The subject of the affordability of renting in Penicuik came up in a conversation I had with a Penicuik landlord the other day and how that would affect tenant demand. Everyone wants a roof over their head and, since the Second World War, owning one’s home has been an aspiration of many Brits. However, with rents at record highs, many are struggling to save enough for a house deposit.
Let’s be honest, it’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of paying the rent and bills and not saving, but even saving just a small amount each month will sooner or later add up. George Osborne announced such schemes as the Help to Buy ISA, where the Government will top up a first time buyers deposit.
Therefore, I thought I would do some research into the Penicuik property market and share with you my findings. Penicuik tenants spend on average just over a third of their salary to have a roof over their head. According to my latest monthly research, the average cost of renting a home in Penicuik is £750 per month. When the average annual salary of a Penicuik worker stands at £26,572 per year that means the average Penicuik tenant is paying 33.9% of their salary in rent.
You see one the reasons for rents being so high is property prices being high. As I have mentioned before, there is a severe lack of new properties being built in Penicuik. It’s the classic demand vs supply scenario, where demand has increased, but the number of houses being built hasn’t increased at the same level. Also, Penicuik people aren’t moving home as often as they did in the 80’s and 90’s, meaning there are fewer properties on the market to buy. If you recall, a few weeks ago I said since Autumn 2007 the number of properties for sale in Penicuik has declined year on year.
So, the planners in Penicuik haven’t allowed enough properties to be built in the town and existing Penicuik homeowners are not moving home as much as they used to, thus creating a double hit on the number of properties to buy. This is a long term thing and the continuing diminishing supply of housing has been happening for a number of decades and there simply aren’t enough properties in Penicuik to match demand, these are the reasons houses prices in Penicuik have remained quite buoyant, even though economically, over the last 5 years, it was one of the worst on record for the country and the Midlothian as a whole.
However, things might not be all doom and gloom as originally thought, as a recent Halifax Survey (their Generation Rent 2015 Survey) suggested more and more people may be long term, if not lifelong, tenants. In fact there is evidence in the report to suggest that the perception of how difficult it is to get on the housing ladder is vastly different between parents and people aged 20 to 45. It seems from this survey that the state of the UK economy has shifted priorities quite significantly in quite a short space of time. With fewer people able to save up the deposit required by mortgage lenders, more and more people are continuing to rent. This delay in moving up the property ladder has driven rents across the UK up as more people were seeking rental properties.
It is often said that more people in central Europe rent for longer or never own their own property. The last two census in 2001 and 2011 show that proportionally the percentage of people who own their own home in Britain is slowly reducing and, as a country, we are becoming more and more like Germany. That isn’t a bad thing as Germany is considered to have a more successful economy, one of the main stays, often quoted, is because they have a much more flexible and mobile workforce, (which renting certainly gives) and from that, they have a higher personal income than in the UK.
Therefore, if we are turning into a more European model and the youngsters of Penicuik and the Country have changed their attitudes, demand for rental properties will only and can only go from strength to strength, good news for Penicuik tenants as wages will start to rise and good news for Penicuik landlords, especially as property values in Penicuik are now 2.1% higher than year ago!