As the trees turn from green to hues of red and brown, the Cambridge property market has a confident feel to it. With the underlying fundamentals of a continued lack of properties being built, a shortage of properties (both in terms of quantity and quality) coming to the market and the continued low mortgage rate environment, buyer enquiries from first time buyers and buy to landlords is strong and motivation is even stronger, given those inexpensive lending rates and general demand caused by under supply.
Now of course, there are a few potential hurdles coming towards us in the coming months that could affect the Cambridge (and UK) property market. Mrs. May has yet to get her teeth into Brexit negotiations and we don’t know what the US Presidential elections might do to the money markets around the world, meaning that on the run up to Christmas, some savvy buyers may take advantage of the lack of certainty by making cheeky offers, but I don’t believe these will have a huge impact on property values (like the 2008 Credit Crunch).
You see, property ownership, whether it’s for yourself as a homeowner or buy to let landlord, is a long term investment. In fact, focusing on buy to let, a number of landlords who own property in Cambridge have made contact with me recently asking for my thoughts on the future of the buy to let market in Cambridge. Well, as the Politician Edmund Burke said in the 18th century, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” In other words, to see the future you must look into the past.
Since the Millennium, the housing market has had everything thrown at it. The recent Brexit, last year’s General Election, the near melt down of the World Economy with the Credit Crunch, The Dot Com boom and bust, the housing market crisis in 2008, the housing boom of 2001 to 2004… the list goes on. In fact here is a graph (courtesy of the Land Registry) of average Property values since the Millennium in the Cambridge City Council area.
Even though we had the Dot Com bubble burst in 2000, two years later in January 2002, property values in the Cambridge City Council area have risen from £114,600 (in Jan 2000) to £161,300… and kept rising to December 2007, when they peaked at £283,200. Then we had the Credit Crunch and property prices continued to fall until March 2009, where they averaged £224,500… but look where they are now… £438,600.
The point I am trying to get across is long term future property values are more helpful to landlord investors than the month by month headline grabbing micro movements in the property market. Look at the graph and you will see the growth in property values is an upward trend BUT, the average darts about as each month goes by. So don’t watch the property indexes and panic if values drop next month or the month afterwards, because even in the glory days of 2001 to 2004 and 2012 to 2014, without fail, values always dropped slightly around Christmas, but people will always need a roof over their heads, and if they can’t buy and the council aren’t building anymore… only Buy To Let landlords can meet that demand.
Cambridge landlords are being hit in the pocket with the new up and coming taxation rules and yes we might have a bumpy ride on the run up to Christmas (because of the points raised earlier), Brexit or no Brexit, but the trend will be a slow and steady upward momentum of property values, demand for rental properties and yields in the Cambridge property market into 2017 and beyond.