Reign of optimism

by Christopher Evans

Among those thinking of expanding their property portfolios, some may wonder if now is the time to do it.

Although there has been some optimism about the economic prospects for Britain and other major industrial countries, suggesting the worst of the recession is past, others have warned that the road ahead is rocky and uncertain.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has said as much, noting that a "clear and credible plan" is required to help countries "phase out" the emergency stimulus measures they have implemented in the past few months.

Bank of England governor Mervyn King has been wary too, telling the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee that he is "more uncertain now than ever" on the prospects of a quick economic recovery.

Of course, while the recession may have shown recent signs of bottoming out, the property sector has been indicating some positive signs for months.

This has seen increases in buyer interest, sales, mortgage lending and even prices, according to some recent surveys.

But should this provide investors with cause for optimism about the prospects for rental residential property? Increasingly, the sentiment seems to be favourable, according to the Young Group of property portfolio managers.

Its survey for the second quarter of the year found that both in London and the rest of the country positive investor sentiment has risen.

52 per cent were thinking of buying in the capital in the next year, compared with 40 per cent in the first quarter, while elsewhere in the country the number had risen from 24 per cent to 30 per cent.

Price optimism had jumped as well. 57 per cent expected London prices to be the same or higher a year from now, up from 49 per cent, while the increase for the rest of the UK was from 24 per cent to 42 per cent.

Given that the first quarter figures were themselves an improvement on the prevailing mood seen at the end of 2008, this all looked promising, according to chief executive of Young Group Neil Young.

He said: "Making predictions is something that Young Group never likes to do, but this is the second quarter in which we've witnessed an increasingly positive sentiment for the Young Index data."

"The trend continues to move in an upward direction and demonstrates a positivity and willingness of private investors to increase their holdings of residential property," he added.

For those who may still be wavering about whether now is a good time to buy, chief executive of property investment firm Assetz Stuart Law has suggested that people should hurry because the best bargains appear to already have come and gone.

He stated: "Without a shadow of a doubt prices are rising. It is never going to be any better than today. Worst of all - you've missed the boat because the best yields were on the very silly prices just before Christmas."

So for those happy to accept the optimistic view, it could be time to turn positive sentiment into action.

  • Manage your buy-to-let portfolio with Property Portfolio Software: helps landlords track rental arrears, increase cash flow, pinpoint poor performing properties and much, much more...

Published on: June 25, 2009

Did you like this article? Share it!

Property Management Software

Property management software advert

One-touch property accounts for tracking cash flow and rental payments, plus software for generating tenancy forms.

Read More