Are the English tired of waiting for the next housing bubble to form and then burst? The latest figures from the English Housing Survey certainly suggest so, with more households moving from the owner-occupied sector to the private rented sector than moving from the private rented sector into owner-occupation. You could say that the economic crisis and poor mortgage availability has been the driving force behind these figures but only 59% of private tenants questioned aspired to buy their own home, leaving almost half of current renters happy to stay as tenants.
Whenever the industry discusses attitudes to renting it’s inevitable the European model is cited. It’s clear that the obsession with home ownership isn’t as strong in mainland Europe, perhaps explained by more rational house price growth (2-3% per annum in Germany, for instance) and a weakened desire to make money from appreciation as a result.
But what really makes renting far more acceptable across the Channel is the quality of the accommodation and the gravitas given to the rental process. Nor is it considered to be inferior to live in a rented property, as the standard of living – and level of service given to tenants – is as good, or even better, than the owner-occupier sector.
If your lettings business is to grow it needs to show the same respect for rental properties as it does for sales. That means managing properties with a superior level of professionalism, taking rental marketing seriously and seeking out quality accommodation – even if it means working with landlords to improve the specification and condition of their portfolio.
With possible higher interest rates on the horizon and a general election expected in May 2015, leaving the industry open to change, there is a chance to exploit a nation that seems to be warming to long-term renting.
*Simon Duce is managing director of the [URL=”http://www.arpm.co.uk”]ARPM Group[/URL], who provides national outsourced lettings and property management services