Rents, Rises and Interest Rates

Latest Landlord News by: Madalena Penny

A lot has been reported on increasing interest rates this week resulting in further anxiety and sleepless nights for landlords and property investors.

In such a fragile economy, any rise on the base rate at this time would result in a significant deterrent of investment in the buy-to-let sector and hinder one of the only growth industries thriving in the recession – the private rented sector.

Thankfully, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee announced yesterday that interest rates would again remain at 0.5%.  Experts across the sector predict that we will not see any sign of an increase in interest rates until around the end of October, with a slight increase, then edging higher throughout 2012 until they reach a normalized rate of 5% sometime in the future when the economy is deemed stronger.

With residential property now a buyers market and economic factors resulting in a new era of tenant growth for the private rented sector, we should expect to see an increase in competitive buy-to-let products this year as investment gathers further attraction from BTL lenders.

Landlords and investors have welcomed the re-emergence of lenders, Paragon.  Announcing a gross profit last September of £71.8 million has spread confidence along with some interesting movement with products from Mortgage Works, Lloyds TSB and the rest of the gang.  Paragon’s prediction that 2011 will see a rise in BTL lending by an average of 10%-15% is a good indication that further growth of the PRS can be expected.

According to the residential lettings survey by RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors), rents have increased throughout 2010 and the proportion of landlords looking to sell property upon expiry of tenancy has declined steadily.

The imbalance caused by lack of residential housing and a shortage of BTL products has been claimed as a cause for rising rental prices.  However, it is thought that once BTL lending improves and more products are released on the market, rents should in theory stabilize somewhat as demand and supply for available housing stock re-balance again.  Despite this, RICS suggests that the lettings market will persist throughout the course of 2011, regardless of additional supply of private rented property.

While landlords will understandably make hay while the sun shines, there still remains a shadow cast by interest rate rises.

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