Rental property demand falls to two-year low

Source: By Gemma Hicks-Logan – The Argus Newspaper

Recent figures are showing what some are viewing as ‘concerning’ changes within the UK rental market, with supply on the rise and demand falling at record speed.

It appears that renters across the UK are becoming increasingly ‘spoilt for choice’ as letting agencies are releasing record-breaking figures.

The Association of Residential Letting Agents stated they had only 26 prospective tenants registered per branch last month, down from 32 the month before and the lowest figure recorded since records began in 2015.

As demand slowed, supply figures increased, with the number of properties on the books of the typical letting agency branch rising from 185 to 188 on the month.

Many parts of the UK, particularly London and the South East have seen rents begin to flatten or fall. Survey data and figures from property website Rightmove show that asking rents fell by 4.4 per cent in London, with most of the decline happening in the months after the UK’s vote to leave the EU.

Other parts, such as the South East, experienced a smaller decrease, with a rise of 1.3 per cent over the last year, followed by a fall of 2.3 per cent in the third quarter. The north-west of England recorded the worst rent rises, with tenants suffering an average 4.4 per cent rise in the region.

We spoke to a property expert from Brighton based Liquid Properties, who anticipates that there will be a slump in the buy-to-let market during 2018, with lending criteria tightening further in the window of Brexit.

Philip Hammond recently stunned the property industry by announcing a ban on letting agency fees charged to tenants, to be brought in “as soon as possible.” The consultation is however ongoing, and high street letting agents are free to continue charging tenants until, or if, an outright ban is made formal, which is on the horizon.

So, what do these recent supply and demand fluctuations mean for landlords, as well as those looking to rent a property?

Action group Generation Rent said tenants should have the upper hand in rent negotiations now that demand is weakening and supply increasing. Spokesman Dan Wilson Craw said: “If demand for rentals are decreasing, renters have another bargaining chip if they are faced with a rent increase: they can argue that their landlord will find it harder to replace them.”

However, a spokesperson from property experts, Liquid Properties told us how landlords in Brighton are tackling the current rental climate, and said: “In the wake of Brexit and the uncertain rental market terrain, more and more savvy Landlords are looking to fix their rents for up to five years with a corporate tenant or renting their property directly to Liquid Properties who have been called the holy grail tenant by offering a guaranteed rent even while the property is vacant.

With the government’s impending ban on letting agent fees, it is actually rather bleak for high street letting agents. We saw demand fall and supply rise slightly last month, these are in line with seasonal expectations. If the government goes ahead with an outright ban on fees, tenants will unfortunately be the ultimate victims, as costs are recouped for the vital services fees cover.”

What is the next step to take advantage of this innovative and fresh approach to finding a tenant?

Contact Liquid Properties for a free market appraisal, guaranteed same day offer and rents starting immediately on 01273 634 868 or email corporate@liquid-properties.com

Source: By Gemma Hicks-Logan – The Argus Newspaper

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