Belvoir Lettings Agency, who are one of the largest specialist letting agency franchises in the UK, are stressing the need for realistic rental valuations by local agents, to help avoid bidding wars in the pressurized private rental sector.
The private rental sector is especially active in London, and this year has seen dramatic increases in rental valuations and tenant demand, and further rent rises are predicted by Christmas. However Belvoir MD, Dorian Gonsalves, points out the need to take a nationwide view, and says "Belvoir has over 140 offices nationwide and I think it is important to get a sense of what is going on in regions beyond the M25 corridor. Across the country we are seeing a modest rather than dramatic increase in rents, which is improving yields." He goes on to point out that house prices are still falling, and that some tenants are choosing to rent privately due to job insecurity and lack of mortgage funding.
It is his opinion that a good local lettings agency should be in tune with the local market, as this can fluctuate on a monthly basis. Being in tune will ensure that the lettings agency can accurately predict how much tenants are willing to pay, as undervaluing a property could lead to a bidding war. Landlords aren't necessarily looking for the highest price, as they are more interested in getting a good reliable tenant who will pay their rent on time and look after the property.
Data from the Department of Communities and Local Government show how renting property in the UK is gradually becoming more popular. Their statistics show that one in six homes, or more than 17% of English property is now in the private rental sector, up from 16.4% in 2009. In 2000 the number of properties being privately rented was 2.1 million; that figure is now 3.9 million.
The buy to let property market has been hotting up in recent months, especially as banks and building societies seem to be keener to lend to landlords than to first-time buyers, sparking controversy that landlords are forcing first-time buyers out of the market. However this is only a small part of the picture as many would be first-time buyers simply cannot afford to get a foot on the property ladder.