Hello readers. Hasn’t this lovely burst of spring weather this week been a welcome arrival?
It certainly gives me a spring in my step – and that positivity is also being shared for Medway. According to a recent story in The Telegraph our area is basking in the sunshine of high praise, especially when it comes to property.
The Telegraph piece starts off by saying how the Medway towns are experiencing a changing tide in how people view the area. We still have some really reasonable house prices in Medway compared to the bloated market in London – despite being able to commute to the capital in under an hour! This close proximity and good value is slowly turning more people to Medway, knowing they can still work in London if needed.
The article does say that potential buyers thinking of moving here might’ve been put off by the relatively low prices, thinking that something must be wrong with the area (when we clearly know that’s not the case!). Consider though that only five years ago you could buy a terraced house here for under £100,000, and it shows how things are changing rapidly.
According to Land Registry figures, the average house price in Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham and Rainham, now stands at £239,422. You can see below where it has risen since April.
This next table shows that prices in March 2016 were £209,075 with an annual change in December of 14.74%. So clearly house prices are on the up, while we also know that housing stock is dwindling – which will surely only keep prices rising.
In comparison, the average property price for the wider south east for towns within 20 miles of the M25 is £367,166, according to Hamptons International. That’s 53 per cent more expensive than Medway’s average values. In fact, Gillingham was the cheapest of all 84 towns on the list, closely followed by its four neighbours.
Anyone with some historical knowledge of Medway will know that local prosperity was severely knocked when Chatham’s dockyards were shut down in 1984, resulting in the loss of 8,000 jobs. Unemployment in the area then rose to 20 per cent in the face of the closure, as cited by The Telegraph‘s article – which connects those troubling monetary times with an unsavoury reputation that might have been attached to the dockyards and surrounding areas.
Of course things have changed dramatically in the area now and will continue to evolve, so the property market is playing catch-up when compared to other south east commuter hubs. However, low prices combined with improved rail links have quietly been attracting first-time buyers priced out of the capital. A thriving student scene with multiple local universities is also changing the make-up of Medway.
With these changes occurring, one-billion pounds’ worth of investment is being put into the area over a 20-year period. You can read more about it in my previous blog posts, linked to below.
All of this exciting development will help to continue improving the area as a whole, and surely bring more and more people – in fact, Medway’s population is expected to reach nearly 300,000 over the coming decade, up from around the 275,000 mark that it sits at now. That is a lot of extra people needing somewhere to live.
The overspill effect from property eventually being harder to come by in Rochester will lead people to look for housing in the rest of Medway, in Gillingham and Chatham. I recently looked at how houses have sold, and you can see below that they rose after a big peak and drop in March to April 2016, because of stamp duty changes and Brexit fears. They also dropped slightly in the winter, as is to be expected.
However, despite this, as you can see above, house prices are livening once more. The Telegraph also says new data from Hometrack shows a buoyancy in our market. As such, local properties were snapped up within three weeks of being on the market in the autumn of 2016, compared to a six-week sale time for the wider south east.
So what does this all mean for you? This is good news for Medway’s property market and those investing in it. Being noticed in a national paper means our secret is out to the wider world – so it’s a matter of ‘the sooner the better’ when investing, as prices are only going to go up!
If this has got you keen to think more about putting your money into property as a first-time investor, or to continue growing your portfolio, I am here to help and advise you on any number of matters. Give me a call on 07944 726676 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And feel free to join the Property Investors in Medway Facebook Group, which is a prime place for landlords of Medway to swap tips and strategies with each other, as well as sharing networking opportunities.