Lower homeownership rates are contributing to rising rental demand in the UK, and London in particular. Growing demand for rentals, coupled with low supply, should support residential rent growth. However, these gains could be erased by tax and interest increases, along with a higher incidence of tenants in arrears. See the following article from Property Wire for more on this.
Residential property rents in the UK are increasing as tenant demand and a shortage of properties dominate a buoyant lettings market, according to a report published today (Friday august 27).
Some 26% more chartered surveyors reported a rise in demand for property rather than a fall, which was the second consecutive quarter that lettings demand has risen at a pace above the long run average, says the latest Residential Lettings Survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
Tenant demand increased across all regions, but was strongest in London and the East of England. Continued difficulty in securing mortgage finance, worries over a double dip in housing and large deposits required by lenders are leading to higher numbers seeking to rent rather than buy, it says.
As a result, rents increased for the second consecutive quarter, with 27% more surveyors reporting a rise in rents than a fall. Just a year ago the picture was very different, as over supply pushed rents down and 29% more surveyors reported falling not rising rents.
Although interest rates are at a record low, making property a potentially attractive option for investors, difficulty in securing buy to let mortgages is contributing to the lack of supply. New supply of property to the market remains low and has now fallen for four consecutive quarters, although at a slightly slower pace. In the run up to July the net balance of surveyors reporting a fall in landlord instructions was -6, in comparison to a net balance of -12 in the previous quarter.
However, existing landlords do not appear to be in any rush to dispose of their property. Just 4.1% of landlords said they intended to sell their properties at the end of a tenancy agreement.
Looking ahead, RICS says that the outlook for rents remains positive with 33% more surveyors expect rents to increase over the next quarter rather than fall. Rents for houses are expected to marginally outperform flats, with the net balances for this forward looking indicator moving to +34 and +31 respectively.
‘Supply of lettings property continued to fall in the three months to July although at the slowest pace in a year which amid rising tenant demand has helped propel rents higher for the second consecutive quarter. Existing landlords keen to expand their portfolio may still be struggling to access the necessary finance despite improved market conditions,’ said RICS spokesperson James Scott-Lee.
‘However, there is a possibility the lettings market could face a modest increase in supply in the coming months. The latest RICS Housing Market Survey shows a lack of funding has stifled demand from buyers which may cause some moderation to rents as more opt to let than sell,’ he added.
David Salusbury, chairman of the National Landlords Association, said that the strong demand for rented property shows the importance of the role played by residential landlords.
‘However, it is not all good news. One in five landlords are experiencing rent arrears and many are concerned about the increase in Capital Gains Tax. Added to the forthcoming cuts to Local Housing Allowance and the possibility of increased interest rates, it is clear any increase in rents will be quickly offset by these additional factors that have to be taken into account,’ he added.
This article has been republished from Property Wire. You can also view this article at Property Wire, an international real estate news site.