Vote on UK in the EU unlikely to have much impact on rental market

Taylor Scott International News

On the eve of the historic referendum in the UK on the future of the country in the European Union research shows that letting agents do not anticipate a major shift in the rental market. Whatever the outcome of the vote, lettings agents do not believe supply, demand, or rental costs will be significantly affected, according to the latest sector report from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). Some 65% of ARLA agents expect supply to stay the same if the UK votes to leave the EU, compared to just a fifth 22% who predict it will fall as international landlords pull out of the market. The research also found that 31% see demand decreasing, as relocating to the UK becomes a less attractive prospect, but over half, 55%, think it will remain as high as it currently is. In London, however, almost half, 43%, of agents expect the number of prospective tenants per property to fall in the event of a ‘Brexit’, as international demand weakens. While 19% of agents expect a Brexit result will cause upward pressure on rent costs, the majority don’t imagine a massive change for tenants’ rents, should Britain leave the EU. ‘There is no avoiding the EU Referendum at the moment; and whatever the outcome, we are likely to feel the impact of the fallout of this debate in different ways,’ said David Cox, managing director of ARLA. ‘However, it’s important to put this into perspective and not get carried away in a zeitgeist. As outlined in our recent Brexit Report, the lettings market hosts a large number of non-UK born citizens and any change in migration policy is likely to have an impact down the line, especially in London. However, our monthly report clearly shows the sentiment amongst members is that the immediacy of this effect is likely to be minimal,’ he pointed out. The monthly report also looked at the issue of stamp duty reforms. Two months since the extra 3% was added to buy to let and second homes some 37% of agents reported a fall in supply of buy to let properties. This figures was much higher in Wales, where 80% of agents saw a dip in supply in May, as well as East Midlands and Yorkshire where 50% of ARLA agents have seen a decline. Looking forward, nearly half, 48%, of agents expect supply will continue to fall as more landlords walk away from the market as a result of the mortgage interest relief changes coming into force next year. The research shows that month on month supply is consistently lower than in 2015. The number of properties managed per branch dropped in May, with agents recording an average 171 properties on their books. Demand also fell marginally last month, as agents registered 33 prospective tenants per branch, compared to 34 in April. ‘The EU… Taylor Scott International

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