ARLA Members Survey of the Private Rented Sector

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1 Prepared for The Association of Residential Letting Agents ARLA Members Survey of the Private Rented Sector Fourth Quarter 2013 Prepared by: O M Carey Jones 5 Henshaw Lane Yeadon Leeds LS19 7RW December, 2013

2 CONTENTS Page 1. INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND 4 2. METHODOLOGY 5 3. SUMMARY 6 4. RESULTS Geographic location (Q.1) Proportion of portfolio made up of investment property (Q.3) Number of purely investment properties managed (Q.4) Average value of rented residential properties (Q.5) Average rental return on rented residential property (Q.6) Average void period per year (Q.7) Number of new tenancies (not renewals) signed up in the last three months (Q.8) Balance of supply & demand in the rented residential property sector (Q.9) Average length of continuous stay in property (Q.10) Change in achievable rent levels over last 6 months (Q.11) Are you seeing an increase in rental property coming onto the market because it cannot be sold? (Q.12) For which types of property are you seeing an increase in rental properties coming onto the market because they cannot be sold? (Q.13) Have you seen an increase in the number of tenants struggling to meet rental payments in the last six months? (Q.14) 57 Page 2

3 4.14 Are you aware of an increase in tenants asking lenders for references on potential landlords to ensure they are financially viable? (Q.15) Have you seen an increase in tenants haggling with landlords over rents in the last six months? (Q.16) What proportion of potential/existing landlord & tenant clients ask if you are licensed? (Q.17) Have you seen an increase in the last twelve months in the proportion of potential/existing landlord and tenant clients asking if you are licensed? (Q.18) Regarding the proposal in the Government s Immigration Bill that prospective tenants immigration status be checked, would you feel confident that you could make those checks? How are landlords currently acting over their net investment in residential property (Q.19) Types of new prospective tenants currently encountered most often (Q.20) 77 Page 3

4 1. INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND ARLA is keen to ensure that the service it provides to its members is relevant to their needs and takes account of the specific and unique requirements of residential letting agents and their investor landlords. In order to help achieve this, ARLA has commissioned research to ensure that they are kept up to date with agents requirements and concerns as they change with economic conditions, hopes and fears. The research is conducted by Owen Carey Jones who specialises in the UK mortgage market and currently conducts several regular quarterly surveys of residential landlords and financial advisers on behalf of a number of clients. Page 4

5 2. METHODOLOGY ARLA members were ed during November with the URL for the on-line survey and asked to go on-line to complete the survey and by the closing date 643 members had completed the survey on-line. These responses were analysed and tables of data produced upon which this report is based. Page 5

6 3. SUMMARY Compared with three months ago, the average weighted rental return for houses is down from 5.2% to 5.0% and the average weighted rental return for flats is down from 5.4% to 5.2%. These changes do no more than reverse the changes seen three months ago. On balance ARLA members report increased achievable rent levels over the last six months on all types of rented property. However, the average proportion of respondents across all property types who say they think achievable rent levels have increased over the last six months has fallen from 44% to 39%. The overall average capital asset value of rented houses has risen by 3.7% over the last three months, more than reversing the fall seen three months ago. This increase has come as a result of substantial increases in the average value of rented houses for those in the Rest of the South East (up by 8.2%) and those in the Rest of the UK (up by 9.6%). These increases outweighed a decrease of 1.2% for those managing properties in Prime Central London. Over the same period, the overall average value of rented flats rose by 1.7%, the fourth increase in succession. This increase has come as a result of increases in the average value of rented flats for those in the Rest of the South East (up by 5.8%) and those in the Rest of the UK (up by 7.2%). These increases outweighed a decrease of 2.6% for those managing properties in Prime Central London. Since the last survey three months ago, demand in the rented residential property sector has weakened a little in terms of the overall proportion of respondents saying that there are more tenants than there are properties available for them, with the figure falling quite sharply from 52% to 46%, the third fall in succession. This overall decline was reflected in the figures for all the broad geographic areas. The proportion of ARLA members who think landlords are currently increasing their net investment in residential property by buying properties rose this quarter from 37% to 43%, more than wiping out the fall seen three months ago and again taking the figure to its highest level since the question was first asked more than nine years ago. The proportion of respondents who think landlords are currently decreasing their net investment by selling properties is down from 16% to 15%. As a result of these changes, the margin between the proportion saying landlords are buying and the proportion saying they are selling is now the widest we have ever seen. Compared with three months ago, the average void period is up from 2.9 weeks to 3.0 weeks, yet again reversing the increase seen in the previous quarter, whilst the average number of new tenancies signed up in the preceding three months is up slightly from 34 to 35 tenancies. The average proportion of ARLA members offices portfolios which are made up of investment property is almost unchanged compared with three months ago at 56% and the average number of purely investment properties which are managed by ARLA members offices is also almost unchanged at 140 properties. Page 6

