Rental market booms as the recession bites
THE residential lettings market in Plymouth is growing and showing no signs of slowing down in the "foreseeable future" a leading estate agents says.
Jade Boyles-White, lettings manager at Connells Residential Lettings, said the firm is expanding as the market continues to boom in Plymouth.
She puts the demand for rented flats and houses down to the double dip recession.
In the past two weeks The Herald has also reported how estate agents blame a bank lending situation which has seen first-time buyers struggle to get on the mortgage ladder.
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But she insists that renting can be an advantage, giving people the freedom to move house at a drop of a hat, particularly in an uncertain jobs market where flexibility and the ability to relocate can be key.
"Because of the economy no one can afford to save for a deposit," Miss Boyles-White said. "We are becoming more like the Continent, where people are happy to rent.
"It's more financially viable and renting means you can move; it's more flexible.
"With the job market as it is it allows people to relocate more easily, to find jobs in other cities – you can hand in a month's notice and off you go."
She said the lettings market had been busy in Plymouth during September due to arrivals of students and hospital doctors.
The surge has continued into October with people looking to relocate before Christmas.
"It's been a busy couple of months," she said.
Plymouth's residential landlords include people with just one or two properties, up to those with extensive portfolios, Miss Boyles-White said.
And she said that people who have had to move, but have been unable to sell their property, for example, have resorted to renting it out.
And she sees no shrinkage in the market looming.
"It's increased steadily over the past few years and continues to," she said. "All the signs are pointing to it increasing for the foreseeable future."
Miss Boyles-White, based at Connells' Drake Circus office, said the firm had only expanded into lettings "in the past six months".
She joined the firm three months ago, to head a team of three, including Andrea Cato and Laura Cockram, at Drake Circus.
But she said the intention is to operate lettings from all six of Connells' city branches employing another one or two people.
"We used to be a pretty small operator but are now recruiting," she said. "We want to have lets in every branch."