I was having an interesting chat with a Shefford buy to let landlord the other day when the subject of size of households came up. Looking at the statistics going back to the early 1960’s, when the average number of people in a home was exactly 3, it has over the years steadily dropped by a fifth to today’s figure of 2.4 people per household. This doesn’t sound a lot, but if the population remained the same level for the next 50 years and then we had the same 20% drop in household size, the UK would need to build an additional 5.28 million properties (or 105,769 per year)….When you consider the country is only building 139,800 properties a year… it doesn’t leave much for people living longer and immigration. Looking closer to home…….
In the Central Bedfordshire Council area, the average number of occupants per household is 2.3 people.
When we look at the current picture nationally and split it down into tenure types (i.e. owned, council houses and private renting), a fascinating picture appears. The vast majority of homeowners who do not have a mortgage are occupied by one or two people (81% in fact), although this can be explained as residents being older, with some members of the family having moved out, or a pensioner living alone. People living on their own are more likely to live in a council house (43%) and the largest households (those with four or more people living in them are homeowners with a mortgage – but again, that can be explained as homeowners with families tend to need a mortgage to buy.
When we look at the Central Bedfordshire Council figures for all tenures in Shefford (Owned, Council and Private Rented) a slightly different picture appears…
It gets even more interesting when we focus on just private rental properties in Shefford, as it is the rental market in Shefford that really fascinates me. When I analysed those Central Bedfordshire Council private rental household composition figures, a slightly different picture appears. Of the 678 private rental properties in the Shefford area:
As you can see, Shefford is not too dissimilar from the national picture but there is a story to tell. If you are considering future buy to let purchases in the coming twelve to eighteen months, I would seriously consider looking at two bedroom apartments/houses. Even with the numbers stated, there are simply not enough two bedroom apartments/houses to meet the demand.
If the property is located in the right part of Shefford and priced realistically, it will always let and when you come to sell, irrespective of market conditions at the time, it will always be the target of buyers.