Reeds Rains Property Blog

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An invitation to join the Reeds Rains Landlord Event

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Refurbished branch - Reeds Rains Chorley

In response to increased activity in the local market and demand for its services, estate and letting agents Reeds Rains has chosen its Chorley office to host a major event dedicated to landlords.

The event is for current and potential landlords who are looking for advice from industry professionals and will be held on Thursday 12th March from 5.00pm - 7.00pm in the Chorley office located at 24 High Street, Chorley, PR7 1DW.

Lee Gallagher is the lettings manager for Reeds Rains in Chorley who says: “We are passionate about lettings and are excited about welcoming landlords to our office. At the event, experts will be on hand to explain a range of topics we think will be of interest to landlords. For example, more information about rental value and yields, tips on the best places to buy, what we think tenants are looking for from renting as well the full range of services available to you from Reeds Rains.

 Lettings Manager - Lee Gallagher

We are also excited to showcase our updated office with its modern new furnishings and high tech LED displays to enhance the on-going display of properties.

The new office also features eye catching custom made wallpaper featuring the striking Buckshaw sculpture, which reinforces Reeds Rains interest in its local area. Inside the office, the new Reeds Rains logo has also been designed to highlight its long standing position in the property market but also its forward thinking approach to residential sales and lettings and can been seen as a key feature within the office.

Custom made wallpaper -  Buckshaw sculpture

This new office makes it the ideal setting for us to demonstrate our revolutionary new system which helps landlords to manage their properties more easily using the Landlord and Tenants Portal. This is an online system which allows landlords to check the circumstances of their let. Landlords have information readily available about rental payments, outstanding maintenance issues as well as an array of useful information that landlords themselves have requested.

All in all we hope the event provides useful and we look forward to welcoming landlords new and existing to find out for themselves what great services Reeds Rains can offer.”

For further details of the event – or for more information about Reeds Rains generally – simply contact the local team at Reeds Rains Chorley, 24 High Street, Chorley, PR7 1DW or telephone them at 01257 267626 (*).

 

(*) Calls may be recorded and/or monitored for training and/or data protection purposes.

Rental Regional Review

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England:

What impact will election policies have on letting a property?  

Things are definitely hotting up in the Private Rental Market in England. Shelter and Generation Rent are just two organisations calling for tougher policies that could dramatically impact both landlords and tenants. The main request is for rent controls to limit by how much rents can be increased from one year to the next and, in some cases, even maximum amounts of rents that can be charged in certain areas. There are also calls for all landlords to be licensed and for letting agents to be regulated, which would mean increased costs for all those letting property.

From our perspective, we know that rents are pretty good value for tenants and, although increasing, they aren’t rising ahead of inflation, so rent controls or limits aren’t really required. That’s backed up by our research, which shows that rents are typically ‘naturally capped’ by what people earn. However, we are supportive of licensing landlords and robust regulation of letting agents, both of which would mean tenants could be sure of working with approved professionals.

House Prices

Our latest House price index shows that prices in January 2015 versus 2014 were up year on year by 7.5%, with the North and Yorkshire seeing the biggest boost, mostly due to an increase in first time buyers. Adrian Gill, director of Reeds Rains estate agents, comments that this annual growth “is the smallest yearly improvement witnessed for 10 months” and that “average property values haven’t taken any steps forward from where they stood in November”.

Interestingly, it’s London which is leading this slowdown, having seen some big rises over the last 18 months, while in other areas, such as the North, sales were up by 7% and in Yorkshire and Humberside by 4.1% with flats and terraces changing hands due to low mortgage rates attracting new, first time buyers.

From a buy to let perspective, our index shows rents are higher year on year in eight out of ten regions across England & Wales. The best performer was the East of England, which saw rises of +7.6%, followed by the East Midlands at +6.2% and in London rents grew by +4.1%, while in Yorkshire & the Humber there was a +3.4% annual increase. And, just as house prices vary from one region to another, so do rents, which we saw falling in the North East by -2.1% and the South West by -1%.

For more information on the latest House price and Buy to Let Index, visit http://www.lslps.co.uk/

Wales: 

It’s a busy year for new rules and regulations in Wales this year! 

Firstly, a minor change. From the start of this year, for all new tenancies, you will need to provide Welsh Water and Dee Valley Water with your tenants’ details to help them chase up any water bill arrears. For existing tenancies, it’s from 21st January 2015. 

But some much bigger changes are also being implemented, thanks to the passing of last year’s Housing (Wales) Act 2014.

