The London Barometer February 2015
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 by George Franks and Virginia Skilbeck
“There is clearly now much more activity in emerging prime areas than prime central London with ongoing political uncertainties and the recent SDLT changes alluded to in our last Barometer now having a marked effect. More sellers coming to the market would seem to tally with thoughts that high SDLT has been a tax on mobility.
“Although there are fewer buyers registering, those that are committed and ready are again most active in emerging prime. Many are however waiting for some post-election certainty.
“Interestingly c. 20% of sellers approaching us wish their properties to be offered off market pre-election so buyers need to dig deeper than just looking online.”
George Franks, Sales Director
“January’s lettings market traditionally witnesses an upsurge in applicants following a lull over the Christmas period. New applicant registrations were up by 50% and we saw a 25% increase in the number of new tenancies starting in January compared to the same month last year.
“As each political party unveils its policies in the run up to the election, landlords and investors are wary of Ed Milliband’s proposals for 3 year tenancies and rent controls. It is already apparent that Labour is misguided if they think landlords are evicting their tenants all too quickly and without grounds. No decent landlord (the vast majority) wants to lose a good tenant as continuity is preferable to multiple void periods which are costly. Rent controls damaged the property sector during the 1960s and 1970s; such controls will destroy investment in housing leading to fewer homes to rent. In any event there is already nothing to stop you agreeing multi-year tenancies with capped RPI linked rent increases.
“Restricting rental growth could affect growth in the institutional private rented sector, impacting on building and supply of new housing. As the number of people unable to get on the housing ladder grows, the last thing we need is policy which turns the tap off as far as investment in the PRS is concerned.”
Virginia Skilbeck, Lettings Director