A standard measure of a full working week is about 48 hours. That is what the EU uses in it’s ‘Working Time Directive’ to ensure employees are not being over-stretched. In The Heatons, 87.7% of full- or part-time workers work those hours or fewer. That means 12.3% work more than that, a total of 2,200 people. Many of our clients fit into this category, and if you are one of them we are ready to work around your busy schedule.
A quarterly analysis of the last four years achieved sales prices from the Land Registry show some interesting patterns in The Heatons. Achieved sales prices of flats have increased by 0.7% per quarter since 2012. This compares with 0.3% for terraces, 1.4% for semis and 2.2% for detached properties. In total, it is detached properties which have increased the most with prices now 18.1% higher than in 2012.
At the time of writing, a £10 bet on the good people of the UK voting to leave the EU would yield a profit of £22.50, whereas the same bet on staying-in would return just £3.30. For those of you who don’t regularly have a flutter, that means the likelihood of Brexit is very slim. But then again that’s what the pollsters and bookies said about a Tory majority at the last election.
So if we believe the bookies, it seems the most likely impact of this referendum on the Heatons property market will be fairly negligible. There could be some mild economic uncertainty followed by a return to business as usual following a vote to stay in. In fact, even this mild uncertainty will come to be seen as nothing compared with the rush to snap up buy-to-let properties before the April 2016 stamp duty hike and subsequent flood of properties onto the rental market.
But what would an ‘out’ vote mean for the 10,900 homeowners of The Heatons or even the landlords of the 2,442 private rented properties? Well we think it all comes down to how reliant each local market is on buyers who work in the financial services industry. Some commentators claim that in the event of Brexit, the large global banks could pull out of the UK and relocate to somewhere within the EU, most likely Frankfurt. That would result in an exodus of relatively high income workers from the market, and it is these people who have been instrumental in putting upward pressure on house prices since the 1980’s.
As we all know, people working in financial services are mainly concentrated in South East England, within commuting distance to the City of London and Canary Wharf. However, there are also provincial outposts in the north of England, particularly in Leeds.
In The Heatons, there are 853 people working in financial services, equal to 4.8% of all jobs. In the context of the national picture, that puts it in the top half of all areas in terms of the concentration of financial services jobs. So the bottom line is that in relative terms, The Heatons is fairly reliant on the financial services industry. Consequently, The Heatons’ property market would be moderately exposed in the event of Brexit. However, there is a broader economic consequence of Brexit which would pose a menace to the SK4 and UK housing markets – interest rate rises. Theoretically, this could see the cost of mortgages grow swiftly, pricing many out of the market and generally making life difficult for buyers. However most buyers take fixed rate mortgages and two-thirds of landlords buy without a mortgage, so this woulddampen the effects in the short-term. It’s also conceivable that inflation would ramp up substantially if the price of imports went up, and if the Bank of England responded by increasing interest rates we might get into the situation we were in in the late 1980’s when mortgages were sky high, but inflation was eroding the debt.
Homeowners in The Heatons and buy-to-let landlords in SK4 should be pleased to know that prices have risen recently.
Our latest analysis of The Heatons property market shows that month-on-month, SK4 house prices have increased by 2.2%, whilst the year-on-year figures showed that house prices in SK4 have increased by 11.7% in the year, taking the average house price in The Heatons area to £269,900.
It gets even more interesting when we look at the last few months of 2015 and see the patterns that seem to be emerging.
• December 2015 – a rise of 2.2%
• November 2015 – a fall of 1.7%
• October 2015 – a fall of 1%
• September 2015 – a fall of 0.2%
The lack of new building developments has been the biggest factor contributing to the SK4 property values being 21.2% higher compared to 2009, and an eye watering 285.8% higher than in 1995.
Until the Government addresses this issue nationally, and allows more properties to be built, things will continue to get worse. The UK population grows at just under 500,000 people a year, whilst the country is only building 152,400 properties a year – no wonder demand is outstripping supply.
We firmly believe the property market in SK4 (and the country as a whole) is changing its attitude towards homeownership, which in turn will have major ramifications for the homeowners and buy-to-let landlords of SK4 alike. Back in the late 20th century, getting on the property ladder was everything. However, since the late 1990’s, we as a country (in particular, the younger generation of would-be homeowners) have slowly started to change their 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.
Some of the highest levels of home ownership are in Romania at 96.1%, Hungary at 88.2% and Latvia at 80.9% (hardly European economic powerhouses). In Western Europe, Spain has homeownership levels at 78.8% and Greece has 74.0% (and we know the economic woes of these countries well). At the other end of the scale, whilst we in the UK stand at 64.8% homeownership (and interestingly in The Heatons is 71.9%), in Europe’s powerhouses, only 52.5% of Germans and 44.0% of Swiss people are homeowners.
In SK4, the largest proportion of residents (26.9%) are of ‘Professional occupations’ (Prof.). This is 10.5% higher than the average in the North West. Next most common in SK4, with 14.5% of all residents, are ‘Associate professional and technical occupations’ (Technical). This is 3% higher than the average in the North West.
The number of sales in a given area is a powerful measure of the buoyancy of local housing markets. There were a total of 645 transactions in SK4 in the last calendar year. This is a decrease of 8.2% over the year. In comparison, there was an increase of 35.2% in the North West, and an increase of 29.4% across England & Wales.
Sales as a percentage of total housing stock available is a useful measure of an area’s turnover. Of the total private stock in SK4, 4.2% of properties changed hands in the last calendar year. This is 0.4% more than in the North West, where the turnover was 3.8%, and 0.1% more than the whole of England & Wales (4.1%).