I had an interesting email from someone in Crawley a few weeks ago that I want to share with you (don’t worry I asked his permission to share this with you all). In a nutshell, the gentleman lives in Copthorne, he is in his mid 60’s and still working. He has a decent pension, so that when he does retire in a couple of years’ time, it will give him a comfortable life. He had recently inherited £255,000 from an elderly aunt. One option he told me was put it into a savings account. The best he could find was a 2 year bond with the Post Office which paid 1.9%; meaning he would get £4,845 in interest a year. One of his other options was to buy a property in Crawley to rent out and he wanted to know my thoughts on what he should buy, but he had concerns as he didn’t want to take a mortgage out at his time of life. He was also worried about all the tax changes he had read about in the papers for landlords.
Notwithstanding the war on Crawley landlords being waged by George Osborne, the attraction of bricks and mortar endures for many. As our man is a cash buyer, he would not have to deal with the intricate cut to mortgage interest tax relief that will diminish, or even eradicate, the profits of many Crawley landlords. It’s true he would face the extra 3% in stamp duty to buy a second property, but with some good negotiation techniques, that could soon be mitigated.
I told him that buying a Crawley buy to let property is all about the total return on investment. True, he could put the money in the Post Office bond and receive his interest of £4,845 a year or, as he rightly suggested, invest in property in Crawley. The average yield (yield being the equivalent of the interest rate on the property) at the moment in Crawley is 3.63% per annum, meaning our potential F.T.L (First Time Landlord) should be able to, depending on what he bought in the town, earn before costs £9,256 a year. (However, I told him there are plenty of landlords in Crawley earning half as much again (if not more), if he was willing to consider more specialist investment types of properties – again, if you want to know where – look at my blog or drop me an email).
The bottom line is that the success of investing in Crawley buy to let property versus a savings account with the Post Office (or whatever Bank or Building Society is offering the best rate) will depend on the performance of those assets. Unlike with a savings account, with property the capital you invested can also go up (and yes, it can go down as well – more of that in second). Property values in Crawley have risen in the last twelve months by 7.6% meaning, that if our chap had bought a year ago, not only would he have received the £9,256 in rent, but also seen an uplift of £19,380 …meaning his overall return for the year would have been £28,636 (not bad when compared to the Post Office!).
.. but the doom mongers amongst you will say, property values can go down, as they did in 2008, and in 1988 and 1979. Yes, but after 1979 prices had bounced back to their ’79 levels by 1984 and went on to grow an additional 58% in the following four years. Then again, they dropped in 1988 and did take 13 years to reach back to those ’88 figures, but the following six years (between 2001 and 2007) they then increased by an additional 66%. Now, according to the Land Registry, average property values in West Sussex currently stand 12.2% above the January 2008 level, and anecdotal evidence suggests that in the nicer parts of Crawley, we are well above these sorts of levels. Therefore, all this talk of property crashes is unfounded.