North and North West London Regional Meetings

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GReg Tsuman

June 2016

Speaking to member agents, clients and customers about the market, I am used to hearing a plethora of different opinions. This time, everyone seems to agree on one common theme ... uncertainty. The Brexit debate is sure to add to this and is already proving to be a concern for many.

Since the introduction of the first buy-to-let mortgage in 1996, we have seen considerable improvements in the private rented sector, without which the crash of 2008 would have left many more families finding it difficult to secure a roof over their heads. ARLA has been at the forefront of advocating improvements to ensure a stable private rented sector, but recent changes in taxation, legislation and media coverage have cast doubt over how this will be affected going forward. In North London, we are still seeing healthy interest from buy-to-let investors, irrespective of the additional three per cent stamp duty charge, as well as first time buyers.

This is adding to the upward pressure on house prices, often leaving those at the bottom of the chain priced out. As the changes in tax (due to start in 2017) begin to be better understood by landlords, they are faced with two options; to sell or to raise rent. If the supply of rental property is reduced, rent will rise further. Over the last few months we have seen an increased number of applicants register to buy, but more and more are realising that, due to recent price rises, they cannot afford this and are turning to renting.

The number of people choosing to rent is beginning to rise again, as this offers a flexible alternative. The option of living in a nicely refurbished property, without having to put down close to £100k as a deposit, seems logical to many. Most tenants are now expecting a modern, well refurbished property, with the main focus on kitchens and bathrooms. Rising damp is certainly no longer acceptable. Irrespective of this the outlook for professional landlords and their managing agents who are taking their responsibilities seriously, remains positive.

Greg Tsuman MARLA
ARLA Propertymark Regional Representative