7 On average, ARLA members say that tenants remain in the same property for a period of 19.4 months, a figure which is down a little from 19.6 months in the third quarter. The proportion of ARLA members offices who believe that they are seeing an increase in rental property coming onto the market because it cannot be sold has fallen yet again over the last three months, this time from 21% to 18%, taking the figure to it s lowest level since this question was first asked more than 5 years ago, when it stood at 93%. Detached and semi-detached houses are still the types of property most likely to be coming onto the market for this reason. There has been another fall in the proportion of ARLA members offices saying that they have seen an increase in the number of tenants struggling to meet rental payments in the last six months with the figure dropping from 35% to 27%, an all time low compared with when the question was first asked in 2009 at which time the figure stood at 65%. However, there has been a rise in the proportion saying that they have seen an increase in tenants haggling with landlords over rents in the last six months with that figure rising from 45% to 48%, partially reversing the decrease seen last quarter. Over the last three months, there has been no change in the proportion of ARLA members offices saying that they are aware of an increase in tenants asking lenders for references on potential landlords to ensure they are financially viable, with the figure remaining at 10%. Half of ARLA members offices (50%, down from 52% three months ago) say that none of their potential or existing tenant clients ask them if they are licensed, a figure which falls to little more than a third when it relates to potential or existing landlord clients (36%, unchanged compared with three months ago). Nevertheless, a small minority say that most or all of their potential and existing tenant and landlord clients ask this question (2% and 6% respectively). Little more than one in twenty ARLA members offices (6%, down from 8% three months ago) think that the proportion of potential or existing clients asking if they are licensed has increased over the last 12 months. With regard to the proposal in the Government s Immigration Bill that prospective tenants immigration status be checked, half of ARLA members offices (50%) say that they feel confident that they could make those checks with only a little over a quarter (27%) saying they do not. This leaves less than a quarter (22%) who are unsure whether or not they would feel confident making the necessary checks. ARLA members offices are currently most likely to encounter, as new prospective tenants, people who have been renting for some years because they prefer renting to buying (average ranking of 1.7) with those who would be first time buyers except that they cannot get a mortgage coming a close second (average ranking of 1.8). This reverses the situation seen three months ago, which put these two tenant types the other way round. Least likely to be encountered are people who are having or have had their house repossessed (average ranking of 3.7) with those who are selling or have sold their house because they can no longer afford the mortgage being in third place (average ranking of 2.9). Page 7

8 4. RESULTS The following sections detail the results of the survey for the fourth quarter of The results have been broken down into three broad geographic areas which are Prime Central London (comprising London & South East based respondents who manage properties in Prime Central London), the Rest of the South East and the Rest of the UK. Data has also been included for each of the regions making up the UK as shown in the table in section 4.1 below but it should be remembered that the number of respondents from some regions is relatively small and data for these regions should therefore be treated with a degree of caution as it will tend to vary quarter by quarter quite independently of any actual changes which may have taken place. For this reason, we have used comparative data averaged over three quarters. This is known as a three quarter moving average and helps to iron out any temporary fluctuations occurring quarter by quarter because of relatively small sample sizes. Page 8

9 4.1 Geographic Location (Q.1) The South East, including London, was the region with the highest proportion of ARLA member offices responding, accounting for six out of ten respondents (60%). After the South East, the South West and the Midlands (12% and 11% respectively) were the regions with the most respondents. Geographic Percent of Respondents (%) Region Q2.13 Q3.13 Q4.13 Central London Rest of London (inside M25) South East (excl. London) South West Midlands North West North East Scotland/Wales/NI Base: All respondents (507) (524) (643) Compared with the third quarter survey, there were higher proportions of respondents from Central London, the Rest of London, the South West, the Midlands and Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland and there were lower proportions from the South East, the North West and the North East. Page 9

10 4.2 Proportion of Portfolio Made Up of Investment Property (Q.3) More than eight out of ten respondents (85%) said that more than a quarter of their portfolio is investment property with more than a quarter (26%) saying that more than three quarters of theirs is investment property. Investment properties comprise a tenth or less of their portfolio for just one in twenty offices (5%). Analysis of the responses to this question reveals that, on average, investment properties account for 56% of ARLA member offices portfolios. Proportion Percent of Respondents (%) of Portfolio Prime Rest Rest All London of SE of UK Regions None Up to 10% % to 25% % to 50% % to 75% Over 75% Not stated Base: All respondents (163) (221) (259) (643) Differences between the broad geographic areas are very small with investment properties making up between 54% and 58% of portfolios. Compared with the last survey in the third quarter, the average proportion of portfolios which are in the form of investment property is up very slightly at 56%. Within this overall position, Prime Central London saw its average proportion rise from 55% to 58% whilst the proportions for the Rest of the South East and the Rest of the UK were almost unchanged, falling very slightly to 55% in both cases. Page 10

