thing, as I have mentioned in previous articles there is a serious shortage of properties to buy at the moment in Chiswick: the stock of property for sale being at a six year all time low.

 

.. Thirdly, if there are fewer rental properties in Chiswick, as supply drops and demand remains the same (although ask any letting agent in Chiswick and they will say demand is constantly rising) this will create a squeeze in the Chiswick rental market and as a result rents will rise. In fact, I predict even if landlords don’t sell up, Chiswick rents will rise as Chiswick landlords seek to compensate for increased costs, which means more landlords will be attracted back.

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53.6% of Chiswick Tenants are White Collar Middle Class

With Chiswick youngsters not able to buy their own property, my research would suggest the progressively important role the private rented sector has been playing in housing people in need of a roof over their head. This is especially true at a time of increasing affordability problems for first time buyers and growing difficulties faced by social housing providers (local authorities and housing associations) in their ability to secure funding from Westminster and then compete against the likes of the Berkeley Group & Redrow to buy highly priced building land.

 

Renting isn’t like it was in the 1960’s and 70’s, where tenants couldn’t wait to leave their rack-rent landlords, charging sky-high rents for properties with Second World War        wood-chip wallpaper, no central heating and drafty windows. Since 1997 with the introduction of buy to let mortgages and a new breed of Chiswick landlord, the private rented sector in Chiswick has offered increasingly high quality accommodation for younger Chiswick households.

 

So whilst I knew in my own mind that the type and class of tenant has improved over the last 20 years, I had nothing to back that up … until now. According to some detailed statistics from Durham University just released, for the London Borough of Hounslow Council area, the current situation regarding social status of tenants shows some very interesting points. Using the well known Demographic ABC1 grade classifications which refers to the social grade definitions.

Of the 46,424 tenants who live in a private rented property in the London Borough of Hounslow Council area, 25.8% (or 11,873) of those tenants are classified in the AB category (AB Category being Higher and intermediate managerial / administrative / professional occupations), compared to 26.86% owner occupiers who own their property without a mortgage or 6.28% who rent their property from the local authority. Fascinating don’t you think?

 

Looking at the C1’s (C1’s being the Supervisory, clerical and junior managerial / administrative / professional occupations), of the already mentioned 46,424 tenants in the area, an impressive 13,016 of them are considered to be in the C1 category (or 28.04%). Again, when compared with the owner occupiers who own their property without a mortgage, that figure stands at 32.5%   and 25.47% who rent their property from the local authority. So, if we use the conventional measurements recorded by the white-collar “ABC1” i.e. middle class ….

 

This means 53.61% of tenants are considered middle class in Chiswick

 

 

I could go through all of the social categories through to ‘E’, but I humbly don’t want to bore you with too many numbers. The fact is that private tenants are moving up the social ladder and whilst back in the 1960’s and 70’s, the private rented sector in Chiswick (and the rest of the UK) has customarily been viewed as a temporary tenure for 20 somethings before they bought a property, the increase in renting in Chiswick, which I have talked about many times in the Chiswick Property Market Blog may be a reflection of increasing difficulty for this group in accessing other tenures, but may also be a reflection that people nowadays choose to rent long term instead?

 

Chiswick Landlords need to be aware that tenants now demand more from their properties, the agent and their landlord and whilst affordability for first-time buyers and tighter controls on lending may mean that potential first-time buyers are in the private rented sector for longer, they will still pay ‘top dollar’ rent for a ‘top dollar’ property.

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26.8% slump in Hounslow Property Transactions

In this post credit crunch world of sub terrain low interest and annuity rates so low a limbo dancer would smart, the growth of buy to let since 2009 has been phenomenal. So much so, there has been an evolution in purchase of property in the UK from that of just buying the roof over one’s head to that of a buy to let investment where it is seen as a standalone financial asset to fund current and future (ie pensions) investment. So recently, a few days before the release of latest Land Registry data of property transactions, quite a few market commenters were anticipating a huge increase in the number of properties sold in January as the 1st of April 2016 stamp duty deadline got closer.

 

Looking at the most recent set of data from The Land Registry, it seems there has been a drop in the number of completed property sales in the Hounslow Borough Council area. Year on year, completed property sales in January (the latest set of data released) fell by 26.8% to 183 compared with 250 in January 2015. Nationally, the number is similar, as the number of completed house sales fell by 5% in January 2016 compared with January 2015. Some might say this counters the reports that there was a rush by landlords to buy ‘buy to let’ property ahead of the 1st April 2016 deadline but where was the stampede that many expected?

