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Friday 19 May 2023

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐭𝐨𝐧 𝐋𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐍𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐊𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐌𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝

How can landlords and tenants combat condensation and mould? Read on to find out.

𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝
The two are often bundled together because if you’ve got condensation, there’s a good chance it won’t be long before you’re battling mould.
Condensation can be caused by warm air hitting cold surfaces or by lots of humidity in the air. The air cools and droplets form, creating a damp environment – and a perfect breeding ground for mould.
Mould grows in black, green or brown spots. It’s most commonly found in bathrooms and kitchens but can thrive in any damp or humid location.

Both landlords and tenants have roles to play in preventing and tackling mould.
The landlord must ensure there are no structural or maintenance issues that could cause mould and remove mould impacting a tenant’s health and safety.
Tenants should keep the property clean and adequately ventilated and report signs of mould to the landlord.
If the cause of mould isn’t structural, it could be down to tenant behaviour (more on this further down).

It’s important to look for constructive solutions to resolve the issue rather than getting involved in a finger-pointing exercise.

𝐒𝐭𝐞𝐩𝐬 𝐚 𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞

A dry home with lots of fresh air is the best weapon against mould. To achieve this, you should:

• Ensure the property is well-ventilated.
• Check the heating is working well.
• Insulate the property.
• Look for signs of mould during regular inspections and ensure extractor fans are working.
• Promptly repair issues such as leaky plumbing and guttering, missing roof tiles and damage to the damp-proof course.
• Regularly clear out gutters and drains.
• Act quickly if mould appears. Remove it and apply anti-mould paint.
• Discuss the issue with tenants to raise awareness.

𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩
Ask tenants to:
• Avoid hanging clothes to dry indoors with the windows closed.
• Leave a gap between furniture and walls of at least 10cm so the air can circulate.
• Open windows regularly.
• Use the extractor fan when cooking and showering.
• Wipe down wet surfaces such as shower screens and curtains.
• Close the kitchen door when cooking to stop moist air moving to other parts of the property.
• Report signs of mould and any necessary repairs to the landlord or letting agent.

For more advice about managing your rental property, contact us today on 02380018222 or email

Southampton’s Over-50s Wealth Hits Record High as Generational Property Gulf Grows

The Southampton property market is proving increasingly difficult for some younger Southampton buyers, but mature homeowners have benefitted immensely from rising house prices in the last few decades.

How wealth is spread across the generations will always be a controversial issue, significantly as the Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) and the older Gen X's (born in the late 1960s / very early 1970s) wealth has grown exponentially over the last two decades, compared to the wealth of the younger generation.

The over-50s in the Southampton area have a record £5,307,401,294 in mortgage-free equity, twice as much as the total in 2011, underlining the generational gap in the Southampton housing market.


Rocketing Southampton property prices have helped mature homeowners more than ever, while high house values and expensive mortgages are pricing out some Southampton first-time buyers. Compared to those younger, the gap is quite stark.

Southampton under-50’s own £559m ofmortgage-free property outright.


So, how exactly are properties split in the local area of Southampton, how do they compare to the national figures and more importantly - what can be done about it?


For under-50’s in Southampton:

·         4.2% own their own home outright, i.e., no mortgage, compared to 6.4% nationally

·         32.4% own their own home with a mortgage, compared to 41.6% nationally

·         18.7% live in social housing, i.e., council house or housing association, compared to 17.8% nationally

·         44.7% live in private rented accommodation, compared to 34.2% nationally


For over-50’s in Southampton:

·         43.0% own their own home outright, i.e., no mortgage, compared to 52.1% nationally

·         19.4% own their own home with a mortgage compared to 21.1% nationally

·         25.4% live in social housing, i.e., council house or housing association, compared to 16.5% nationally

·         12.2% live in private rented accommodation compared to 10.3% nationally


The stats that jump out at me in the over-50 age range is over 1 in 10 people nationally are in privately rented accommodation, and over 1 in 5 of over-50s still have a mortgage (although that reduces to 1 in 16 by the time they reach the age of 65).

Campaigners have said the younger generation has been priced out of the property market and the goal of getting on the housing ladder has become an impossible dream for many. The wealth gap of the generations shows the older generations have been aided by increasing house prices, leaving their sons and daughters with few options.


So, should the mortgage-free older generation of Southampton feel guilty?


Well, I expect the older generation to be mortgage free. It typically takes around 25 years to repay a mortgage fully, and mortgages accumulate over time.

Consequently, it's unsurprising that older homeowners possess higher ownership and equity. Similarly, younger homeowners in the present are likely to accumulate more equity and ownership as they age.

Another intriguing observation is that younger individuals often inherit their properties as older people pass away. With the baby boomer generation experiencing a significant increase in mortality, this transfer of property is expected to occur frequently.


Neither should the Baby Boomers and Gen X’s feel guilty. Many can remember mortgage rates at 16% in 1992.


Also, older Southampton people faced more significant difficulties in obtaining mortgages when they were younger. They encountered strict caps on mortgage sizes and had to contend with considerably higher interest rates.

Additionally, the older generation in Southampton tended to lead more austere lives in the 1960s and 1970s and saved more money.

When housing construction and supply were relatively robust, demand was constrained during that period. Consequently, Southampton house prices were significantly more modest than today's soaring prices.