If we manage your property for you, we’ll take care of everything and keep you up to date, but if you’re managing a property yourself, you need to understand what these changes are and what they mean for you, so that you can take the necessary action.

In summary:

  • You will need to register yourself as a landlord at a cost of £50, plus £10 for each property
  • If Reeds Rains manages your property, we’ll look after everything else for you as we will abide by the new legislation on your behalf
  • If you manage the properties yourself, then you will need to secure a licence to do so, abide by a new code of conduct and attend a training programme. The cost will be several hundred pounds. 

With these new rules, it my be worth considering whether to continue to manage your property yourself, or whether it makes more sense for us to look after it, to help you stay on the right side of the law.

Do contact us on 0845 450 0865* or email Landlords@ReedsRains.co.uk for more help and advice on these changes and, don’t worry, we’ll always make sure you’re kept up to date!

House Prices

Good news for Wales from our latest House Price Index shows over the last three months it is the Region which recorded the highest rise in house prices in October, when prices rose by nearly 1% in just one month. However, this price growth hasn’t kept up the momentum and over the last few months, dropped back to almost no change at all year on year.

From a sales perspective, in the last quarter of 2014 they stagnated at 10,500 homes in Wales – the same number of sales as 2013. Although this does disguise differences with the types of property people are buying. Flat sales were up by 15% Q4 2014 versus 2013, while detached properties sales were on a par and there was a fall in the number of semi and terraced property sold. 

From a rental perspective, rents in the region are on average £566 per month which is a slight fall versus rents in the previous month, but up 2% year on year, so keeping up with inflation, just. On average, yields have remained the same year on year.

For more information on what’s happening in the Welsh market, visit http://www.lslps.co.uk/   

Northern Ireland 

All landlords letting property in Northern Ireland need to register themselves by 25th February 2015. If you haven’t already done so, make it a priority as you could be fined up to £2,500 for non-compliance. The Landlord Registration Scheme is aimed at helping make sure landlords are kept abreast of new legislation and ensuring they look after tenants. If you manage your property yourself, make sure you clearly display the Landlord Registration logo and your personal registration number to show tenants (and the local authority) that you’re complying with the law. For more information on landlord registration, do email, call or pop in to your local Your Move office and we’ll be happy to help with any queries you may have about letting.

Tenant demand is still high in the Region despite the fact that first time buyers can purchase a property in the area, on average, for just £90,254. In places such as Carrickfergus, a two bedroom house can be bought for just £22,500!

In a general Landlord Survey we carried out, most landlords are not expecting to raise rents this year, with just four in ten landlords expecting to increase rents to help cover inflationary costs and paying for maintenance the second most important reason to increase rents.  

For more information from the survey, visit http://www.lslps.co.uk/documents/landlord_survey_Q3_2014.pdf

For more information call 0845 450 0865* or email landlords@ReedsRains.co.uk . Reeds Rains, winners of the Gold award for Best Property Management and Silver award for the Best Large Lettings Agency at The Sunday Times and The Times awards 2014.

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First Time Buyer Tracker - February 2015

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Stamp duty changes push first-time buyer  deposits to 18 month high

  • January sees average first-time buyer deposit rise to £29,127, 15% higher than a year ago
  • Average first-time buyer house purchase price tops £160,000 for first time on record
  • First-time buyer completions fall 19% on a monthly basis, due to dip in applications over Christmas

First-time buyer deposits have climbed 15% in a year to average almost £30,000, driven by lower stamp duty bills for new buyers, according to the latest First Time Buyer Tracker from Reeds Rains.

The average first-time buyer deposit was £29,127 in January, up 7% compared to December 2014 and 15% higher than £25,314 in January 2014. First-time buyers are saving the largest amount for their deposit since July 2013, eighteen months ago, as savings from December’s stamp duty changes take effect.

This has also helped drive rising purchase prices for first-time buyer homes, which have climbed to a new record. New buyers paid an average of £160,304 in January, 12% more than £143,343 twelve months ago.

Revisions to the stamp duty slab system have reduced the upfront costs for many first-time buyers, allowing them to divert that cash into a deposit fund. First-time buyers paying the average purchase price would have been liable for stamp duty fees of around £1,600 before the graduated system was implemented, but this would now have been reduced to £700 – saving them roughly £900.

Simultaneously, as wages start to see a significant pick-up in real terms, growing purchasing power is reflected in the average first-time buyer LTV. Loan-to-value ratios have fallen 1.1 percentage points over the last three months, suggesting deflation and growing wages are allowing first-time buyers to put together slightly larger deposits.

