Guildford property market update
Things are on the up! While life is still not entirely ‘normal’ – and there is still frustration about extended restrictions – the property industry is continuing to see a real boost in both the sales and rental markets. We are delighted with how things have been trending leading into the summer, despite being cautiously optimistic as we moved into Q2 of 2021.
The positivity we personally felt seems to have been echoed by landlords throughout the UK. Graham Norwood, Editor of Estate Agent Today, Letting Agent Today and Landlord Today writes that according to Zoopla, rents outside of London are rising at an average three percent per year, the highest since 2018.
Despite local reports suggesting a number of professional landlords (ie investors) were considering exiting the market, amidst concerns over increasing legislative burdens and potential changes to the capital gains tax laws, Graham adds that Hamptons’ figures show only some 131,900 properties were sold by landlords in Britain – the lowest figure since 2013.
On top of this a survey of 500 landlords by property consultancy Knight Knox, found that over a quarter of landlords are planning to expand their property portfolio in the next 12 months suggesting a thriving marketplace.
In our Q1 review, we cited an influx of people wanting to move from major cities into more rural areas. This trend has only continued to increase. Family and premium properties continue to receive a high percentage of enquiries from city-based tenants and this has led to increased numbers of enquiries and record rental prices on homes finished to a high standard, as predicted in our Q1 report.
Starter homes, particularly in the Merrow and Burpham areas, have been overwhelmingly popular as the shift towards remote working continues. We’ve noticed there are still a significant number of student properties on the market, a surprise given the short amount of time left before the start of the 2021 academic year. Downward price pressure on these properties is continuing and we are seeing landlords having to provide flexibility on tenant numbers, such as renting out four bedroom properties to groups of three tenants. Investors have certainly noticed these pressures, and several landlords are starting to alter their portfolio profiles in response.Looking ahead to Q3, the big question is what will happen to the more than 300 student homes that are currently still available to let?
We anticipate flexibility will continue to be necessary on both price and target audiences for these HMO properties. Given the increasingly dwindling applicant base, it is likely that some of these homes will soon be offered to the professional and family markets or perhaps be offered for sale. Landlords who choose to swap their target markets will need to be prepared to invest in their properties to be attractive in an already very strong market segment.In contrast to the HMO market, we predict family and premium properties will continue to prove extremely popular due to the continued shortage of supply and strong demand. Tenants will need to be proactive if they want to secure these homes.
Although there is a consensus amongst local agents that most segments of the sales market are likely to slow down post the stamp duty holiday, our view on lettings continues to remain positive for the remainder of this year.
Marketing changes – what have we been up to?
As highlighted in our Q2 Market Report, a curious trend is emerging in the rental market in our area – and it’s one which we felt was worth exploring more.
Traditionally, the most popular properties were those that offered a good balance between quality, and price. While tenants will, of course, be more attracted to homes presented in good condition, if a similar property was available for a better price, you might expect them to be willing or even eager to compromise to save money.
Interestingly however, we are noticing that increasingly this is not the case. It is becoming ever more apparent that if a property is not presented well, it is simply not getting the interest it may have done before. In contrast, where landlords are investing in their homes and presenting them well, there have been unprecedented interest levels suggesting tenants are looking for high-spec, well-cared for properties that will stand the test of time. So price, it seems, is no longer the most important factor, as more and more potential tenants move out of the city to seek more rural living.
The chart below shows our figures for two properties, both in the family market. Home A was presented superbly, while Home B had not had money spent on it recently, and was looking somewhat tired.
|Highest ‘clicks’ on one day||570||210|
|How many days on the market||5||74|
|How many viewings||22||32|
|% of price achieved versus initial marketed price||100%||86%|
The most popular properties were those that offered a good balance between quality, and price.
What this chart doesn’t show, it that Home A achieved a record price for the area by quite some distance, proving that price is no longer the most important factor.
From an agent’s point of view, it is an absolute pleasure to have so much interest in our properties. While it does mean a lot of time spent carrying out viewings and fielding enquiries, it is fantastic to walk into a property knowing that it will show well. This also allows us to make sure we find the best possible tenants for our landlord.
Contrary to what you might think, it is not just our family and professional tenants who are proving more discerning when it comes to choosing the right rental home. Below is a comparison between two student properties, reinforcing the value of a quality finish.
Whether landlords have noticed this shift is yet to be seen, but the advice we are giving our clients is that any investment in a property will provide a good return on investment – and importantly, we don’t anticipate this being a short-lived trend.
The importance of both space and living accommodation as a flexible entity is also growing as more people continue to work remotely.
|Highest ‘clicks’ on one day||120||60|
|How many days on the market||4||111|
|How many viewings||8||7|
|% of price achieved versus initial marketed price||118%||83%|
Time really does fly!
Last quarter was our first birthday in Guildford. Since then we have welcomed three new team members and have moved into our new home at 11 Quarry Street. It’s a relaxing, informal area where we know you and your tenants will feel comfortable. Here is a quick glance of our new digs:
We continue to invest in SPOTLIGHT, our new online magazine and are busy adding more and more valuable content for you and your tenants.
With summer approaching, the warm weather is on its way (we hope…) and with the uncertainty of travelling abroad this year, it looks like our gardens will be the best place to enjoy the sunshine. So here is a recent SPOTLIGHT article on garden living to inspire those lazy summer afternoons.
However, if you’re craving a change of scenery and fancy a local getaway, here are the some of the best places in and around Guildford to escape to. ENJOY!