The start of 2020 has been extremely busy for the Curchods Lettings division as we have agreed on a record number of new tenancies in January and are seeing high levels of tenants registering with our branches.
Clarity on Brexit and the General Election has enabled both tenants and landlords to be more decisive with their plans which is translating into increased numbers of new tenancies as well as high volumes of tenancy renewals across our portfolio of rental properties.
Despite some initial concerns over corporate tenant demand due to us leaving the EU in December 2020, we are still seeing strong levels of corporate relocations as many executives and their families continue to favour the obvious lifestyle benefits of relocating to Surrey. Similarly, we have helped a large number of professional tenants who are looking to move out of London in search of better value for money and also young families who are seeking the superb schooling that is available throughout the county.
Regrettably, for tenants, we have seen an overall drop in new private landlords coming into the sector. Recent tax changes and increased lettings legislation have made renting less attractive financially for some prospective landlords which have undoubtedly had an impact across the UK. This reduction in available properties has seen rental values increase across the county and we would anticipate this to continue as we head towards a busy spring/summer market.
That being said, the recent changes for all landlords have made it increasingly important for them to work with a reputable, knowledgeable lettings agent who can navigate them through the letting process and get the best results – which is where we come into our own! Because of this we still have a number of new rental properties coming to market and through our extensive network of sales branches, client referrals and our trusted reputation, we are being instructed by new landlords on a daily basis.
There is no doubt that owning a rental investment still has significant long-term financial benefits. With further house price growth anticipated throughout Surrey over the next five years and beyond, many clients are still deciding to hold on to their assets as they look to realise this capital appreciation.
At Curchods, we are committed to working with landlords to secure the best tenant we possibly can and pride ourselves on being able to offer a bespoke and personalised service to both landlords and tenants across our network of branches.
Head of Lettings
Agent’s View: A Market Update From Our Lettings Area Managers
We asked our expert Lettings Managers to provide us with an update on what they’re experiencing first-hand with their local lettings market and here is what they said…
Kingston upon Thames
For the housing market in and around the Kingston upon Thames area, many of the fears of the impact of Brexit have subsided and there is a renewed sense of optimism.
The general consensus from economists and property experts is that the clarity of the General Election result in December has stripped away some of the uncertainty that has shrouded the UK housing market since the EU Referendum nearly four years ago.
These indicators suggest that the UK is now emerging from the shock of the Brexit vote.
Rental prices are stable, although we have seen a fall in Buy to Let demand, which comes as no surprise following the Government’s changes to the residential rental market. There is still plenty of interest from all sectors of the market and family homes within close proximity to good schools continue to prove very popular.
For landlords, there is still a healthy profit to be made on the long term capital value of investing in a rental property despite the increased running costs, which is partly due to the Tenant Fee Ban which was introduced in 2019. Usually, a slight increase in rent helps cover these extra costs landlords now incur whilst still making it affordable for tenants with a cap on deposits to 5 weeks and no upfront administration costs.
Above all, tenants now prioritise ‘value for money’ across all price ranges and being competitive and flexible with the asking price will be key in attracting the right tenant for your property within a reasonable time frame. There is a direct correlation between the asking price of a rental property and how long it will take to let out and also the quality of tenant it will attract. However, over-exaggerated asking prices to try and win the business from landlords is still a very common trend amongst some estate agents and this is a risky approach for any landlord looking to let their property quickly.
Leo Der-Galestanian, MARLA
Lettings Manager, Kingston upon Thames
Increasingly more and more tenants are looking for longer-term contracts and to work with landlords who appoint Managing Agents. Whilst not all tenants can afford to purchase a property, lots choose to rent based on personal circumstances and the flexibility it can offer.
We have also found that not just the family market wants long term. Many single professionals and couples want the longevity and the peace of mind that their landlord is not going to sell the house.
As such, contract lengths and renewals have increased. Many tenants now specifically ask for managed properties. For some, this is based upon previous bad experience with a landlord who was perhaps unwilling to keep up with maintenance, but for others, or indeed most, it is now because they know what they can expect, not only in terms of service but also in terms of the landlord.
Most tenants presume a landlord that has opted for a Managed Service is treating the house not only as a professional investment, but also an investment which is compliant and law-abiding and as such, the tenants feel that they are dealing with a conscientious and serious landlord.
Peter Lessels, MARLA
Senior Lettings Manager, Walton-on-Thames
It has been a really positive start to the year in Weybridge with an influx of registrations from high quality motivated tenants who need to move imminently.
There has been a particularly strong demand for flats and affordable family homes.
We have had a number of instances where we have received multiple offers on the same property and also where a property was let within a week of it coming to the market.
We have now also started to notice an increase in activity in the mid to upper sector of the market which is a very encouraging sign of the market strengthening. A lot of the relocation agents that we work closely with have contacted us with client searches for blue-chip companies relocating from abroad, which again is a really positive sign of a good market.
The public’s perception of the lettings market has generally been that prices have been/are increasing. However, whilst demand levels have been consistently very strong, we have been finding that people are reluctant to overspend which has meant that the market has remained quite price-sensitive thus far. This is partly as we have been through a period of economic uncertainty which can make people slightly wary about overcommitting themselves financially. Hopefully, now that we have some closure on Brexit, we will see a positive change in this regard.
A lot of tenants we deal with are experienced renters and they do expect a high standard of living so we certainly notice that properties which are finished to a high standard are in the most demand as the specification has a really big bearing on how rentable property is and what rental it will achieve.
The message overall is that as long as properties are priced and presented accordingly, they are certainly letting.
Fiona Fay, MARLA
Senior Lettings Manager, Weybridge
We start the year with the most positive outlook for the housing market since 2016 and I am happy to report that the current Guildford lettings market is very buoyant. People choose to rent based on a number of different reasons such as job relocation, school catchment areas, personal circumstances, the flexibility renting has to offer and more recently a ‘try before you buy’ approach.
Many tenants now specifically ask if a property is managed, for some this is based upon previous bad experiences with a landlord who was perhaps unwilling to keep up with the maintenance, but for most, it is because of the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the property will be managed by a professional team, kept to a certain standard and be compliant with the growing number of UK legislations.
The Guildford lettings market continues to be extremely price-sensitive and it is important that landlords understand this. There is a direct correlation between the asking price of a rental property, how long it will take to find a tenant and the quality of the tenant it will attract. Unfortunately inflated rental valuations in order to try and win landlords business is still a very common tactic with some estate agents, but this is a very risky approach and one that is likely to result in landlords experiencing lengthy void periods until the property is reduced to a more realistic rental price in line with the current market.
Those landlords who have a realistic approach to the price of their property and market factors will attract a high-quality tenant within a reasonable timescale, therefore continuing to provide realistic & honest advice to our landlords will continue to be the key for the year ahead.
Lettings Manager, Guildford
If you’re thinking of letting your property, one of our expert Lettings Managers will be more than happy to meet with you to discuss your options. To find out more about our available services please book an appointment with your local Curchods Lettings branch. Alternatively, if you would like to research the type of properties we currently have to let you can search our website.