Better To Sell Or To Let?

by Mark Alexander

8:58 AM, 7th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Better To Sell Or To Let?

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Better To Sell Or To Let?

When I decided to move to Malta I also decided to sell some of my properties, not all of them, just a few every year. Better To Sell Or To Let

Many of my tenants have been with me for many years so rather than serving them with notice I decided that I would sell my properties as and when they naturally become vacant.

I shared my plans with all of my tenants and gave them all first refusal to buy. None of them took me up on this.

In the last six months seven of my tenants have decided to move on. One has purchased her own property, the other six are renting elsewhere. Their reasons for moving were very common, e.g. job move, need something bigger, want something cheaper to reduce costs etc.

Three of the vacant properties are now sold subject to contract. I will be lucky if any of them complete within six months. This isn’t good for cashflow.

Interestingly, not one of the properties has sold to an investor. The yields are too low.

On the other hand, those I have advertised to re-let have resulted in 30+ enquiries for each property, all from people who want to rent rather than buy. In every single case I have re-let the property for more than the asking price and significantly more than the previous tenant had been paying.

The reasons?

Well many of the people looking to rent my properties are doing so because their existing landlords are looking to sell themselves. These prospective tenants are all saying the same thing “it is becoming increasingly difficult to find anything decent of the market to rent for a reasonable price”.

Now I wonder why that could be? !!!



Comments

Gary Dully

9:17 AM, 7th July 2016
About 2 years ago

I would guess that it's because of Section 24.

The government declared war on us, so now we are retreating back into the tranches until the shelling stops.

George Osborne should be proud of himself,,but it's not even started yet, because most landlords haven't received their first tax bill, when that happens there will be carnage.

James Fraser

9:53 AM, 7th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Mark, that cannot possibly be true.

I know this because some very knowledgeable and reliable people on the internet - all with the curious surname HPC - keep saying that rents won't rise, and that if landlords sell it can only be a benefit to the willing tenants who are just waiting to buy. It is nothing whatsoever to do with S24, which all tenants are in favour of anyway. I mean, it's not like these people are ever wrong, or lacking in any facts, so your opinion can't be true.

You must have misunderstood!

Mandy Thomson

10:03 AM, 7th July 2016
About 2 years ago

I recently let a property (a 1 bed flat in South London). I had 200 enquiries in three weeks, many from people whose salaries would easily allow them to buy if they wanted to, but they were not ready to. Two of the obvious advantages to renting are:

-you can move in quickly (well within a month) whereas if you buy, you wait 3 - 4 months for completion. I once waited 6 months even though I was only in a chain of three!
-you don't have the hassle of repairs and maintenance

If people want to rent rather than buy, why should they not have the choice? When I was looking for my first home, I couldn't get a mortgage because of high interest rates and the affordability criteria at the time, but I waited 6 months before a large local landlord could offer me a flat to rent.

It has ALWAYS been difficult to get onto the property ladder, albeit for different reasons at different times. Today's high property prices would not be sustainable if most buyers were unable to afford it or finance eligibility criteria was too strict. BTL landlords make up only a small proportion of property owners; they provide around 20% of UK housing. The vast majority of property is owned by owner occupiers.

Mandy Thomson

10:24 AM, 7th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mandy Thomson" at "07/07/2016 - 10:03":

Yes, many people who viewed my property were looking for somewhere else because their existing landlord was either selling or at least wanted to stop letting, including the person who became my new tenant.

Clause 24 will restrict supply of rental housing AND push rental prices up even further. The property offered by large corporate landlords that is set to replace BTL property is already more expensive (as it's normally new build with expensive maintenance) and clause 24 will see rents rise even higher. The only winners will be the developers and other large stake holders; in other words, tenants' rent money will go to the wealthy.

rav singh

8:35 AM, 9th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi mark it seems s24 is affecting a lot of landlords but not all, Infact some are delighted. Those cash rich investors and incorporated ones are unaffected so in effect they are now able to buy properties cheaper due to the influx of landlords having to sell due to GO's educated and well researched new tax. Thurther more these cash rich investors are now increasing rents across their entire portfolio due to rents now going up as affected landlords have no choice but to increase rents to pay this well thought out tax.

It's scary to think that this new Tory tax is simply making the wealthy much wealthier. I wonder is GO actually knew this was likely to happen, If so I wonder what type of people are benefiting from this right now in this market???? The elite of this island are prospering as us ants are foraging for food..... Scary stuff

John Bullock

10:00 AM, 9th July 2016
About 2 years ago

EASILY complain to your MP.
https://youtu.be/ytqWdgbktvc
#tenant tax effects on you!
https://youtu.be/K5LOrtkzs4U

Bill Morgan

14:40 PM, 9th July 2016
About 2 years ago

I would not consider selling until i was sure the Judicial review would fail.I hope later this year we get a better idea.

H B

18:00 PM, 9th July 2016
About 2 years ago

The fact that yields are now too low for new investment in BTL, as well as impending tax changes, suggests that you have called it right to sell.

Of course you are not alone in choosing to sell - as you have found with your enquires. But presumably the landlords who sold must have sold to owner occupiers, who might well have moved or of rented accommodation.

I am hanging on to my properties - I may regret this with the way the market is going, but my strategy is to reduce the mortgage to lower the impact of S24. I will be fairly insulated from falling prices and I can drop rents if need be (not that I ever have a problem finding tenants).

Bill Morgan

21:33 PM, 9th July 2016
About 2 years ago

I don't believe s24 will last.When the sh*t hits the fan the Government will have to adjust it at the very least.I am not denying difficult years lie ahead in the short term.

Now might be a good time to diversify into commercial.

Mandy Thomson

11:00 AM, 10th July 2016
About 2 years ago

I learned the hard way (by being involved in an unsuccessful one) that judicial reviews are notoriously hard to win, as the applicant (the party bringing the case) is at a disadvantage from the start because they are challenging a ruling government body, and the judiciary do not like interfering in government decisions. Indeed many judges will automatically assume the governing body is in the right (as happened in our case).

In order to win a JR, an applicant needs compelling and indisputable evidence, and even then this often won't be at the first hearing (e.g. R. Regas V L.B. Enfield).

Therefore, although I support the judicial review against clause 24, and wish Chris Cooper, Steve Bolton and their legal team every success, I frankly don't hold much hope of their succeeding (though I'm naturally not privy to the full facts). I believe our best hope is that the new government will not pursue this, and therefore we need to make it clear why it is so unfair and damaging, not just to MPs, but the wider public in general.

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