Agent Views

Scottish letting agents give us their views on their local market.

Jade Shepperdson

Aberdein Considine, Aberdeen – Jade Shepperdson

“The first quarter of 2021 has started very promising, with a healthy level of interest from prospective tenants across the board, particularly with the larger properties. We are receiving a lot of early enquiries from students looking to secure accommodation for the next academic year which is a good sign. With the continued use of video tours and zoom viewings we are able to keep momentum in the market during the lockdowns and it is becoming clear this is the way forward for the sector.”

James McKay

Aberdein Considine, Perth – James McKay

“The Perth rental market has shown no signs of slowing as we head through spring 2021. A lack of supply plagues those looking for their first or next time rent, with applications on some properties oversubscribed 10 fold. City centre tenement flats and small houses throughout Perth and Kinross have been snapped up over the winter and early spring despite recent lockdown measures. The lack of a large local student population has meant the Perth and Kinross market has not suffered to the same extent as the other city markets in Scotland. Perth and Kinross continues to be regarded as an extremely desirable area in which to live.”

Andrew Markham

Burgh Property, Edinburgh – Andrew Markham

“The Edinburgh market remains relatively subdued during the current level 4 lockdown, but we are still seeing some reasonable demand from tenants who are looking to move home during this time. Tenants relocating for a little more space, a second work room, better heating, a quieter location or indeed a cheaper rent, are all common themes we are hearing. Tenants do have a lot of choice with a strong supply of good quality properties in the market, so they are shopping around and looking for deals. Landlords need to compete with a modern, quality product, presented in an appealing and modern condition.”

Grant Denholm

Littlejohns Ltd, Edinburgh – Grant Denholm

“The professional market has held up fairly well, all be it that in general rents have dropped slightly and time to lets have increased. Many tenants are looking for either outdoor space or extra room in properties to allow for home working which has become the norm for many of us. We had expected a large tranche of HMO notices after Christmas but thankfully this never materialised as there have been practically no enquiries for this sort of property over Q1. All in all, we feel that the market has proved very resilient in extremely difficult times.”

Brian Gilmour

Indigo Square, Glasgow – Brian Gilmour

“For 12 months we have been warned that the downturn in property is just around the corner and yet it continues to perform above expectations, however, this is less surprising in the rental market. Rental demand was strong in Glasgow prior to the pandemic and times of economic uncertainty tend to drive up demand in the rental sector. Times to let remain very short with many properties being reserved on the first day of viewing. The properties where we have seen an issue is executive lets – these are properties in the city centre, finished to a higher standard that would normally be rented by businesspeople on secondment. With the lack of business activity in the city centre we have noted, across all agents, that these are taking longer to let.”

Jack Gallagher

Western Lettings, Glasgow – Jack Gallagher

“The main feature of the Glasgow rental market over the past quarter has been an excess of supply, created by a significant reduction in student numbers and a movement of holiday accommodation to longer term rental. We currently have around fifty properties available for rent, with higher end properties being particularly difficult to move. We are seeing a normal level of activity but at lower rent levels than we’re used to. Unless students start to return in large numbers, it will take many months for market forces to bring balance back to the market.”

Sarah Harley

Margaret Duffus Leasing, Aberdeen – Sarah Harley

“It’s been a tough start to 2021 for most of us, having to get through another lockdown, but we are very thankful that the housing market continued to stay open and it has proved to be a busy time for lettings in Aberdeen. Rents are competitive and properties need to be of a good standard and well presented, but there is a solid demand. We have found that the use of remote viewings and video tours have had a beneficial impact on the physical viewings and people are more serious about a particular property before they make the trip out.”

Ross Macleod

Macleod Lettings, Glasgow – Ross Macleod

“The first quarter of 2021 has seen further demand for quality rental properties as things start to ease in terms of Covid-19. Despite lockdown restrictions there has been an uplift in enquiries for city centre properties. The student market has remained stagnant whilst the universities have been reluctant to commit to fully opening, however, we expect a huge surge in demand in the student sector when life returns to normal following the roll out of the vaccination programme.”

Charlie Inness

Glenham Property, Edinburgh – Charlie Inness

“The deflationary pressure on rents caused by the oversupply of stock has now crystalised with rents dropping across Edinburgh. We feel it is going to take some time for the market to stabilise and expect further downward movements for a while yet. That said, tenant demand has remained robust with properties that are best in class letting well, and we do expect demand to jump as lockdown restrictions ease over the summer months.”

Chris Cockburn

Let it, Glasgow – Chris Cockburn

“We have found the first quarter of 2021 follow a familiar trend – that of under supply to cope with high demand from renters. With a very high percentage of our stock occupied, the only slight anomaly to the high demand is in apartments right in the city centre, reflecting the temporary lack of city centre atmosphere and the desire to move to places with perhaps access to more outside space. As ever, landlords with well-presented properties have their property snapped up almost right away. There has also been good indication that the appetite from landlords to enter the sector or expand their portfolio is still strong. I anticipate that once society unlocks further we’ll see pent up demand from landlords similar to after the first lockdown, which will be welcome news to the renters who must feel as if there’s currently too much chance of missing out on their ideal rental property.”

