One-on-one interview: Gary Pemberton of Belvoir Warrington
Marc Da Silva's weekly interviews with senior figures in the property industry this week looks northwest to the rental market in one of the largest towns in Cheshire, with the questions going to Gary Pemberton, director of Belvoir Warrington.
Is Warrington an attractive place to live?
Yes, very much so. Warrington has a population of 206,428 inhabitants and its population has more than doubled since its designation as a New Town in 1968. It is ranked 82nd by population, which surprisingly makes it bigger than towns and cities such as York, Oxford & Reading.
Warrington is central to Manchester and Liverpool. It sits on the main North West rail line and is very well connected, being a junction for the M6 /M62 and M56 motorways. This level of accessibility has made Warrington a key ‘go-to’ location for businesses and thus has developed and nurtured a skilled workforce.
Due to its size there are many different areas to Warrington, from the affluent parts of Lymm, Stockton Heath and Appleton to the business areas of Birchwood.
Warrington is home to a number of major stores, including Marks & Spencer, IKEA, Debenhams and Primark, to name a few.
How long has your firm been letting properties in and around Warrington?
We established ourselves in Warrington in August 2008, right at the beginning of the recession! We have since grown to become of the largest letting agents in Warrington and surrounding areas.
Where in Warrington is typically most popular with renters?
The town centre is popular with younger outgoing tenants. Families tend to live in the Woolston and Great Sankey areas. People who work in Birchwood quite often live in the Birchwood area, as it is almost its own new town area within itself. As renting has become more the norm, we are seeing many more affluent people renting in the Lymm, Stockton Heath and Appleton areas.
What types of properties are on offer?
Because much of Warrington has developed over the last 50 years, there is a very diverse housing stock. We cover the whole spectrum from small £349pcm flats up to £2,000pcm five-bedroom properties. At any point in time, we usually have approximately 25 properties available.
What are housing market conditions like in Warrington and its surrounding areas?
Very strong at the moment - we have just had the busiest three months since we started trading in August 2008. Good quality properties at fair prices are renting quickly and with little or no void periods for most re-lets.
How much will a two- to three-bedroom house, for example, typically cost to rent and/or buy in Warrington?
Two-bed terraces are approximately £499pcm to £599 pcm and three-bed properties tend to go for between £549 & £699.
Have you noticed any particular buying or rental trends recently?
Genuine investors have come back to the market and we work with a lot of investors due to the one-to-one buy-to-let advice we provide. Rental values overall are generally on an upward trend as stock in the market has tightened over the last few months.
What’s your property market prediction for the rest of 2015?
Based on our current performance, it looks like the rest of 2015 will be very strong in terms of new rental properties coming to the market, with strong rental yields for investors.
Warrington has come a long way and has lots of headroom for expansion in the rental market due to land availability, regeneration of brownfield sites and business/industry investment coming into Warrington.