Thursday, 9 July 2020

Focus on Fishbourne’s property market

Not many internationally renowned historical sites are surrounded by housing estates, but that’s exactly what you get in Fishbourne.

I’ve often mentioned Fishbourne as one of my favoured local areas for buy-to-let. It benefits from its own railway station, easy access to the A27 and its properties offer better value for money on a ‘bricks for your buck’ basis than central Chichester, which is a mere two miles away.

There are a mixture of older properties closer to Fishbourne’s centre, whilst several newer estates have sprung up to the North; including Mosse Gardens in the 80’s and 90s, Caspian Close in 2004, Cuckoo Fields in 2012 and several smaller developments off Clay Lane in recent years. This rapid development led to a 19% increase in Fishbourne’s population between 2001 and 2011, with an even greater increase since.

The housing mix in Fishbourne is largely skewed towards family houses rather than flats. This makes sense, with Fishbourne’s own Primary school (rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted) and its catchment area to the ever-popular Bishop Luffa School less than one mile away (previously rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted).

Census data shows Fishbourne as a relatively affluent area, with over half the working population in managerial positions, whilst also showing it to be the fifth least deprived area of Chichester (out of 29). As of 2011, 22.4% of residents were 0-19 years of age and 24.8% were over 65.

The average property in Fishbourne is valued at £394,825 with the most expensive street being Clay Lane, with an average value of £515,000 per property, followed by Blackboy Lane, where the average property is valued at £417,000.

81% of Fishbourne’s 988 properties are owner occupied (as of 2011), with just 6% of residents renting socially and 11% renting privately. When compared to Chichester, where 57% own their home and 19% rent privately, it suggests there is scope for more of Fishbourne’s housing to become available for rent. Indeed, as I type, there are only two properties in Fishbourne available to let!
Having let a variety of property in Fishbourne, most tenants mention what a nice area Fishbourne is and how refreshing it was to have ample parking and a good-sized garden for similar money than a smaller terraced house would cost in Chichester’s city centre.

Whilst property prices have stalled in the past year (as have prices across the country), values in Fishbourne are up around 23% in the past decade. I believe Fishbourne represents a good opportunity for future capital growth as more people come to realise its excellent location within close proximity to the enduringly popular Chichester.

It will be interesting to see whether the farmland surrounding Fishbourne survives the developers eyes and whether the large Whitehouse Farm development ends up bridging the gap between Chichester and Fishbourne so as to morph it into one continuous area, rather than retaining Fishbourne’s current village identity.

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Monday, 6 July 2020

3 bed house in Chichester, £242,000, 5.0% yield

3 bed house, chichester
3 bed house in Chichester
Listed for sale on 04/03/20 @ £285,000
Now = £242,000
Rent = £1,000pcm
Yield = 5.0%
Last sold for £175,000 in 2009 (+38% in 11 years)

This three-bedroom house in Chichester was first marketed in March at a fairly ridiculous £285,000. Fortunately, after three price reductions, it is now at a price that I feel offers decent value for what is a good-sized family home. 

My educated guess would be it was formerly used as a student let. Many of the properties in this area are, and many of those are currently struggling to find paying tenants for the next academic year, or have already been put up for sale by the landlords. I believe this gives rise to a new set of landlords in the area, who I believe should focus on the family and young professional market with this property. A rent of £1,000pcm should be achievable, which would result in a very decent 5% rental return for a freehold property in Chichester.

It looks to be in fair condition, with neutral flooring and decor. The kitchen needs to be inspected as to whether it is in sound order - a replacement could be on the cards in the near future. And the bathroom hasn't been photographed, so perhaps that's an attempt to hide the fact it needs to be replaced? It may sound strange, and even a waste of money to some, but I wonder what impact changing all the internal doors and ironmongery would make to the homes appeal, compared to the current office-like (fire?) doors in place. Finally a tidy up of the front and rear gardens will make the space more welcoming.

Much of the above is simple cosmetic work though, as the house is fundamentally a good-size, with a generous garden due to be on the end of terrace. It already has double glazing and gas central heating, which can be the more expensive elements to replace. These houses are typically well-built and, whilst it might not be the 'poshest' of areas in Chichester, it is convenient for the hospital and access to the city centre. 