 

Looking even closer to home, in the W4 postcode in January 2016, 46 properties changed hands, whilst 62 properties did so in January 2015. It’s even more interesting when you look at the average price paid, in January 2016, it was £963,397 yet in January 2015, the average price paid was £892,273.

 

Is the buy to let dream over for Chiswick landlords?

 

.. but as ever my Chiswick Property Blog readers, the devil is in the detail. The 3% stamp duty surcharge for buy to let landlords was announced in the Autumn Statement on the 25th November 2015. Anyone who has bought a property knows from their offer being accepted to receiving the keys and monies paid is a long drawn out affair, taking on average 8 to 12 weeks, as the Land Registry only get notified upon completion of the sale. We also need to factor in that Solicitors seem to have the last two weeks of December off anyway.

 

So if there was a rush in the last few days of November/early December in the Chiswick property market, we would only see the results of that in the February figures (released in June) and more probably March’s (released in July).

 

So why all the doom and gloom? Simple .. bad news sells newspapers and gets the headlines. Let’s be honest, the headline to this article is designed to be eye catching. However, when we look at both the bigger and smaller picture; nationally, property values dropped (month on month) by 0.5%; in the London region they rose 0.2%, whilst in Hounslow they rose by 1.8%. The year on year figures tell a completely different story to that.

 

 

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1,095 Hounslow Properties lie empty– An injustice for the 8,504 people on the Hounslow Council House Waiting List?

Easy problems should have easy solutions – shouldn’t they?

 

Problems like Chiswick’s housing crisis, where we have a rudimentary numerical problem of too few homes for too many people … the answer is clearly to build more property in Chiswick – but that, unfortunately for those desperately seeking to purchase or let a property, takes a lot of time and huge amounts of money. So what of other solutions?

 

Whilst at a dinner with friends recently, the subject of property was mentioned (as I am sure it does at most dinner parties up and down the country). Normally someone always mentions empty properties as the solution to the problem. On the face of it, it seems so obvious. Now quite interestingly, I had recently done some research on this topic, which I want to share with you (as I did with those at the dinner table).

 

The most recent set of figures from 2015 state there are 1,095 empty homes in the Hounslow London Borough Council area. So it begs the question … why not put them back onto the system and help ease the Chiswick housing crisis? Whilst they stand empty, 8,504 Hounslow households (not people – households) are on the Council House Waiting List for council houses. Surely, we can undoubtedly all agree that property left empty for years and years isn’t morally right with the burgeoning Council House Waiting List, not to also mention the issue of homelessness.

 

But a different story emerges when you look deeper into the numbers. Of those 1,095 homes lying empty, only 403 properties were empty for more than six months. The local authority has to report a property being empty, even if its for a week. So many of the Chiswick properties are either awaiting new homeowners or, in the case of rental properties, new tenants. Also most certainly, some properties are being refurbished and renovated, while others properties have homeowners who are anxious to sell but cannot find a buyer.

 

And this is where its gets even more interesting. Of the 403 long-term vacant properties (those empty more than six months), 233 belong to the council. However, before we all go Council-bashing, anecdotal evidence suggests these empty council houses are habitually in need of so much restoration that it’s not worth the Council’s while to do and are in the roughest parts of the council estates, they are properties that even the Council find difficult to fill.

 

The fact is that the number of genuinely long term empty properties is only a tiny drop in the ocean of the 94,902 properties in the area covered by Hounslow London Borough Council and, even if every one of those empty homes were filled with happy cheerful tenants tomorrow, it would only meet a small fraction of Chiswick housing needs.

 

So what does this mean for all the homeowners and landlords of Chiswick? Well it means with demand being so high, especially for rental properties, the certainty of the rental market growing is an inevitability because young people cannot buy and councils don’t have the money to build new council houses. This in turn bolsters property prices as landlords continue to buy at the lower end of the market (starter homes, etc), which in turn sustains the rest of the market as those sellers move up the property ladder, releasing others in turn to buy on again.

 

These are interesting times in the Chiswick property market!

