Extra Funding Is Required for Affordable Homes in Salisbury

In my blog about the Salisbury Property Market I mostly only talk about two of the three main sectors of the local property market, the ‘private rented sector’ and the ‘owner occupier sector’. However, as I often stress when talking to my clients, one cannot forget the third sector, that being the ‘social housing sector’ (or council housing as some people call it).

In previous articles, I have spoken at length about the crisis in supply of property in Salisbury (i.e. not enough property is being built), but in this article I want to talk about the other crisis – that of affordability. It is not just about the pure number of houses being built but also the equilibrium of tenure (ownership vs rented) and therein, the affordability of housing, which needs to be considered carefully for an efficient and effectual housing market.

An efficient and effectual housing market is in everyone’s interests, including Salisbury homeowners and Salisbury landlords, so let me explain ..

An average of only 618 Affordable Homes per year have been built by Wiltshire Council in the last 9 years

The requirement for the provision of subsidised housing has been recognised since Victorian times. Even though private rents have not kept up with inflation since 2005 (meaning tenants are better off) it’s still a fact there are substantial numbers of low-income households in Salisbury devoid of the money to allow them a decent standard of housing.

Usually, property in the social housing sector has had rents set at around half the going market rate and affordable shared home ownership has been the main source of new affordable housing yet, irrespective of the tenure, the local authority is simply not coming up with the numbers required. If the local authority isn’t building or finding these affordable homes, these Salisbury tenants still need housing, and some tenants at the lower end of the market are falling foul of rogue landlords. Not good news for tenants and the vast majority of law abiding and decent Salisbury landlords who are tarnished by the actions of those few rogue landlords, especially as I believe everyone has the right to a safe and decent home.

Be it Tory’s, Labour, SNP, Lib Dems, Greens etc, everyone needs to put party politics aside and start building enough homes and ensure that housing is affordable. Even though 2017 was one of the best years for new home building in the last decade (217,000 home built in 2017) overall new home building has been in decline for many years from the heady days of the early 1970s, when an average of 350,000 new homes were being built a year.  As you can see from the graph, we simply aren’t building enough ‘affordable’ homes in the area.

The blame cannot all be placed at the feet of the local authority as Council budgets nationally, according to Full-Fact, are 26% lower than they have been since 2010.

So, what does this mean for Salisbury homeowners? Well, an undersupply of affordable homes will artificially keep rents and property prices high. That might sound good in the short term, but a large proportion of my Salisbury landlords find their children are also priced out of the housing market. Also, whilst your Salisbury home might be slightly higher in value, due to this lack of supply of homes at the bottom end of the market, as most people move up the market when they do move, the one you want to buy will be priced even higher.

Problems at the lower end of the property market will affect the middle and upper parts. There is no getting away from the fact that the Salisbury housing market is all interlinked .. it’s not called the Property ‘Ladder’ for nothing!

Salisbury Property Market – Asking Prices Up 2.2% in the Last 12 Months

The average asking price of property in Salisbury increased by 2.2% or £7,187 compared to a year ago, with particularly good demand from landlords and home-movers in the first few months of the year. This takes the current average asking price to £338,504, compared with £331,317 this time last year.

The rise in asking prices is being aggravated by buyers jumping into action looking to benefit from potential stamp duty savings (especially first-time buyers) or beat impending mortgage interest rate rises later in 2018. Of the numerous Salisbury buyers starting their property hunting in the usually active spring market this year, many face paying even more than ever for the property of their dreams, although as I mentioned a few weeks ago, there are more properties for sale in Salisbury compared to 12 months ago.

Looking at the different sectors of the Salisbury property market, splitting it down into property types, one can see what is happening to each sector of the market with regard to their average asking prices now compared to a year ago. Firstly, looking at the Pound note amounts …

Interestingly, when one looks at the percentages, the most upward average asking price pressure is in the detached property type sectors, with both first-time-buyer and second-time-buyer properties at new Salisbury asking price highs.

Now, I must stress this growth in the asking prices of Salisbury property doesn’t mean the value of Salisbury property is going up by the same amount … nothing could be further from the truth.  Only time will tell if the current levels of Salisbury asking prices is a catch-up abnormality after a couple of months of restrained asking price rises in the first few months of 2018, or is it an initial sign that we are in for a better 2018 Salisbury Property market than all of us were expecting at the start of the year?

