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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.

Property Intelligence 2019

The 10th Annual Property Intelligence

Oxford University’s Mathematical Institute, September 2019

Since 2009 Finders Keepers has run an annual property seminar to educate and inform their clients about the latest trends and issues facing the property industry. This year we celebrated our 10th year of this flagship event, hosting at the impressive Mathematical Institute in Oxford.

The event was attended by over 125 guests who were mainly Oxfordshire landlords and investors interested to learn more about the property market in this county. Some came to the event with worries or concerns about how the current political situation is impacting the private rental sector and left feeling that the content, presented by experienced property professionals, helped to give context and reassure them about how things might evolve in the future.

The seminar was split into four presentations, with top UK Property Analyst, Kate Faulkner, as the keynote speaker.

Property, Politics and Economics – Kate Faulkner
Kate’s presentation put the property market in context both in terms of how it has changed over the last 20+ years and also how Oxfordshire differs from the rest of the country. Whilst there have been various highs, lows and wobbles since we came out of the last recession in 1995, the overall learning is that property must be viewed as a long-term investment and that, actually, understanding how the property market reacts to these highs and lows allows for an element of predictability for future planning.

She then moved on to talk about how different areas of the UK have performed over the last few years, emphasising that when it comes to buy-to-let investment it’s very important to understand the local economy of where you plan to purchase and what might happen in the future. Oxfordshire is a good place to be economically; the county has a good average salary and whilst a third of employment is in the city itself, 50% of people commute into the city centre to work here, which makes the surrounding towns and villages – with good transport links – a good option for investment as well. On top of this, Oxfordshire has a predicted population increase of 11% and an increase in population in a good economy means greater demand for homes.

The Legal Landscape – Henry Brown
There are over 145 laws and 400 regulations that need to be followed in order to legally let a property in England. Henry took a look at changes which have happened over the last year, including the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (Energy Efficiency Regulations 2015) and the recent introduction of the Tenant Fees Act 2019 and reviewed future changes on the horizon.

Tenant Attitudes to Renting – Douglas Lloyd
In 2012 we carried out a survey on around 600 tenants to try to understand how they felt about renting. In 2019 we decided to repeat this process to learn how tenants’ attitudes towards renting have changed over the last seven years. We had over 1,250 respondents, the majority of which were long-term renters who tended to stay in a property for at least a couple of years. Some interesting points included:

  • Tenants want flexibility, probably because this county has a very transient population
  • Quality/condition of property is the most important thing in a rental property (higher up than price and location)
  • ‘The landlord investing to keep the property in good order’ (45.15%) and ‘Being able to personalise the home’ (50.72%) would keep them in the rental sector

Investment Trends and Opportunities – Maxine Allington
Inspired Investment, the sales and acquisitions division of Finders Keepers, presented some examples of recent successful purchases where we have helped investors to acquire properties, often negotiating a discount on the price, and sourcing properties with tenants in situ so that buyer is earning income from the day of completion. We also showed the audience a range of exciting upcoming opportunities, many of which are not yet available on the open market.


Main Conclusions – property can still deliver!

  • The Oxfordshire market can still perform well, whatever happens and whoever is in government. It may be tougher every now and again, but fundamentally there are a lot of sectors supporting the strong Oxfordshire economy which will help the PRS to continue to be successful.
  • You must legally and safely let property so take advice from your agent
  • Ensure your rental property is kept in good condition because tenants here are prepared to pay for better quality
  • Don’t listen to your gut feel! Do research, be aware of the local economy and take advice on what to rent and buy

If you would like advice on your rental property, call Finders Keepers on 01865 302302.