In a survey of over 3,000 landlords it was found that whilst 21% had recently used a high street letting agent, only 5% intend to continue doing so. This shift away from the high street is such that a greater percentage of landlords (8%) are even now considering advertising their let via Gumtree or Facebook when they need new tenants, than they are using a traditional agent.
James Davis, Founder of Upad and himself a portfolio landlord, explains, this move signals a more fundamental sea change in the way the market is operating:
James said: “The fact that 83% of landlords plan to use an online letting agent in 2018, compared to the 62% currently doing so is, of course, great news for us and our competitors in the market.
However, our research reveals that there isn’t a single overwhelming reason for this shift. Almost equal thirds cite cost saving (32%) as their main driver for leaving the high street; a desire to pursue a different approach of sourcing tenants having become disillusioned with their previous means (31%); and an increasing interest in self-managing their portfolios (29%).
I take this as an indication of just how significantly the market is changing and adapting, and how landlords are consequently reassessing their own management styles.”
Separately, Upad has analysed inbound enquiries to its website from landlords during the first three months of 2018, and this further supports an increasing interest in self-management of property portfolios.
Interestingly, there has been a 60% increase in landlords looking to better understand the correct procedure and allowed frequency for visiting a property whilst tenants are in situ (700 enquiries in Q1 2018, vs 440 in the same period last year), and a staggering 155% increase in landlords wishing to understand how to renew tenancies (330 in Q1 2018, vs 130 last year). This final figure suggesting how more landlords are now considering managing this process themselves moving forwards.
James concludes: “When I set Upad up almost ten years ago, I did so confident that landlords would become increasingly more interested in approaching their buy-to-let portfolios in new and different ways.
The data that we’re releasing today, not only corroborates that decision, but highlights just how significantly management of the rental sector is evolving. I’d probably be quite concerned if I were a high street operator in today’s market.”