11 Geographic Average Proportion of Portfolio (%) Area Q1.13 Q2.13 Q3.13 Q4.13 Prime Central London South East Rest of UK All Regions Base: All respondents (527) (507) (524) (643) As can be seen from the chart below, the proportion of respondents portfolios which is made up of investment property, having levelled off for a period of a year from mid-2002 to mid-2003, rose sharply between mid-2003 and mid At the end of 2004 the figure levelled off again before slowly reducing during the first half of However, both surveys for the second half of 2005 showed the figure was on the increase again and during 2006 this upward trend continued. Surveys for the first two quarters of 2007 saw falls in the average figure but overall, until the first quarter of 2008, the figure was fairly steady at between 50% and 53%. After that there were two consecutive falls taking the figure down to its lowest level for 5 years before it bounced back sharply and the results from the next eighteen months showed an upward trend. Results during 2010, however, brought an end to that upward trend with the average levelling off at between 53% and 54% before falling but by the end of 2011, this decline had levelled off. The results from the first two quarters of 2012, which both produced quite sharp increases, took the figure to its highest level since these surveys began 12 years ago but the fall seen in the third quarter took the figure back to where it had been at the end of However, this fall was followed by another increase in the last quarter of the year and the increase seen in the first quarter of 2013 took the figure to its second highest ever level where it now appears to have stabilised. Page 11

12 Regional Analysis The three quarter moving average proportions for each of the regions of the UK are shown in the table below from which it can be seen that there is not a great deal of difference between the regions on this question although, for offices in Central London, investment properties do form a higher proportion of their portfolios than they do for any other region. In the Midlands, the proportions of investment properties are also slightly higher than for the rest of the country excluding Central London. Geographic Average Proportion of Portfolio (%) Region (three quarter moving average) Q1.13 Q2.13 Q3.13 Q4.13 Central London Rest of London Rest of South East South West Midlands North West North East Scotland/Wales/NI Base: All respondents (527) (507) (524) (643) Compared with the three quarter moving average from three months ago, there have been mixed changes with some regions seeing an increase and others a decrease. Central London and the Rest of London were the only regions to see noticeable decreases with all bar two of the other regions seeing noticeable increases. The exceptions were the Rest of the South East which saw a marginal increase and the Midlands which saw a marginal decrease. Page 12

13 4.3 Number of Purely Investment Properties Managed (Q.4) By and large, ARLA members offices manage substantial numbers of purely investment properties with nearly half (46%) saying that they manage over a hundred properties and more than eight out of ten (84%) managing in excess of 20 properties. Analysis of these responses shows that the average number of purely investment properties managed by ARLA members offices is currently 140. Number of Percent of Respondents (%) Properties Prime Rest Rest All London of SE of UK Regions Up to to to to to Over Not stated Base: All respondents (163) (221) (259) (643) Offices managing properties in Prime Central London tend to manage considerably fewer properties on average than their counterparts elsewhere in the country with the average numbers being 68 for Prime Central London, 145 for the Rest of the South East and 189 for the Rest of the UK. Compared with the third quarter, the average number of properties managed is unchanged at 140. As can be seen in the chart below, the long term upward trend, which has been quite strong for most of the 12 years since this question was first asked, became even stronger during the winter of 2012/13. Page 13

14 The falls seen in the middle two quarters of the year, however, suggest that the big increase seen then was no more than a temporary blip. The stable overall position seen this quarter masks an increase for Prime Central London, which has lifted the figure a little from its lowest level for 5 years, which was reached three months ago. In addition, there was a substantial increase for the Rest of the South East and, contrastingly, a substantial fall for the Rest of the UK. Geographic Average Number of Properties Area Q1.13 Q2.13 Q3.13 Q4.13 Prime Central London South East Rest of UK All Regions Base: All respondents (527) (507) (524) (643) As can be seen from the chart below, the average number of properties managed by ARLA members in the Rest of the UK, having risen rapidly during 2002 and 2003, stayed in the range 130 to 150 properties until mid 2007 after which it hit a rising trend. During 2009 it levelled off again and then fluctuated wildly during 2010, 2011, 2012 and Nevertheless, despite its quite volatile performance in recent years, the trend is clearly an upward one. The average for the Rest of the South East evidenced a slight rising trend until the beginning of 2006, after which it declined, although each decline was followed by a period of recovery. After mid 2007, the average rose fairly steadily but fluctuated quite wildly during 2009 whilst overall maintaining its level at around 110 properties. As with the Rest of the UK, the Rest of the South East exhibited some fluctuations during 2010 but settled into a rising trend during 2011 and early However that ended with the results from mid 2012 and the quite dramatic increases seen in the last quarter of 2012 and the first Page 14