I believe these asking prices must be viewed with a pinch of salt, as it will be fascinating to see whether Salisbury properties actually sell at these higher asking prices. Just because house sellers (be they owner-occupiers or landlords liquidating their assets) are asking for more money it doesn’t mean buyers will be enthusiastic to part with their hard earned cash. Like my Mum and Dad used to say to me all those years ago, “You can ask … but you might not get”.

Also, Salisbury homeowners and landlords wanting to sell their property need to be aware of progressively strained buyer mortgage affordability and the more those sellers increase asking prices, the more buyers will hit their maximum on the amount they are able borrow on a mortgage.

However, those Salisbury buyers who need a mortgage (be they owner-occupier or landlord), will paradoxically benefit from lower mortgage payments before interest rates rise … maybe another reason for the uplift in the number first time buyers and landlords buying? Only time will tell!

£768 pcm – The Average Salisbury Rent

The rents paid by Salisbury tenants are now standing at £768 per calendar month (PCM), a rise of 3.4% year on year and 0.7% higher month on month.

However, this attention-grabbing monthly rent figure masks stark differences in the various different parts of the Salisbury rental market.  Demand in Salisbury for high quality family homes with two or three bedrooms in good catchment areas for schools remains really robust due to tenants wanting access to the schools.  Other influencing factors that make certain areas popular are the proximity to transport links. However, I have noticed a drop in demand (and thus rents achieved) for property where the landlord hasn’t kept the property fresh; in terms of decoration, carpets, replacement windows and poor heating.

So, what does all this mean for Salisbury landlords and tenants?

With the new tax rules for landlords, many believed that the number of rental properties would narrow throughout 2017, as landlords sold up their Buy to let properties and looked to invest their money elsewhere, but evidently this hasn’t happened (yet).  Feasibly Salisbury landlords are re-mortgaging their Salisbury buy to let properties instead, as they still believe it’s a safer investment than looking, say at the stock market?

However, demand remained strong in 2017 for Salisbury private rental properties, meaning the rents being achieved were at a decent level for landlords. Keeping your outgoings low is also an important consideration and so I looked on a well-known financial services comparison site this morning and found a High Street bank offering a 5-year fixed rate for Buy to let landlords with a 40% deposit/equity for 2.17% … I can remember (as I am sure many of my readers of this blog can) when mortgage rates were at 15% – this is cheap money!

Looking at property values in Salisbury, over the last 12 months and specifically at the lower of the market where buy to let landlords tend to buy their rental properties.  Flats/apartments have risen in value by 1.74% whilst terraced properties have risen by 7.67%.

Some Salisbury landlords have seen the yields they are achieving remain squeezed.

However, most landlords can start to feel assured that as capital growth in Salisbury remains at a more realistic figure (good for long term stability in the property market) and long-term rents are on the rise, the overall corresponding annual return on investment (Annual ROI being annual capital + annual yield) has stabilised in all areas and is now starting to grow.

With additional people seeing renting as a long-term option, even with the challenges of the new tax regime, Salisbury landlords, with the support of a good advice and opinion, should continue to see renting as a good investment vehicle.

Salisbury Millennials Have Spent £108,008 On Rent By The Age of 35

The Millennials were born between the mid 1980’s and late 1990’s thus making them between the age of around 22 to late 30’s. They are the imaginative, artistic youngsters who grew up with the newest tech and computers and who are huge aficionados of music festivals, gourmet pizzas, emoji’s, selfies and old school nostalgia. Also known as Generation Rent, many Millennials have discovered that renting is a good choice for their shelter and accommodation needs without the hassle that comes from buying a home. Nonetheless, that is not the only reason they don’t buy property. When they should be concentrating on their profession, putting down roots and starting a family, Millennials are still going through the pressure and strain of student loan liabilities whilst, at the same time, finding it tough to pay rent.

The hot topic at the moment is the cost of renting, as both political parties have seen mileage in wooing these Millennial Generation Renters. The average rent in Salisbury is currently £769 per month making this a big-ticket item on the monthly budget. I was inquisitive to find out exactly how much Salisbury Millennials will spend on rent by the time they reach their mid 30’s. The average age people leave home in the UK is 22; so looking at a Salisbury 22-year-old (or Millennial) who left home in 2005 then between 2005 and today that Salisbury Millennial will have shelled out £108,008 in rent.