 

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£7,700 boost to Chiswick First time buyers

There’s a whole legion of wannabe Chiswick first-time buyers keen to get on the property ladder and they now have a 3% price advantage over the previously quicker responding army of Chiswick landlords with cash at the ready. Since the start of April,

buy to let landlords have had to pay an additional 3% stamp duty so whilst demand from some Chiswick buy to let landlords has dropped away, in the interim, it offers Chiswick first time buyers (FTB’s) a chance to fill the vacuum with less competition from cash rich landlords (over two thirds of BTL properties were purchased without a mortgage in the last 7 years) who could bid more and complete quicker.

 

Looking at the average value of an apartment in Hounslow

currently standing at £258,100, that means if our Chiswick FTB went up against a Chiswick landlord, the landlord would have to pay an additional £7,743 in stamp duty. Early antidotal evidence from fellow property professionals in the suburb is suggesting landlords are reducing their offers slightly on Chiswick properties to reflect the extra stamp duty.

 

Whilst on the face of it, it appears landlords are being punished by No.11 Downing Street, I actually believe this increase in stamp duty for landlords is a good thing for the Chiswick property market as a whole.

 

Since 2011/12, the Hounslow property market has performed very well indeed. Over the last 12 months, £187,565,488 has been spent buying 556 Hounslow properties. Figures from the Land Registry have just been released and month on month in our council area, property values are 1.8% higher, yet 14.7% higher year on year. These figures are nowhere near the heady days of 2000 (June to be exact), when Chiswick

property prices rose by 28% in 12 months.

 

So as property values in Chiswick (and the UK as whole) start to stablise and come back to some kind of balance, I am beginning to see savvy landlords view the Chiswick property market in a different light. Even with the Spring rush, gone are the days where you could make limitless money on anything that had a door, a few windows and roof. This stamp duty change has made more and more landlords, after reading the Chiswick Property Market Blog take advice on what or not to buy and what to pay, meaning Chiswick landlords are being more calculated with their Chiswick BTL purchases. I am also seeing a variance between relatively brisk current price momentum and softer expectations in terms of property value growth in Chiswick, this in part reflects amplified uncertainty about the short term economic outlook (eg Brexit, Issues in the Far East etc).

 

 

 

Now I know a lot of Chiswick landlords brought forward their BTL purchases to beat the stamp duty deadline. However, it is probable that hunger from Chiswick investors will return for the right Chiswick property later in the year, especially if it’s at the right price and offers a decent yield. However, in the meantime, Chiswick FTB’s could and should, in the short term, make hay whilst the sun shines plug the gap and grab a bargain!

 

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Brexit and Chiswick Property market – 40% more properties on the market

 

 

April Fools Day was no joke for some landlords, as they rushed their buy to let property purchases throughout late March to beat the extra 3% stamp duty George Osborne imposed on buy to let properties after the 31st March 2016. Because some investors brought forward their 2016 property purchases to save the extra tax, speaking to fellow property professionals in Chiswick, all of us have noticed, since the clocks went forward, demand to buy in April and May from these landlords has eased.

 

Then we have the Brexit issue, which is also having a tempering effect on the Chiswick property market – although if you recall I wrote about this a few weeks ago, and whilst an exit will have an effect – it won’t be the end of the world scenario some commentators are suggesting. In another article I wrote previously, I spoke of the growth rate of Chiswick property values, and whilst the rate of growth is slowing, Chiswick property values are still 13.6% higher year on year, albeit the growth rate month on month has started to moderate when compared to the heady days of month on month rises of 2014 and 2015. Interestingly though, a very recent members survey of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors states that only 17% of members believed property values would increase over the next Quarter compared to 44% at the end of 2015.

 

All this had led to increase in the number of properties for sale. For example in the W4 postcode, which mainly comprises of Chiswick, Gunnersby, Turnham Green, Acton Green, South Acton and Bedford Park, there were 476 properties for sale in the postcode in December (of which 70 came on to the market for the first time). In January, February and March, 583 properties came onto the market in the postcode district (or an average of 194 per month), meaning by end of the first Quarter, there were 671 properties available for homeowners and landlords alike to buy in W4 (i.e. a rise of 40.9 more properties for sale). These figures are mirrored in neighbouring postcodes throughout the Chiswick area.

