Find regulated letting agents at www.arla.co.uk. UK Lettings Market Report for quarter 4 2011. ARLA report on the current position of the UK lettings market and the effect on the private rented sector.
Here is a break down of the last quarter from 2011 - looking at some of the statistics within the private rented sector and how the market has been in general during 2011.
The first three quarters of 2011 all showed a very positive private rented sector, demand was increasing as was rent and also stock but the fourth quarter however starts to contradict some of these promising statistics! This could well be the affects of the festivities around Christmas time where things start to slow down which has been a very common trait for a very long time.
What we did see in the fourth quarter that indisputable figures around it were rising tenants struggling to meet rents - 39% of agents were saying there has been an increase in this statistic but going back 18 months, this same figure was less than 30%. A worrying trend that has started to build up but there are many factors behind this drop - rents have gone up quite a bit, particularly in London but generally across the country where clear signs indicate struggling tenants!
55% of agents in the last quarter stated that they're had more tenants than properties. That was a drop of nearly 20% as it was 74% in the third quarter of 20122 so that's a real drop-off in demand. Again, we don't know whether that is seasonal, we don't know whether people are adjusting - it will start to come through in 2012.
Some agents have said that they're set off to a good start so far this year in 2012, with a strong demand, rents carrying on going up but at the same time other agents are saying the market is still quite patchy.
One of the worry indicators for 2012 is landlords suggesting that there is a drop in appetite to buy further properties. That was running at 27%, it has dropped to 25%. Whilst that might not be major in its own right, it will have an accumulative affect if it stays that way for a long time.
There will be many changes coming in this year into local housing allowance and housing benefit - we don't know how that is going to impact, particularly on the young people with what's known as the 'single room rate' being increased to covering those up to 35 years of age who are applying for benefits.
Finally, what we don't know in the London market either is what the impact of the Olympics will be? How much property that is currently in the private rented sector maybe being slowly withdrawn from the private rented sector to try and maximise income for a very short period out of the Olympics and will then will go back into the private rented sector. This again is another question we will be keeping an eye on but will keep you posted!