Market leap for landlords

David Salusbury: Home Economics

The rental market is notoriously difficult to predict.  Every week, different indices, reports and surveys are published, providing material for market watchers.  Do they always agree?  Rarely.  Does it matter?  Rarely.  What is good news for landlords is usually portrayed as bad news for tenants.

Some of the latest facts and figures from Paragon Mortgages will bring a smile to any landlord’s face.  It’s quarterly survey shows they can expect an average 0.8% increase in the value of their portfolios over the next 12 months.  Paragon sees this as evidence that the falls in house prices have bottomed out.  What might be more surprising is that 14% of landlords expect to make further investments in the same period.  Whether mortgage finance becomes available to make this a possibility remains to be seen.

The property website Findaproperty.com offers yet more good news (for landlords, anyway).  It says rents rose in September, making them 1.2% higher than in April.  I must admit I haven’t noticed this particular market improvement quite yet.  Apparently, the increase is due to a lack of supply caused by the decision of many so-called “reluctant landlords” to sell up.  This will be offset however, to the extent that the professional landlords succeed in expanding their own portfolios.

Rental prices have yet to bounce back in Liverpool, Bournemouth and Leicester, according to separate research by the website Gumtree.com.  Tenants can find the best value-for-money deals in Derby, Bolton and Sheffield, apparently.  So, tenants, take heart.  The rental market differs from one end of the street to the other.  Sometimes landlords can appear to be the winners, but sometimes you get the upper hand.

House prices in October registered their first year-on-year rise for 19 months, providing further evidence of the upturn in the property market, says the Nationwide.  It says prices were 2% up on October 2008, making the average home cost £162,038.  The pace of monthly rises appears to be slowing, however, in an apparent sign that more people are taking advantage of the improved climate to put their homes on the market.

People in the Midlands are the keenest in the UK on home improvements.  Their spending on projects rose 21% this year, according to the tradesman recommendation website Ratedpeople.com.  the biggest drop was in Northern Ireland, where expenditure fell by 68%.  (David Salusbury, The Sunday Times)

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