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Under the skin of the letting market

Here we share news and views on both the local letting market in & around Oxfordshire and all planned and recent legislation.

Will we become a nation of renters?

A couple of weeks ago the results from a study by the National Centre for Social Research on 8000 people were released which suggested that the UK was moving towards becoming a nation of renters. Last week, the RICS report stated that tenant demand was pushing rents higher still.

Is this the case in Oxfordshire? As Frank Webster, Director, mentioned on BBC Oxford last Thursday, rents have increased across the county, but only by about 4% since the start of the year. Of course, there are always exceptions and we have a couple of examples:

• A two bedroom furnished apartment in North Oxford (Bishop Kirk Place) saw an increase of 8.64% purely based on demand

• A two bedroom semi-detached furnished house in Marston will see an increase of 7.57% with no work being done to the house between tenancies

• A five bedroom unfurnished house in Abingdon’s Marina had the rent dropped last year due to over-supply of family homes, but this year we have let it at 9.68% more due to high demand for family property.

The NCRS study found that 77% of those who are not yet on the property ladder still aspire to buy their own home. However, 64% believe they do not have the prospect of buying their own property, and almost half admitted they thought that we are becoming more like Europe with renting being the norm.

In countries such as Germany, banks are reluctant to provide mortgages and so renting is (and always has been) simply the only option for most people (only 45% of homes in Germany are owner-occupied).

The housing charity, Shelter, reported that the number of mortgages offered in April slumped to the lowest level since records began, so the UK may become a nation of renters, but they will probably do so reluctantly – remember, 77% still aspire to buy their own home. Stories about rogue landlords and reports that rents are going higher and higher will not help the UK’s attitude to renting and, for now, renting is likely to be seen as a necessity rather than a choice.