15 quarter of 2013 took the figure to its highest ever level. The decline seen in the following two quarters partially reversed the increases seen over the winter of 2012/13 but the increase this quarter has taken the figure back up to an historically high level. For Prime Central London the figure was relatively steady at an average of between 60 and 70 properties for some time, despite occasionally moving outside this range, although there was a trend for the figure to increase from mid 2006 until the beginning of 2008 when it levelled off and started to fall. During 2009, the figure rose steadily to reach a figure only marginally below its all time high and then continued to climb as a result of alternating increases with smaller decreases during 2010, 2011 and into The increases seen over the winter of 2012/13 took the figure to its highest ever level but the decreases seen during the summer of 2013 took the figure to its lowest level for 5 years, from which it has increased slightly with the results from this quarter. Page 15

16 Regional Analysis Looking at the results for the individual regions of the UK reveals that the three quarter moving average number of purely investment properties managed by respondents offices appears to be lower in the southern half of England than elsewhere, with the highest number (320) being found in the North East and the lowest number (72) in Central London. Geographic Region Average Number of Properties (three quarter moving average) Q1.13 Q2.13 Q3.13 Q4.13 Central London Rest of London Rest of South East South West Midlands North West North East Scotland/Wales/NI Base: All respondents (527) (507) (524) (643) Compared with the results from the third quarter, there have been some changes with noticeable decreases for Central London, the Rest of London, the North West and Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland. Conversely, the South West and The Midlands both had noticeable increases with the biggest increase being for the Midlands (up from 224 to 243). The other two regions, the Rest of the South East and the North East saw hardly any change at all. Page 16

17 4.4 Average Value of Rented Residential Properties (Q.5) Houses More than four out of ten respondents (43%) said that the average value of a rented house in their area is between 150,000 and 350,000. Less than one in thirty offices (3%) said that the average is below 100,000 but for more than one in ten respondents (12%), the average in their area is in excess of 1 million. Analysis of these figures gives an overall weighted average value for a rented house of 464,100. Average Percent of Respondents (%) Value of Houses Prime Rest Rest All London of SE of UK Regions Up to 100, ,001 to 150, ,001 to 200, ,001 to 350, ,001 to 500, ,001 to 750, ,001 to 1 Million Over 1 Million Not stated Base: All respondents (163) (221) (259) (643) There are big differences between the values of rented houses in the different geographical areas with the average for those managing properties in Prime Central London being 952,900 compared with 378,000 for the Rest of the South East and 232,700 for the Rest of the UK. Compared with the last survey three months ago, the overall weighted average value of rented houses has risen by 3.7% from 447,700 to 464,100, more than reversing the decrease seen three months ago. Page 17

18 Within this overall change, the average value of a rented house in Prime Central London has fallen by 1.2%, the second quarterly fall in succession, whilst the average for the Rest of the South East has risen by 8.2%, reversing the fall seen in the third quarter. The average for the Rest of the UK rose even more, by 9.6%, its third increase in succession, and is now at its highest level for more than 6 years. Geographic Average Value of Rented Houses (000s) Area Q1.13 Q2.13 Q3.13 Q4.13 Prime Central London South East Rest of UK All Regions (weighted) Base: All respondents (527) (507) (524) (643) As can be seen from the chart below, between May 2003 and August 2004 the average value of a rented house increased by 16% from 306,100 to 353,800 and, after stabilising for a couple of years, continued rising until the summer of 2007 when it peaked at 442,600. After that, the average fell by 16% before stabilising during 2008 but then fell sharply in mid 2009 to reach a three year low before bouncing back equally sharply in the following two quarters. The results from the surveys in the first half of 2010 confirmed that these increases were not temporary blips but, in the second half of 2010, the average value turned down, ending the upward trend which had run from mid 2009 to mid Since the beginning of 2011, there have been frequent quarterly fluctuations in the average value of a rented house but, overall, the trend has been upwards and the average is now at it s highest level since this question was first asked 11 years ago. Page 18

19 Regional Analysis Data relating to individual regions of the UK shows that, not surprisingly, by and large the further away from London rented houses are located, the lower is their average value with properties from the Midlands northwards having a similar average value, well below those in the south east of the country. Geographic Region Average Value of Rented Houses (000s) (three quarter moving average) Q1.13 Q2.13 Q3.13 Q4.13 Central London 1,216 1,243 1,255 1,212 Rest of London Rest of South East South West Midlands North West North East Scotland/Wales/NI Base: All respondents (527) (507) (524) (643) Compared with three months ago, the three quarter moving average values of rented houses for some regions have changed noticeably with a noticeable decrease in Central London (3.4%). Conversely, there were noticeable increases for the South West (9.3%), the North West (5.8%) and the Rest of London (5.4%). For the other four regions there was relatively little or no change in the average value of a rented house. Page 19

