“What’s happening to the Ashford Property Market?” is a question I am asked regularly without fail. Well, it may be a surprise for you to hear research suggests that there isn’t just the one, big Ashford property market – but many small micro-property markets…
According to recent data released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), I have discovered that at least three of these micro-property markets have emerged over the last 20 years or so. For simplicity, I shall name them as the ‘Lower’ , ‘Lower to Middle’ and ‘Middle’ Ashford Property Markets.
The ‘lower’ and ‘lower to middle’ sectors of the Ashford property market have been fuelled over the last few years by two sets of buyers. The first set, making up the clear majority of those buyers, are cash rich landlord investors who have thrown themselves into the Ashford property market to take advantage of alluringly low prices and even lower interest rates. The other set of buyers in the ‘lower’ and ‘lower to middle’ Ashford property market are the first-time buyers (FTB), although the FTB market is in a state of unparalleled deadlock as it’s been trampled into near-immobility and incapacity by the new 2014 stricter mortgage affordability regulations and also fewer low deposit mortgages in offer.
Some of you may be interested to know how I have classified the three sectors ..
1. ‘Lower’ – the bottom 10% (in terms of value) of properties sold
2. ‘Lower to Middle’ – the lower Quartile (or lowest 25% in terms of value) of properties sold
3. ‘Middle’ the median in terms of value
…. and if one looks at the following graph for the Ashford Borough Council area you can see the three different sectors (lower, lower/middle and middle) have performed quite differently:
Looking at this data as percentage growth over the period it can be seen quite clearly that it is the ‘lower to middle’ market that has performed by far the best:
You might ask what these different figures might mean to homeowners and landlords alike? Quite a lot – so let me explain: The worst performing sector (with the lowest Percentage growth) was the ‘lower’ housing market. Interestingly, applying the best percentage uplift figure (from the ‘lower to middle’ market), to the ‘lower’ 1995 housing market’s figure, increases the 2017 figure of £145,000 to £162,339 – quite a difference in return!
I have specifically not mentioned the premium end of the Ashford housing market for several reasons. Firstly, most buy to let investment landlords buy their property within the ‘lower to middle’ market and that is also where the majority of property transactions take place. Secondly, due to the unique and distinctive nature of Ashford’s stock of premium property (every property being different and tending not to come on the market as often as those in the ‘lower to middle’ market), it is much harder to calculate what changes have occurred to prices in that sector of the Ashford property market – looking at the stats for up-market Ashford properties from Land Registry, only 15 properties within 1 mile of Ashford have sold for £1,000,000 or more since 2006.
So, what should every homeowner and buy to let landlord take from the information that there are many micro-property markets? Well, when you realise there isn’t just one single Ashford Property Market, but many Ashford “micro-property markets”, you can start to spot trends and bag yourself some potential bargains. In the current market, I have spotted a number of attractive opportunities over the last few months that I have shared in my Property Blog and to my landlord database, especially in the ‘lower’ and ‘lower to middle’ market. If you are considering a BTL investment have a look at my blog www.ashfordpropertynews.co.uk – it’s free to do so and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to miss out – would you?
I would also love to know if you yourself have spotted any micro-property markets in Ashford…