How does Unemployment Drive the Walsall Property Market?

Unemployment and the Walsall Property Market
Unemployment and the Walsall Property Market

If you have been reading my articles on the Walsall property market, you will see that in the three years since the referendum we have proved beyond doubt that ‘Brexit’ has had no effect on the Walsall property market (or the UK as a whole).

So one might ask, what does affect the property market locally? Well many things on the demand side include wages, job security, interest rates, availability of mortgages, confidence in the economy, inflation, speculative demand … the list goes on. Yet as my blog reading friends will note, I like to delve deeper into the numbers which has led me to find an interesting correlation between unemployment and the number of properties sold (i.e. transactions).

Why transaction levels and not house prices? Well just looking at Walsall house prices as a leading indicator has flaws. Many property market commentators and economists believe transaction numbers (the number of properties sold) give a more accurate and truthful indicator of the health of the property market than just house values alone. The reason is twofold. First most people when they sell also buy, so if property values have dropped by 10% or risen by 10% on the one you are selling, it would have done the same on the one you are buying – meaning to judge the health of a property market is very one dimensional.  Secondly…

…the act of moving is very much a human thing. Property habitually conveys a robust emotional connection with homeowners – a connection that few would attribute to their other investments like their savings or stock market investments. Moving home could be described as a human enterprise i.e. moving from one chapter of one’s life to another. When people move home, it shows they are moving forward in their lives and so this gives a great indicator of the health of the property market.

Looking at the numbers locally on the graph, you can see an inverse relationship between unemployment and housing transaction levels.

Number of Properties for Sale in Walsall - 12 months ago vs today
Number of Properties for Sale in Walsall – 12 months ago vs today

Property transactions in Walsall dropped by 53.13%, whilst unemployment in Walsall rose by 58.10% during the 2007 to 2009 Global Financial Crash

There is clearly a relationship between conditions in the Walsall job market and the number of people who move home … interesting don’t you think? 

Year

Walsall Unemployment Rate (%)

Number of Walsall Properties Sold

2004

6.2

3,628

2005

6.5

3,066

2006

7.1

3,766

2007

7.4

3,813

2008

8.4

2,072

2009

11.7

1,787

2010

11.4

1,886

2011

10.8

1,986

2012

11.2

1,777

2013

11.3

2,108

2014

8.2

2,541

2015

8.0

2,743

2016

6.7

2,845

2017

6.1

2,949

2018

5.2

2,828

Now I am not saying unemployment is the only factor influencing the Walsall property – but it has to be said there is a link.

As a country (and indeed here in Walsall) over the last 40 years, we have seen a shift in the outlook over the purpose of housing and the development of the religion of following house prices (and I appreciate the irony of me writing these articles on Walsall – feeding that habit!) yet, when did owning a home turn from buying a roof over your head to an out and out investment vehicle? I do wish people would stop fretting about their intrinsic value being associated with their Walsall home. Now of course, I am not dismissing the current levels of Walsall house prices – we just have to take into consideration other metrics alongside them when judging the health of the property market locally.

One final thought, looking on a broader scale in the UK, those towns and cities whose property markets bounced back after the Global Financial Crash had high levels of employment and low unemployment whilst places with high unemployment and relatively low employment have, on the other hand, typically underperformed.

So the next time you are considering a house move or buying a buy to let property in Walsall … don’t make your judgement on house price growth alone.

If you need help and advice on your property journey whether you are a newbie to the world of buy to let or not, before you take your first step to building your property empire…pick up the phone or get in touch.

Phone: 01922 637672

Email: salekm@ashmorelettings.co.uk

Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Walsall Property News.

Blog, www.walsallpropertyblog.com

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/AshmoreLettings
Twitter, https://twitter.com/AshmoreLettings

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