With 17,041 people in Private Rented Properties in Bedford – Should you still be investing in Bedford Buy To Let?

If I were a buy to let landlord in Bedford today, I might feel a little bruised by the assault made on my wallet after being (and continuing to be) ransacked over the last 12 months by HM Treasury’s tax changes on buy to let. To add insult to injury, Brexit has caused a tempering of the Bedford property market with property prices not increasing by the levels we have seen in the last few years. I think we might even see a very slight drop in property prices this year and, if Bedford property prices do drop, the downside to that is that first time buyers could be attracted back into the Bedford property market; meaning less demand for renting (meaning rents will go down). Yet, before we all run for the hills, all these things could be serendipitous to every Bedford landlord, almost a blessing in disguise.

Bedford has a population of 85,244, so when I looked at the number of people who lived in private rented accommodation, the numbers astounded me …

 

Bedford – Accommodation Type and the Number of Occupiers

Owned outright

Owned with a mortgage

Shared ownership (part owned and part rented)

Social rented (aka Council Housing)

Private rented

Living rent free

19,685 31,266 759 15,647 17,041 846
23.1% 36.7% 0.9% 18.4% 20.0% 1.0%

Yields will rise if Bedford property prices fall, which will also make it easier to obtain a buy to let mortgage, as the income would cover more of the interest cost. If property values were to level off or come down that could help Bedford landlords add to their portfolio. Rental demand in Bedford is expected to stay solid and may even see an improvement if uncertainty is protracted. However, there is something even more important that Bedford landlords should be aware of: the change in the anthropological nature of these 20 something potential first time buyers.

I have just come back from a visit to my wife’s relations after a family get together. I got chatting with my wife’s nephew and his partner.  Both are in their mid/late twenties, both have decent jobs in Bedford and they rent. Yet, here was the bombshell, they were planning to rent for the foreseeable future with no plans to even save for a deposit, let alone buy a property. I enquired why they weren’t planning to buy? The answers surprised me as a 40 something, and it will you. Firstly, they don’t want to put cash into property, they would rather spend it on living and socialising by going on nice holidays and buying the latest tech and gadgets. They want the flexibility to live where they choose and finally, they don’t like the idea of paying for repairs. All their friends feel the same. I was quite taken aback that buying a house is just not top of the list for these youngsters.

So, as 20.0% of Bedford people are in rented accommodation and as that figure is set to grow over the next decade, now might just be a good time to buy property in Bedford – because what else are you going to invest in?  Give your money to the stock market run by sharp suited city whizz kids – because at least with property – it’s something you can touch – there is nothing like bricks and mortar!