August is typically a month when many people will be on holiday enjoying the sea and sun and a bit of time off. As a result, seasonally August is a month that tends to be a bit quieter for sales while August and September are some of the busiest times for lettings as students look for somewhere to live in preparation for the next term.
This August we’re seeing an even bigger shift in the lettings market.
In the last 3 weeks in our 5 West London offices, we’ve had 1/3 more tenants registering, but the same number of properties being offered for let. That means one thing – prospective tenants are competing for fewer properties. In London there are close to 7 tenants chasing every available property.
Across the city, demand to rent is rising at more than nine times the rate of supply reaching a four year high.
In essence if you’re serious about finding a rental property and haven’t viewed in the last 24 hours, you may find yourself missing out on the pick of lettings properties. My advice to prospective tenants is be prepared to view immediately and make a decision quickly to secure your dream home.
The tighter criteria for the new Mortgage Market Review (MMR) and the speculation over the possibility of interest rates rising have caused many prospective buyers to pause before making a commitment to buying. Instead, people are choosing to rent while they wait to see where the market will go from here.
With more renters vying for the same property, London rents have increased 5% annually and by 3% since May 2014. While in some areas supply has increased, demand has increased at a greater rate, rising 43% on the year and 11% on the month.
In Ealing, we’ve not seen a marked increase in supply but certainly have seen far more tenants registering which puts the pressure on tenants to act quickly to scoop the best properties before someone else.
No squeeze on mortgage restrictions for buy-to-let mortgages
The new mortgage lending criteria does not apply to buy-to-let mortgages which means that combined with the increasing demand for rental property, savvy investors have spotted the opportunity offered by the current market and are adding to their portfolios.
Applications for buy-to-let mortgages have seen a 14% annual increase in June and a 12% increase since May – the highest level since the beginning of 2014. People are still seeing more value and security in bricks and mortar as a way to save for retirement, particularly in light of recent changes to pension annuities.
August is typically a slightly quieter period of the year in sales, but those buyers who are out viewing property are serious about moving. We’re finding that buyers are viewing more properties before making a decision and they are thoroughly researching properties to establish what they should be offering. So you need to be aware that the buyers in this market are well-educated about prices and your property needs be priced accordingly.
Selfridges has already opened their Christmas department which may seem a bit cringe-worthy to those who are still enjoying the warm weather and working on their tans on holiday, but sellers who takes steps now to get their property marketed will be ahead of the curve. Even if you’re not ready to begin showing your property right now, starting the wheels turning now will mean that come September you’ll be ready, giving you the best opportunity to receive your Christmas cards at your new address.
I remember at this time last year standing in the queue in a central London café and overhearing two people discussing how Ealing is the place to watch for investment. The discussion revolved around the introduction of Crossrail in 2018. Since that time, the investment in Ealing and in Acton has increased. Redevelopment is pouring into the area with millions of pounds being spent on refurbishment of parks like Walpole Park in Ealing and Gunnersbury Park in Acton as well as mixed commercial and residential developments planned like Ealing Filmworks in Ealing Broadway and the Oaks Shopping Centre in Acton heightening the buzz around W3, W5 and W13 in particular.
One way to spot if an area is hot or not is to take a look at the number and calibre of new homes and developments in the area. Ealing and Acton are getting a lot of attention from innovative developers like Uplift, who have created several exciting new developments in the area, including this selection of 1-2 bedroom luxury apartments in Madeley Road.
The focus in these new homes is mainly on 1-3 bedroom apartments with design-led interiors and high tech details like Uplift’s iPad interfaces providing central music entertainment and remote heating systems that control the entire home and keyless touchscreen entry. Buyers snapping up these homes are looking for something that is bespoke. Uplift has spotted that “off-the-shelf” homes are just not enough to attract today’s new homes buyers and have started offering bonus features like 3 years free Zipcar membership and a £1,000 driving credit to attract this new buyer who increasingly seeing Ealing and Acton as the place to be.
With things in West London changing rapidly, you need to make sure that when you choose an estate agent that they are keeping pace with the changes. One way to spot success is expansion – last year we expanded our successful Ealing Broadway lettings office to include sales giving us unparalleled coverage in Ealing. We’re now planning the opening of new office in Acton which will give us a line of offices running right across the centre of West London.
Our offices work as a team rather than as isolated miniature markets – that means that those sellers and landlords who choose to market with Northfields will know that their property will be exposed to buyers in all 6 offices.
As the market in Ealing and Shepherd’s Bush (where we already have well-established offices) sees increased demand, the natural overflow into bordering Acton will see this area become a hot-spot and we’ll be there to make sure your property is getting the attention and exposure you need.
If you want to market your property in W3, now is the time to take advantage of our award-winning marketing as we ramp up the excitement in Acton.
If you have any questions about the property market in Ealing or West London feel free to give us a call on 0208 740 6622 or request your valuation online. Even if you’re not ready to sell or let yet, we’d be happy to give you an up-to-date valuation of your property so you know exactly how the West London market will affect you.