Is this bad news for buy to let Colchester landlords?

2.7% Drop in Essex and Colchester Property Transactions – Is the Buy to Let Dream Over

In this post credit crunch world of sub terrain low interest and annuity rates so low a limbo dancer would smart, the growth of buy to let since 2009 has been phenomenal. So much so, there has been an evolution in purchase of property in the UK from that of just buying the roof over one’s head to that of a buy to let investment where it is seen as a standalone financial asset to fund current and future (ie pensions) investment. So recently, a few days before the release of latest Land Registry data of property transactions, quite a few market commenters were anticipating a huge increase in the number of properties sold in January as the 1st of April 2016 stamp duty deadline got closer.

Looking at the most recent set of data from The Land Registry, it seems there has been a drop in the number of completed property sales in the Essex County Council area. Year on year, completed property sales in January (the latest set of data released) fell by 2.7% to 1,690 compared with 1,737 in January 2015. Nationally, the number is similar, as the number of completed house sales fell by 5% in January 2016 compared with January 2015. Some might say this counters the reports that there was a rush by landlords to buy ‘buy to let’ property ahead of the 1st April 2016 deadline but where was the stampede that many expected?

Looking even closer to home, in the CO4 postcode in January 2016, 48 properties changed hands, whilst 52 properties did so in January 2015. It’s even more interesting when you look at the average price paid, in January 2016, it was £242,290 yet in January 2015, the average price paid was £205,520.

Is the buy to let dream over for Colchester landlords?

Take a look at the bar chart and it looks bad but, as ever my Colchester Property Blog readers, the devil is in the detail. The 3% stamp duty surcharge for buy to let landlords was announced in the Autumn Statement on the 25th November 2015. Anyone who has bought a property knows from their offer being accepted to receiving the keys and monies paid is a long drawn out affair, taking on average 8 to 12 weeks, as the Land Registry only get notified upon completion of the sale. We also need to factor in that Solicitors seem to have the last two weeks of December off anyway.

So if there was a rush in the last few days of November/early December in the Colchester property market, we would only see the results of that in the February figures (released in June) and more probably March’s (released in July).

So why all the doom and gloom? Simple .. bad news sells newspapers and gets the headlines. Let’s be honest, the headline to this article is designed to be eye catching. However, when we look at both the bigger and smaller picture; nationally, property values dropped (month on month) by 0.5%; in the East region they rose 0.2%, whilst in Essex they rose by 0.4%. The year on year figures tell a completely different story to that.

It just goes to show you should look deeper into something before making a judgment!

If you’d like a second opinion on an investment property you are considering or just to have an informal chat about any aspect of the Colchester property market please feel free to call me on 01206 862288 or email: grahamwood@hometorent.co.uk

I’m happy to provide free feedback free of any obligation.  If you send me the hyperlink to the property from Rightmove or Zoopla  I will usually respond within 24 hours. I am also happy to undertake free pre-purchase visits to your short list of potential properties to provide a rental valuation.

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