Stotfold’s interest only ticking time-bomb?

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According to my research, of the 3,978 properties in Stotfold, 1,906 of those properties have mortgages on them.  90.25% of those mortgaged properties are made up of owner-occupiers and the rest are buy to let landlords (with a mortgage).

However, this is the concerning part, 412 of those Stotfold mortgages are interest only. My research also shows that, each year between 2017 and 2022, 12 of those households with interest only mortgages will mature, and of those, 3 households a year will either have a shortfall or no way of paying the mortgage off. Now that might not sound a lot – but it is still someone’s home that is potentially at risk.

 

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Theoretically this is an enormous problem for anyone in this situation as their home is at risk of repossession if they don’t have some means to repay these mortgages at the end of the term (the typical term being 25 to 35 years). Banks and Building Societies are under no obligation to lengthen the term of the mortgage and, when deciding whether they are prepared to do so or not, will look at it in the same way as someone coming to them for a new mortgage.

Back in the 1970’s and 1980’s, when endowment mortgages were all the rage, having an endowment meant you were taking out an interest only mortgage and then paying into an endowment policy which would pay the mortgage off (plus hopefully leave some profit) at the end of the 25/35-year term. There were advantages to that type of mortgage as the monthly repayments were lower than with a traditional capital repayment and interest mortgage. Only the interest, rather than any capital, is paid to the mortgage company – but the full debt must be cleared at the end of the 25/35-year term.

Historically plenty of Stotfold homeowners bought an endowment policy to run alongside their interest only mortgage. However, because the endowment policy was a stock market linked investment plan and the stock market poorly performed between 1999 and 2003 (when the FTSE dropped 49.72%), the endowments of many of these homeowners didn’t cover the shortfall. Indeed, it left them significantly in debt!

Nonetheless, in the mid 2000’s, when the word endowment had become a dirty word, the banks still sold ‘interest only’ mortgages, but this time with no savings plan, endowment or investment product to pay the mortgage off at the end of the term. It was a case of ‘we’ll sort that nearer the time’ as property prices were on the rampage in an upwards direction!

Thankfully, the proportion of interest only mortgages sold started to decline after the Credit Crunch, as you can see looking at the graph below, from a peak of 43.81% of all mortgages to the current 8.71%.

 

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Increasing the length of the mortgage to obtain more time to raise the money has gradually become more difficult since the introduction of stricter lending criteria in 2014, with many mature borrowers considered too old for a mortgage extension.

Stotfold people who took out interest only mortgages years ago and don’t have a strategy to pay back the mortgage face a ticking time bomb. It would either be a choice of hastily scraping the money together to pay off their mortgage, selling their property or the possibility of repossession (which to be frank is a disturbing prospect).

I want to stress to all existing and future homeowners who use mortgages to go in to them with your eyes open. You must understand, whilst the banks and building societies could do more to help, you too have personal responsibility in understanding what you are signing yourself up to. It’s not just the monthly repayments, but the whole picture in the short and long term. Many of you reading my blog ask why I say these things. I want to share my thoughts and opinions on the real issues affecting the Stotfold property market, warts and all. If you want fluffy clouds and rose tinted glasses articles – then my articles are not for you. However, if you want someone to tell you the real story about the Stotfold property market, be it good, bad or indifferent, then maybe you should start reading my blog regularly.

For more thoughts on the Stotfold Property Market – visit the Stotfold Property Blog on: http://www.stotfoldpropertyblog.co.uk.

 

Great buy-to-let investment opportunity in Arlesey

This property has gone onto the market with Express Estate Agency.  A good size flat in a location just round the corner from the station – an ideal purchase for an investor with a potential yield of 5.1%.  View ASAP before it goes.   Take a look at the advert here

Has the rental sector in our town changed forever?

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The Stotfold housing market has gone through a sea change in the past decades with the Buy-to-Let (B-T-L) sector evolving as a key trend, for both Stotfold tenants and Stotfold landlords.

A few weeks ago, the Government released a White Paper on housing. I have had a chance now to digest the report and wish to offer my thoughts on the topic. It was interesting that the private rental sector played a major part in the future plans for housing. This is especially important for our growing Stotfold population.

In 1981, the population of Central Bedfordshire stood at 211,700 and today it stands at 274,000.

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Currently, the private rented (B-T-L) sector accounts for 8.3% of households in the town.  The Government want to assist people living in the houses and help the economy by encouraging the provision of quality homes, in a housing sector that has grown due to worldwide economic forces, pushing home ownership out of the reach of more and more people. Interestingly, when we look at the 1981 figures for homeownership, a different story is told.

64.03% Stotfold people owned their own home in 1981

26.28% Stotfold people rented from the Council or Housing Association in 1981

 and 9.44% Stotfold rented from a Private Landlord     

The significance of a suitable housing policy is vital to ensure suitable economic activity and create a vibrant place people want to live in. With the population of Central Bedfordshire set to grow to 349,266 by 2037 – it is imperative that Central Bedfordshire District Council and Central Government all work actively together to ensure the residential property market doesn’t hold the area back, by encouraging the building and provision of quality homes for its inhabitants.

