16:46 PM, 14th February 2012, About 12 years ago 1
The thriving buy to let market is driving a letting agent boom as firms respond to increasing demand from tenants eager to rent a home.
Two key nationwide firms are pouring millions in to expansion plans.
Countrywide has earmarked £5 million on growing lettings and has acquired a number of smaller specialist buy to let firms.
Now Connells, the estate agent offshoot of the Skipton Building Society, has announced plans to open 44 new lettings branches across the UK.
Bosses at the agency doubled their letting business last year.
Chief executive Stuart Flavell said: “The expansion of our lettings network was a major growth area for Connells in 2011 and this it set to continue. “Our planned openings in 2012 will almost triple the number of lettings divisions which Connells currently has and open up our expertise to a greater number of local landlords and tenants.” Some new offices will be added inside estate agency branches and others, like in Bristol and Birmingham, will be new agents.
The Midlands is a keen area for expansion for the Connells 487-strong branch network, which has just acquired lettings and estate agents Burchell Edwards.
Countrywide – which runs several major brands like Dixons; LSL Property Services, running Your Move and Reeds Rains; and smaller player Leaders all have rapid expansion plans.
Recently, Countrywide released research that showed their lettings network signed up 250,000 would-be tenants seeking to rent a home last year.
New research from buy to let loan specialist Paragon Mortgages disclosed that 25% of the workload of mortgage brokers comes from landlords buying or remortgaging.
Meanwhile, in a surprise move, Leaders – which has 60 lettings offices – has joined the landlord and tenant money protection scheme SafeAgent. Leaders was seen as a mainstay of the rival Association of Residential Letting Agents scheme.