The property is on the market with Cubitt & West and full details can be found on Rightmove via the following link: 


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Thursday, 2 July 2020

The basics of letting a property

There are over 150 pieces of legislation that landlords and letting agents need to be aware of when they let out a property. Below are the basic things I always check first when visiting a prospective landlord at their potential rental property.

Is it leasehold?
If so, you’ll need to check there are no covenants that stop you letting out the property to a certain type of tenant or, in extreme cases, preventing you from letting it at all! You may also find the freeholder and/or management company needs to be alerted to the fact the property is to be rented (and to who).

Is there a mortgage? 
If you have a buy-to-let mortgage, or no mortgage at all, then you’re all set. But if the property is currently your home and you have a residential mortgage you’ll need to apply to your lender for ‘consent to let’ and/or switch to a buy-to-let mortgage.

Is it insured?
Specialist landlord insurance for the property will cover the building, your contents (including fixtures & fittings) as well as providing you with legal indemnity cover.

Furnished or unfurnished?
Most rental properties are let unfurnished, but if you plan to supply any furniture it needs to comply with fire safety regulations (look out for the manufacturer’s label).

 Is there an EPC?
An in-date EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) with at least an E rating is required prior to letting (some exemptions apply). They are valid for 10 years and there’s a register online that you can check before you order a new one.

Are smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in place?
There needs to be a smoke alarm on each floor of the property and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid-fuel burning device e.g. an open fire.

Are the electrics up to scratch?
All new tenancies require an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) to be undertaken by a qualified contractor to ensure the electrics are safe and in a good condition. These are then valid for five years (unless the electrician says they need to be checked sooner).

Got gas?
Any gas appliances i.e. gas boiler / hob / fire needs to be checked by a Gas Safe engineer on an annual basis to check things are safe, with the certificate being provided to the tenants when they move in.

These are the bare minimum legal requirements you must comply with before letting a property. There are many more points to consider though, such as the condition and desirability of the property, its likely target market and rental valuation compared to what else is available at the time. If you have a property that you’re thinking of letting and would like some advice or guidance, please get in touch.

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Monday, 29 June 2020

BUY-TO-LET DEAL OF THE WEEK: 1 bed flat in Tangmere, £159,950, 5.8% yield

1 bed flat, Whitebeam Way Tangmere
1 bed flat in Tangmere
Listed for sale on 20/03/20 @ £170,000
Now = £159,950
Rent = £775pcm
Yield = 5.8%
Last sold for £108,000 in 2013 (+48% in 7 years)

As an entry-level buy-to-let property in the Chichester area, I think this one-bedroom apartment in nearby Tangmere fits the bill perfectly.

It is now priced at £159,950, having just been reduced from £170,000 after a few months on the market (albeit that included prime 'lock-down' months). As flats go, this one includes its own entrance and a garden, so it doesn't lose out on the features often associated with houses. Furthermore it is in excellent condition, having been refurbished by the current owner, including a new kitchen, bathroom and decor. There is also gas central heating (many in the area are still all-electric) and double glazing. It even has a garage!

This all means it is in a ready to rent condition, so could make a good first step into the world of buy-to-let. It also side-steps a few other negatives typically found with flats i.e. the leasehold element. With a 155 year lease, no maintenance charge and a peppercorn ground rent, there aren't the typical ongoing costs you'd associate with flats - although be sure to check whose responsibility the building maintenance falls to.

In regards to returns - due to its great condition yet low price, the return on offer at 5.8% is very good for the area. That's based on a total rent of £775pcm, for which the garage contributes £50pcm (a bonus that is often overlooked by agents and investors alike).

It's interesting to see the flat has been sold many times over the years. It also gives a fascinating insight into how property prices have increased over time. The current owner paid £108,000 in 2013, so is seeking a potential 48% gain in seven years (although bear in mind the money spent on refurbishing it). The owner before that stands as a reminder that property isn't a one-way bet, having paid £115,000 in 2006 and thus losing money in their seven years of ownership! And finally, if you needed reminding how strong house price growth was in the early 2000's, consider the flat sold for less than half that price seven years before (£52,000 in 1999).

The property is on the market with Bell & Blake and full details can be found on Rightmove via the following link:

If you are looking for an agent that is well establishedprofessional and communicative in Chichester, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of your investment property.

E-mail me on or call 01243 624 599.

Don't forget to visit the links below to view my previous buy-to-let deals and Chichester Property News articles:

c/o CRJ Lettings, 30B Southgate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1DP

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