The private rental market has had a volatile year so far with many changes in legislation impacting on both supply and demand. Here Rita Tinney, Keats Sales and Lettings Director shares her thoughts on the local rental market covering Haslemere and the surrounding villages:
The Tenant Fee Act cooled the market pre-June and the summer boom anticipated after the fee adjustment was slow to materialise.
The rental market started to blossom in early Autumn with an increased demand for all types of property - from small studios to large family homes. Despite the loss of tenant fees, the team at Keats Letting achieved their best income month for over a year.
Much of the restored confidence has come from legislative changes. The requirement for all letting agents to have client Money Protection Insurance, which Keats Letting have had in place for many years, has given financial assurance. Meanwhile, the quality of rental homes is improving following the Homes Fitness for Human Habitation Act.
The cost of renting has reduced with the Tenant Fee Act, which makes it unlawful to charge tenants for the setting up of their tenancy and the introduction of a range of deposit replacement products have all increased tenant affordability.
Rental demand is coming from three main sources: applicants who would rather be buyers but are concerned about the stability of the pre-Brexit market, young people leaving home for the first time, and surprisingly given the proposed withdrawal from Europe, a noticeable increase in the workforce coming from overseas - mainly eastern Europe. The increase in demand has helped to hold rental values steady.
The best performing part of the private rental sector is the smaller units; one- and two-bedroom flats -with studio apartments spearheading the way.
The key drivers for our local market are the excellent schools on offer, both state and private, transport links to the coast and London, and the quality of life to be had having the South Downs National Park on our doorstep – factors which appeal to all sectors of the local population.
Tenants have recognised the benefit of renting; it gives workplace flexibility in an era where employment requires mobility. For would be buyers, it puts them in the area where they would like to purchase and, in a position, to monitor the sales market and jump in when they spot the ideal home.
With further legislative tweaks in the pipeline there are more changes to come for the PRS, but with confidence growing for both landlords and tenants, the future is looking good and we anticipate positive end of year results and a buoyant 2020 no matter what the general economy throws at us.
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