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Fixing the UK's housing crisis is simple!

An Englishman’s home is his castle, as Maggie Thatcher lauded, everyone should own their own home. In 1971, around 50% of people owned their own home and, as the baby-boomers got better jobs and pay, that proportion of homeowners rose to 69% by 2001. Homeownership was here to stay as many baby boomers assumed it’s very much a cultural thing here in Britain to own your own home.


But on the back of TV programmes like Homes Under the Hammer, these same baby boomers started to jump on the band wagon of Medway buy to let properties as an investment. Medway first time buyers were in competition with Medway landlords to buy these smaller starter homes … pushing house prices up in the 2000’s (as mentioned in Part One ) beyond the reach of first time buyers. Alas, it is not as simple as that. Many factors come into play, such as economics, the banks and government policy. But are Medway landlords also fanning the flames of the Medway housing crisis bonfire?


I believe that the landlords of the 4,086 Medway rental properties are not exploitive and are in fact, making many positive contributions to the Medway economy and the people of Medway. Like I have said before, Medway (and the rest of the UK) is not building enough properties to keep up the demand; with high birth rate, job mobility, growing population and longer life expectancy.


According to the Barker Review, for the UK to standstill and meet current demand, the country needs to be building 8.7 new households each and every year for every 1,000 households already built. Nationally, we are currently running at 5.07 per thousand and in the early part of this decade were running even lower at 4.1 to 4.3 per thousand.


It doesn’t sound a lot of difference, so let us look at what this means for Medway.


For Medway to meet its obligation on the building of new homes, Medway would need to build 222 households each year. Yet, we are missing that figure by around 92 households a year.


For the Government to buy the land and build those additional 92 households, it would need to spend £26,614,041 a year in Medway alone. Add up all the additional households required over the whole of the UK and the Government would need to spend £23.31bn each year.  The country simply hasn’t got that sort of money.


With these problems, it is the property developers who are buying the old run-down houses and office blocks which are deemed uninhabitable by the local authority, and turning them into new attractive homes to either be rented privately to Medway families or Medway people who need council housing because the local authority hasn’t got enough properties to go around. 


The bottom line is that, as the population grows, there aren’t enough properties being built for everyone to have a roof over their head. Rogue landlords need to be put out of business, whilst tenants should expect a more regulated rental market, with greater security for tenants, where they can rely on good landlords providing them high standards from their safe and modernised home. As in Europe, where most people rent rather than buy, it doesn’t matter who owns the house – all people want is a clean, decent roof over their head at a reasonable rent. 



So only you, the reader, can decide if buy to let is immoral, but first let me ask this question - if the private buy to let landlords had not taken up the slack and provided a roof over these people’s heads over the last decade .. where would these tenants be living now? ….. because the alternative doesn’t even bear thinking about...

Thank you for continuing to read my thoughts on the Medway property market. If you have any questions or comments or would like me to discuss a specific topic, I would love to hear from you. Email me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rochester’s private renting is set to hit 5,761 households by 2021 but can we blame 55 to 70-year-old Rochester citizens for the current housing crisis in the town?


Also known as the ‘Baby Boomer Generation’, these Rochester people were born after the end of the Second World War. The country saw a massive rise in births as they slowly recovered from the economic hardships experienced during wartime. 


Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, they experienced (whilst in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s) an unparalleled level of economic growth and prosperity throughout their working lifetime on the back of improved education, government subsidies, escalating property prices and technological developments; they have emerged as a successful and prosperous generation. 


Yet, some have suggested these Rochester baby boomers have made (and continue to make) too much money to the detriment of their children, creating a generational economic imbalance, where mature people benefit from house-price growth while their children are forced either to pay massive rents or take on large mortgages.


Between 2001 and today, average earnings rose by 65% but average Rochester house prices rose by 156.01%


The issue of housing is particularly acute with the generation called the Millennials; young people born between the mid 1980’s and the late 1990’s. These 18 to 30 year old’s, moulded by the computer and internet revolution, are finding that as they enter early adult life, it is very hard to buy a property. Landlords are buying up all the property to rent out back to them at exorbitant rents. It is no wonder that these Millennials are lashing out at buy to let landlords, as they are seen as the greedy, immoral, wicked people who are cashing in on a social despair.


Like all things in life, we must look to the past, to appreciate where we are now.


In my opinion, the three biggest influencing factors on the Rochester (and UK) property market in the later half of the 20th century were:


the mass building of Council Housing in the 1950’s and 60’s;

the Tory’s decision to sell most of those Council Houses off in the 1980’s;

and 15% interest rates in the early 1990’s which resulted in many houses being repossessed. 


It was, I believe, these major factors that underpinned the housing crisis we have today in Rochester.


In addition, in 1995 the USA relaxed its lending rules by rewriting the Community Reinvestment Act. This cct saw a relaxation on the Bank’s lending criteria’s to lend on mortgages in low wage neighbourhoods, as the viewpoint in the USA was that anyone (even someone on the minimum wage) should be able to buy a home. Unsurprisingly, the UK followed suit in the early 2000’s, as banks and building societies relaxed their lending criteria and brought to the market 100% mortgages. Even Northern Rock started lending every man and his dog 125% mortgages!


So when we roll the clock forward to today, we can observe those very same footloose banks from the early/mid 2000’s (that lent 125% with a just note from your Mum and a couple of breakfast cereal tokens), ironically reciting the Bank of England backed hymn-sheet of responsible-lending. On every first time buyer mortgage application, they are now looking at every line on the 20-something’s banks statements, asking if they are spending too much on socialising and holidays. No wonder these Millennials are afraid to ask for a mortgage (as more often than not after all that – the answer is negative).


