I’m loathe to use the ‘B’ word in yet another blog, but it’s true that making predictions for the 2019 property market is tricky in the face of Brexit. There, I said it! However, in looking forwards to the new year, it’s undeniable that it will play a part in the landscape of investment and movement. But will it really have that much of a negative effect as scaremongers would have you believe? We don't think so!
So, what does 2019 hold for the UK Lettings market? We asked our Lettings Branch Manager, Laura Fiddes-Baron to give us her top 5 predictions. (With the caveat that, really, anything could happen once Brexit actually takes place!)
With the new government regulatory body focused on keeping estate agency standards high, this could mean that more agents will focus on the lettings side of their business. This is because it is easier to guarantee repeat business within the lettings market, so long as you keep your agency standards high. Is this a good time to mention that our lettings branch has achievef a 5-star Google review rating?!
Many people are holding off making big decisions until the aftermath of our divorce with Europe settles down. This means that there is likely to be an increase in the number of people remaining in, or choosing to go into, rented accommodation. This might also mean an increase in “accidental landlords”. This is when people are reluctant to, or can’t sell, they will let their own property whilst they rent or buy another.
Landlords are about to be faced with increased agency fees when the tenant fee ban comes into play. Combine that with higher demand for their properties and it seems likely that rent prices will increase across the board. Tenants will benefit from not having to pay any agency fees, but they should expect this to balance out.
Smaller letting agencies that deal with one-off, let-only services may struggle to once the tenant fee ban is in place. If they don’t have a steady source of property management commission each month they will rey heavily on upfront application fees as the bulk of their income. Having a property management arm to a lettings business massively helps diversify the type of service you can offer.
There are some potential bargain properties to be snapped up across the UK. Selling to an investor is typically an easier, more straight forward sale than getting involved in a complex chain. Therefore, if investors can offer a quick sale option, they may benefit from reduced sale prices.
Overall, we think the lettings market will remain buoyant. Certainly, if quarter four of 2019 is anything to go by, the outlook continues to look promising. Laura says that the team experienced a really positive finish to the year:
"Lettings usually sees a seasonal slowdown in the market, but this did not happen in the latter part of 2019. We moved an incredible 36 people into new homes in the month of December alone!"
We have made provisions for the impending impact of the tenant fee ban and we continue to invest in forward thinking ideas such as the zero deposit scheme. This will continue to encourage more people into rented accommodation and, combined with some of the factors above, suggest 2019 will have much of the same successes as last year.