How has the rental market performed in Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Leighton Linslade according to the 2011 Census ?

It might have been a few years ago now since we all completed and returned the forms for the 2011 Census and the ONS (Office for National Statistics) does collate all of this information to produce useful reports. If you wait for them and know where to look they can produce some interesting facts.

If we compare the towns of Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Leighton Linslade we can see the following changes in housing between 2001 & 2011.

The population in England increased by 7.8% from 2001 to 2011. How did the 3 towns compare.

The Dunstable population increased by 7% between 2001 and 2011 and there are now 36.250 residents. In Houghton Regis the population increased by just 2% between 2001 and 2011 and there are now 17,280 residents. Finally in Leighton Linslade the population increased by an impressive 14% between 2001 and 2011 and there are now 37,470 residents.

It is obvious when driving through Leighton Buzzard that there are a good number of fairly new developments that must have been built in the last 10-15 years. Most likely with more workers deciding to leave London and commute, the train line to London must be a major factor in its growth. Dunstable is not far off the average figure for population increase, but Houghton Regis saw very little in the way of population growth.

If we look at the age groups all 3 towns have about the same percentage of population aged between 16-64 (64-65%) with Dunstable showing the lowest percentage for those aged 65+ (11%) and Houghton Regis showing the largest for those aged 65+ (17%)

If we now look at the housing between 2001 and 2011 we can see that most households in each town are owner occupied, with an increase in numbers in private renting since 2001.

In Dunstable the number of dwellings increased by 1,550 (11%) between 2001 & 2011. In Houghton Regis the number of dwellings increased by 240 (4%) between 2001 & 2011 and in Leighton Linslade the number of dwellings increased by 2,890 (21.4%) between 2001 & 2011.

There is no surprise in the numbers here when comparing to the increase in population numbers of each town which is reflected in the number of new dwellings, with Leighton Linslade adding nearly double the amount of Dunstable.

How did the renting sector perform between 2001 and 2011 ?

In Dunstable there was an increase in private renting from 7% to 14%. 72% are owned and the rest (13-14%) is social housing. During the same time in Houghton Regis there was an increase in private renting from 6% to 13%. 63% are owned and the rest (24%) is social housing. The figures for Leighton Linslade are quite similar to Dunstable with an increase in private renting from 7% to 14%. 74% are owned and the rest (12%) is social housing.

The average figure for social housing renting in Central Bedfordshire is 13% with both Dunstable and Houghton Regis almost spot on, but Houghton Regis has almost double the average amount of social housing.

However times could be changing for Houghton Regis with proposals for 7,000 new homes over the next 20 years to the north and outline planning permission recently given for a scheme comprising of 5,150 homes, retail, leisure and community facilities to fill part of this plan.

There is also the A5/M1 link road to the north of Houghton Regis for which there will be a new junction 11a on the M1. It is proposed that the new ‘Woodside Link’ road will connect to this Junction.

What does this tell landlords ?

One thing is for sure, and that is a confirmation that the private rental sector has grown and is predicted to continue growing for reasons I have already discussed. (Is renting now a lifestyle choice)

If you are a landlord what could you be thinking ? Leighton Linslade is a popular town with lots of growth and possibly a large number of affluent professional people working in London and commuting, but will it’s growth be allowed to continue and are the purchase prices to high ?

Is a property aimed at the age group of 65+ in Houghton Regis a good buy ? There are many in this age group who are choosing to sell their houses and rent instead and Houghton Regis has a high population in the age bracket of 65+ and will the future plans for housing and the link road increase the appeal for living here ?

What of Dunstable ? It seems to be between the two with average growth in population and dwellings, has a number of large employers and the new Busway link to Luton. Some would point to the town centre and the number of closed shop units in the Quadrant Shopping Arcade. This has to improve in time and there are some local groups such as Don’t let Dunstable Die campaigning to bring Dunstable back to life and trying their best to contact the owners of the Quadrant to make improvements.

Contact Daniel Bourke of the award winning and licensed Belvoir Dunstable Letting Specialists for a no obligation consultation or guidance on 01582 343209 or call into our shop oat 18 Church Street, Dunstable