 

Nevertheless, I believe this easing of the Chiswick property market is a good thing, as investment landlords wont have to pay top dollar to secure a property because of the lower competition. On the face of it, this easing should be bad news for the 12,833 homeowners in the W4 area, but nothing could be further from the truth. The majority of homeowners that move, move up market, (i.e. from a flat to terrace/town house, then a semi and then detached), so whilst last year you would have achieved a top dollar figure for your property, you would would have had to have paid an even higher top dollar to secure the one you wanted to buy. The Swings and Roundabouts of the Chiswick Property Market!

 

However, all the signals suggest that whatever the aftermath of the approaching EU referendum, in the long term, the disparity between demand for Chiswick property and the supply (i.e. the number of actual properties) will still exercise a sturdy and definitive influence on the Chiswick property market. It would surprise me that if by 2021, whichever way we vote in late June, assuming we

don’t have another credit crunch or issues like a major world conflict, property prices will be between 22% to 25% higher than they are today.

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Chiswick Property Market in Crisis : Who is to blame?

‘An Englishman’s Home is his Castle’ is the phrase that was coined in Victorian times as the UK has a reputation for being a country of home owners .. but the truth could be further from the point, because in a league of the top 46 economic nations of the world, where owning your property is permissible, the UK is only ranked no.37.

 

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, at the end of the First World War, 77% of people rented their home (the vast majority renting from a private landlord as Council Housing was still very much in its infancy). Homeownership rose very slowly in the 1920’s and started to grow as the economy grew after the Great Depression. However, after the Luftwaffe had flattened huge swathes of housing in the early 40’s, the priority was to get people into clean and decent accommodation .. so Local Authority’s (Councils) took up the baton and they built large council estates in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

 

As the UK economy got back on its feet in the middle part of the 20th Century and wages rose, people decided they wanted to own their own home instead of renting. Throughout the post war decades, it became easier to secure a mortgage. Interestingly, by 1977, 61.6% of 30 to 34 year olds were owner occupiers with a mortgage compared to 8.7% of 30 to 34 year olds being in private rented accommodation (the remaining either being in council housing or living with friends or family). Ten years later, in 1987, we saw some significant growth in homeownership, as 68.2% of 30 to 34 year olds had a mortgage and only 4.6% of people privately rented. A decade later and there wasn’t much change as, in 1997, the homeownership figure was 68.3% but private renting had jumped to 12.1% in the same 30 to 34 year old age group.

 

Move on another ten years to the 2007 figures, and this showed a slight drop in homeownership to 65.8% but renting had continued to increase to 18.7% (in the 30 to 34 year old age group). The latest set of figures is for 2014, and only 47.2% of 30 to 34 year olds had a mortgage and an eye watering 33.4% of 30 to 34 year olds privately rent.

 

When we look at the Chiswick figures of homeownership, looking back to 1991, 59.05% of Chiswick households were owned by the homeowner, whilst 8.39% of Chiswick households were privately rented, whilst the 2011 census showed home ownership in Chiswick had dropped to 49.48% and private rented had increased to 26.62%. Much of the recent rise in the occurrence of private renting in Chiswick since the turn of the Millennium is not because property has become more expensive, but the fact these 30 somethings haven’t got a council house to move into (because they were all sold off) – so they have to rent. The selling of council housing in the 1980’s (a subject I have talked about in a previous article in the Chiswick Property Market Blog) artificially grew homeownership in the 1980’s, but as these people have got older, the younger generation didn’t have the same opportunity to buy their council house in the 1990’s, 2000’s or 2010’s. That is why, unless the council start building council houses by the acre, and hundreds of acres, private renting will continue to grow in Chiswick.

 

So if you want blame anyone .. blame the Grocer’s daughter from Grantham – Mrs T …. but before you do – do remember in the 1970s, the UK was called the “sick man of Europe” by critics of the UK government, because of industrial strife and poor economic performance compared to other European countries culminating with the Winter of Discontent of 1978/9 and if it hadn’t been for her we wouldn’t be where we are today.

 

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Rents in Chiswick rise by 3.8% in the last year

I was reading the Sunday Papers, as is my want and, when reading the financial pages, it was announced UK inflation had increased to its highest level in a year. Inflation, as calculated by the Government’s Consumer Prices Index, rose by 0.3% over the last 12 months. The report said it had risen to the those ‘heady’ levels by smaller falls in supermarket and petrol prices than a year ago. If you recall, in early 2015, we had deflation where prices were dropping!