It’s no wonder local Millennials can’t afford to buy a Salisbury home given their tremendous debt. This means younger Salisbury Millennials will probably carry on renting for the foreseeable future, simply because the prospect of buying a home is not yet achievable.. that is until you look more deeply at the numbers…

Looking at the chart above, the average rent of a Salisbury property in 2005 was £622 per month (pm)  … if it had risen by inflation, today, that would be £876 pm. As I have already mentioned in the article, today it only stands at £769 per month. Looking over the last 12 years, adding up all the differences between what the average actual rent was compared to what it should have been if rent had gone up by inflation, the average Salisbury Millennial tenant would have paid £117,647.

This means that an average 35-year-old Salisbury Millennial tenant, who has been renting since 2005, is better off by £9,639 when comparing the actual rent paid compared to what it would have been if it had risen by inflation. In a nutshell, tenants have done well due to the sub-inflation growth in rents.

In fact, if you recall I mentioned in an article a few weeks ago, the older Salisbury Millennials are starting to use those savings and are gradually shifting towards home ownership. They are finally catching up with the British homeownership dream as Bank of Mum and Dad help with the deposit. Also, the scrapping of Stamp Duty from the Government starts to kick in together with the realisation that if the 5% mortgage deposit can be scrapped together (yes, 95% first time buyer mortgages have been available since 2009), it is still a lot cheaper to buy than rent, meaning this will unquestionably drive demand for Salisbury homes for sale – good news for Salisbury homeowners.

… and what does this mean for Salisbury landlords?

Well the vast majority of younger Millennials are still renters and I foresee this to be the case for at least the next ten to fifteen years. Landlords will need to keep improving their properties to ensure they get the best tenants and they will see a much higher rent achieved. Millennials will pay top dollar for a top dollar property. It is important to do things correctly as making money won’t be as easy as it has been over the last twenty years.  With a greater number of properties on the market .. comes greater choice. Don’t buy the first thing you see, buy with your head as well as your heart … because as I promised a few weeks ago, the first rule of Buy To Let Investment ….. “You are not going to live in the property yourself”

Salisbury Property Market – Which Houses are Actually Selling?

Beast from the East, Russia, Facebook, Brexit, Trump, House prices up, House prices down … the Press is full of column inches on Brit’s favourite subjects of politics, scandal, weather and not forgetting (and I appreciate the irony of this!) the property market. As an agent belonging a national group of letting and estate agents, talking to my fellow property professionals from around the UK, the one thing that is immediately apparent is the UK does not have one property market. It is a hodgepodge patchwork (almost like a fly’s eye) of lots of small property markets all performing in different ways.

… And that made me think … is there just one Salisbury Property Market or many?

I like to keep an eye on the property market in Salisbury on a daily basis because it enables me to give the best advice and opinion on what (or not) to buy in Salisbury, be that a buy-to-let property for a Salisbury landlord or an owner occupier house for a home owner.  So, I thought, how could I scientifically split the Salisbury housing market into segments, so I could see which part of the market was performing the best and the worst.

I decided the best way was to split the Salisbury property market into four equal size price bands (into terms of households for sale). Each price band would have around 25% of the property in Salisbury, from the lowest in value (the Lowest Quartile or 25%) all the way through to the highest 25% in terms of value, the Upper Quartile.  Looking at the market, I have calculated that these are the price bands in Salisbury are as follows:

  • Lowest Quartile (lowest 25% in terms of value) … Up to £220,000
  • Lower/Middle Quartile (25% to 50% Quartile in terms of value) … £220,000 to £280,000
  • Middle/Upper Quartile (50% to 75% Quartile in terms of value) … £280,000 to £375,000
  • Upper Quartile (highest 25% in terms of value) … £375,000 Upwards

So, having split the Salisbury Property Market approximately into four equal sizes, the results in terms what price band has sold (subject to contract or stc) the most is quite enlightening –

The best performing price range in Salisbury is the middle market. As I would expect, the upper quartile (the top 25%) is finding things toughest. Interestingly for Salisbury landlords, the lower market is also selling well, meaning there are plenty of Salisbury landlords buying properties to add to their buy to let portfolios. Even though the number of first time buyers did increase in 2017, it was from a low base and the vast majority of 20 something’s cannot buy, so need a roof over their head (hence the need to rent somewhere).

It is a fact that British (and Salisbury’s) housing markets have ridden the storms of Oil crisis in the 1970’s, the 1980’s depression, Black Monday in the 1990’s, and latterly the Credit Crunch together with the various house price crashes of 1973, 1987 and 2008. No matter what happens to us Brexit or anything else … unless the Government starts to build hundreds of thousands extra houses each year, demand will always outstrip supply … so maybe a time for Salisbury landlord investors to bag a bargain?

