>THE AFFORDABILITY OF BUYING PROPERTY IN SIDCUP

Looking back at the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landing a few months ago, it reminded me of the huge changes that have happened to Sidcup and more specifically the Sidcup property market since WW2. Back in 1946, the average wage in Sidcup was just over £5 a week and to buy an average car would cost you just under £600, yet this is a property blog, so…

The average value of a Sidcup property in 1946 was £1,516

In fact, in those 75 years, the average Sidcup house had doubled in price by 1961, then again in 1971, 1975, 1980, 1988, 2000 and 2006. Now a lot of those increases (especially in the 1970’s) were caused by hyperinflation, yet since the start of the 21st Century inflation has been kept low and since the Credit Crunch (2008/9), whilst property values have been rising, they haven’t been at the rates experienced in the latter half of the 20th Century.

Now what a property sells for is irrelevant, its whether someone can afford it.

Increases in Sidcup property values have produced huge increases in equity for many Sidcup homeowners and Sidcup buy to let landlords, yet on the other side of the coin also making housing unaffordable for other people. The best measure of the affordability of housing is the ratio of Sidcup property values to Sidcup average earnings (i.e. salary/wages). The ratio works on the basis the higher the ratio, the less affordable properties are.

In 1997, the average value of a Sidcup property was 3.9 times higher than the average annual wage in Sidcup, in 2007 it peaked at 7.9, yet two years later it had dropped to 6.9 and since then has slowly risen to 11.3 times higher!

It can be seen that even though property in Sidcup became more affordable after the 2007/8 property crash (i.e. the ratio dropped), in subsequent years, with house values rising but earnings/salaries not keeping up, the ratio started to rise. This has meant there has been a decline in affordability of property in Sidcup over the last five years – so for those on particularly low incomes or with little capital, it unfortunately means that buying a Sidcup home will never become an option.

Therefore, the demand for private rented properties in Sidcup will continue to grow as many young Sidcup people are deciding to rent instead of buy their own house (knowing when their parents pass away, the equity built up in their parents property will be passed down – and then they can buy in their 50’s and 60’s – just like it happens in Germany).

Yet, that is many decades away and with fewer Sidcup people wanting or able to save up the 5% deposit required by mortgage lenders, more and more people are looking to rent. Tie this in with the subtle shift in attitudes towards renting since the Millennium and less people jumping the on the bottom rung of the property ladder, this has driven rents and demand up in Sidcup over the last few years. Yet (and it’s an important proviso) the type, location and demands of Sidcup tenants has changed over that same time frame meaning you can’t just make money from buy to let as easily as falling off a log like you did in the early 2000’s.

If you are an existing landlord with us (or even another agent in Sidcup) or someone thinking of becoming a first time Sidcup landlord looking for advice and opinion and what (or not to buy in Sidcup), one source of information is the Sidcup Property Blog http://sidcuppropertyblog.co.uk/ or drop me an email or phone call and let’s start a conversation – I don’t bite and I don’t do hard sell … and maybe, just maybe, I could help you get better returns from your property portfolio.