So what does this mean for the Chiswick property market … especially the tenants?

Back in November, the Office of National Statistics stated average wages only rose by 1.8% year on year, so when adjusted for inflation, Chiswick people are 1.5% better off in ‘real’ terms. Great news for homeowners, as their mortgage rates are at their lowest ever levels and their spending power is increasing, but the news is not so good for tenants.

The average rent that Chiswick tenants have to pay for their Private Rental Properties in Chiswick (i.e. not housing association or council tenants) rose by 3.8% throughout 2015, eating into most of the growth. 2015 wasn’t a one off either. In 2014, rents in Chiswick rose by 3.0% (where salaries only rose by only 0.2%) However, it’s not all bad news for Chiswick tenants, because in 2013 rents rose by 2.5%, (but salaries rose by 2.2%).

… and it must be noted that the private rents Chiswick tenants have had to pay for Chiswick property since 2005 are only 27.6% higher, not even keeping up with inflation, which over the same time frame, rose at 27.8% (although salaries were only 22.3% higher over the same time period)

More and more, talking to 20 and 30 somethings who rent – it’s a choice. Gone are the days where owning your own property was a guaranteed path to wealth, affluence and prosperity. I know keep mentioning Europe, but some of the highest levels of home ownership are in Romania at 96.1%, Hungary at 88.2% and Latvia at 80.9% (none of them European economic dynamos) and even West European countries like Spain at 78.8% and Greece at 74% (and we know both of those countries are on their knees, riddled with national debt and massive youth unemployment).

At the other end of the scale, whilst we in the UK stand at 64.8% homeownership, in Europe’s powerhouses, only 52.5% of Germans own a home and only 44% of Swiss people are homeowners. Looks like eating chocolate, sauerkraut, renting and good economic performance go hand in hand. Yet, joking aside, home ownership has not always been the rule in the UK. In 1918, only 23% of people were homeowners, with no council housing, meaning in fact, 77% were tenants.

Tenants have choice, flexibility to move, they don’t have massive bills when the boiler blows up, it’s a choice. Chiswick rents are growing, but not as much as incomes. To buy or not to buy is an enormously difficult decision. For while buying a Chiswick home is a dream for the majority of the 20 and 30 something’s of Chiswick have, it might not leave them better off in the long run and it isn’t necessarily the best option for everyone. That is why, demand for renting is only going in one direction – upwards.

 

Data:

ONS (Office of National Stats) give the UK inflation figures
Rental figures – again ONS for the region (no one does town rental figures)
Salaries are ONS again
Homeownership from European Union
Homeownership for WW1 is again from ONS

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Chiswick Property Values drop by 0.5% month on month

I do like to have a coffee at The Outsider Tart on Chiswick High Road. Whilst in there, a suited gentleman approached me and asked if I was the person who wrote the newsletters about the Chiswick property market. We ended up having an interesting chat about the local property market, as he was concerned his daughter would never be able to buy her own property, a place in Chiswick she herself can call home.

 

My latest analysis, using the Land Registry and Office of National Statistics, shows that last month, Chiswick property values decreased slightly by 0.5%. However the year on year figures showed the value of residential property in Chiswick has increased by 13.6% in the year to the end February 2016, taking the average value of a property in the council area to £409,000.

 

It gets even more interesting when we look at the last few months’ figures and see the patterns that seem to be emerging.

 

  • January 2016 – a rise of 0.8%
  • December 2015 – a rise of 1.4%
  • November 2015 – a rise of 1.5%

 

We have talked in many recent articles about the lack of properties being built in Chiswick over the last 30 years. This lack of new building has been the biggest factor that has contributed to Chiswick property values still being 400.52% higher than in 1995. At the risk of repeating myself, until the Government addresses this issue, and allows more properties to be built, things will continue to get worse as the UK population grows at just under 500,000 people a year (which is a combination of around 226,000 people because of higher birth rates/people living longer and 259,000 net migration) whilst the country is only building 152,400 properties a year – no wonder demand is outstripping supply.

 

Another reason intensifying the current level of property values in Chiswick, is the fact that people aren’t moving home as much as they used to, meaning fewer properties are coming onto the market for sale, so in consequence, there is a lack of choice of property to buy, meaning people thinking of moving are discouraged from putting their property on the market … thus perpetuating the problem, as the scarcity of possible properties to buy in order to move also deters people from offering their home for sale. This unevenness between demand from would-be purchasers and the number of properties coming on to the market for sale is causing pressures in Chiswick (and the rest of the UK).