Want to know where those Salisbury buy to let bargains are?  Follow my Salisbury Property Blog or drop me an email because irrespective of which agent you use, myself or any of the other excellent agents in Salisbury, many local landlords ask me my thoughts, opinion and advice on what (and not) to buy locally … and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on those thoughts … would you?

Salisbury Apartments are 10.2% more affordable than 10 years ago

My research shows that certain types of Salisbury property are more affordable today than before the 2007 credit crunch.

Roll the clock back to 2007 just before the credit crunch hit which saw Salisbury property values plummet like a lead balloon and the Salisbury property market had reached a peak with the prices for Salisbury property hitting the highest level they had ever reached. Between 2008 and 2010, Salisbury property values lay in the doldrums and only started to rise in 2011, albeit quite slowly to begin with.

Nevertheless, even though property values have now passed those 2007 peaks, my research indicates that Salisbury property, especially flats/apartments, are now more affordable than they were before the 2008 credit crunch.

Back in 2007, the average value of a Salisbury flat/apartment stood at £180,370 and today, it stands at £208,878, a rise of £28,508 or 15.8%.

However, between 2007 and today, we have experienced inflation (as measured by the Government’s Consumer Price Index) of 25.97% meaning that in real spending power terms Salisbury apartments are 10.2% more affordable than in 2007. Looking at it another way, if the average Salisbury apartment (valued at £180,370 in 2007) had risen by 25.97% inflation over those 10 years, today it would be worth £227,212 (instead of the current £208,878).

The point I’m trying to get across is that Salisbury property is more affordable than many people think.  Salisbury first time buyers can get on the ladder as 95% mortgages have been readily available to first-time buyers since 2010.

It really comes down to a choice and if Salisbury first-time buyers can get over the hurdle of saving the 5% deposit for the mortgage on the property – they will be on to a winner, especially with these ultralow mortgage interest rates, a mortgage can be between 10% and 30% cheaper per month than the rental payments on the same house.

So why aren’t Salisbury 20 somethings buying their own home?

Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, renting was considered the poor man’s choice in Salisbury (and the rest of the Country) a huge stigma was attached to renting. However, over the last 10 years as a country, we have done a complete U-turn in our attitude towards renting – meaning that many people find renting a better option and a lifestyle choice.

Saving the 5% deposit means going without many luxuries in life (such as holidays, every satellite movie and sports channel, socialising or the latest mobile phone – even if only in the short term) therefore instead of saving every last pound to put towards a mortgage deposit Salisbury 20 somethings choose to rent.

There is no denying the simple fact that over the next 10 to 15 years, the people who choose to rent instead of buy in Salisbury will continue to rise.

Therefore, everyone in Salisbury has a responsibility to ensure that an adequate number of quality Salisbury rental properties are safeguarded to meet those future demands. Interestingly, what I have noticed though over the last few years are the expectations of Salisbury tenants on the finish and specification of their Salisbury rental property.

I have perceived that in the past, what a tenant wanted from their Salisbury rental property was moderately unassuming because renting a property was only a short-term choice to fill the gap before jumping on the property ladder. Before the millennium, wood chip wall paper and twenty-year-old kitchen and bathroom suites were considered the norm.

However, Salisbury tenants’ expectations are becoming more discerning as each year goes by.  I have also noticed the length of time a tenant remains in their Salisbury property is becoming longer (and this was backed up recently by stats from a Government Report), although I have noticed a tendency for many Salisbury landlords not to keep the rental payments at the going market rates  – maybe a topic for a future article for my blog?

The bottom line is this … Salisbury landlords will need to be more conscious of tenants needs and wants and consider their financial planning for future enhancements to their Salisbury rental properties over the next five, ten and twenty years –  e.g. decorating, kitchen and bathroom suites etc etc ..

The present-day and future situation of the Salisbury private rental property market is important, and I frequently liaise with Salisbury buy-to-let investors looking to spread their Salisbury rental-portfolios. I also enjoy meeting and working alongside Salisbury first time landlords, to ensure they can navigate through the minefield of rental voids, the important balance of capital growth and yield and ensuring the property is returned back to you in the future in the best possible condition.

3.6% of Salisbury and Wiltshire is Built on … Building Plot Dilemma or Not?

Well the fallout from the recent Budget is still continuing.  I was chatting to a couple of movers and shakers from the Salisbury area the other day, when one said, “There isn’t enough land to build all these 300,000 houses Philip Hammond wants to build each year”.

