Thursday, 3 December 2015

Epsom Property Market Crisis as New House Building slumps by 55.77%

One of the key factors that determine the price of anything is the demand and supply of the item that is being bought and sold. When it comes to property, demand can change overnight, but it takes years and years to build new properties, thus increasing the supply.

The Conservatives have pledged to build over 1 million homes by 2020. I am of the opinion that as a country, irrespective of which party, we have not built enough homes for decades and if the gap between the number of households forming and the number of new homes being built continues to grow, we are in danger of not being able to house our children or grand children. I believe the country is past the time for another grand statement of ambition by another Housing Minister. Surely it’s right to give normal Epsom families back the hope of a secure home, be that rented or owned? As a town, we need to exert pressure on our local MP Chris Grayling, so they can make sure Westminster is held accountable, to ensure there is a comprehensive plan, with enough investment, that can actually get these homes built. Indeed the increase in stamp duty by 3% to buy to let investors will help, but will this be enough for the building?

To give you an idea of the sorts of numbers we are talking about, in the Epsom and Ewell Borough Council area in 2007, 340 properties were built; in 2013 it peaked at 520. By 2014, that figure had dropped by a massive 55.77% to 230 properties built.

The outcome of too few homes being built in Epsom means the working people of the town are being priced out of buying their first home and renters are not getting the quality they deserve for their money. The local authority isn’t building the estates they were after the war and housing associations are having their budgets tightened year on year, meaning they have less money to spend on building new properties. I know of many Epsom youngsters, who are living with their parents for longer because they cannot afford to get onto the housing ladder and growing families are unable to buy the bigger homes they need.

I talk to many Epsom business people and they tell me they need a flexible and mobile workforce, but the high cost of moving home and lack of decent and affordable housing are barriers to attracting and retaining employees. Furthermore, building new homes is a powerful source of growth, creating jobs across the county and supporting hundreds of Epsom businesses. It is true that landlords have taken up the mantle and over the last 15 years have bought a large number of properties. The Government need to be thankful to all those Epsom landlords, who own the 2,450 rental properties in the borough. Most local landlords only have a handful of rented properties (to aid their retirement), and without them, I honestly don’t know who would house all the extra people in Epsom!

Moving forward, those Epsom landlords have many pitfalls, both in the short term and medium term. For instance, were you aware that the rules on changes for new tenancies from the 1st October 2015 (with some imposing penalties including loosing the right to require the tenant to vacate, if they are done incorrectly) or in the medium term, the planned change in the way buy to let’s are taxed?

More than ever, the days of buying any old property in Epsom and you would be set for life are gone. Now, it’s all about ensuring you stay the right side of the law, buying the right property (and that might mean even selling some to buy others), so you build the right portfolio for you as a landlord. One source of info on all of these issues, where you will find other articles similar to this on the Epsom property market, is here at the Epsom Property Blog.