Despite this, the average loan-to-income ratio for first-time buyers has risen on an annual basis. On average, deposits now represent 75.4% of a first-time buyer’s income, compared to 70.6% a year ago.

Adrian Gill, director of estate agent Reeds Rains, comments: “A fusion of economic factors is alleviating some of the financial burden of forming a deposit. Wages are starting to recover and inflation has fallen to a record low, meaning buyers have slightly more cash to play with day-to-day. And stamp duty fees were slashed for many new buyers when the government reformed the old slab system, freeing up further funds. It’s still difficult to save – with savings rates tied closely to the low base rate. But it’s easier to put cash aside than it was a year ago.

“However, property prices have pushed a new record for first-time buyers, meaning these extra funds are being diverted directly into larger deposits. Putting together a deposit to buy a property remains one of the most arduous tasks for prospective home-buyers, and schemes like Help to Buy are essential to allow the swathes of buyers reliant on higher LTV mortgages to get onto the housing ladder.”

More details about the First time buyer tracker can be found here

Top tips on how best to rent out your property

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Lee Gallagher - Lettings Manager Reeds Rains Chorley

Research from Reeds Rains estate agents has found that 31.7% of tenants prefer renting because it offers more flexibility (*) and statistics show that a property listing has approximately 20 seconds to impress individuals looking for a new home indicating that first impressions matter the most. (**) But what can landlords do to help make sure that a tenant falls in love with their property at first sight?

Lettings Manager Lee Gallagher from Reeds Rains in Chorley explains: “We are finding an increasing number of people approach us for advice about becoming landlords – and what they can do to increase the chances of securing a tenant.

Good furnishings attract tenants along with cleanliness and the quality of the interior. For example, properties need to feel loved with clean walls and carpets. For landlords to make the best impression we would advise their properties need to be freshly painted and clean. And remember, that your individual tastes might not appeal to all tenants so keep colours neutral and decoration simple. A property which feels loved will attract greater care from tenants and are more likely to look after it.

Your individual taste may not appeal to all tenants

Landlords also have to consider that tenants are renting a property for longer periods and will have high expectations for the long term home. Low maintenance gardens, central heating and double glazing are all important features. 

From the Reeds Rains survey, nearly 23% of tenants have been saving for 1-5 years towards a deposit on their house which can be a challenge for them. In some cases, we are finding they are having to make a changes to their lifestyle. Tenants are cutting back on holidays and the frequency of going out and more and more people are relying on help from their parents to raise a deposit so choosing the right property is important.

At Reeds Rains we pride ourselves on always acting in the best interests of our tenants and landlords and provide a personalised service which allows you to access all the information you need.”

If you would like to find out how Reeds Rains can help you as a landlord or tenant, contact Chorley. lettings@reedsrains.co.uk or call them on 01257 267626. (***)

 

(*) The Reeds Rains First Time Buyer Survey January 2015

(**) http://myrealestatevoice.com.au/news-info/article-display/love-at-first-sight-why-it-matters-for-property-sellers,48
(***) Calls may be recorded for monitoring purposes

Buy-to-Let Index - January 2015

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Rents 16% higher than in 2010

  • Over last five years, rents have grown by an average 3.0% per year – but just 0.6% annually after inflation
  • In the last twelve months, rents across England & Wales increase by 2.8%, to stand at £763 in January 2015
  • Official measure of rents paid across Great Britain now revised more closely in line with this data
  • Tenant finances see healthy half-decade – 6.8% of rent now in arrears, down from 11.1% in January 2010
  • Landlords see total returns of 11.7% over last 12 months, down from 11.8% as property price rises cool

Rents are now 16.3% higher than five years ago, having most recently risen by 2.8% over the last twelve months, according to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from Your Move and Reeds Rains.

In absolute terms, the average residential rent across England & Wales has grown by £107 since January 2010, to reach £763 as of January 2015.

This amounts to an average annual rent rise of 3.0% over the last half decade. However, this represents a real terms increase of 0.6% per annum when adjusted for inflation over the same period.

Most recently, rents have fallen on a monthly basis, down 0.6% between December 2014 and January 2015. On an annual basis, rents are 2.8% higher than was seen last January.

Adrian Gill, director of estate agent Reeds Rains, comments: “The nature and affordability of UK housing is transforming before our eyes.  In the last five years the private rented sector has successfully absorbed an unprecedented influx of tenants, while rental prices have broadly tracked inflation.

“As ever, the devil is in the detail – but as this growth accelerates, even more investment will be necessary for the industry to keep up. So we need more buy-to-let landlords to help solve the crisis in demand for homes to rent."

More details about the Buy-to-Let Index can be found here

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