In Colchester, there are 8,131 social housing households, which represent 16.22% of all the households in Colchester. There are a further 4,162 families in the Colchester Borough Council area on the council house waiting list, which is similar to the figures in the late 1990’s. In 2012 the council house waiting list in Colchester peaked at 4,877 families, so today’s numbers represent a drop of 14.6%.
However this doesn’t necessarily mean more families have been supplied with their own council house or housing association property. Six years ago, central government gave local authorities the authority to limit entitlement to social housing, quite conspicuously dismissing those that did not have an association or link to the locality.
Interestingly, rents in the social rented segment have been growing at a faster rate than they have for private tenants. In the Colchester Borough Council area, the average rent in 1998 for a council house/housing association property was £192.70 a month compared to £378.21 today – a 96% increase over 19 years.
When comparing social housing rents against private rents the stats don’t go back to the late 1990’s for private renting but they do go back to 2005 so we can directly compare stats over the last 12 years. Over this period private rents have increased nationally by a net figure of 19.7% compared to rents for social housing which have increased 59.1%.
Should You Buy or Rent a House in Colchester?
Buying your own home can be expensive but could save you money over the years. Renting a property through a letting agent or private landlord offers less autonomy to live by your own rules, with more flexibility if you need to move. The third way is social housing. Many people seem to forget social housing, but it does play an important role in the Colchester housing mix. Social housing is affordable housing which is let by Colchester Borough Council or a housing association to those considered to be in specific need, at rents typically below the private rental market.
What Does This Mean for Colchester Homeowners, Landlords and Tenants?
The government crusade against buy-to-let landlords together with increased taxation and the tenant fees ban will restrict the supply of private rental property. In turn, using simple supply and demand economics, private rents will inevitably rise. This will make buy to let investments even more attractive, despite the increased fees and taxation burden placed on buy to let landlords! It also means property values will remain strong and stable because the number of people moving to a new house (and selling their old property) will continue to remain restricted and hence, due to lack of choice and supply, buyers will have to pay the going rate for any property they wish to buy.
Even though the Colchester council house waiting list has decreased, the number of new council and housing association properties being built is at a 70 year low. It’s likely rents in the Colchester private rental sector will increase sharply over the next five years. If you’re interested in any property listed on Rightmove or Zoopla send me the link and subscribe to the blog. I’ll usually get back to you within 24 hours. Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a ring on 01206 862288, during office hours, or add your comments below.