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Guest Post from Roger Southam- What Londoners expect from their estate and letting agents

30 January 2012

The Residential Yardstick survey revealed regional respondents want to pay their agents on a performance-based fee arrangement while Londoners just want a fixed, all-inclusive deal.

When it comes to appointing an agent, pricing is only a small consideration (11 per cent), while experience (31 per cent) and reputation (29 per cent) are the most important factors. Regions are more likely to hire lettings agent (36 per cent) than Londoners (13 per cent). Londoners are more price sensitive and less likely to use a lettings agent but 63 per cent are ‘sometimes’ influenced to purchase residential property because of their agent (63 per cent) but 67 per cent of the regional respondents are definitely not influenced by their agent. This could mean London letting agents have to work harder for their fee but have more influence on their clients than the regions.

The survey also showed a need for London-specific mortgage products to meet the growing demand for property in the Capital, according to property management firms Chainbow and Berkeley Way.

The inaugural Residential Yardstick showed one in five respondents were renters and 86 per cent of these were Londoners, leading the researchers to suggest that private rented sector (PRS) lending products for the Capital would help keep property in local hands rather than relying on foreign investment as has been the trend in the past two to three years.

The survey revealed 45 per cent of private owners, 55 per cent of investors and 50 per cent of renters want to invest in a property during 2012, however, lack of mortgage availability (35 per cent) and lending criteria (19 per cent) where cited among the main barriers to investment.

Three-quarters of Londoners believe rental prices will increase during 2012 while more than half of the regional respondents believed rental values would remain the same. The difference in perception enforces the researchers’ argument that London PRS investment mortgages could provide a valid solution to housing issues in the Capital.

Roger Southam, Chainbow

Roger Southam (pictured), Chairman of Chainbow, comments, “Most of the Residential Yardstick respondents were Londoners and most of the renters who responded were also Londoners so what’s obvious to me is that lenders should be looking at creating London-specific mortgage products, in particular for the PRS investors.

"There has always been talk about the north-south divide and throughout recent years I believe that London has emerged as a completely different market to the rest of the UK so why are the lenders not capitalising on this? The Buy-to-Let lending products currently available are not doing enough to foster investment but if there could be a Capital-centric mortgage criteria, this could help bolster the industry."


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