20 Flats More than four out of ten respondents (41%) said that the average value of a rented flat in their area is between 100,000 and 200,000. However, nearly one in seven respondents (14%), said that the average value of a rented flat in their area is below 100,000 compared with little more than one in thirty (3.6%) who said that the average value is in excess of 1 million. Analysis of these figures gives an overall weighted average value for a rented flat of 298,700. Average Percent of Respondents (%) Value of Flats Prime Rest Rest All London of SE of UK Regions Up to 100, ,001 to 150, ,001 to 200, ,001 to 350, ,001 to 500, ,001 to 750, ,001 to 1 Million Over 1 Million Not stated Base: All respondents (163) (221) (259) (643) As with rented houses, there are big differences between the values of rented flats in the different geographical areas with the average for Prime Central London being 637,200 compared with 234,000 in the Rest of South East and 145,200 in the Rest of the UK. Compared with the third quarter, the overall weighted average value of a rented flat is up by 1.7% from 293,800 to 298,700. Within that overall position, the average value of rented flats for Prime Central London fell by 2.6% whilst the average for Rest of the South East rose by 5.8% and the average for the Rest of the UK rose by 7.2%. Page 20

21 Geographic Average Value of Rented Flats (000s) Area Q1.13 Q2.13 Q3.13 Q4.13 Prime Central London South East Rest of UK All Regions (weighted) Base: All respondents (527) (507) (524) (643) As can be seen from the chart below, between 2003 and 2007, the average value of a rented flat increased by 46% from 189,100 in the second quarter of 2003 to 275,800 in the third quarter of 2007 despite the occasional temporary downturn. However, after that, average values of flats fell by 15%, reaching a three year low of 234,900 in the second quarter of 2009 before bouncing back sharply. The first three quarters of 2010 saw small falls in the average value of rented flats but these were reversed in the next three quarters to leave the figure at an historically high level. Against this backdrop, despite the sharp fluctuations seen in the second half of 2011 and the first two quarters of 2012, the overall trend remained upwards but the fall seen in the third quarter of 2012 brought that to an end. The increases seen during 2013, however, have more than reversed that fall and taken the figure to its highest ever level, restoring the long term upward trend seen over the last four years. Page 21

22 Regional Analysis As was the case for values of rented houses, results for individual regions of the UK show that, not unexpectedly, by and large, the further north rented flats are located, the lower is their average value. The chart below, showing the three quarter moving average values, shows this quite clearly. Geographic Region Average Value of Rented Flats (000s) (three quarter moving average) Q1.13 Q2.13 Q3.13 Q4.13 Central London Rest of London Rest of South East South West Midlands North West North East Scotland/Wales/NI Base: All respondents (527) (507) (524) (643) Compared with three months ago, there were some noticeable changes in the three quarter moving average values of rented houses for each region with all but two regions seeing changes of 2.6% or more. The regions with decreases were the North East (down by 4.0%), and Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland (down by 2.6%). The regions with the biggest increases were the South West (up by 7.6%), the Rest of London (up by 6.7%) and the North West (up by 5.6%). Page 22

23 Summary As was to be expected, average values of rented houses are much higher than those of rented flats with the overall weighted average value of a rented house being 55% higher than that of a rented flat. With regard to differences for the three broad geographic areas, the smallest difference was seen by those managing properties in Prime Central London where the average figure for houses is now 50% higher than that for flats. The differences between the values of houses and flats for those in the Rest of the South East and for those in the Rest of the UK are higher with the figures being 62% and 60% respectively. Geographic Average Value of Properties (000s) Area Houses Flats Prime Central London Rest of the South East Rest of the UK All Regions (weighted) Base: All respondents (643) Compared with the third quarter, the average value of rented houses has risen by 3.7% and the average value of rented flats has risen by 1.7%. In both cases, these increases have taken the averages to all time highs. With regard to the broad geographic areas, Prime Central London has seen a decrease in the average value of houses (down by 1.2%) and in the average value of flats (down by 2.6%). Conversely, the Rest of the South East saw quite big rises in the average values of rented houses (up by 8.2%) and rented flats (up by 5.8%) but the Rest of the UK saw the biggest increases for both rented houses (up by 9.6%) and rented flats (up by 7.2%). Page 23

