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UK Private Sector Rent Still Rising

UK Private Sector Rent Still Rising, Albeit Slowly

Private Sector Rents Rise By 1% Over Last 12 Months

New data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest that private sector rents are rising below the level of average earnings for first time in many years, bringing some good news for tenants.

According to the ONS, in the 12 months to September 2014, private rental sector rental prices increased by:

  • 1% in England
  • 4% in Scotland
  • 2% in Wales

The ONS say that the UK’s underlying annual earnings growth increased by 1.2% in the year to August, up from 0.5% recorded in April 2014.

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UK Rental Prices Have Not Grown As Much As The Media Hype Suggests

UK Rental Prices Have Not Grown As Much As The Media Hype Suggests

UK Rental Price Growth Has Slowed Down
Everywhere Except London

The hype suggesting spiralling rental prices in the UK’s private rental sector (PRS) are out of control, has been previously used by tenants and even some agents to brow beat private sector landlords into lowering the expected monthly rental prices has been exposed as a myth by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Apart from the ridiculous rental situation in London, where rental prices for single dwellings are getting beyond affordable, landlords across the rest of the UK are lucky if property rental prices just about keep pace with inflation.

Private rental sector rental prices are flat in monetary terms when viewed year on year even if there has been some seasonal adjustment for the Spring & Summer lettings market.

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UK Rental Market Remains Healthy Despite PRS Rent Falls

UK Rental Market Remains Healthy Despite PRS Rent Falls

UK Rental Market Remains Healthy Despite PRS Rent Falls

Rental price increases in many UK regions have slowed according to the latest data gathered by the latest Buy-To-Let Index conducted by LSL Property Services group.

The data showed that UK PRS rents increased by 1.5% in the 12 months to December 2013, less than half the 3.2% growth observed in 2012 and on the whole, UK PRS rents fell by 1% in December 2013, (around £8), reducing the average private rental sector rent to £745 (GBP) per calendar month.

The largest drop in PRS rental prices was observed in the South East, with rents down 2% since November 2013, rents also fell 1.9% in both London and Wales.

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UK PRS Landlords Expect Tenant Demand To Increase

UK PRS Landlords Expect Tenant Demand To Increase

UK PRS Landlords Confident About Continued

Strong Tenant Demand

As we reported yesterday (UK Property Boom ContinuesSpotlight – 7th January 2014), the private rented sector boom looks set to continue throughout 2014 and a recent survey conducted by LSL Property Services, has discovered that six in ten UK private rented sector landlords agree.

The LSL survey of 2,195 private rental sector landlords found:

  • 58% of UK PRS landlords are confident that tenant demand will continue to increase over the next twelve months
  • 41% of UK PRS landlords reported growth in tenant demand in past six months
  • 16% of UK PRS landlords expanded rental property portfolios during 2013
  • 18% of UK PRS landlords expect to expand their rental property portfolios in 2014
  • 10% of UK PRS landlords expect tenant demand to fall
  • 6% of UK PRS landlords experienced a drop in tenant demand
  • 77% of UK PRS landlords believe now is a good time to buy or sell rental property
  • 71% of landlords cited attractive property prices
  • 50% of UK PRS landlords highlighted better capital returns on offer compared to other types of investments
  • 47% of landlords said that strong tenant demand was a key investment driver

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Average PRS Rents Hit New High

Average PRS Rents Hit New High

Buy-To-Let Property Investors Benefit
From PRS Rent Increases

The average rent in the UK’s private rented sector has increased to approximately £757 (GBP) per month, the highest level ever recorded, as rental prices increase by 1.8% on the previous month.

The data is from the latest Buy-To-Let Index, published by LSL property services.

PRS rents are 2.1% higher than they were in September 2012 and tenant demand is still strong with lettings activity growing by 9.2% over the last 12 months.

Average PRS rents are now £13 (GBP) per month higher than the previous all time record set in October 2012, when monthly PRS rents averaged £744 (GBP) per month.

Nine out of 10 UK regions saw rents rise between August and September 2013 with the fastest monthly rise observed in the South East, where PRS rents are 3.3% higher than they were a month ago.