Conversely, you have unregulated buy-to-let mortgages. As long as you have a 25% deposit, have a pulse, pass a few very basic yardsticks and have a reasonable job, the banks will literally throw money at you. As I write Virgin Money are offering 2.99% fixed for 3 years – this is so cheap!



In part two of this article, I will continue and show you some very interesting findings on why young people aren’t buying property anymore. And it’s not why you might think….

In the mean time why not find out how much your Medway property is worth? Using this ONLINE VALUATION you can find out a current rental and sales value, in under 60 seconds! It is FREE and INSTANT.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you again soon.

Spencer Fortag

While Brexit has not yet had a sizeable impact on the Medway housing market, my analysis is pointing to the fact that the economic viewpoint still remains uncertain and Medway property price growth is likely to be more subdued in 2017 - although that isn’t a bad thing so, let me explain.


Since the summer, apart from a little wobble of uncertainty a few weeks after the Referendum vote, property values (and the economy), on the whole has outperformed what most people were anticipating. In fact, when I looked at the property prices for our Medway Council area, these were the results:


October 2016             - drop of 0.37%

September 2016          - rise of 0.01%

August 2016               - rise of 1.02%

July 2016                    - rise of 1.28%

June 2016                   - rise of 2.64%


The UK property market continues to perform robustly (because we can’t just look at Medway as if in its own little bubble) with annual price growth set to end this year at 6.91% and most South East region property market at 9.1%. 


Talking to my London team, the significant tidal wave of growth seen from 2013 through to 2015 in the capital has subdued over the last six months. However, as that central London house price wave has started to ripple out, agents are starting to see stronger property growth values in East Anglia and the South East regions outside of London. So, fellow Medway landlords and homeowners, is this the time to get your surfboards ready for the London wave?


Well, we in Medway haven’t really been affected by what is happening in the central London property mega bubble (areas like Kensington, Chelsea, Marylebone and Mayfair ). The property market locally is more driven by sentiment, especially the ‘C’ word ... confidence. The main forces for a weaker Medway property market relate to economic uncertainty surrounding the Brexit process, which I believe will impact unhelpfully on consumer confidence in the run up to and just after the serving of the Section 50 Notice by the end of Q1 2017.


In addition, the influence of reforms to the taxation of landlords is expected to result in a reduced demand from buy to let landlords, which may limit upward pressure on property values. However, on the other side of the coin, demand from tenants has been strong, but this has been counterbalanced by a strong supply of rental properties. In my opinion, there is a slight risk of rents not growing as much in 2017 as they have in 2016, but by 2018 they could rise again to counteract Philip Hammond’s changes to tenant fees.


The broader Medway rental market looks relatively positive with modest rental growth expected and rents might rise further if landlords begin to sell properties in an effort to offset to the impact of tax rises.


So what do I predict will happen to the Medway housing market in 2017? In Medway, I believe price values are expected to fall by 2.3% in 2017 compared to a rise of 15.2% in 2016, then pick up to growth of 1.9% in 2018, 3.1% in 2019, then 4.2% in 2020 and 6.5% in 2021.



But these predictions do not take into account any effect of a possible snap General Election or further referendum on ratifying any Brexit deal (if that comes to pass in the future).

As usual, I am here to help! Are you uncertain about the future of the Medway property market? Would you like some free and impartial advice? Then please email be my This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Well, it doesn’t seem like two minutes ago that it was Christmas. Now Chrimbo is a distant memory and Easter is fast approaching! One cold December morning, after arranging the office’s Christmas cards I thought I would nip out for a quick festive coffee and mince pie at my favourite local coffee shop, Rochester Coffee CoI met an old client of mine in the coffee shop and we got talking about the Medway property market. I had just completed my research for my next blog article and I would now like to share with you some of that conversation.


He asked me what my thoughts were about the last half of the year in regard to the Medway property market and if there were any great buy-to-let deals around. In reply I said that, in my view, shrugging off the uncertainty of the initial post Brexit vote, I have seen an increase in supply and a rise in the number of properties selling at the lower to middle end of the market, meaning both first time buyers and buy to let landlords have been returning in the last few months – proof the market is beginning to bounce back.


As my regular readers will know, I am ALL about the numbers, so let’s take a look at those:


In November 2016, according to the three main property portals (Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket) there were a total of 135 properties for sale in Gillingham (within 1 mile of the centre of Gillingham to be exact). In November 2015, there were only 122 properties for sale, a rise of 11%.


Then, I split the available properties down into bedrooms (note things like building plots and part commercial/part residential won’t be in these figures, so the numbers below wont exactly match up to those in the above paragraph).



# Properties on the market in Nov 2015

# Properties on the market in Nov 2016

Per cent Change

5+ Bedrooms




4 Bedrooms




3 Bedrooms




2 Bedrooms




1 Bedroom





Then, when I looked at the type of properties it got even more interesting:


Type of Property

# Properties on the market in Nov 2015

# Properties on the market in Nov 2016

Per cent Change


















As the number of Gillingham properties put up for sale has risen by 11%, homeowners have become more realistic about how much their homes are worth. This increase in homeowners wanting to sell suggests there is renewed confidence in the Medway property market and there are also signs that people are being more realistic about pricing their property.



As you can see, there has been a significant uplift in terraced and semi-detached properties, which means there is greater choice for first time buyers and landlords. So with a combination of realistic pricing and more properties on the market – both first time buyers and landlords alike might be able to pick up a few bargains.

Did you know that you can now get an FREE and INSTANT property valuation, without even having to speak to one of those pesky estate agents? Simply enter some details HERE and in less than sixty seconds you will get a current rental and sales value.

I can be reached via email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions or comments. Until next time, have a great property week!





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