Tuesday, 13 September 2016

To buy or sell in the Edinburgh property market? That is the question

One of my landlords from Morningside rang me last week, after he had spoken to a friend of his. They were discussing the Edinburgh property market and both could not make their mind up if it was time to either sell or buy property. If you read the newspapers and the landlord forums on the internet, there is a good slice of doom and gloom, especially with changes in the taxation towards landlords, the increasing legislation affecting the sector and the general uncertainty in the world economic situation particularly given the Brexit vote. 

I would admit, there are certain landlords in Edinburgh who have over exposed themselves in the last few years with high percentage loan to value mortgages. Those mortgages, with their current (yet artificially) low interest rates, will start to suffer, as their modest monthly positive cash flow/profit (ie income (rent) less costs (mortgage, fees, tax) will become negative when the tax and mortgage rates rise throughout 2017 and beyond.

It appears to me these landlords seem to have treated the Edinburgh Buy to Let market as a sure bet and have not approached this as a business and, as a result, they will suffer as they thought "Buy a house - rent it out so it covers the mortgage and make a few quid on top".  These are the people who will be thinking twice. I see opportunity everywhere and won't be stopping, I am here to stay. It’s going to be an exciting year.

Gone are the days when you could buy any old flat in Edinburgh and it would make money.  Yes, in the past, anything in Edinburgh that had four walls would make you money because since WW2, property prices doubled every seven years years… it was like printing money – but not anymore.

True, since September 1996, the average price paid for a Edinburgh flat has risen from £58,897 to today’s current average of £208,778 in the City, an impressive rise of 244.3% and terraced houses have risen in the same time frame, from £90,854 to £332,295, an even better rise of 265.7%. 

However, look back to 2006, and in that year, the average flat was selling for £163,554 meaning our Edinburgh landlord would have seen a 24.0% rise and the terraced house owner would have seen an increase of 22.6% as they were selling for on average £271,089 .... not bad until you consider inflation.

Since 2006, inflation, ie the cost of living, has increased by 30.5%. That means to retain its value, a Edinburgh flat bought for £163,554 in 2006 would needs to be worth £213,602 today when in fact it is only worth £208,778. Therefore, our average landlord has seen the ‘real’ value of his property fall by 6.5% (ie 24.0% less 30.5% inflation) over these 10 years ie 0.6% per annum.

The reality is that in the period since around 2005/2006 we haven’t seen anything like the average capital growth in property we have seen in the past largely as a result of the economic crash in 2008 and it’s not predicted to grow at the rates it has previously done either. So it is high time anyone considering investing in property stopped believing the hype and did some serious research using independent investment expertise.  You can still make money by buying the right Edinburgh property at the right price and finding the right tenant. However, remember, investing in Edinburgh property is not only about capital growth, but also about the yield (the return from the rent). It’s also about having a balanced property portfolio that will match what you want from your investment – and what is a ‘balanced property portfolio’?

If you would like to talk to us about your balanced property portfolio, please call me on 0131 603 4570 or email me at news@thekeyplace.co.uk.

A few more interesting articles about the Edinburgh Property Market:

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