24 Regional Analysis Looking at average values of rented houses compared with average values of rented flats within individual regions confirms, not surprisingly, that across all regions, houses command higher prices than flats. However, more interestingly, the data for the three quarter moving average shows that the relative difference is much more marked in the south of England (excluding Central London) where rented house values are between 67% and 75% higher than rented flat values and much less marked in the Midlands and north of England where rented house values are only between 48% and 53% higher than rented flat values. Against this geographical trend, the difference for Central London was just 45% whilst the difference in Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland (54%) is similar to the north of England. Compared with three months ago, the differences between average prices for rented houses and those for rented flats are similar. Geographic Region Average Value of Properties (000s) (three quarter moving average) Houses Flats Central London 1, Rest of London Rest of South East South West Midlands North West North East Scotland/Wales/NI Base: All respondents (643) Page 24

25 4.5 Average Rental Return on Rented Residential Property (Q.6) Houses According to ARLA members offices, a rental return of 4% to 5% appears to be the norm for rented houses with getting on for half of respondents (45%) saying that this applies to their area. Analysis of these results reveals a weighted average rental return on rented houses of 5.0%. Average Percent of Respondents (%) Return Prime Rest Rest All London of SE of UK Regions Less than 4% % to 5% % % % % to 10% % to 12% % to 15% Over 15% Not stated Base: All respondents (163) (221) (259) (643) There is considerable difference in rates of return between the three broad geographic areas with the average for those managing properties in Prime Central London being the lowest at 4.2% compared with 5.1% for the Rest of the South East and 5.5% for the Rest of the UK. Geographic Average Rental Return (%) Area Q1.13 Q2.13 Q3.13 Q4.13 Prime Central London South East Rest of UK All Regions (weighted) Base: All respondents (527) (507) (524) (643) Compared with the third quarter, the overall average weighted rental return on houses is down from 5.2% to 5.0%, reversing the change seen then. This overall change was reflected in the changes seen for each of the broad geographic areas with Prime Central London seeing a fall from 4.5% to 4.2%, the Rest of the South East a fall from 5.3% to 5.1% and the Rest of the UK a fall from 5.6% to 5.5%. Page 25

26 Regional Analysis Results for individual regions of the UK show that there is some correlation between where in the UK houses are located and the average rental return earned from them with regions in the north doing better than those in the south. The lowest three quarter moving average rental return (3.8%) was found in Central London and the highest (6.0%) in the North West. Geographic Average Rental Return on Houses (%) Region (three quarter moving average) Q1.13 Q2.13 Q3.13 Q4.13 Central London Rest of London Rest of South East South West Midlands North West North East Scotland/Wales/NI Base: All respondents (527) (507) (524) (643) Compared with three months ago, there have been some changes with Central London, the South West, the Midlands and the North East all having noticeably higher averages this quarter whilst the Rest of London and Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland both had lower averages this time. The Rest of the South East and the North West both had unchanged averages. There was no clear correlation between where the regions were located and the change in their average rental return on residential houses. Page 26

27 Flats A rental return of between 4% and 6% appears to be the norm for rented flats with more than six out of ten respondents (61%) saying that this applies to their area. Analysis of these results reveals a weighted average rental return on rented flats of 5.2%. Average Percent of Respondents (%) Return Prime Rest Rest All London of SE of UK Regions Less than 4% % to 5% % % % % to 10% % to 12% % to 15% Over 15% Not stated Base: All respondents (163) (221) (259) (643) Compared with rented houses, there are similar differences in the rental rates of return for rented flats between the different geographical areas, with the average for those managing properties in Prime Central London being the lowest (4.4%) and that for the Rest of the UK the highest (5.5%) with that for the Rest of the South East falling between these two extremes (5.4%). Geographic Average Rental Return (%) Area Q1.13 Q2.13 Q3.13 Q4.13 Prime Central London South East Rest of UK All Regions (weighted) Base: All respondents (527) (507) (524) (643) Compared with the last survey in the third quarter, the overall weighted average rental return on flats is down from 5.4% to 5.2%. As was the case with rented houses, this overall change was reflected in the changes seen for each of the broad geographic areas. The average for Prime Central London was down the most, from 5.0% to 4.4% whilst that for the Rest of the South East was down from 5.5% to 5.4% and that for the Rest of the UK was down from 5.7% to 5.5%. Page 27

28 Regional Analysis Unlike rental returns on houses, results for individual regions of the UK show that rental returns on flats in each region exhibit no clear pattern related to where they are located with the highest three quarter moving average rental returns being obtained in Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland (6.5%), the Rest of London (5.7%) and the North East (5.7%) and the lowest being obtained in Central London (4.2%). The other regions all had very similar average rates of return for flats (between 5.2% and 5.4%) Geographic Average Rental Return on Flats (%) Region (three quarter moving average) Q1.13 Q2.13 Q3.13 Q4.13 Central London Rest of London Rest of South East South West Midlands North West North East Scotland/Wales/NI Base: All respondents (527) (507) (524) (643) Compared with three months ago, three quarter moving average rental returns on flats have been static for all regions except the Rest of London, which saw its three quarter moving average fall from 5.8% to 5.7%). Page 28

