You find me in a reflective mood today as I want to talk about the future of investing in property in Hampstead. The truth is that we have got fat and lethargic, with many people having mistaken the ever rising Hampstead (and in fact the whole of the UK) property market since the 1960’s as the eternal gift that kept giving as property prices constantly rose and doubled every five to seven years.
The days of making money from property as easy
as falling off a log, like taking candy from a baby are sadly
over my Hampstead Property Blog reading friends
Whilst the current Chancellor, Philip Hammond is carrying out the policies rolled out by his predecessor, it was decided that now is the time to milk the ‘Golden Cow’ of UK’s private landlords. With changes in taxation for buy to let property, many pundits are predicting the end of buy to let as we know it. However, it is still possible to make a reasonable, profitable and safe return on property with these changes. You see, I have always seen investing in the Hampstead buy to let market (as I would anywhere in the UK), as I might see mother nature, creating some truly wonderful stunning warm weather but at the same time, she will bite, creating catastrophic situations such as snowstorms and hurricanes. You need to study the market, take advice and opinions from many people and then decide what the proverbial property weather will be … remember, tenants will always want a roof over their head and I don’t see the HM Government building the millions of houses required to house them.
Nobody knows the future, and yes people can predict but I wouldn’t be afraid of this change .. because as a famous French proverb says, (I told you I was a reflective mood today), ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’. I mean, who could have predicted how the property market has changed in Hampstead over the last couple of decades? Looking specifically at what was Hampstead and Highgate but is now the Hampstead and Kilburn Parliamentary Constituency, twenty years ago, 18,405 households (meaning 39.85% of property) was owned and only 2,940 households were privately rented (meaning 6.37% of property was rented out by private landlords). Roll the clocks on twenty years and the change has been seismic …. Now 18,096 of properties in the Constituency are home-owners (a drop to only 38.17% being owner occupied) and the jump in private renting has been out of this world, as 21,066 properties are now privately rented, proportionally 45.6%). (NB Neighbouring Constituencies show similar changes as well).
(Source~ Office of National Statistics- ONS)
Who would have predicted in 1996 the private rental sector in
Hampstead would have grown by 617% in the proceeding 20 years?
Also, if you had asked someone in 1996 to predict what would happen to property values over the proceeding 20 years (ie between 1996 and 2016), they might have predicted similar growth to the growth experienced over the previous 20 years (ie between 1976 and 1996), which was a very impressive 351.55%. Yes, property values in Hampstead have increased over the last 20 years (between 1996 and 2016), by an even more impressive 609.3% (and most of that can be attributed to house price growth between 2000 and 2007.)
See the graph below that illustrates this trend. (Source- Land Registry)
The property market is constantly changing and buy to let for too long has been heavily dependent solely on house price growth, where yield has been almost forgotten. I see the changes in tax and landlord and tenant law in a different perspective to the doom-mongers and see it as bringing many opportunities. You might need to change your buy-to-let benchmarks, your approach to financing or even consider places other than Hampstead in which to invest your money. This will shine a light on investing in properties with healthier yields and create more realistic long term buy to let opportunities, instead of short term growth bets and wagers.
The advice I give to my landlords, and you my blog reading friends is this; these changes will make some landlords panic, meaning competition for decent Hampstead buy to let bargains will reduce as fear of change kicks in and amateur investors flee the market. These opportunities will provide a more stable platform for knowledgeable and wise Hampstead buy to let landlords to thrive in.