As a Hertfordshire letting agent, we regularly take stock of local market conditions alongside national property trends. This helps us to keep landlords and tenants well-informed on what to expect when renting in the local area.
Supply versus demand
The biggest trend we’re seeing locally is a continued and significant rise in demand for good quality rental properties. This applies across North Hertfordshire and into Bedfordshire and currently shows no sign of slowing down.
Rising interest rates explain part of this demand. We’re seeing prospective buyers opting to rent in the short term, hoping that inflation will fall and mortgage rates will become more favourable over the next year or so.
A recent UK market survey echoes this experience. Across the UK, the number of prospective tenants is reported to have risen by 27% in the past 12 months. In the same period, the number of rental properties fell by 19%.
This supply and demand imbalance is creating a perfect storm in terms of a fiercely competitive local market.
We’re experiencing a huge demand, particularly for family-sized rentals in Hertfordshire. Currently, 98% of M A S O N S properties are let at the first viewing, with landlords often choosing from a selection of suitable tenants.
This is excellent news for landlords, as they can select longer-term tenants, which reduces the risk of future void periods and tenant changeover costs. However, this competitive market can make securing a suitable home more stressful for tenants. With this in mind, we work as transparently and efficiently as possible to ease the process for prospective renters.
Surging interest rates have increased mortgage payments for buy-to-let landlords, leading to inevitable rent increases. Over the past 6 to 12 months, we’ve seen the impact of this locally:
- A four-bed semi-detached property in New Street, Shefford – up 28.5%
- A three-bed semi-detached property in Drove Road, Biggleswade – up 10%
- A one-bed maisonette in Woolgrove Court, Hitchin – up 15%
We’ve advised our landlords to keep on top of rental increases. Smaller, regular adjustments avoid the need for huge unaffordable rent hikes for tenants.
Self-managed landlord guidance
Aside from the ongoing supply and demand conundrum, we’ve also seen an increase in self-managed landlords seeking our advice.
Guidance on the essential tenant documents that should be issued at the outset of a tenancy agreement has been particularly popular. We’d like to (modestly) think this flurry of requests reflects our growing reputation for property management services. Providing this service means we’re experts in landlord legal requirements and have systems in place to keep up with all the paperwork!
Unfortunately, self-managed landlords often contact us a little too late when they can’t regain possession of their property with a Section 21 notice because they lack key tenant documents. This tricky situation is easily avoided – so if you’re a self-managed landlord and would like to ‘get your house in order’, call us sooner rather than later to explore how we might be able to help.
We keep an eye on local market trends as they unfold, and we’ll be happy to share our insights with you over the coming months; drop us a line at 01462 557 477 or [email protected].
M A S O N S is a leading letting agent in Hitchin, covering rental and buy-to-let properties in Hertfordshire and beyond. Founded on award-winning lettings experience, we specialise in property management, buy-to-let in Hitchin, and residential lettings.