One idea the Government has proclaimed is a variety of measures aimed at encouraging the Build-to-Rent (B-T-R) sector (instead of the B-T-L sector). These include allowing local authorities to proactively plan for B-T-R schemes, and making it simpler for B-T-R developers to offer inexpensive private rented homes.

To do this, the government will invent a distinct affordable housing class for B-T-R, called ‘Affordable Private Rent’, which will oblige new homes builders to provide at least 1 in 5 of a new home developments at a 20% discount on open-market rents and three year tenancies for tenants. In return, the new home builders will get better planning assurances.

Private landlords will not be expected to offer discounts, nor offer 3-year tenancies – but it is something Stotfold landlords need to be aware of as there will be greater competition for tenants.

Over the last ten years, home ownership has not been a primary goal for young adults as the world has changed. These youngsters expect ‘on demand’ services from click and collect, Amazon, Dating Apps and TV with the likes of Netflix. Many Stotfold youngsters see that renting more than meets their accommodation needs, as it combines the freedom from a lifetime of property maintenance and financial obligations, making it an attractive lifestyle option.

Private rented housing in Stotfold and Central Bedfordshire, be it B-T-L or B-T-R, has the prospective to play a very positive role.

Don’t miss this! Investment property of the day in Arlesey……

Take a look at our latest video – A great investment opportunity in the neighbouring town of Arlesey.  Just come onto the market with Stephens Estate Agents in Stotfold.  Anticipated rental income of £695pcm and a yield of 5%!  Call them before it goes – click here for rightmove advert

Stotfold first time buyers borrow £11.1m in last 12 months

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Starting with the bigger picture, over the last 12 months in the UK, 1,061,557 properties were sold with a total value of £223.74 bn. To give that some context, ten years ago 1,581,727 properties sold with a total value of £405.56bn, so it can be seen the number of people moving house has dropped by over a third over the last decade.

Whether you are a landlord, homeowner or tenant, it’s always important to keep an eye on the Stotfold property market, not just from your point of view, but also from every player’s point of view. Over the last 12 months, 232 properties have sold (and completed) in Stotfold, worth £80.9m.  Interestingly the number of properties changing hands in Stotfold has also dropped when compared to a decade ago.

It might surprise you that first time buyers in 2017 will benefit from a slight decline in Stotfold buy-to-let investors.

Those looking to buy a home in the spring and summer of 2017 will face a far less competitive Stotfold property market than the same time of year in 2016, when the urgency to beat the buy-to-let stamp duty hike was in full swing.

Many landlords brought forward their purchases to beat the tax, and since then, the number of buy-to-let purchases has dropped slightly. First time buyers have taken advantage of that and have increased their buying. In fact, looking at the Bank of England figures, this is what UK lenders have lent on buy-to-let properties versus first time buyers over the last 12 months  …

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Q4 2015 – £1bn buy-to-let mortgages vs £1.31bn for first time buyers

Q1 2016 – £1.35bn buy-to-let mortgages vs £1.08bn for first time buyers

Q2 2016 – £760m buy-to-let mortgages vs £1.28bn for first time buyers

Q3 2016 – £827m buy-to-let mortgages vs £1.42bn for first time buyers

When looking at the figures for Stotfold itself, first time buyers have borrowed more than £11.1m in the last 12 months to buy their first home. This is a ringing endorsement of their confidence in their jobs and the local Stotfold economy. Those 20 and 30 something’s who are considering being first time buyers in 2017 will find that the number of properties on the market has never been as good as it has for quite a while, meaning you have more choice of properties and less competition from so many buy-to-let landlords than a year ago.

Rightmove announced nationally that new seller enquiries are 26% up on the same time last year giving the stoutest indication that we may see a slight ease in the lack of properties on the market. When I look at Stotfold, at this moment in time there are 82 properties for sale, compared to 41 properties a year ago. All this will be welcome news amongst Stotfold first-time buyers with a combination of a proportional reduction in new investors and landlords.

2017 will be an interesting year for all homeowners, be they buy-to-let landlords, existing homeowners or future homeowners.  For more thoughts on the Stotfold property market like this, you might want to visit the Stotfold Property Market Property Blog:

www.stotfoldpropertyblog.co.uk

Property of the week – modern three bedroom house in Stotfold

This three bedroom house is a property which for a landlord investing is well worth considering. For more information please visit our website at www.satchells.com or contact our Stotfold office on 01462 733730. Click this link to see video in YouTube: https://youtu.be/Y3qCzN1oLe0

 

Calling all landlords – don’t miss this opportunity in Stotfold

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Happy Christmas!  First Step are advertising this modern two bedroom house for £269,950.  This property is in a popular development of similar properties with private off road parking, close to the local amenities.  Rental yield of around 4%.

Do you want a great buy-to-let property in Stotfold?

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Satchells are selling this beautifully presented “almost new” property with NO CHAIN at £260,000.  At this price it seems like a great opportunity for a buy-to-let investor looking for an immediate rental income – annual income of around £11,400.  Take a look at the advert here

Stotfold buy-to-let property not to be missed!

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Our sales team at Satchells in Stotfold are selling this spacious two bedroom property in a cul-de-sac close to the heart of town.  It is being sold CHAIN FREE at a price of £220,000 and seems like an ideal option for an investor – expected yield of at least 4.3%, or £9,540 p.a.