The present situation reflects the last three decades of stringent house-building restrictions imposed by every political party, combined with a flood of inexpensive money from the banking system since 2008 and substantial immigration (who also require housing and age over time).


As a result, an inevitable surge in British house prices has occurred.


Today, younger Southampton people tend to delay marriage, postpone having children and pursue higher education. As a result, they enter the housing market at a later age, but they generally express contentment with this arrangement.

As I said recently in my Southampton property blog, first-time buyers have been on the rise lately, albeit their average age is now 33.4 years old (compared to 30.6 years old in 2005 and 23.6 years old in the 1960s), meaning they won’t be paying off their mortgage until later in life.


What could be the answer(s) to help solve this issue in the Southampton property market?


One is to build more houses – and that requires a willingness as a society to build on land that many might not want to build on (a political hot potato at the best of times!).

Secondly, we need to help older Southampton homeowners to downsize, freeing up their larger homes for younger generations.


Most over-50s live in average-priced family properties with no enticement to downsize.


Their children have flown the nest, and they rattle around a house often too big for them (as I discussed a few months ago and many have homes with two or more spare bedrooms). This country requires more bungalows and suitable houses for mature homeowners' lifestyles.

As a society, we need a discussion between the generations on how the £3 trillion of mortgage-free equity tied up in property owned by those who are 50 years old and above can be used to help the younger generation (i.e., their children and grandchildren), theoretically improving their prospects of affording their own home.

These are interesting times ahead. What are your thoughts on the matter? Do share your thoughts in the comments.

Tuesday 2 May 2023

Southampton First-time Buyers Keeping our Local Property Market Afloat

The Southampton housing market is relativity buoyant, thanks to an unexpected group of people – Southampton first-time buyers.

Many Southampton tenants are annoyed with competing for Southampton rental properties at high rents. Therefore, over the last 12 months, many renters have been stretching their finances to get on the Southampton housing ladder, despite sky-high mortgage rates.


Using data from the Office of National Statistics, Land Registry and the Bank of England …


of the 4,479 properties bought in the last 12 months in the Southampton area, 1,214 were bought by first-time buyers.


With just under 1 in 3 house purchases made by first-time buyers in the last 12 months, it might surprise many that this has been steadily growing since 2010 when only 1 in 5 house purchases were made by first-time buyers.

Surprisingly, first-time buyers have remained the most resilient group of property buyers, even during these difficult times.

Usually, first-time buyers would be the most affected in times of stress in the property market (like in the last two property market crashes of 1998 and 2008). However, this time is different. Despite the sky high mortgage rates, the rental market and its high rents are making buying a more attractive option for many Southampton renters.

In Q1 2021, the average rent in the Southampton area was £934 per month.


The Southampton area rental market has experienced soaring rents in the last two years, with the average rent increasing to £1,151 a month in Q1 2023, an increase of 23.2%.


(Southampton area being SO14-SO19).

There are multiple reasons why rents are rising.

One reason includes higher mortgage rates for landlords, passed on to tenants in increased rents.

Some Southampton landlords with high % mortgages are selling their buy-to-let portfolios because of the Section 24 taxation rule changes and leaving the market entirely. Another reason is fewer landlords are buying rental properties to let out, with only 1 in 8 house purchases being made by landlords.

Meanwhile, demand for Southampton rental properties is high.

With demand outpacing supply, some Southampton renters are forced to accept higher prices or offer more than the asking price to secure new tenancies.


Other Southampton tenants are offering to pay six to twelve months rent in advance to strengthen their negotiating position.


This situation has made many Southampton renters move forward with their plans to buy a home for themselves, despite the increasing costs of home ownership.

But what about the deposit?

It appears the ‘Bank of Mum & Dad’ are helping first-time buyers with their deposits. The national average deposit paid by first-time buyers was just over £63,000 in January '23, which was 23.4% of their purchase.

The lowest rate for a two-year fixed first-time mortgage with a 23% deposit is 4.13%, up from 2.86% a year ago.

So, how can Southampton first-time buyers reduce their monthly payments? They can do it by increasing the length of their mortgage. For example, increasing your mortgage term from 25 to 30 years will save you £45 per month in mortgage payments for every £100,000 borrowed.


Eleven out of twenty first-time buyers are taking out mortgages of 30 years or more, the highest level since records began in 2005.


But what about those buyers with a low deposit?

According to the Moneyfacts website, the number of available 95% mortgage deals has risen from the early 160s in early March to nearly 210 last week. This is the highest level since September 2022, showing that banks are not worried about a property price crash. Moreover, the Coventry and Nationwide Building Societies have reduced their mortgage rates on low deposit (90% to 95%) mortgages over the past few weeks. The average 2-year fixed 95% mortgage is 5.64%, and the best rate is 4.9%.

However, Skipton Building Society has even launched structured products for certain first-time buyers that will not need a 5% deposit if the buyer can prove their rental history (about time too if you ask me).

The government mortgage guarantee scheme was also extended into 2023, which partially insures the bank/building society on any defaults on their 95% mortgages. It has been recognised for keeping some of these low deposits available for first-time buyers.


The outlook for the Southampton property market is uncertain, but a comparatively soft landing is still the most likely outcome.


With first-time buyers fuelling the market, interesting times lay ahead!

These are my thoughts, do share yours.