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Warrington's Housing Market


McBain
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Well, after a delay of nearly 5 months Warrington has finally completed (via a consultant) its Strategic Housing Market Assessment and - based on the Executive Summary - there are some interesting points emerging.

 

First - why isn't the whole report being made available on the Council's website? The Summary states that electronic copies will only be made available to elected Council members. Why? What makes them better than the likes of us?

 

Second - Average price of a house in Warrington is given as ?183,675. That's more than ?30,000 above the average price for the North West region as a whole, but it is below the England + Wales average.

 

Third - It is estimated that the annual change in household numbers is 999 extra households per annum within the Borough (but the Regional Spatial Strategy only envisages a minimum of 380 per annum being delivered in Warrington).

 

Fourth - Only half of potential first-time buyers will be able to afford to become owner-occupiers whilst spending an appropriate proportion of their income on housing costs.

 

Fifth - There is no conclusive evidence that the apartment-market is saturated, with indicators on both side of the argument. There is a demand for apartments in the <30's household group.

 

Sixth - There is a need for 419 affordable houses every year, compared to just 42 recorded in the 2002 Housing Needs Survey. This could mean that affordable housing provision should be 40% of total on all qualifying developments.

 

So, just when you thought that Warrington was receiving too much attention from the developers, evidence emerges that it isn't receiving enough in order to meet demand, and provide affordable housing. It's also clear that there are areas where first-time buyers can get on the housing ladder, people are just being snooty and don't want to live there. And finally, consultants who do this sort of work caveat their reports with all sorts of safeguards to prevent them being called to book :roll:

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Not sure developers wish to build "affordable" units, otherwise we would have had sufficient by now? :? And there's still the ambiguous issue of what "affordable" means? :? There is no such thing as a "cheap" mortgage, the loan has to cover the price of the property. Similarly, private landlords will wish to cover their costs with the price of rents. :roll: SO, if the objective is to house as many folk as possible, in the shortest space of time, it implies some form of subsudised rented property, and the one were familiar with is "Council Housing". :shock: Just after WW2, we had a huge problem of homelessness, thanks to the Luftwaffe; but units were built at record rates, including the famous pre-fabs, which did the job. :shock: SO, if we could do it then, why can't we do it now? :?

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The lack of affordable housing is a national disgrace and disaster. You're right, we have built council/social housing before-so why can't we do it again? Seems the last two governments haven't seen it as a priority. Don't know who the consultant was, but Warrington clearly does have an oversupply of flats (apartmens are for americans). Flats in Bevan Court, Monks Place etc etc have lain empty since they were built, and a growing number every month are being repossessed and sold at auction. We don't have the same level of oversupply as Manchester or Leeds, but its still a problem.

Private landlords don't just 'want' the rent to cover their mortgage by the way, a buy to let mortgage requires that the market rent is 125% of the monthly mortgage repayments.

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But how many council tenants would want to move into new prefab houses or flat roofed ones like those in Longford or the ones they knocked down in Dallam years ago? I would bet not many

 

There is no easy answer; blocks of flats for council tenants are seen as a wrong idea as well.

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Well they shouldn't have to move into substandard housing. A lot of the original council houses were well built. Mind you, the housing built nowadays doesn't seem to be any where near as substantial as the 30s housing.

Flats are no good for families are they? Children need gardens.

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Errm, wrong question Baz: it's not "Council Tenants" that want a house - they've already got one: it's mainly young couples or single/seperated adults wanting a home; and frankly, lack of money and desperation would make a pre-fab seem like a palace. :o Those post-war prefabs lasted more than their intended life, and new technology could provide new prefab accomodation overnight - IF the political will were there. :(

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Sorry.... I really should try to keep up.

 

Chrissy, surely a child does not need a garden but a child needs somewhere to play? Lots of houses both past and present didn't have gardens. Kids will always find somewhere to run around in!!

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Obs, there is no ambiguity concerning which "flavour" of affordable housing the Council wants developers to provide, it is Social Rented Accommodation to the exclusion of all else (e.g. discounted below market rate, shared-equity). This doesn't accord with national guidance, but apparently it is a direct reflection of borough-wide need. Developers don't "want" to build such housing, but if it means getting a permission, I rekcon they'd take the profit of 60% of the scheme at full-market rate rather than have 100% of a refused planning permission.

 

As for Council's building new properties - this is an answer that is so obvious it is clearly beyond the ability of the Council to see. I've said it before but it bears repeating ...

 

The Council's estates section is sitting on land that could easily see 419 units built upon it (i.e. one years requirement), but the Planning section hasn't thought about this enough. Instead of preventing schemes coming forward by insisting developers provide 40% affordable on-site, they could insist that the developers build 40% of the total of their units on land owned by the Council. For example, a developer wants 100 houses on his site, the Council agrees but stipulates (by way of section 106 Agreement) that the developer also builds 40 Affordable Houses on Council land. The developer thus gets to build out his scheme in its totality at market rate, and the Council gets its houses built for free, which it can then palm off on its ALMO.

