And if so, what can you do about it?
A recent survey by the National Landlords Association (NLA) revealed some interesting statistics. 35% of landlords are worried about the effect Brexit will have on their ability to attract new tenants. With Teresa May’s conference announcement that the Brexit process will be triggered as early as March 2017, it’s an issue that’s suddenly become even more pressing. With that in mind, is it possible to predict the future landscape for landlords and is there anything you can do to protect your portfolio?
A quick look at the past
If you’re a worried landlord, it’s important to take stock for a moment. The last year has definitely been a tempestuous one for the property market. With the tax changes at the beginning of April and a 3% increase in stamp duty, there was inevitably going to be some fall out. Then came the shock of Brexit in June. It’s no wonder you’re worried.
According to a recent Podcast by the NLA, the market did unsurprisingly slow down in July with rates at auction dropping from a buoyant 80% + before 1st April to closer to 50 / 55%. First time landlords have definitely been deterred. But it’s not all bad news. Honestly.
On the upside, house prices have continued to rise (albeit at a slower pace) and the general trend of the predictions is that they will continue to do so. The housing marketing does seem to be recovering after a slow down post April and then again post Brexit and there is a suggestion that a weaker pound may encourage foreign investment which may support, if not boost, current house prices.
There also remains a strong demand for rented properties and a housing shortage particularly in the south east even if it’s in a more regulated and expensive space.
And in Dorking?
In Dorking average rent from a property is £1,655 pcm with 1 or 2 bedroom properties or flats being the most commonly found (their rental income averages from £1,365 to £1,611). That’s well above the national average of roughly £910 pcm making Dorking still a good place to be a landlord.
Although Rightmove have recently reported that London rents have fallen slightly, elsewhere they have risen, albeit modestly. One of the reasons given for the slight stagnation was the glut of properties that came on the market after the April frenzy.
So what next?
The next significant event will of course be the Autumn Statement. With a new chancellor and a new approach it will be interesting to see what stance it takes. There’s been a lot of lobbying to remove the 3% increase in stamp duty, and although I think it’s unlikely, it’s not completely inconceivable.
Of course it’s also going to be important to keep a careful eye on the Brexit negotiations and what impact they have on the landlord and tenant scene.
It’s time to plan
But perhaps more important than ever before, if you want to continue as a landlord, is the fact that you now need to start putting in place an investment plan. You may have a number of options to consider such as buy to sell, land development or just setting up a limited company. Which is right for you will probably depend on whether you’re more of an accidental landlord or a professional investor and you ought to take professional advice.
The other consideration to bear in mind is that being a landlord for many is a long term game. Throughout the last few decades there have been periods of storm and despair followed by periods of boom. To some extent it is a case of getting a clear idea of your expected growth and profits, putting in place whatever structures you need to best protect yourself and then riding out the storm to happy, more stable times.
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