New housing stock stats give positive outlook for Medway landlords and property investors

Hello readers,

I hope you are surviving all the politics going on as the nation gears up into electioneering. It is always interesting to see how the housing market responds to what’s happening in the political sphere, which will of course become more apparent in the coming weeks towards the general election.

In the meantime, some new interesting figures have been released from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on dwelling stock (that is to say, homes).

There is plenty of new data to chew over, but what is particularly interesting for us is how many new houses are available in Medway.

(P – The 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 figures are provisional and subject to scheduled revisions pending the release of future census dwelling stock data)

The above chart shows a marked decrease in new homes over the last few years compared to peaks in 2009 and 2012. Numbers are however starting to rise again, which could be down to the government’s push for new homes to be built. Part of this push is agreeing local plans.

Related: Local plan – how the council’s development scheme could impact the Medway Property market

You will remember my blog post on February 11 which reported that the government announced plans to build more homes. Since then, late last month, MPs from the Communities and Local Government Committee called for the end to the dominance of the big eight house building firms. Ministers also said local government should prepare more land for house building.

With the election now called for June 8, housebuilding and its surrounding policies is becoming a battle ground once again.

Labour has recently pledged to build 1 million homes. The Conservatives quickly slammed the announcements as “uncosted” while saying they had a “clear plan” for affordable housing. This is just a snippet of what to expect over the coming weeks to the big election day, and shows a clear head of steam being built to create more homes.

The next table and chart shows the total number of dwellings in Medway.

Local Authority
(incl. owned by other LAs)
Private Registered
Provider
Other public sector Private sector (P)1 Total (P)1
3,020 4,910 300 104,950 113,170

((P)1 – Figures for the total dwelling stock and private sector are estimates and are therefore expressed to the nearest ten dwellings at district level and thousand dwellings at the England level because they should not be considered as accurate to the nearest dwelling)

Clearly there are more privately owned properties than any other, at 104,950, compared to social housing at 7,930 homes (Local Authority and Private Registered provider). This shows part of the problem: there are not enough council homes.

However, you will see from my past blog posts that Medway’s local plan is proposing that nearly 30,000 homes should be built by 2035. This means private housing stock is sure to go up even more, but it is not clear how much of it will be made up of social housing.

Finally, the ONS stats also showed that the number of vacant properties has gone down:

This is a positive development as abandoned buildings often blight local areas and can be subject to vandalism. With there being relatively few remaining, it also shows that vacant properties are not the answer to the housing crisis. Saying that, it is certainly worth searching for some in your local area, as they can make great HMOs or investments if renovated.

Ultimately, what we’ve seen here today is good for landlords because homes continue to be in demand. The figures show that house building has suffered and will take some time to meet demand while politicians battle over who has the best plan.

Also, as relatively few people will be able to afford to buy their own home when housing stocks do eventually rise, the rental HMO sector should remain strong as well.

***
Bullfinch Properties has been receiving a number of glowing testimonials from landlords recently, which you can see over on the website www.bullfinchproperties.co.uk. I would of course be happy to hear from you, or anyone you know, for giving advice on anything to do with lettings and property.

And feel free to join the Property Investors in Medway Facebook group, which is a great place for landlords and investors of Medway to swap tips and strategies together, as well as sharing networking opportunities.

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