2022 was a very odd year and no sooner had the worries of Covid eased then the impacts of higher interest rates, higher fuel prices and an overall general price increases have added worry into the industry. The terrible October budget fiasco slowed the market significantly for several weeks.
Supply of homes
Last year started with a low amount of houses to rent a result of a boom in demand post the lockdown era. Gradually this has increased with November seeing double the supply that August did! Overall the end of the year saw a steady increase in new houses coming on to the letting market.
We seem to have gained a number of homes from the holiday let market which whilst lucrative does require a good deal of input and time form owners. As costs of utilities etc have spiked the profit from this also reduced making longer term lets preferable.
So far in 2023 whilst we have taken on a good number of house and flats to rent most have been let very quickly with the supply overall in the area currently going down quickly.
We expect the current submarine to depart Barrow before March and this will release a high number of houses to the market as the submarine staff move with the boat.
Demand for houses
With a greater amount of people working from home there have been slightly less of the previously common mid- week staff working at Bae in 2022. This has been more than compensated by a very significant influx of people coming to work in the medical and care profession from overseas. Of late this has been predominantly from outside of Europe as the Nhs and care providers continue to source staff from further afield.
Prices had risen quickly in the early and middle part of the year and then settled down again now although rents are certainly higher than a year ago and we think they will rise again this year.
Gardens, space and contemporary décor/ furnishings continue to be in high demand whilst more dated homes are less popular. Writing in mid-January 2023 this week we have taken over a dozen good applications this week alone.
Tenants & Applicants
Many of you will have benefited from new consumer units over the few years as landlords have been meeting the new regulations, these simply make your home a little safer.
Sadly we are with multiple application on many properties we are having to so no to a large number of potential customers. The impact of rising costs to landlord has also made them more risk adverse.
Rent increases – it has been common for landlords to seek increases upon renewal. Those customers who have been with us a long time will know we don’t just automatically increase the rents every year but try to keep rents reasonable for long term customers. In most cases this be dependent on your own landlord’s circumstances.
No good news on tax in the budget unfortunately. Some landlords have been switching to a Ltd company ownership to (quite fairly) benefit from different tax implications. There are both plus and negative aspects to this and you should take good advice before making any change. Consideration of your medium and long term plans is required to make the right choice.
We have had to increase some prices and remove some of our older discounts. Thankfully we have been able to do this by mutual agreement. The reality is that even without inflation and wage rises the level of work required for us to manage houses properly has increased very , very significantly. We believe we are actually now cheaper than most agents as we do not have such an extensive list of extra fees for things that we include.
Condensation in houses.
As everyone worries about the cost of heating we are seeing ever more issues with condensation in houses, this is the time of year it always becomes an issue this year just proving much more common. Of course the current cold snap has certainly not helped and most houses will see condensation on the inside of windows.
Whilst there can be a host of reasons “lifestyle” does tend to be the main cause and now a reluctance from propel to have the heating on. This is often a cause for angst between landlords and tenants and we are keen to help with the issue wherever we can.
There is a lot more advice on our website in the faq section but the simplest thing to do when it is cold also is to remove the water droplets off the window/windowsill with paper tissues and flush it down the loo. If the water is left it is very likely to lead to black spore mould which can then spread and is also bad for your health.
We expect that in the short term the cost of living issues will continue. Interest rates are also likely to rise and some landlords with be looking to increase rents with view to simply covering increased cost. The housing market for sales is likely to slow as the massive increase in the cost of borrowing will make more people choose to rent either medium or indeed for the longer term. Prices of houses are being held up by the continued lack of supply.
Should the housing market continue to slow the benefit to tenants will be an increase in supply as some owners will continue or start to let rather than sell in a weaker sales market. Demand for rental homes from families is likely to increase.
Overall the picture locally is good, BAE is doing well and Barrow is set to benefit from many millions of pound of investment in the next few years. The acquisition of office space for staff within the Barrow town centre town centre is brilliant news as is speculation of new forthcoming orders for submarines built in Barrow.
Hopefully the inflationary pressure will ease over the next year and interest rates will stabilise too.