 

So what of the future of the Chiswick property market and this man’s daughter? I firmly believe the property market in Chiswick and the country as a whole is changing its attitude about homeownership. Back in the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, getting on the property ladder was everything. Since the late 1990’s, we as a country (in particular, the young) have slowly started to change our attitude to homeownership. We are moving to a more European model, where people choose to rent in their 20’s and 30’s (meaning they can move freely and not be tied to a property), then inherit money in their 50’s when their property owning parents pass away, allowing them to buy property themselves … just like they do in Germany and other sophisticated and mature European counties, meaning his daughter will end up owning property, just later in life than we did. So, whatever the vote on the 23rd of June, if you think about it, we might be more European than we think!

 

Data:

 

  • Stats for Property Values and Percentages based on Land Reg figures. Note the Value has been rounded to the nearest £100
  • Stats for the 1995 from the Land Reg
  • Birth rate and Migration – Office of National Stats for 2015 – the latest figures
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46% of Hounslow Borough people Rent – Is that Healthy?

Renting used to be a dirty word in the 60’s and 70’s. You either lived in a ‘Rigsby Rising Damp’ style bedsit with wood chip on the wall and a coin operated electric meter (that buzzed in the night) or you lived in a council house. In the latter part of the 20th Century, the British were persuaded that rent payments were ‘wasted money’. However, owning often makes less financial sense than renting and as the rate of homeownership is starting to drop substantially, as we roll the clock forward to today, there is no stigma at all to renting .. everyone is doing it. In fact, of the 252,254 residents of Hounslow, 117,205 of you rent your house from either the local authority/social provider (ie council house or housing association) or private landlords – meaning 46.46% of Hounslow people are tenants.

 

The idea of homeownership is deeply embedded in the British soul, in fact 127,234 Hounslow people live in an owner occupied property (or 50.43%). Housing is at the heart of Government policy, as George Osborne has promised 200,000 new properties a year so first time buyers can buy their first home whilst recently changing the tax laws for buy to let landlords. To get votes, Thatcher (and everyone since) ran election campaigns promising everybody their own home, and as a country, we seem to equate homeownership the goal of British life.

 

So as more and more people are renting nowadays, are we turning to a more European way of living? Well, I believe, as a country, we are. In fact, homeownership could be affecting your health! The UK, according to Bloomberg, is only the 21st most healthy country in the world. Germany is at No.10 and Switzerland at No.4 and homeownership is at 52.5% and 44% respectively in those countries (in the UK it is 64.8%).

 

In the Hounslow Council area, 74.77% of homeowners who own their house outright said they were in ‘very good’ or ‘good’ health whilst, at the other end of the scale, 6.52% said their health was ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’. Looking at renting, the census splits tenants into two types – 73.51% of Hounslow local authority/social tenants said they were in ‘very good’ or ‘good’ health and 8.76% were in ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ health …

 

… whilst ‘private rented tenants’ in Hounslow, were the healthiest, as 90.61% of them described themselves in ‘very good’ or ‘good’ health and only 2.61% were in ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ health

 

I am not suggesting that low homeownership rates in Switzerland and Germany are directly linked to health, nor, do I expect Brits to all go to Berlin, Interlaken or Düsseldorf and realise how happy people are when they don’t need to worry about all the stresses which accompany homeownership. The numbers for Hounslow do go some way to back up the argument (and they are the same across the whole of the UK). Nonetheless I do think that substantially all of the upside to homeownership in recent years has been a function of monumental rising house prices. Now that’s come to an end, it’s hard to see why anybody would want to buy?

 

 

Renting is here to stay in Chiswick and it’s growing incrementally each year. Even with the new tax rules for landlords, buy to let is still a viable investment option for most people in the suburb. There has never been a better time to buy buy to let property in Chiswick.

 

Data:

  • The home ownership / renting percentages don’t add up because there are such properties as rent free properties, tied properties (the house is part of the job) and caravans
  • Numbers of renting from the Census for your town (officially called a BUA – built up area) as is the health numbers. If your location doesn’t have a BUA, then the relevant postcode(s) districts are used
  • Health % don’t add up to 100% as there is a middle category of health – for people who have ‘Fair’ health

 

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