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The Letting Solutions’ Team

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Optimism on the rise – are the good times back for landlords?

Fri 12 Nov 2021

Landlords have undoubtedly been hit hard in recent years when it comes to new regulation, licensing, legislation and tax disincentives, not to mention Covid and Brexit, but despite this it’s remained a lucrative and attractive investment avenue for many thanks to steady rental income and strong yields.

The market has stood up well in the face of the pandemic, and is coming out the other side of it in a more robust state than ever.

This has been further backed up by research conducted on behalf of lender Paragon Bank, which has found that the number of landlords feeling optimistic about different aspects of letting is at its highest level for five years.

As part of the survey of 600 landlords, carried out by BVA BDRC, participants were asked to rate their expectations for rental yields, their own lettings business, capital gains, the private rented sector in general, and the UK financial market.  

According to the findings, those who judged the outlook for these measures to be either ‘good’ or ‘very’ good surpassed levels seen in Q3 2016 - the survey conducted just before the EU referendum, which led to a decline in landlord sentiment as chronic uncertainty reigned. Investor optimism has been consistently increasing following the record low levels seen in the first quarter of last year, when coronavirus first hit British shores.

The research also outlined a connection between positive sentiment and portfolio size. It found that landlords managing bigger portfolios tend to be more cheerful about the prospects for their own lettings business, with 56% of landlords with eleven or more properties claiming they feel ‘good’ or ‘very good’ about the future, falling to below half (46%) for those with between one and 10 properties. 

Additionally, the study highlighted a link between confidence and property purchase behaviour, with a positive outlook recorded amongst nearly two-thirds of those who have recently bought a property, compared to just under half amongst all those surveyed. 

What’s more, the research found that over three-quarters of landlords who plan to expand their lettings business in the next year are optimistic about the future. Something that falls to a much lower level, 26%, amongst those seeking to divest. 

“Understandably, landlord confidence fell sharply in the first quarter of 2020, as the extent of the pandemic became clear,” Richard Rowntree, Paragon’s managing director for mortgages, was quoted as saying.

“It is fantastic to see optimism bounce back and rise in the time since; it is an indication of the strength of the sector.”

He added: “Landlords see the sector’s issues and opportunities on a daily basis so measuring their outlook can provide useful insight for the industry and, as we see here, investor confidence can have a real impact on behaviour.”  

Did the Budget dent landlord confidence?

The Autumn Budget held by the UK government on Wednesday October 27, many parts of which feed up to or have a direct influence on Scotland, was expected to include quite major reforms to property taxes – much of the speculation in the lead-up to Rishi Sunak’s address had been around this.

But, as it turned out, the private rented sector and landlords were almost completely left alone. There was one small but significant change to Capital Gains Tax – doubling the deadline for filing from 30 days to 60 days – but this will be seen as a positive thing for many landlords if they come to sell their homes.

While some will be disappointed that no major reform of property taxes took place, many in the lettings industry will be breathing a sigh of relief that no major changes were introduced.

Scottish rental market experiences demand surge

Another reason for Scottish landlords to be optimistic is the booming nature of the current market in terms of demand north of the border, with a report by property portal Citylets finding that demand, activity and rental growth has risen across the board in Scotland.

With demand heavily outstripping supply – stock levels were said to have dropped by a full 65% over Q3 2021 – landlords are currently in a strong position when it comes to filling their homes with tenants.

While the supply shortage is a worry – ultimately, a market with such a supply/demand imbalance is not a healthy one for the long-term – landlords considering entering the market or expanding their portfolio should see it as the perfect opportunity to list, with competition for rental homes very hot in Scotland at the moment. 

The Citylets report found that major cities, satellite towns and rural locations alike all posted positive annual growth of up to more than 10%.

To get the most out of your rental property, and the right tenants in place from the start, it’s important that you work with an experienced, knowledgeable letting agency.

Here at Letting Solutions, West Lothian’s first dedicated lettings agency, we can help with just that.

We are continuing to operate throughout the pandemic. You can find out more about our current hours of service and our current ways of working here.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us, even if you are not a current client. You can ring us on 01506 496006 where our team are waiting to help. Or you can email us at: rent@letting-solutions.co.uk.

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