…and if you read the Daily Mail, you would be forgiven for thinking the Country was at bursting point … or is it?

It was 60 years ago the first satellite was launched (Sputnik). All the Superpowers have used them to take high definition pictures of each other for decades, but now satellites and their high-powered cameras are being used for more peaceful purposes. The European Environment Agency (EEA) have been taking high definition pictures of the UK from outer-space to give us a focused picture of what every corner of the Country really looks like … and the findings will come as a surprise.

As my blog readers know, I always like to ask the important questions relating to the Salisbury property market. If you are a Salisbury landlord or Salisbury homeowner, this knowledge will enable you to make a more considered opinion on your direction and future in the Salisbury property market. Like every aspect of all economic life, it’s all about supply and demand, because over the last twenty or so years, there has been an imbalance in the British (and Salisbury) housing market, with demand outstripping supply, meaning the average value of a property in Wiltshire has risen by 320.06%, taking an average value from £66,300 in 1995 to £278,500 today.

Using the information from the EEA and data crunched by Sheffield University with their Corine-Land Cover project, I posed them a few questions about the local area, interesting questions I would like to share with you …

  1. What proportion of the whole of Wiltshire is built on?  

3.6%

That surprised you, didn’t it! In the study, land classified as ‘urban fabric’ defined has land which has between 50% and 100% of the land surface is built on, (meaning up to a half might be gardens or small parks, but the majority is built on).

  1. How much land is intensively built on locally?

Of that amount mentioned above, how much of it is high-density urban fabric? (i.e. where 80% to 100% is built on – still leaving 20% for gardens)  Less than 0.1%  – again I bet that surprised you!

  1. So how is the land used locally?

Industry                                 0.34%

Sports Facilities                    1.34%

Arable Farmland                  48.77%

…the rest being made up of various other types such as airfields, forests and pastures, etc.

Salisbury and the surrounding areas are greener than you think! In fact, I read that property covers less of the UK than the land revealed when the tide goes out. The assumption that vast bands of our local area have been concreted over doesn’t stand up to inspection. However, the effect of housing undoubtedly spreads beyond its actual footprint, in terms of noise, pollution and roads.

Now I am not suggesting for one second we concrete over every inch of the locality, but the bottom line is we, as a country, are growing at a quicker rate than the households we are building. I appreciate the emotional effect of housing is greater than other land use types because most of us spend the vast majority of our time surrounded by it. As Brits, we live our lives driving along roads, walking on footpaths and working and living in buildings meaning we tend, as a result, to considerably overemphasise how much of it there is.

The bottom line is Salisbury people and the local authorities are going to have to put their weight into building more homes for people to live in. There is going to have to be some give and take on both sides, otherwise house prices will continue to rise exponentially in the future and Salisbury youngster’s won’t be able to buy their own Salisbury home, meaning Salisbury rents and demand for private rented accommodation in Salisbury can (and will) also grow exponentially.

Salisbury Property Market and Hammond’s Budget Promise to Build 300,000 more homes

I miss the good old days of George Osborne as Chancellor, with his hardhat and hi-vis jacket. He must have visited every new home building site in the UK with his trademark attire! For the last few years, the nearest Philip Hammond got to donning a ‘Bob the Builder’ outfit was at his grandchild’s birthday party. However, with what appears to be a change in focus by the Tories to ensure they get back in power in 2022, they appear to have fallen in love with house building again with the Chancellor’s promise to create 300,000 new households in a year.

Nationally, the number of new homes created has topped 217,344 in the last year, the highest since the financial crash of 2007/8. Looking closer to home: in total there were 2,841 ‘net additional dwellings’ in the last 12 months in the Wiltshire

Council area, a decent increase of 107% on the 2010 figure.

The figures show that 89% of this additional housing was down to new build properties. Intotal, there were 2,537 new dwellings built over the last year in Wiltshire. In addition, there were 300 additional dwellings created from converting commercial or office buildings into residential property and a further 43 dwellings were added as a result of converting houses into flats.

While these all added to the total housing stock in the Wiltshire area, there were 39 demolitions to take into account.

I was encouraged to see some of the new households in the Salisbury area had come from a change of use. The planning laws were changed a few years back so that, in certain circumstances, owners of properties didn’t need planning permission to change office space in to residential use.

