I was dropping off my latest Chichester Property News last week at LA Fish, on The Hornet in Chichester, when someone commented that they’d read my previous issue and found it to be quite depressing! They explained that they were born and bred in Chichester but could ill afford a family home in the area, what with the average four-bedroom house in Chichester costing nearly half a million pounds!
I sympathised and explained that Chichester had always been an expensive area but that because it had outperformed the UK average and other local areas over the past few decades, local property is indeed becoming ever more difficult to afford. I did explain that IF they could get together the deposit plus the stamp duty and legal fees they’d need to buy, that due to record low interest rates the monthly mortgage cost might actually be more affordable than they expect.
The problem for Chichester’s wannabe first-time buyers is that Chichester’s higher than average house prices means getting this upfront sum of money together to purchase their own home is increasingly difficult. A large proportion of Chichester property buyers are older; often relocating from London where Chichester’s house prices appear ‘cheap’ compared to the crazy prices of the London property market.
It is notable that nearly 1 in 4 people in Chichester are 65 or older, compared to a far lower 16% nationally. There are also 60% of Chichester’s 33,481 homeowners who don’t have a mortgage, whereas the national average in this privileged position is less than 49%.
A report by Knight Frank surveyed 3,500 private tenants nationwide. It highlighted the growing importance the private rental sector will have on the property market, as 24% of responders said they do not expect to ever buy their own home. Less than a quarter expect to leave the rental market within the next two years.
Interestingly, there is also a growing trend amongst some tenants who choose to rent rather than buy. One third of the tenants polled said that renting either suited their lifestyle or that they didn’t want the commitment of homeownership.
It is clear that many people no longer view the private rented sector as merely a short-term solution to their housing requirements. An increasingly mobile workforce is actively seeking the convenience of renting their home rather than committing to buy, whilst many more simply cannot afford to buy in Chichester.
The availability of good-quality rental property will therefore become increasingly important for the future of Chichester’s housing market. This continued demand from tenants is of course good news for Chichester landlords, many of whom are taking advantage of the current low interest-rate environment to expand their portfolios.
One important factor for a successful buy-to-let will be to ensure you purchase a property that will continue to appeal to the changing demographics and expectations of the developing rental market. If you are thinking of getting into buy-to-let but don’t know where to start, feel free to contact me for some impartial advice and guidance to get the best return on your investment.
Clive Janes, CRJ Lettings
01243 624 599 / [email protected]