The lettings sector is often a reliable barometer of general market sentiment due to the high turnover of property and applicants’ ability to react quickly to changing economic conditions. I truly believe the next few months could be a real opportunity for our sector. There may well be a real boom in immigration from Europe before any Brexit deal is made. This would in turn mean even more people needing rented property and for Landlords is likely to produce a further rise in rents. With an expected nervousness happening in the sales market, now could be a great time for landlords to be expanding their portfolio. People will still need to move and live somewhere and traditionally in times of uncertainty people now look to rent for longer. Whilst we do not know exactly what will happen, any shrinking in our economy has always seen the rental market grow even stronger. Whilst current economic and political turmoil has slowed the lettings market a fraction, it is certainly not all bad news.
In West Hampstead, for instance, three brand new developments have been released this month. (Beaufort Ct, The Central and The Ivery). These newly refurbished properties will continue to attract tenants willing to pay premium prices. For tenants with the flexibility to move, now is the optimum time to secure the best deal, before rents, in all probability, harden post-referendum.
Landlords may also seek to recoup the increased tax burden they will suffer due to increased entry costs with the additional rate Stamp Duty and the reduction in mortgage interest relief. Landlords can, therefore, expect an improved picture next year as the market rallies and rents increase to counter the tax and Brexit headwinds.
A general shift in the paradigm in how properties are marketed, will only assist those letting agents who can react swiftly to the Regulatory and Compliance obligations being forced onto Landlords at regular intervals. Very soon, video tours and Virtual Reality viewings will become the norm. Recently, we let a newly refurbished flat to a professional couple relocating from Dubai via Skype and WhatsApp. Our vanguard approach to reporting management problems whilst on the move via our Fixflo mobile app has been very well received by our tenants.
Finally, despite market commentators stating a scarcity of property to let in the PRS, I have not seen this evidenced for myself at Paramount. We have been blessed with a bulging portfolio of stock for let at all price points since the start of Q2. I hope this continues to be case going into the very busy summer period.