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Why now is a good time to be a landlord in Hornchurch

06 March 2020

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Why now is a good time to be a landlord in Hornchurch

For a landlord to be successful only actually requires a few things – high tenant demand, the ability to charge decent rents, and strong house price growth making the prospect of good capital gains over time much greater.

Strong transport links, easy access to the centre of a town or city, proximity to universities, good local amenities and an abundance of nearby green space are all likely to be make a place more attractive to tenants – and these are all things that Hornchurch, a suburban town right on the borders of Essex, can offer to would-be renters.

Here, using our experience of operating in the Hornchurch lettings market, we outline why now is a good time to be a landlord in the town – from greater clarity over Brexit to a greater number of middle-aged and older people now renting.

Election provides much-needed certainty

For a long time, the country was stricken by Brexit paralysis, with the House of Commons completely divided on the topic and numerous delays and extensions as both Theresa May and then Boris Johnson tried to get their deals through Parliament.

But the Conservatives’ decisive election win in December – which handed Boris Johnson an 80-seat majority – provided the clarity and certainty that the property market, and country at large, had been crying out for after years of the opposite.

It also meant Britain left the EU on 31 January, entering a transition phase that will last until the end of this year. While there are considerable challenges ahead as the UK and the EU try and agree on a comprehensive free trade agreement before the transition period expires, the election result gave a shot of stability to a property market that had been on tenterhooks for a long time before that.

People who might have been considering switching their rental accommodation or entering the private rented sector for the very first time were previously being put off by the constant Brexit uncertainty and the political logjam. But now those concerns are much fewer.

Although the end to free movement will mean a considerable reduction in the number of EU tenants – who are far more likely to rent than own – this has largely been factored in by the market already as net migration from the EU has fallen in the years following the Brexit vote. What’s more, EU tenants tend to be concentrated in major towns and cities, which means the impact on the outer fringes of cities like London is probably less.

There is also the argument that the loss of EU tenants will be offset by the rising number of domestic tenants, including a growing cohort of family, middle-aged and older renters.

Demand should now be more stable, reflecting the country itself, and this should be to the benefit of those letting properties or considering expanding their portfolio.

Growing number of middle-aged people now renting

The latest English Housing Survey (2018-19) revealed that, over the last decade, the proportion of people aged 55-64 living in the private rented sector has risen by three percentage points. In 2018-19, 10% of those aged 55-64 year olds lived in the private rented sector, up from 7% in 2008-09.

It also revealed that the private rented sector accounts for 19% of households (4.6 million), unchanged for the sixth year in a row but still significantly higher than the early Noughties, when it was only around half that size.

Millennials still dominate the PRS, with 41% of those aged 25-34 living in privately rented homes. Meanwhile, some 67% of households in the PRS had a household reference person (HRP) under the age of 45.

The last decade has seen a considerable increase in the proportion of 35-44 year olds in the PRS, up from 16% in 2008-09 to 29% in 2018-19).

There has also been a noticeable rise in family renters. Over the past decade, the proportion of households with children in the PRS grew from 30% in 2008-09 to 37% in 2018-19. Between 2008-09 and 2018-19, the number of households with dependent children in the PRS rose by around 765,000.

In London, the PRS accounted for 27% of all households in 2018-19, much more prevalent than any other region.

The take home from the latest English Housing Survey, which is some of the most comprehensive date we have at our disposal, is that landlords now have more demographics to target than ever – in particular older tenants and tenants with dependent children – while London’s rental sector is a lot larger and more thriving than any other part of the UK.

A landlord in somewhere like Hornchurch, on the outskirts of Central London with excellent connections to it, and with a more family-friendly vibe, can therefore feel confident of filling their rental homes with relative ease and generating good yields.

Strong transport links drive rental demand

Hornchurch, which is well-served by local amenities (Sainsbury’s, Argos, Asda, Hornchurch Library) and a good selection of green space (Harrow Lodge Park, Chase Nature Reserve, Eastbrookend Country Park), is perhaps best known for being a commuter hub. And its transport links are some of the finest on offer in East London.

Not only is there Hornchurch Station (District Line and Hammersmith & City), there is also Upminster Station (same lines) and Emerson Park (Overground) within walking distance, plus strong road and bus connections.

It’s also close by to a number of TfL Rail (soon to be the Elizabeth Line) stations, including Romford, Gidea Park and Harold Wood. When the line is fully operational – now expected to be the summer or autumn of 2021 – transport links into Central London, Canary Wharf and Heathrow will be better than ever.

Transport links are a fantastic selling point for landlords to have in their armoury, and it’s something you should definitely use when trying to attract tenants.

With Central London a 40 or so minute Tube ride away, working or studying in more central parts of the city and living in more affordable areas on the outskirts – such as Hornchurch – is definitely something that will be on the minds of many students and young professional. This is the demand you need to pounce on.

Hornchurch itself has a good collection of pubs, restaurants and cultural activities (including Room Lockdown Escape Rooms and the Queen’s Theatre) to keep tenants happy, plus local parks, a sports centre and a cricket club for sportier types.

To find out more about letting your home in Hornchurch, you can get in touch with our expert Balgores Hornchurch lettings team on 01708 478 333.

For an instant online valuation, to work out how much rental income your home could generate, please click here.

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