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March 2013 Sees PRS Rents up by 0.5%

UK PRS Rents Increase Again

UK PRS Rents Increase Again

UK private rented sector (PRS) rents increased for the first time in five months in March 2013, led by busy regions such as London, according to LSL Property Services. 

The latest figures reveal that average monthly PRS rents rose by 0.5% in March compared with February to reach an average of £735 (GBP). 

London private sector rents surged to a new average high of £1,106 (GBP) per month, following a 1.3% month-on-month increase.

The study, which has been running for five years, is based on rents achieved on 18,000 UK PRS rental properties, show that average rents in the capital are now £81 (GBP) higher year-on-year.

However, the increase in rents has left a greater number of tenants struggling to keep up.

Tenants’ finances worsened to levels not seen since before Christmas 2012, with 8.5% of all rent late or unpaid in March, compared with 7.4% in February.

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Buy to let landlords see rents hitting new highs!

Financial pressures, employment uncertainty, double dip recession, the Eurozone crisis and the high cost of property deposits have been cited as reasons for the current high demand for PRS rental properties in the UK this year.

The financial difficulties faced by would be property buyers, trying to get mortgages in the current UK housing market, have driven private rented sector (PRS) rental prices to their highest ever observed level last month.

Property experts say the UK Buy-To-Let market is positively booming as people are struggling to raise deposits or meet tight criteria for borrowing set by mortgage lenders.

Although some lenders recently cut their rates, most of the mortgage deals are aimed at borrowers with large deposits or who are buying property with a large amount of equity and those borrowers with smaller deposits are expected to continue to struggle to find a deal in the current financial market.

Landlords are now able to maximise more profit than ever before from their buy to let property investments and now they can do so by looking after the best financial interests of their tenants.

Rent Guarantee insurance is among many of the specialist Landlord and Buy-To-Let insurance policies offered by Legal 4 Landlords, the UK’s leading specialist landlord services provider, who also offer tenant contents insurance.

The groundbreaking work done by the specialist landlord team from Warrington, has attracted so much demand it has meant that the company have had to move to larger premises and employ extra staff as well as successfully franchising part of the business.

Data from LSL Property Services revealed that the typical PRS rent in England and Wales has risen 1% to £725 (GBP) per calendar month in July 2012, up on the previous high of £720 recorded in October 2011.

The rate of rental inflation also rose, from 2.4% in June 2012 to 2.9% and London is seeing rents rise at an even higher rate, up 4.8% to a record £1,057 (GBP) per month in July 2012.

UK landlords should seek out the best products and services to be able to reap the financial rewards that the PRS currently has to offer and should take a look at the Legal 4 Landlords website.

Eviction numbers increase as tenants struggle with finances

Evictions for Rent Arrears Increase by 10.2% This Year

County court closures are being blamed for prolonging tenant rent arrears eviction hearings

The number of tenants in severe financial difficulty has climbed by 10.2% in the first quarter of this year according to the latest tenant arrears tracker by Templeton LPA, part of the LSL Property Services plc Group.

Almost 8,800 more tenants were over 8 weeks in arrears and facing the threat of eviction than there were in the last quarter of 2011.

In the first quarter of 2012, an average of 94,400 tenants in England and Wales were in severe arrears, an increase of 20% compared to the same period in 2011.

The figures were affirmed by specialist landlord service provider, Legal 4 Landlords, who handle an average of 20 tenant evictions per day across the UK.

Legal 4 Landlords spokesman Sim Sekhon said: “At the current rate of growth, the number of PRS tenants facing arrears greater than 8 weeks will climb above 100,000 in the next quarter. Tenants have been facing increasing financial pressures due to the state of the economy and the rising cost of living and unfortunately landlords without rent guarantee insurance have been suffering the most”.

Although severe rent arrears cases have continued to increase, PRS tenancies in severe arrears only represented 2.4% of all properties in the private rental sector (PRS) in England and Wales in the first quarter of 2012.

Overall tenant arrears have improved, with 9.3% of all rent either late or unpaid by February 28th, a decrease from 10.7% at the end of 2011.

