Bumper month in rental market

CAROLINE CULOT Estate agents in Norfolk are reporting a bumper month in the rental market, partly fuelled by the number of first-time buyers unable to get a mortgage.

CAROLINE CULOT

Estate agents in Norfolk are reporting a bumper month in the rental market, partly fuelled by the number of first-time buyers unable to get a mortgage.

But other factors, such as the amount of workers relocating to the county and the fact people are making a lifestyle choice not to tie themselves down with a mortgage, have also resulted in some estate agents breaking rental records.

Edwin Side, lettings manager at William H Brown, said his office at Dereham had broken all records over the past month, with 30 properties let - up by 50pc on last year. And in the Norwich office, figures were up by 30pc on last year, with 40 homes let in the past month. He said all kinds of people were now choosing to rent - from first time buyers who could not get a mortgage to pensioners deciding to sell their property and live a better quality life on the money they have released.


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“People are scared of the housing market at the moment and finding it hard to get on the property ladder so they are choosing to rent instead,” he added. “But people are also making a lifestyle choice and deciding not to tie themselves down with a 25-year mortgage.”

Simon Freebury, lettings manager at City and County, said: “We have had it tough for a long, long time, but six weeks ago the rental market went mad.

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“Earlier in the year, first-time buyers were clamouring for properties and the mortgage companies were relaxing their criteria but now young people are asking themselves whether they can really afford to buy or should they hang fire and rent.”

Ian Harris, who is in charge of lettings at Watsons, said: “There was a cooling off from mid April to late June but now the rush to buy is over and the housing market is back to normal levels, the rental market has strengthened.

“What is going through a first-time buyers' mind is that to rent is tasty compensation if they can't afford to buy.”

Richard Jeffery, of Tops Rentals, said it wasn't solely down to first-time buyers, however. “We also deal with families and older people. A lot of people will rent while they see what the market does and purchasers tend to be more picky now and want to wait to find the absolute ideal property.

“There is so much more choice, the quality of rental properties is so much better than it used to be and there isn't the stigma attached to renting.

David McMaster, at Howards, agreed, saying: “Rental is no longer seen as an under class but it as a lifestyle choice.”

Jo O'Mahony, at Shipmans, said: “There are a lot of job relocations to Norwich and Norfolk - for example, Norwich Union has workers from India who arrive and need a property to rent for six to 18 months within two days or a week. And Three Score and Chapel Break, Norwich, rent so quickly because of being near the hospital.”

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