It is hard not to notice the reports in the recent press regarding the apparent rise in house prices.
With the number of ‘sold’ boards going up around Market Harborough, it is clearly evident that our town is on a par with these headlines.
With the gradual increase in mortgage availability, various help-to-buy schemes and greater confidence in the buy-to-let market, the number of new buyers across the UK has increased by 16 per cent annually according to PropertyReporter.co.uk.
As a result, we expect more buy-to-let investors to enter the local market which should lead to more rental homes becoming available for tenants in due course.
We know from our tenant enquiries that there is still a high demand for 2-3 bedroom properties in Market Harborough and that generally tenant demand is higher here than in other areas where there is generally an oversupply of rental properties. This has kept rent levels at the higher end of the scale and makes the town very desirable for investment landlords.
That said, we would urge caution against any possible false sense of security. Whilst rents may be rising locally, household income has not. The squeeze on personal finances is a continuing threat to the financial stability of even the most economical of tenants and many are needing to rethink their accommodation requirements.
We have also seen a rise in rent arrears with more households struggling to meet the increase in bills as the average cost of renting a home in the UK reached an all-time high in June 2013 according to Homelet. (PropertyReporter.co.uk)
This is where the role of an exceptional letting agent is essential. When times get tough, landlords need to know they are getting what they pay for and there are many who have been let down when it comes to dealing with the myriad of hurdles involved when reclaiming both their rent and property from tenants who have got into difficulties.
A good agent should have a pro-active system in place for dealing with rent arrears, be able to act quickly once it is clear the tenant cannot or will not pay and have the sound legal knowledge required when taking proceedings through the courts.
Those landlords entering the market for the first time will not necessarily be as aware of these risks and need to be discerning when choosing who to hand their property over to.
They should look for the certainty of a guarantee giving them complete peace of mind that their property is in the safest of hands and also beware of inflated rental valuations which can lead to unnecessarily long marketing periods.
Column by Andrew Le Mesurier, manager of Northwood Harborough at Harborough Innovation Centre, Wellington Way, Market Harborough, LE16 7WB.
Email email@example.com or phone 01858 414 262.
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