Despite government changes and fresh challenges in the ‘buy-to-let’ market, the future for rented property will continue to be one of the best bets for the country’s growing number of tenants as well as landlords.
Although the market is likely to be slowed down by the threat of stricter ‘buy-to-let’ rules - including tougher affordability checks for buy to let mortgages and the withdrawal of tax relief on mortgage interest – we are still reporting an increase in demand for houses to rent.
If you are a cash investor, or perhaps an ‘accidental landlord’ who has inherited a property with no mortgage repayments, you can expect a very healthy return on your investment – far better than you could achieve from mainstream savings products.
A priority in 2017 will be to carry on sourcing more local, good quality rental accommodation to satisfy both landlord and tenant client demand across the board.
Recent figures suggest an encouraging rise in the number of rental properties coming onto the UK market in nearly 60 per cent of UK towns and cities. And although rents are rising modestly they are, nevertheless, rising.
A Labour-backed inquiry into the nation’s housing crisis revealed that almost two-thirds of UK tenants don’t expect to afford a mortgage in the next five years either.
Meanwhile, government house building targets have let them down again. A House of Lords committee called for 300,000 new homes to be built in England each year - but in 2015-16 just under 190,000 new properties were added to the housing stock.
The private rented sector plugs a serious gap and provides essential good quality, affordable housing for a modern generation of tenants while opening up new opportunities for people who can invest in ‘buy-to-let’ properties.
New property investors will need to have a very clear strategy, in terms of what they expect from rental returns and capital growth. Renting in 2017 is expected to be an increasingly real alternative to home ownership but landlords need to buy property at the right price and thoroughly research its marketability.