Independent lettings agents haart is predicting a double-digit increase in the number of people who will choose to become “professional tenants” looking for rental property and opt to rent rather than buy over the next few years.
This is borne out by the volume of applicants that it is seeing registering with its 50-plus strong branch network, up over 10% in the last three months, and forecast to grow by a similar amount over the remainder of 2011 and well into 2012.
Andrew Benn, Managing Director of haart Residential Lettings, said…
“We are seeing a real culture change in the UK towards letting with more people than ever before prepared to make a lifestyle choice and rent. And this isn’t just restricted to people between the ages of 18-30. We’re finding people well into their 30s and sometimes beyond opting to go down this route, particularly in London and the South East.”
“This isn’t to say that they don’t want to buy their own home. It is more that with the continued economic uncertainty, they are delaying that decision, and the associated long-term financial commitment of a mortgage, until there is greater certainty in the country.”
The trend towards renting has also increased pressure on the availability of property with some haart lettings branches seeing as many as 10 potential applicants chasing every home. It is also reflected in the increase in enquiries from prospective landlords looking at buy to let as an investment opportunity, particularly with annual yields of between 5-10% per annum achievable in some parts of the country.
However, Benn doesn’t foresee average residential rental prices climbing much higher, particularly given that in some areas, such as London, rents now account for 40% of people’s annual income.