Booming rental market looks set to continue into 2013
Consequently more people are renting for longer and demand is outstripping supply. The best example of this can be found at Crispin Lofts, the first new city scheme to complete for some years, where demand is so high that more than 70 apartments were rented almost as soon as they were released.
We have experienced such a high level of take-up throughout this year that our portfolio of rented apartments, which is the largest in the city centre, is more than 99.5 per cent occupied, the highest it has ever been.
Unfortunately, we are unlikely to see any new supply next year which means that demand will continue to outstrip supply, which will, of course, have an impact on rents. They are likely to continue to creep up in 2013. With both The Leeds Arena and Trinity Quarter, the only major shopping centre in western Europe that will complete in 2013, opening next year, we will see another surge of new brands, new jobs and new visitors coming to Leeds. These milestones will provide further tenant demand as well as adding to the appeal of the city centre as a home.
The late opening hours at Trinity will bring a European style atmosphere to Briggate, Commercial Street and Boar Lane and perhaps open up opportunities to create homes above the shops.
Sales have also been positive this year with a recent upturn during the second half of the year. August was our best month for the number of sales agreed since the boom of August 2007 and whereas in recent years a strong month has often been followed by a big dip the following month, we have now seen four consecutive months of strong sales performance which is extremely encouraging.
The mortgage lenders continue to create barriers for borrowers but the hardy and the experienced persist and eventually find a way to proceed.
We are positive about the sales market next year and hope to see our best performance for five years.
We believe that the market has reached its lowest point and that the economy in Leeds is going to get a real boost next year.
Ultimately the very English desire to own a home will start to force its way back as the driving force in the property market and we will see more and more people taking that first step onto the property ladder.
One of the key issues for the lettings market in 2013 will be the campaign to abolish all fees charged by agents. We need to get a hold of the issue and tackle it head on. There is mounting pressure on the Government to abolish agent’s fees in England and Wales following a campaign by the charity Shelter which helped to ban all fees charged to tenants in Scotland.
There is a substantial cost associated with running a lettings business and staff can’t carry out viewings, inventories, check references and complete other administration tasks for free. It’s essential that our Government doesn’t panic and feel forced into re-structuring the entire lettings industry because of a handful of unscrupulous operators in the business who are charging exorbitant fees.
The Government needs to consult with lettings agents and those campaigning for a ban on fees to reach a mutually beneficial outcome. Letting agents have to make a profit in order to employ staff, service landlords and find and manage properties for tenants, and of course those tenants must be given a clear and simple explanation of any fees they are paying up front.
Jonathan Morgan, Morgans City Living, www.cityliving.co.uk