Property news roundup: Annual rent rises halved in 2013

Plus, the rise of the first time buyer, the importance of smell, and Generation Rent

Average rents across England and Wales rose 1.5 per cent in the past year, reaching £745 per month last month.

This annual rise is half that of a year ago, says LSL Property Services whose figures show that rents increased by 3.2 per cent in the year to December 2012, while the number of new tenancies across England and Wales increased by 7.7 per cent compared to December 2012.

Seven out of ten regions saw rents fall on a monthly basis between November and December.The sharpest drop was in the South East (down 2 per cent) followed by Wales and London (both 1.9 per cent). The North East and West Midlands experienced rent rises, up 1.5 per cent and 1.4 cent respectively.  

However, the total amount of late rent across England and Wales reached £330 million, up £102 million since November 2013. This means that tenant arrears now represent 9.7 per cent of all rent, up from 6.6% in November, but lower than the 10.1 per cent of December 2012.

The importance of smell

The National Association of Estate Agents has come up with some tips to improve your chances of selling your property in winter including tidying up front gardens and paths, keeping your home warm during viewings, and highlighting any energy saving features. But they also point out the importance of the property smelling nice - they recommend removing damp footwear from the entranceway and ensuring the whole of your home smells fresh.

Generation Rent

The CBI is calling for an investment boost in the rental sector, pointing to figures suggesting that by 2018, 1 in 5 households will live in private rented accommodation. Its property wishlist includes reducing the VAT rate on repair and renovation to help lower costs. Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director, said: "Despite the rapid rise of the private rented sector, generation rent is often an afterthought when it comes to housing policy. While it’s right to support first-time buyers, we must make sure people who rent are not forgotten."

The rise of the first time buyer

The proportion of first time buyers aged between 25 and 44 will increase 20 per cent in the next decade, suggests a report from Countrywide. Around 60 per cent of first time buyers are aged 25-34. "The number of first time buyers aged 25 and under is expected to fall by a third due to increased levels of student debt and a greater proportion of younger people renting," said Grenville Turner, Chief Executive, Countrywide. Despite this, we still expect that 1 in 10 first time buyers in 2023 will be aged 25 and under and supported in the main by the Bank of Mum and Dad."