My blog reading friends may or may not be aware that I source and manage properties for a living. I have my own portfolio therefore, I am a landlord as well. Perhaps at times I haven’t made this obvious which was highlighted by a landlord who recently asked me the question.. “so what is it that you do apart from writing this blog”..?! I have many clients locally, nationally and internationally who use my services to source and manage property meeting their criteria.
Of the recent conversations I have been having with people looking to enter the Walsall property market, I’ve noticed a common thread in my response. It might surprise you to learn that our small and quaint town of Walsall is serviced by 3 train stations (Bescot, Tamebridge Parkway and Walsall). This makes it an ideal location for commuters to our two neighbouring cities – Birmingham and Wolverhampton. I mean, there is a reason why one of the most popular property programmes on television is called Location, Location, Location!
As an agent, I am frequently faced with queries about the Walsall property market, and most days I am asked. “What is the best part of Walsall to live or rent in?”, primarily from new-comers. Unsurprisingly the answer is different for each person – as a lot depends on the make-up of their family, their age, schooling requirements and interests etc. Nonetheless, one of the primary requirements for most tenants and buyers is ease of access to transport links. Including public transport – of which the railways are very important.
Official figures recently released state that, in total, 957 people jump on a train each and every day from our Train stations. Of those, 315 are season ticket holders. That’s a lot of money being spent when a season ticket, standard class, from Walsall to Birmingham is £745 a year.
So, if up to £234,675 is being spent on rail season tickets each year from Walsall’s train stations, those commuters must have decent jobs and incomes to allow them to afford that season ticket in the first place. That means demand for middle to upper market properties remains strong in Walsall and the surrounding area and so, in turn, these are the type of people whom are happy to invest in the buy to let market – providing homes for the tenants of Walsall.
The bottom line is that property values in Walsall would be much lower. By at least 1% to 2%, if it wasn’t for the proximity of the railway station(s) and the people it serves in the town.
And this isn’t a one-off flash in the pan thing. Rail is becoming increasingly important as the costs associated with car travel continue to rise and roads are becoming more and more congested with traffic and pollution. This has resulted in a huge surge in rail travel. Plus both Tamebridge and Bescot have free park & ride incentives. It’s no wonder I never find any parking when I go to use the trains!!
Overall usage of the 3 Walsall stations has increased over the last 20 years. In 1997, a total of 435,718 people went through the barriers or connected with another train at the station in that 12-month period. However, in 2016, that figure had risen to 1,282,914 people using the stations (that’s 3,514 people a day).
The combination of the property and the train station has an important effect on the value and saleability of a property. It is also significant for tenants – so if you are a Walsall buy to let investor looking for a property – the distance to and from the railway station can be extremely significant.
In 2015 there were 1.7 billion passenger journeys in the UK. This is the highest number of journeys reported of all the countries that have supplied data to Eurostat. Since 2006 the number of passenger journeys on the UK rail network has increased by 48.9%. This is second only to Luxembourg where there has been a 52.1% increase in journeys on comparatively a much smaller network.
One of the first things house buyers and tenants do when surfing the web for somewhere to live is find out the proximity of a property to the train station. That is why Rightmove displays the distance to the railway station alongside each and every property on their website.
If you would like me to find you the perfect Walsall buy to let investment all you have to do is ask…
Phone: 01922 311016