Paul Jardine, director and receiver at Templeton LPA, said: “While the general tenant population has absorbed the rising cost of renting in the last two years, a minority of tenants are facing severe financial difficulties, a minority that is growing. These tenants have been pushed into deeper and deeper arrears by a combination of rising living costs, high rents and a weak labour market, and are now months behind with the rent cheque. In turn, these severe rental arrears figures have been inflated by the ongoing impact of county court closures. The closures have prolonged arrears cases, with landlords less able to gain court dates to quickly remove non-paying tenants. This is creating a backlog of tenants in extreme arrears, increasing the amount of rental income lost for landlords or their appointed receivers of rent. Despite the recent surge in severe arrears cases, overall tenant arrears have performed remarkably well given the challenging economic environment. In fact, as we often see at this point in the year, more financially robust households are now paying down post-Christmas debt and putting their finances in order, which is helping to reduce the overall level of tenant arrears.”

The annual growth in tenant arrears has been matched by a yearly rise in the number of tenants being evicted by court orders.
In the last quarter of 2011 some 24,702 tenants faced eviction notices, an increase of 9% on the 22,634 in the last quarter of 2010, although the figures reported are 4% lower than they were in the third quarter of 2011.

Despite the exorbitant claims about lower LHA rents and the acceptance of them by private rented sector, (PRS), landlords made by the coalition government Prime Minister David Cameron in Parliament on January 11th. Only a handful of landlords with tenants on Local Housing Allowance are actually accepting lower rents in exchange for getting rent paid to them directly.

The claim by the Prime Minister David Cameron that private rents are falling as a result of welfare reforms was wrong!

Mr Cameron had claimed in Parliament on January 11th 2012 that: “rent levels have come down, so we have stopped ripping off the taxpayer”. Apparently he was quoting rental data from LSL Property Services, which had only been quoting falling private sector rents.

The data published by LSL Property Services does not take into account LHA rents.

In an attempt to get landlords to lower rents, councils have temporary powers to pay landlords, rather than tenants, the LHA in exchange for lowered rents.

A later statement from 10 Downing St said: “Private landlords were reducing rents – lessening the impact of benefit cuts – in return for local housing allowance being paid directly to them.

The prime minister made his wildly inaccurate claim in the middle of the Welfare Reform Bill’s rough ride through the House of Lords at a time when his government was desperately seeking to convince peers that the package of reforms would not increase homelessness as tenants would be left struggling to meet their rents under the new benefit caps.

Mr Cameron’s claims that private rents are falling as a result of the governments welfare reforms were difficult to swallow for a number of property professionals, prompting one magazine to take action.

The same data was quoted again on 30th January 2012 by Housing minister Grant Shapps, who seized on the same survey by estate agency LSL Property Services, citing it as the evidence Mr Cameron had used to support his claims.

The survey did indeed show rents fell by 0.8% in December – the second successive monthly fall.

However, if the data is examined correctly, the figures reveal the seasonal drop in private sector rents before Christmas was actually less than the 2.3% drop in December 2010 and rents overall had actually risen 4% year-on-year.

The magazine Inside Housing, used the Freedom of Information Act to request information on LHA rents from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), and every local authority in England following Mr Cameron’s claim in the House of Commons.

204 local authorities responded, with only 36 reporting any rent reductions in return for direct payment of LHA. Of the 36, 12 reported a combined total of 65 landlords cutting rents, an average of fewer than six landlords in each area.

The DWP says it has ‘no data records’ of how many landlords have reduced rents, but it has collected ‘anecdotal evidence’ from around 80 councils.

It states: ‘The majority have reported that they have used the new safeguard to help claimants negotiate down rents and all plan to use it during 2012 as transitional (payment) protection runs out.

The Inside Housing survey suggests that most PRS landlords are not even remotely tempted to accept lower rental payments for their properties, either directly from local authorities or not.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) and the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) have each disputed the claim rents are falling and believe landlords are more likely to reduce the number of tenancies let to benefit recipients, warning that landlords would rather re-let their properties at the full market price to working tenants, and are able to do so in the current climate of high rental demand.

Labour’s shadow housing minister, Jack Dromey, has already written to number 10 about the issue but received no response and will raise the matter in parliament demanding that Mr Cameron corrects his statement or justifies it.

Mr Dromey said: “Now we know the truth. The nationwide Inside Housing story exposes the reality of rising rents in most areas of the country and explodes the myth that rents are falling”.

 

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