I had an interesting conversation with a landlord who called me last week. He manages his own portfolio and seemed well versed with the lettings industry. He kept himself updated of the constant and fast changing world of housing and all the happenings in the Walsall Property Market. He said he had been receiving my newsletters for some time now and followed my Blog with interest and wanted to pick my brain on the much awaited housing White Paper. A summary of my thoughts and discussion with the landlord follows…
In case you didn’t know, a few weeks ago, the Government released a White Paper on housing. It was interesting to note that the Private Rental Sector (PRS) played a key part in the future plans for housing. This is especially important for our increasing Walsall population. It follows nicely from the article I wrote last week regarding Walsall property since 1981 where we looked back at what has happened since then. In today’s article we can marry both the White Paper impact on Walsall’s Property Market, together with projections for the future and how they both tie in.
In 1981, the population of Walsall stood at 255,509…
…and today it stands at 278,902.
As mentioned last week, the PRS accounts for 16.2% of households in the town. The Government want to assist people living in the houses and help the economy by promoting the provision of quality homes, in a housing sector that has grown due to worldwide economic influences, pushing home ownership out of the reach of more and more people. Interestingly, when we look at the 1981 figures for homeownership, a different story is told.
59.90% of Walsall’s population owned their own home in 1981
34.10% of Walsall’s population rented from the Council or Housing Association in 1981 and
7.90% of Walsall’s population rented from a Private Landlord
The significance of a suitable housing policy is crucial to ensure suitable economic activity and create a lively place people want to live in. With the population of Walsall set to grow to 298,402 by 2037 – it is essential that Walsall Council and Central Government all work together to actively ensure the residential property market doesn’t hold the area back, by encouraging the building and provision of quality homes for its populace.
Of the White Paper suggestions, an idea which sticks out for me is that the Government has declared a variety of measures, aimed at encouraging the Build-to-Rent (BTR) sector (instead of the Buy-to-Let sector – BTL). These include allowing local authorities to proactively plan for BTR schemes, and making it simpler for BTR developers to offer affordable privately rented homes.
To be able to do this, the government will create a distinct affordable housing class for BTR, called ‘affordable private rent’, which will compel new house builders to provide at least 1 in 5 of a new home developments at a 20% discount on open-market rents and three year tenancies for tenants. In return, the new house builders will get improved planning assurances.
There’s been much hoo-ha from the private landlords I have spoken to and much discussion from industry experts. However, it is incumbent upon me to point out that private landlords will not be expected to offer discounts, nor offer 3-year tenancies – rather it is something Walsall landlords need to be aware of as there will be greater competition for tenants as wider choice in the market becomes available.
The past ten years has proven to us in the property market that home ownership has not been a primary goal for young adults as the world has changed. These youngsters expect ‘on demand’ services from ‘click and collect’, Amazon, Dating Apps and TV with the likes of Netflix. Many Walsall youngsters see that renting more than meets their housing needs, as it combines the freedom from a lifetime of property maintenance and financial obligations, making it an attractive lifestyle option.
Whether it’s BTL or BTR the PRS of Walsall is set to play a major role in shaping the future housing landscape for its residents. As always if you haven’t signed up to the blog send me your postal address and I’ll be more than happy to post you our monthly newsletter.
Phone: 01922 311016