Eilidh Finlayson

Eilidh Finlayson - Finlayson Gore

“Q1 has, as predicted, been another challenging period for the lettings market. While the student market remains very uncertain and is likely to remain so for at least the next quarter, the demand for good quality, sensibly priced ‘non student’ accommodation remains extremely buoyant across all rent levels with demand outstripping supply. While we await the student market resuming to a more stable climate, it has given us a welcome opportunity to renovate and refresh our student stock and as student tenants become more and more discerning in their accommodation choices, we hope to be ready to meet their demands as and when they return.”

Colin MacMillan

Glasgow Property Letting, Glasgow – Colin MacMillan

“It’s been a year since the pandemic struck and as we look towards a chink of light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel, there is a positive sense of optimism in the air. We have been heavily involved in acquisitions and see many landlords deciding to sell up but a huge amount of investors is seeking to buy in to the Private Rented Sector. The last quarter has been very busy with many tenants seeking quality accommodation and landlords seeing any void periods as a good time to invest in their assets. Many landlords are wary about relying purely on the student sector and are seizing the opportunity to make their properties appeal to the more professional sector as many students are still studying from home.”

Ken Bell

1LET, Edinburgh – Ken Bell

“Q1 2021 was a tale of two halves for 1LET; the year started quite poorly with higher than normal numbers of vacant properties with very low levels of demand. As we moved out of January, the tables turned quite suddenly and interest began to rise sharply. Properties began to let left, right and centre with the high quality properties in the desirable areas letting first. As the quarter progressed, interest remained stable but, as the market is still oversupplied, tenants have greater choice and are therefore more selective.”

Mike Erskine

Cox & Co., Edinburgh – Mike Erskine

“Interest in the PRS is improving now that spring has sprung and we hope that TTL will decrease further when more of our freedoms return. Rental valuations are still showing lower than we would ever anticipate, but I have confidence that it will improve in the coming weeks and months as more people will be looking to move home to get back to work, university and everyday life. Our investors are still buying quality properties to add to the market and we look forward to securing tenancies for people in these lovely homes.”

Eduardo Prato

Martin & Co., Aberdeen – Eduardo Prato

“Most years the letting market in January tends to be slow. However, January and the first half of February 2021 were particularly slow. Nevertheless, viewings and new lets dramatically increased towards the second half of the quarter. Rent values of good properties are holding or slowly increasing. The key factor is correct marketing: virtual tours, video tours and webinars are the magnets that are bringing good potential tenants to the front door. Long are the days when landlords could attract good tenants by having just a few professional pictures and a nice description. It’s time to embrace 21st century technology to market letting properties effectively.”

Danielle Kerr

Umega Lettings, Edinburgh – Danielle Kerr

“With the continuation of lockdown, the number of properties on the market in Edinburgh has grown throughout Q1. The market is moving though, and the number of move-ins in Q1 2021 have matched the same period in 2020. The behaviour of the market is stable, which is reflected in the consistent levels of interest from prospective tenants. Rent prices are either holding at 2019/2020 levels, or dropping slightly lower in some areas, which is to be expected with the larger number of properties on the market and tenants having more choice than in previous years. We anticipate a lot of action in the market once the restrictions start to relax and people can move more freely; slowly but surely reducing the levels of available stock.”

Matt Pullinger

Northwood, Aberdeen – Matt Pullinger

“Q1 has seen a steady start to the year amidst the backdrop of uncertainty due to the pandemic. Enquiry levels have been encouraging throughout, meaning that those who need to move can do so safely. As the talk of restrictions lifting commence, we have seen an increase in activity with those planning a move. We have also seen more students enquire as universities confirm plans also. With the vaccination program underway and with people now deciding it’s time to make a move, we anticipate a very busy summer ahead in Aberdeen.”

Jonathan Gordon

Clan Gordon, Edinburgh – Jonathan Gordon

“After a quieter final quarter during November/December we can see the rental market has started to pick up again. There are a lot of properties online throughout Edinburgh, giving much more choice for tenants when it comes to finding a suitable property at a rent within their budget. This can put pressures on us as letting agents to get the rent right. Citylets Optilet has allowed us to demonstrate, now more than ever, to our clients the change in the market and the time in which it takes to secure a tenant. It has also allowed us to show the standard of properties on the market and to be able to encourage our clients to carry out any improvements required to ensure their property is reaching its full potential.”

Grant Fairbairn

Grant Fairbairn PL, Aberdeen – Grant Fairbairn

“Although Q1 has been off to a sluggish start due to lockdowns, most properties still seem to be renting if priced correctly and well-presented. The student rental market has seen a lot of tenancies ending sooner than normal due to lectures being online. We are expecting a backlog of demand as we go into Q2 and a very busy summer as restrictions are lifted. The price of a Brent crude oil seems to be steady at 65/70 Dollars per barrel, which will also help the oil industry with recruitment to the city.”

Wendy Gallagher

One Stop Properties, Glasgow – Wendy Gallagher

“January is historically a buoyant month for us, but this year, the usual uptake of properties was reduced. Due to lockdown restrictions, TTL periods on some properties have increased greatly with city centre flats bearing the brunt. To combat this, we have been devising and implementing marketing strategies to attract tenants. A seemingly upbeat sales market has also meant that some landlords have decided to sell.”

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