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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Southern letting agent reports increased letting activity

Leaders – the UK ’s largest independently owned letting specialist – experienced an exceptionally busy June, with the total number of lets across its offices up 6% compared with June 2008, and some offices up by as much as 25%.

Leaders reports strong demand for rental accommodation of all types across the South, with a balance returning to the market, as many so-called reluctant landlords exit lettings in the face of the improving sales market.

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Demand looks set to stay strong, with 90% of tenants surveyed who signed up to a new tenancy with Leaders in June saying that they intended to continue renting after their tenancy ends. 75% said they expected to continue renting for at least another 2 years.

The most common reason for renting was not being able to afford to buy. However, 20% of respondents said they liked the flexibility of renting and 14% said they did not want the responsibilities of home ownership. 6% said they were between owning homes or waiting to buy.

Those signing up to new tenancies with Leaders in June proved fairly decisive when choosing a property to rent. The majority looked at 3 or less properties before choosing their new home. Leaders believe this is a reflection of the fact that it is now less of a renter’s market and tenants need to act quickly to secure a property they like.

The features cited as most important by most tenants were the location of the property, the quality of the fixtures and fittings - particularly the bathroom and kitchen - and that the rent should be reasonable

Tenants were of ages ranging widely, from 18 to 70+. The overwhelming majority were under 40 years old (77%) with a significant minority (12%) aged between 50 and 60. Other reasons given for renting were divorce or separation, working away from home and studying.

Says Leaders’ managing director, Paul Weller: “It is clear that renting remains a popular choice for many, not only because of affordability, but because of the flexibility that it offers. Good quality properties in the right locations and at the right rent are letting very quickly. Renters - who have had their pick of properties over the last few months - will find that there is now less choice available as property stocks have gone down and they will no longer be able to negotiate rent reductions so easily.”

As attitudes to renting have become increasingly positive, the Private Rented Sector in the UK is predicted to grow significantly, and become more like that in Europe , where renting a home is more common than home ownership

Says Paul: “Over the long-term, buy to let looks set to continue to be an excellent investment. Yields are increasing, and we are seeing more tenants wanting to sign up for longer tenancies. With increasing demand and decreasing property stocks, the market is now very much in need of more quality, well-priced properties.”

Those considering investing should always seek specialist, impartial advice on the market in their chosen area to ensure they choose the right property and present it correctly. Leaders are independent specialists with more than 25 years experience in lettings and are recognised experts in the industry. 98% of those surveyed last month rated Leaders’ service, lettings consultants, office and literature as excellent or good.

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