Greetings Humans of Landlord Broadband,
Thank-you for subscribing to our quarterly newsletter which aims to keep you updated on what we have been getting up to, and what has been moving and shaking in our industry. We hope you find this edition informative and a useful check-in. We look forward to hearing from you in the future.
What’s going on in our Industry?
During the last quarter we have seen several significant changes in property technology (PropTech), housing association funding, and the economy; amidst Brexit negotiations.
Legal: The current level of uncertainty surrounding the contingencies of Brexit could lead to a higher number of people choosing to rent due to better flexibility whilst they assess their options. This is likely to bring a short-term dip in the sales market, although, less houses being sold to domestic buyers is unlikely to affect house prices; from an investment point of view, a depreciation of the pound sterling will likely lead to an increase in foreign investors looking to buy in the UK. In addition, many investors will see the buy-to-let market as a lucrative investment opportunity.
Technology: Digital trends such as big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are opening up a world of new opportunities, and property businesses are starting to take note. According to Property Week’s 2018 Power of PropTech survey, almost half (49%) of property professionals quizzed said they have already built a digital road-map that will help their business move towards digital transformation. PropTech is an exciting area in which we have also launched (see Propositions section for more information).
Financial: Interest rates have remained at 0.75%, the highest level since March 2009. The UK economy has stalled despite a strong January; growing at 0.2% in the final quarter of 2018, a report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed a pick-up in activity in January when growth rates reached 0.5%. UK first time buyers are at an all time high, with 370,000 first-time buyer mortgages completed in 2018; 1.9% higher than a year earlier, according to industry body UK Finance. This is the highest number of first-time buyer mortgages since 2006, when the total reached 402,800. In addition to this, new lending of £62bn during the year was up 4.9% year-on-year.
What are we working on?
Letting Agents : It was announced in January that the Tenant Fee Ban comes into effect on the 1st of June this year – some 30 months after being announced. With this comes the inevitable confusion, tension and fear from letting agents over what that will mean for their sector. Many letting agents are worried that this will affect their income whilst small independent letting agents are concerned that they will no longer be able to compete with larger commercialized firms. There is some hope however, with ARLA holding many meetings in the lead up to the ban where they attempt to help explain and navigate the intricacies of the ban for letting agents. Looking forward, 2019 appears to be yet another unpredictable year for the letting agent sector, however, the discussions and debates surrounding the future of the sector offer promise and hope for a brighter outcome.
Landlords : Brexit uncertainty could lead to a rise in demand for holiday let rental homes, which is potentially good news for landlords in this sector, according to Commercial Trust Limited. The buy-to-let mortgage broker believes that the already growing rental market space could continue to go from strength to strength in the coming months, especially in light of uncertainty over what the outcome of Brexit could mean for passport control. In addition to this it is likely that many people have less money to travel abroad and choose to holiday closer to home.
Serviced accommodation: Overall, providers of serviced accommodation are seeing vast expansions across the sector and have seen numerous developments open over the course of 2018. The sector had a 75% occupancy rate in April 2018, seeing a 6% improvement compared to the same time the previous year. Serviced apartments are becoming one of the most popular choices for business travellers as they are looking for somewhere that plays host to a home from home – including more space and independence, and due to this, serviced apartments are currently the fastest growing sector within the hospitality commerce.
Housing Association: We have seen a shift to Housing Associations focusing on digital inclusion, which is somewhat to do with the introduction of Universal Credit and giving tenants the facilities to benefit from the many functions of the internet. An extra £3bn in funding towards affordable homes has been announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In his annual Spring Statement, Philip Hammond said the scheme will help to deliver around 30,000 new affordable homes. Under the government’s plans, £3bn of private sector lending would be guaranteed to housing associations up and down the country, letting them borrow at a cheaper rate and thus making construction more affordable.
Propositions: We have been rigorously testing a number of Smart Property Management Internet of Things devices and have found a number of products which have the capability to save landlords money and prevent excessive bills. So far, our innovative products can: remotely monitor and control a property portfolio, limit excessive energy use by tenants and guests and automatically disable heating and hot water during non-occupancy periods. Right now we are working out how to best deliver these products to you and we are planning to launch them in the near future. Over the next few months we will continue our testing to unlock the full potential of the products and we will be keeping you updated on how they can help property managers save money and increase yields across their portfolio.
Meet the team? – Amelia
Meet accounts team member Amelia, our numbers whizz and excel aficionado (she’s almost as quick as our Wi-fi!) : Here’s what she get’s up to when shes not sorting through spreadsheets . “I am a final year student and have been working for Landlord Broadband throughout my studies, managing all the monthly invoicing tasks and helping to make sure the billing process is as smooth as possible.. After I graduate this summer, I am going on to work as a financial modeller, whilst studying for my accountancy qualification. I’m really looking forward to being able to apply what I have learnt here to new projects, and expand my accountancy knowledge even further. As well as studying for my degree, I am also a competitive trampolinist, and regularly compete for the University. Studying, working, and training take up most of my time, but when it doesn’t, I love to relax with my friends and watch a lot of movies. I’ll watch almost anything, but love a good superhero movie, especially anything marvel! ”
That’s it from us, we hope you enjoyed our newsletter,
(The champions of Wi-Fi friendly accommodation)
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