Listeners to the Good Morning Scotland programme on BBC Radio Scotland this past Saturday, the 16th of April, had the opportunity to hear our own Neil Livingstone talking to Bill Whiteford on the increase in private landlords in the Scottish housing market.
Neil spoke at length to Bill regarding the change in Scotland’s housing mix, and the apparently above inflation increases in rent paid by tenants to private landlords. He was able to correct some of the misapprehensions BBC Radio Scotland had over the percentage increases in rents.
Douglas Dickson’s advice has always been to show typical returns of 5 to 6% from the rental income in addition to the expectation of modest capital growth from rising house prices. We know the value to an investing landlord of having a good, reliable tenant who looks after the property, and Neil put that point across in the five minute interview.
However, greater numbers of private landlords are entering the market to provide a service to their tenants, and to realise a return on investment far in excess of the one percent or less offered by banks. Neil was asked why the balance was shifting in the mix of Scotland’s housing stock, and replied as follows;
“One, private landlords are filling a gap left by years upon years of chronic underinvestment in the social housing market by successive governments. The demand for affordable housing has outstripped growth of housing stock, and private landlords have stepped into the breach, providing housing for the large swathes of Scots for whom purchasing is not a realistic option.
“Secondly, the aftermath of the 2009 financial crisis is still felt, in a lack of large scale construction projects, and a general ‘skittishness’ among lenders. Of course, the more stringent rules removing self-certification created greater stability, and a reduction in mortgage defaults. However, they have made it harder to obtain finance for many.”
This is the ‘perfect storm’ of circumstances Neil described, and has led to significant investment opportunities for those thinking of becoming private landlords, even with the modest 0.8% rent increases listed by the Office for National Statistics.