With the scarcity of building land available locally (or the builders being very slow to build on what they have, for fear of flooding the market), it was pleasing to see the number of developers that had reutilised vacant office space into residential homes in the local council area. Converting offices and shops to residential use will be vital in helping to solve the Salisbury housing crisis especially, as you can see on the graph, that the level of building has hardly been spectacular over the last seven years!

Now we have had the autumn budget, Theresa May and Philip Hammond have set out their stall with housing as their key focus. I was glad to see the Government introducing a variety of changes to improve housing, including more funding for the supply side and an injection of urgency into the planning system.

The biggest question is, just where are the Government going to build all these new houses? Maybe a topic for a future article?

Back to the main point though and the focus on the housing market by the Tory’s is good news for all homeowners and buy to let landlords, as it will encourage more fluidity in the market in the longer term, sharing the wealth and benefits of homeownership for all. However, in the short term, demand still outstrips supply for homes and that will mean continued upward pressures on rents for tenants.

Salisbury Council Tax Payers Stung by 62.27% above Inflation Rise

Buying and selling a home in Salisbury isn’t the easiest or cheapest thing you will ever do. Estate Agent fees, Solicitors fees, Survey fees, Mortgage fees, Removal Van … the costs just mount up throughout every step of the move. Last week, a Salisbury landlord asked me whether the Council Tax Band made a difference to a property’s appeal, be it tenanted or to owner occupiers, when it comes to being sold on the open market and whether extensions or improvements made a difference to the tax banding?

Well, like I said, the first point you should always be aware of is what Council Tax Band your new house or apartment will fall under. Being aware of this before you buy/move will help when planning month by month for life in your home (or investment). But what exactly are Council Tax Bands, and how do they affect landlords/tenants/homebuyers?

How much Council Tax you pay depends on two variables. The first is which Council Tax Band your property is in. A property is placed into a specific band depending upon what the value of the property was in April 1991 – the date when the tax band system was applied. In a nutshell, what your property is worth today has no relevance whatsoever to your banding.

Council Tax Bands have a letter of the alphabet and range from bands A-H.

The Council Tax Band values are:
Band A – up to £40,000
Band B – £40,001 to £52,000
Band C – £52,001 to £68,000
Band D – £68,001 to £88,000
Band E – £88,001 to £120,000
Band F – £120,001 to £160,000
Band G – £160,001 to £320,000
Band H – more than £320,000

So, for example, if a property sold for £110,000 in April 1991 but is now worth £350,000 it will remain in Band E – NOT Band H), as this was the value when the bands were set in 1991. For new homes, the same thing applies: they are valued based on the 1991 market value. This safeguards that all homes and all buyers are treated equally and consistently. The second factor that determines how much Council Tax you pay is what each individual local authority decides each band will pay in Council Tax. (So for example, a householder/tenant in Leeds in a Band E property will pay a different amount in Council Tax each year to someone in Swindon or North London in Band E).

Interestingly, the average current level of Council tax paid by Salisbury people stands at £1,450 per annum, up from £470 in 1993 (although if it had risen by inflation in those 25 years .. today that should only be £894) … meaning Council Tax has outstripped inflation by 62.27%. So unless the local authority changes its majority political party, the only way you can change the amount you pay in Council Tax is your banding i.e. you physically move to a higher or lower band.

Contrary to what most people think, extensions and improvements do not change the Council Tax Band and existing householders/tenants only have to pay the same Council Tax as they would have without any extensions and improvements. However, the Valuation Office (The Government’s Property Valuers) do reserve the right to re-value the extended property if the property gets sold.  If you are a potential buyer, you should be aware of this review as it could change the amount of Council Tax you pay after the purchase. If a higher band is necessary, the new band will be based on what the extended property would have been expected to sell for in 1991. However, this does not necessarily mean that the banding will jump one band, as this is contingent on the extent of the changes and whether the property falls towards the top or bottom of its existing band. More often than not – it isn’t an issue and the banding stays the same.

In terms of which band the property is in, this can be challenged. In my experience in the Salisbury property market the only issue is one where there is an anomaly with the banding, when one property is in a different band to all the others in the street. This is much rarer than it used to be, as most such anomalies have been found and rectified. Anyone can check the banding of any property by going to Google and typing in “Check My Council Tax Banding”. I do need to mention a thoughtful warning though. Challenging your Council Tax Band is not something to do on a whim for one simple fact – you cannot request your band to be lowered, only ‘reassessed’, which means your band could be moved up as well as down. I have even heard of neighbouring properties band’s being increased by someone appealing, although this is the exception. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to drop me a line.