How's the Market? Portsmouth, June Edition - Nexa
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How’s the Market? Portsmouth, June Edition

Welcome to the June edition of ‘How’s the Market?’, the monthly blog focused on the Portsmouth property market and the key elements affecting you and your home, whether you’re a tenant, home-owner, multi-landlord or developer. Some great feedback from everyone regarding the May write-up, with many people wanting to say thank you to Kiera for her informed insight into her Rent-to-Rent accomplishments. (https://howsthemarket.co.uk/f/may-edition)

In this month’s article, we’ll look at the immediate effects of the tenant fee ban, consider whether it’s better to renovate your home before marketing for sale, and our expert guest, Jamie from G5 Properties will talk about the student housing market, particularly how it’s adapted to become a much more premium entity.

The tenant fee ban comes into full swing on the same day that this article is released, so it’s going to take a few months for the full effects to be clearly visible, but most agents appear to now have their chosen strategy moving forward – whether that be increasing landlord fees, increasing rents and/or just scrapping the tenant find service altogether.

I’ve spoken to many landlords and most have been accepting of the increased expenditure caused by this huge industry change – perhaps reassured by the consistent income of the past decade and the continuously high return on investment that property has to offer.

One thing that has shocked me is the lack of exposure that the ban seems to have received to tenants. Of course, if you work/invest in the industry it’s been completely unavoidable, but I’ve met a large number of potential tenants who had absolutely no idea that they would soon be saving a substantial amount of upfront expenditure. Fortunately, I’ve taken that opportunity to provide them with some good news! We’ll look into more detail in the coming months to see the impact it has on tenants and landlords, and whether it will have the predicted effect of increased rents. If you’re a tenant looking for a property, make sure to challenge anybody that attempts to charge anything other than the first month’s rent and a security deposit prior to moving into a new house.

Another large industry change is that of the Portsmouth student market. I spoke to Jamie from G5 Properties about his thoughts on the last few years and how he sees the future of this continuously growing marketplace:

The student accommodation market in Portsmouth has seen tremendous growth over the last 3 years, in line with the growing trend across the country, of large purpose-built student apartments. The student accommodation sector itself has become a real powerhouse within the industry becoming the fastest growing and one of the highest performing asset classes.

The sector in Portsmouth has evolved from the days of poorly managed, poorly located, poor quality and low-priced HMO shared houses to an innovative solution of self-contained studios, ‘twodios’ and cluster flats with all life’s conveniences included such as bills, WIFI, gym access, furniture packages and cinema rooms, all located just minutes from University campuses. And the market is now starting to feel the impact of these new modern accommodation offerings.

Rental prices in inferior locations outside of the student quarters are starting to decline and take up of available supply in these areas is also slowing as students move towards the more modern accommodation offerings. There will always be a place for the HMO shared house as long as the price point is attractive enough and the real net result is actually likely to be of a benefit to the housing supply in Portsmouth.

The drop in rental performance from HMO houses will lead to a decline in planning applications and a likely return to the more typical dwellings for families and professionals which will help ease housing supply pressures. The decline in rents will also open up the housing supply to a wider audience and just ease the pressures on cost of living. Landlords and investors that have not moved with the trend will obviously feel the negative effects of this change. However fortunately, Portsmouth benefits from some of the best rental yield returns in the South of England which will help to protect any downside, and the decline in rental values in these areas will ease the pressure on property price increases making the market more accessible to a wider audience.

With the additional disruptions surrounding the marketing place in terms of Brexit uncertainty, tenancy/landlord rule changes, stamp duty increases and changes in tax relief – it’s a challenging time being an investor landlord. All these things together with the increase in local market supply creates a viable argument for the consideration of exiting from assets, especially assets that rely on the student market but which have declined in quality and/or are in less desirable locations.

A very helpful insight there, particularly for anybody who is considering investing into the student market for the first time – be willing to invest capital to provide good quality accommodation, or risk substantial void periods. If anybody would like some more information/advice on this, please feel free to contact Jamie (jamie@g5properties.com).

Whilst it’s become almost a necessity that student accommodation be presented immaculately, another question that I’m faced with regularly is, ‘should I renovate my house before selling?’ I hear this from clients every day – ‘we want to put our house on the market but there’s a couple of things we want to do first.’ Whilst pride in your home is understandable, once you’ve made the decision that you’d like to move, it’s very rare that this additional work will generate any additional value as buyers seek size, shape and location.

When I look at how to market a property, I look to rate its internal condition out of 10; 1/10 being derelict and unliveable, 10/10 being a ‘Grand Designs’ show home.

When I’m marketing properties for sale, I’ve noticed that there are two very prominent target audiences –

· Those who are happy to complete work.

· Those who want to do no work, and move straight in.

Those who want to do no work will be looking ideally for a property with an internal condition of 9 or 10, whereas those who are happy to complete work will tend to look for a property with an internal condition of 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 to give them a chance to improve, whether that be to flip for a quick resale or to create their dream, forever home. Any property rated roughly 1-5/10 or 9-10/10 has a very clear target audience.

In my opinion, the only time it’s cost effective to complete works, is when your house is already an 8/10, and you’re going to make it a 9 or 10 so that you’re enticing the correct target audience, and they’re not put off by the small amount of decorative work that they didn’t want to see when they began their search.

This leaves us with just two ‘ratings’, 6s and 7s. This the generic owner-occupied house, kitchen fitted a few years ago, the single cracked tile in the bathroom and carpets that still have plenty of tread left in them. This bracket is the normal family home, lived in and functional. Work not essential but showing the initial signs of tiredness. It’s the owners of these houses that this entire section is written for, because a massive percentage of homes fit under this umbrella.

To turn a house from a 6 or a 7 into a 9 or 10 would involve complete renovation; new kitchen, new bathroom, new carpets and a complete redecoration, but none of this is necessary as there’s life left in all of it. If your ‘few bits to do’ are just running around with a paintbrush, you’re wasting your time; potential buyers will just see a lived in, functional house that may need a new kitchen in five years. A new kitchen, not worthwhile unless everything else is also new. Likewise, carpets. It’s wasting your hard-earned capital spending on a project that is not going to introduce that show-home-hunting target audience; money that you could be saving to invest in your next home.

My advice is here to save you money; in most case, your home is your largest lifetime investment and it’s vital that it’s dealt with correctly to maximise the money you have for your onward plan, whether than be upsizing to the forever home, relocating, or downsizing to clear some cash for the occasional holiday! I invite anyone to contact me should they want a more in-depth appraisal on where their house fits on the above scale, and what I would recommend doing to prepare you for your move.

This brings us to the end of the June article. Thank you to Jamie, (jamie@g5properties.com) for his informative guide on the student market. Thank you for everybody who has contacted me with their questions over the last few months. Please feel free to visit the website (www.howsthemarket.com) or the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/howsthemarketPortsmouth/) if you’d like to contact me for any information/advice, and please continue to share with friends and family who you think would benefit from any of this.

Have a great start to the summer!

Darrell.

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