29 Summary The lowest average rental returns are currently being earned on houses in Prime Central London (4.2%) with the highest returns being earned on both houses and flats in the Rest of the UK (5.5% in both cases). Geographic Average Rental Return (%) Area Houses Flats Prime Central London Rest of the South East Rest of the UK All Regions (weighted) Base: All respondents (643) Overall flats seem to be achieving a higher average rental rate of return than houses, 5.2% compared with 5.0%. This difference is reflected in Prime Central London and the Rest of the South East but in the Rest of the UK, rented houses and flats are achieving similar average rental rates of return. Page 29

30 Regional Analysis As can be seen from the table and chart below, which show the three quarter moving average rental returns for houses and flats for each region in the UK, flats tend to outperform houses on rental return in all regions with the exceptions of the Midlands and, most noticeably, the North West. Geographic Average Rental Return Region Three Quarter Moving Average (%) Houses Flats Central London Rest of London Rest of South East South West Midlands North West North East Scotland/Wales/NI Base: All respondents (643) Page 30

31 Average Rents The table below shows the average rents being received by landlords based on the average rental returns and average property values above. Average Rents Q4.13 Geographic HOUSES FLATS Area Week Month Year Week Month Year ( ) ( ) ( 000) ( ) ( ) ( 000) Prime Central London 770 3, , Rest of the South East 371 1, , Rest of the UK 246 1, Whole Country 423 1, , Base: All respondents (643) For those managing properties in Prime Central London, the average rent for a house is currently 43% more than that for a flat. For those in the Rest of the South East and the Rest of the UK, however, the difference is considerably greater at 53% and 60% respectively. Compared with the last survey, weighted average rents for houses are down by 0.7% as a result of a quite big decrease for those managing properties in Prime Central London (down by 7.8%) which just outweighed the increases in the Rest of the South East (up by 4.1%) and the Rest of the UK (up by 7.7%). The picture for average rents for flats was similar to that for houses with an overall fall of 5.1% being accounted for by a big fall for Prime Central London (down by 14.2%) which outweighed the increases for the Rest of the South East (up by 3.9%) and the Rest of the UK (up by 3.4%). Average Rents Q3.13 Geographic HOUSES FLATS Area Week Month Year Week Month Year ( ) ( ) ( 000) ( ) ( ) ( 000) Prime Central London 835 3, , Rest of the South East 356 1, , Rest of the UK Whole Country 426 1, , Base: All respondents (524) Page 31

32 Regional Analysis Further analysis of the responses to this question enables three quarter moving average rents to be derived for each of the geographic regions included in the survey and these are shown for this quarter and last quarter in the tables below. Average Rents Q4.13 Three Quarter Moving Average (%) Geographic HOUSES FLATS Region Week Month Year Week Month Year ( ) ( ) ( 000) ( ) ( ) ( 000) Central London 878 3, , Rest of London 572 2, , Rest of South East 344 1, South West 288 1, Midlands North West 264 1, North East Scotland/Wales/NI Base: All respondents (643) Compared with three months ago, there have been mixed fortunes with the South West and the North West seeing the largest increases in average rents for both houses (up by 10.0% and 5.8% respectively) and flats (up by 8.2% and 5.6% respectively). Also seeing a larger than average increase for flats, was the Rest of London (up by 4.9%). With two exceptions, all the other regions also saw increases in average rents for both houses and flats but these were much smaller, ranging from 0.2% to 2.8%. The exceptions were the North East and Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland, which saw falls for both houses (down by 0.6% and 2.8% respectively) and flats (down by 4.0% and 3.1% respectively). Average Rents Q3.13 Three Quarter Moving Average (%) Geographic HOUSES FLATS Region Week Month Year Week Month Year ( ) ( ) ( 000) ( ) ( ) ( 000) Central London 877 3, , Rest of London 558 2, , Rest of South East 341 1, South West 262 1, Midlands North West 249 1, North East Scotland/Wales/NI Base: All respondents (524) Page 32

33 4.6 Average Void Period Per Year (Q.7) Average void periods for rented residential properties tend to be quite short with more than three quarters of ARLA members offices (77%) reporting averages of 4 weeks or less per year and, in addition, a further one in six (17%) saying the average is between 5 and 6 weeks. These figures indicate an overall average void period of 3.0 weeks (21 days) per year. Average Percent of Respondents (%) Void Period Prime Rest Rest All London of SE of UK Regions Less than 2 weeks to 4 weeks to 6 weeks to 8 weeks More than 8 weeks Don't know Not stated Base: All respondents (163) (221) (259) (643) Those in the Rest of the South East appear currently to be experiencing the shortest average void period at 2.6 weeks (18 days) compared with 3.2 weeks (22 days) for those in the Rest of the UK and 3.3 weeks (23 days) for those managing properties in Prime Central London. Compared with the third quarter, the average void period for the whole country is up a little from 2.9 weeks to 3.0 weeks, once again reversing the change seen three months earlier. As can be seen from the chart and table below, on this occasion, average void periods for those managing properties in Prime Central London were unchanged with those for the Rest of the South East and the Rest of the UK both being up a little, for the second time in succession. Page 33

