With the latest predictions of low interest rates being with us for years to come, landlords will be wondering what exactly the future holds for the residential letting sector.
Ernst and Young, a leading UK economist group and sole sponsors of the Independent Treasury Economic Model (ITEM) club, are predicting the current Bank Rate of 0.5% will be staying with us until 2014. The prediction is based on the present government holding firm on its commitment to spending cuts of around £40 billion and the loss of jobs that will go with it.
Although inflation is still way above the Government targets of 2% and the end of year increase in VAT threatening to push it higher still, the group feel the spending cuts will then kick in and push inflation closer to 2%. A relief then for the Governor of the Bank of England who will then be able to stop writing letters to the Chancellor of the Exchequer explaining exactly why inflation is above government plans. Not for long though, as interest rates will then have to stay low to stop the nation slipping into deflation.
With interest rates staying low and new borrowing rates remaining high, one can only anticipate home-owners without a big deposit will stay exactly where they are. Several mortgage brokers are reporting a good increase in loan enquiries but from personal experience, a lot of these enquiries will fall by the wayside when prospective home-buyers realise the interest rate on a new loan will be much higher, compared to the tracker mortgages they already have. This perhaps is confirmed by reports showing a fall in prospective buyers registering with agencies.
The result could well be house prices start to slide again; already one report is showing prices have fallen for the first time in over 12 months, Hometrack, the property data company, reported a 0.1% fall in June. If that is the case then the buoyant rental market could be here for some time yet, giving ambitious landlords, with an eye for a bargain, more reason to spend time looking for cheap landlord insurance to cover new properties they are willing to invest in.