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Despite an almost £20 a month rise over the last year, nationally, in house rental prices the West Midlands have seen an almost total price freeze.
For comparison, the national average rent price for England and Wales was £763 just a few weeks ago - an increase of £21 from the same period last year. Over in Walsall, though, average house rental prices increased by just £2 - to £556 from £554 a month.
All told, average residential rental prices has grown by over £100 a month since the start of 2010. The director of Your Move has been quoted as saying:
“The nature and affordability of UK housing is transforming before our eyes”
The private portion of the home rental arena, over the last five years, has rather successfully taken on not-seen-before numbers of tenants, with the rental prices tracking inflation. More or less. Is this kind of growth even sustainable, and where does that leave Walsall and the rest of the West midlands? The thing is, the market is growing, in Walsall too, but as it begins and continues to accelerate then investment needs to be increased also.
If this kind of investment doesn't happen, the industry cannot keep up with demand and that could potentially have a damaging effect on rental prices. In the short term this may sound like a good idea anyway, but with demand outstripping supply there is only direction that rental prices can go. Through the ceiling. Will this attract more Walsall Landlords to purchase more properties ? or have the opposite effect and sell?
The only logical thing to stop this situation from imploding is to increase the number of buy-to-let Walsall landlords in the WS postcode district. Of course, rental prices are going to go up but as long as it is controlled and not allowed to freewheel then these increases will help the area, not damage it.That being said, the rental homes themselves need to be improved, brought up to muster and generally brought into line with today's expectations, and more, in order to justify increased rates to potential renters.
The sector itself needs an investment boost too, to provide incentive for prospective buy-to-rent landlords. A great, even essential, service is provided by the rental property market. People seem to forget this, but the fact remains that the sector is able to provide more affordable housing to those who cannot yet afford to buy a home.
One of the quickest, easiest and perhaps the clearest way to avoid a ‘crisis’ and keep rates affordable is by building more homes - and building specifically with the aim of attracting more buy-to-rent landlords to the area.Walsall may well be looking at a very bright future, in terms of naturally affordable rental prices, we just have to hope that these extra homes are actually built and that it happens at a faster rate than they currently are.
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After it emerged that Walsall would need an additional 2,000 new build homes in order to keep up with the demands of the rental sector, it looks as though the looming crises has been averted. Just. With a demand far greater than the supply, there was the risk of rent prices becoming too steep for people to afford - and rent fixing is never a good idea, not when a ‘proper’ solution will actually help regenerate an area, rather than stick a very temporary plaster on it.
A much needed boost for Walsall
In around two years time, 350 new build homes will be erected on the rundown estate, providing a much needed economic boost for the area as a whole. Indeed, the homes themselves will literally transform the neighbourhood and save it from itself as an attraction for travellers and for those illegally dumping their rubbish.
The WHG (Walsall Housing Group) has not drawn up any precise plans for the homes, but work is expected to begin in two years time. Initially, the idea was to create 300 homes, and while it isn’t quite clear why that figure was increased it is certainly a welcome amendment. According to the development manager for the housing group, Mark Tranter, construction is expected to begin in “April 2017”.
For those that are not aware, the original plans for the estate did not include building new homes. Instead it was to be cleaned up and ‘transformed’ into open space. That idea did not sit well with local residents, however, it isn’t really surprising. Homes were indeed going to built, but not on the former estate. The original plans called for new housing elsewhere, namely the green belt land around The Lea. When you think about it, it wasn’t really a brilliant idea and after more than 800 people objected the idea was rightfully scrapped.
Way back in 2007, work began on clearing the estate of the old buildings to make way for the construction project. During the demolition phase, over 280 derelict buildings were put to the bulldozers.
A much bigger, brighter, future for Walsall
While the Goscote regeneration scheme is undoubtedly excellent news, it doesn’t really address the fact that 1,650 new homes still need to be built so where does this leave Walsall and the still very dark rental storm cloud looming over the town?
Thankfully, Goscote is the only place that will see new builds in the coming years. Indeed, a major growth programme is going to see the construction of 1,900 new houses over the course of the next four years. Reportedly, the next batch of homes are going to be ready by April 2018. This phase of the project will see 412 homes built on Chaucer Road, Keats Road and Shakespeare Crescent on the Poet's estate.
Things are certainly looking up for the Walsall property market, and of course the town itself. When towns get a boost like this it is not unusual for neighbouring towns to profit too in some way, because as a local economy gets a shot in the arm it has a tendency to spill over into surrounding neighbourhoods. Let’s hope that the West Midlands as a whole can benefit from this, as we are sure it will.
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Welcome to the Red Key Blog.
We will be posting local property news and advice for property owners, and investors with an interest in the property world. Many of the landlords who use our services are from referrals which I would like to think shows the quality of service we provide is well liked, otherwise why would they recommend us.
So if you are a landlord with property or properties within our Walsall areas, please do contact us for a friendly no obligation chat, about investment properties currently available, or the best locations to purchase properties in the Walsall areas. I am free to meet you at the properties prior to making any offers, so you don't make any impulse purchases.