Thursday, 14 April 2016

Is it healthy that 29% of all people are renting property in Penicuik?

Renting used to be a dirty word in the 60‘s and 70‘s.

You either lived in a ‘Rigsby Rising Damp‘ style bedsit with woodchip on the wall and a coin operated electric meter that buzzed in the night, or you lived in a council house. 

In the latter part of the 20th Century, the British were persuaded that rent payments were ‘wasted money’ so lots of them bought their own home.  However, owning often makes less financial sense and and the rate of home ownership is now reducing as there is now no stigma at all to renting.

In fact, of the 15,926 residents of Penicuik, 4,619 rent their house from either the local authority/social provider (i.e. council house or housing association) or private landlords – meaning 29% of Penicuik people are tenants.

The idea of home ownership is deeply embedded in the British psyche: in fact, 11,307 Penicuik people live in an owner occupied property (or 71%).

Housing is at the heart of Government policy, as John Swinney has promised to oversee the building of tens of thousands of new properties a year so first-time-buyers can buy their first home and John Swinney & George Osbourne between them have changed the tax laws for buy-to-let landlords in Penicuik and across the wider UK.

To get votes, Thatcher (and everyone since) ran election campaigns promising everybody their own home and, as a country, we seem to equate home ownership as the main goal of British life. However, there has been a shift in this prevailing attitude recently.

So as more and more people are renting nowadays, are we turning to a more European way of living? Well, I believe as a country, we are.

In fact, home ownership could be affecting your health. The UK, according to Bloomberg, is only the 21st healthiest country in the world. Germany is at No.10 and Switzerland at No. 4 
and home ownership is at 52.5% and 44% respectively in those countries— and in the UK and Scotland as a whole it’s 64.8% and 62% respectively.

In the Midlothian area, 75.6 % of homeowners who own their house outright said they were in ‘very good’ or ‘good’ health whilst, at the other end of the scale, 5.3% said their health was ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’.

Looking at renting, the census splits tenants renting properties in Penicuik into two types.  

68.6% of Penicuik local authority/social tenants said they were in ‘very good’ or ‘good’ health and 10.9 % were in ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ health, whilst ‘private rented tenants’ in Penicuik were the healthiest, as 90.3 % of them described themselves in ‘very good’ or ‘good’ health and only 2.5 % were in ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ health.

I am not suggesting that low home ownership rates in Switzerland and Germany are directly linked to health, nor, do I expect Brits to all go to Berlin, Interlaken or Dusseldorf and realise how happy people are when they don’t need to worry about all the stresses with accompany home ownership.

The numbers for Penicuik do go some way to back up the argument and they are the same across the whole of the UK.

Nonetheless, I do think that substantially all of the upside to home ownership in recent years has been a function of monumental rising house prices. Penicuik landlords have seen this, too.
Now that’s come to an end, it‘s hard to see why anybody would want to buy? Renting is here to stay in Penicuik and it‘s growing incrementally each year.

Even with the new tax rules for property landlords in Penicuik, buy-to-let is still a viable investment option for most people in the Town.

There has never been a better time to purchase buy-to-let property in Penicuik, but buy wisely.
Gone are the days that you would make profit on anything with four walls and a roof. Take advice, take opinion, do your homework, and speak to property experts in Penicuik.

To keep up-to-date with the rented property sector in Penicuik, visit my property blog here.
If you would like to explore how I can help you with your property investments, or should you require any advice about investing in the Penicuik property market, wish to enquire about our Investment Analysis Reports, Property Sourcing, Residential Lettings or Property Management services, please do not hesitate to contact me on 01968 674601 or at

Alternatively please feel free to pop in and see me at our offices in Bank Street for a chat, the coffee is always on.

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