34 Geographic Average Void Period (weeks) Area Q1.13 Q2.13 Q3.13 Q4.13 Prime Central London South East Rest of UK Whole Country Base: All respondents (527) (507) (524) (643) The chart below shows how the overall average void period has changed since these surveys first began and this shows that, until mid 2008 the average void period had been declining for some time and had fallen by a quarter from a high of 4.4 weeks (31 days) per year in the winter of 2003/2004 to 3.2 weeks (22 days). The rapid rise in average void periods that followed took the figure to 4.3 weeks (30 days), close to its all-time high. However, the figure then fell rapidly between mid 2009 and mid Despite a temporary increase at the end of 2010, the decline in void periods continued until third quarter of 2011 when it reached 2.7 weeks (19 days), its lowest level since these surveys began eleven years ago, before turning upwards at the end of That increase was followed by two further increases in the first half of 2012, confirming that a new upward trend was becoming established but the averages for the last six quarters, despite the quite sharp fluctuations, show that the average is now steady between 2.9 and 3.0 weeks. Page 34

35 Regional Analysis As can be seen from the table below, showing figures for each region of the UK, the three quarter moving average void period is lower in the Rest of London and the Rest of the South East (2.6 weeks in both cases) than anywhere else in the country with the average tending to increase as one moves away from London although Central London and Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland are notable exceptions to this. Geographic Region Average Void Period (weeks) (three quarter moving average) Q1.13 Q2.13 Q3.13 Q4.13 Central London Rest of London Rest of South East South West Midlands North West North East Scotland/Wales/NI Base: All respondents (527) (507) (524) (643) Compared with three months ago, the figures for the three quarter moving average void periods for all of the regions have changed very little, if at all (up or down by 0.2 weeks or less) with no clear correlation between these changes and the location of the region within the UK. Page 35

36 4.7 Number of New Tenancies (Not Renewals) Signed Up in the Last Three Months (Q.8) Nearly eight out of ten ARLA members offices (78%) have signed up more than 10 new tenancies (other than renewals) in the last three months with nearly six out of ten (57%) having signed up more than 20 and a quarter (25%) more than 50. Analysis of these results reveals that, on average, ARLA members offices have each signed up 35 new tenancies in the last three months. Number of Percent of Respondents (%) Tenancies Prime Rest Rest All London of SE of UK Regions None Up to to to to Over Not stated Base: All respondents (163) (221) (259) (643) Offices in the Rest of the UK have fared better than those managing properties in Prime Central London and those in the Rest of the South East with the average figures being 40 for the Rest of the UK, 33 for the Rest of the South East and 30 for Prime Central London. Compared with the last survey, the average number of new tenancies signed up in the preceding three months is up slightly from 34 to 35. Respondents managing properties in Prime Central London and those in the Rest of the South East both saw small falls of less than 1 new tenancy but these falls were outweighed by the increase seen in the Rest of the UK where the average rose from 37 to 40 new tenancies in the last three months. Page 36

37 Geographic Number of New Tenancies Area Q1.13 Q2.13 Q3.13 Q4.13 Prime Central London South East Rest of UK All Regions Base: All respondents (527) (507) (524) (643) The increase seen this quarter is in accordance with the seasonal trend for the fourth quarter which over the previous 10 years has delivered both increases (2003 to 2007 and 2012) and decreases (2008 to 2011). Looking past these seasonal variations, as can be seen in the graph of the three quarter moving average below, the trend up to 2008 was for the average number of new tenancies being signed up to increase but the shorter term trend over the last four years has been fairly static. Page 37

38 Regional Analysis The number of new tenancies signed up in the three months preceding the survey tends to be higher in the north than in the south of the country with the smallest three quarter moving average figures being in Central London (31) and the Rest of London (also 31) and the largest being in the North East (45). Geographic Region Number of New Tenancies (three quarter moving average) Q1.13 Q2.13 Q3.13 Q4.13 Central London Rest of London Rest of South East South West Midlands North West North East Scotland/Wales/NI Base: All respondents (527) (507) (524) (643) Compared with the results from the last quarter, most regions had noticeably higher three quarter moving averages. The two exceptions were the Rest of London which had a noticeably lower three quarter moving average this quarter and the Rest of the South East which had a marginally lower figure this time. In terms of relating the changes to the regions location with the UK, clearly the south east (excluding London) has fared worse than the rest of the country. Page 38

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