 

Could this be a "win / win" scenario :shock::?:

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Seems an attractive option McB: Council's don't build Council Houses cos central Government won't allow them to, even though, with their vast collateral of land and property they represent one of the safest risks in terms of borrowing on the open market. :roll: Apparently, it's something to do with the PSBR, something our EU cousins don't seem to have to worry about. :roll: Once upon a time, Council Housing was subsidised by Rate Payers, thus providing cheap rented accomodation to all in need; until Maggie ring fenced Housing Budgets, and now we have Council Tenants (arguably the poorest in the community) subsidising the Government, who skim off ?11pw of their rent! :shock::x:roll:

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Have to agree with you there Obs, the inequities of the current system beggar belief, especially when you then get stiffed due to the abolition of the 10pence tax bracket :roll: One does wonder whether the last 10 years of stable economic growth were due to effective management or just sheer chance :shock:

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See from a News item the other night, that "buy to let" repossessions have shot up; leaving their tenants homeless. :shock: Why can't the new owner just take on the tenant until the property is disposed of? :? Otherwise it's just going to lie empty anyway. :roll:

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Management overheads probably won't permit it. I am guessing that the banks don't want to have to pay for someone to act as Landlord in these instances, and would rather carry out a "fire-sale" of the assets rather than house people albeit at a reduced rental income for a short period or until the market picks back up. Cash is king at the moment, especially for banks :(

 

I'm just waiting for Warrington Council to put away it's Housing SPD which advocates restraint and get with the Government programme, i.e. "build, build, BUILD!" With 1,000 new households forming every year and a need for 419 affordable houses per annum, the Council has no other choice but to get things built (in line with my suggestion about using Council land of course :wink: )

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Afraid I just can't reconcile folk being homeless when at the same time properties are left empty - crazy! :roll: Plently of Government land available too McB; sure folk in Poulton S would prefer an afforable housing estate on Bruche Police Training Site; rather than a transit camp for assylum seekers or hostels for ex-prisoners! :shock::wink:

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Lots of buy to let homes are sold at auction complete with tenants. Good investment strategy. Problem with buy to let repossessions as obs says is that the lender will want to reduce their risk as quickly as possible so they may well evict the tenant. Having said that, the vast majority of btl repossessions are vacant apartments that were bought off plan and have never been tenanted. I do think some creative co-operation between the housing department and local landlords could ease the housing situation. This happens successfully in other places and landlord accreditation schemes ensure that the housing is safe and of good quality.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
Well, after a delay of nearly 5 months Warrington has finally completed (via a consultant) its Strategic Housing Market Assessment and - based on the Executive Summary - there are some interesting points emerging.

 

First - why isn't the whole report being made available on the Council's website? The Summary states that electronic copies will only be made available to elected Council members. Why? What makes them better than the likes of us?

 

Second - Average price of a house in Warrington is given as ?183,675. That's more than ?30,000 above the average price for the North West region as a whole, but it is below the England + Wales average.

 

Third - It is estimated that the annual change in household numbers is 999 extra households per annum within the Borough (but the Regional Spatial Strategy only envisages a minimum of 380 per annum being delivered in Warrington).

 

Fourth - Only half of potential first-time buyers will be able to afford to become owner-occupiers whilst spending an appropriate proportion of their income on housing costs.

 

Fifth - There is no conclusive evidence that the apartment-market is saturated, with indicators on both side of the argument. There is a demand for apartments in the

 

Sixth - There is a need for 419 affordable houses every year, compared to just 42 recorded in the 2002 Housing Needs Survey. This could mean that affordable housing provision should be 40% of total on all qualifying developments.

 

 

A 7th point needs adding - THREE local estate agents gone bust in the last week! :shock:

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Which ones :shock::?: Doesn't suprise me as the housing market round here has ground almost to a complete standstill.

 

Regardelss, developers are still keen to develop and they recon their 'units' will easily sell.

 

Walton Locks new developers being one of them...although they are now apparently building it in phases over 5 years :wink: Interesting open day last week :roll:

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Dismayed,

The worrying thing about that site is the entrance and exit.

If they had put it opposite Taylor Street and installed traffic lights, it wouldn't have caused much of a problem. But they ain't doing that. The traffic from the site will have a hell of a job trying to get to town in the rush hour.

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It will be a nightmare. They recon a little roundabout and maybe some lights somewhere will make it ok :shock:

 

The person I spoke to told me there is NO problem at all on Chester Road :roll: and Taylor Street traffic is the ONLY problem round there. I suggested she tried to drive down Chester Road at rush hour or when the swing bridges are off and that she also tries exiting from Ellesmere Road onto Chester Road.

Of course there's no problem... well not if you dont live in the area or have to pass through it:roll:

 

These blummin' out of town money grabbing developers haven't got a clue most of the time :evil:

 

I say money grabbing as they actually admitted it to me :shock::evil:

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When I discussed the plans with the developer a couple of weeks ago, IO alo expressed concern with the site entrance, I was simply told that Highways had accepted the proposal. Maybe they have taken the view that with the rising price of oil, the number of private cars will be reduced substantially by the time the development is completed and fully occupied.

 

PS Maybe they know something we don't.......a bypass road through Arpley Meadows perhaps :wink:

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When I discussed the plans with the developer a couple of weeks ago, IO alo expressed concern with the site entrance, I was simply told that Highways had accepted the proposal. Maybe they have taken the view that with the rising price of oil, the number of private cars will be reduced substantially by the time the development is completed and fully occupied.

 

PS Maybe they know something we don't.......a bypass road through Arpley Meadows perhaps :wink:

 

probably accepted the proposal because it was written on the back of a brown envelope! :wink:

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