Agent Views

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

Sarah Harley

Margaret Duffus Leasing, Aberdeen – Sarah Harley

“The last 3 months have seen a high demand for rental properties in Aberdeen and a welcome return to life after lockdown. There is a definite shortage of 3 and 4 bed family homes, but flats in good, fresh condition are getting snapped up quickly too. This is great news for landlords and we’re seeing more willing to invest and make the necessary changes to their portfolio. Pressure on rents will surely follow if demand continues, but with tenants facing other current financial pressures over the coming months, it will be a balancing act for all involved to ensure that the recovery is sustainable in the longer term.”

Adam Campbell

Aberdein Considine, Perth – Adam Campbell

“The Perth rental market continues to flourish. Demand is strong for all types of properties however 2, 3 and 4 bedroom houses are in very short supply; this had led to a continued increase in rental prices. Rural properties are especially attractive with tenants re-evaluating their work life balance as home working continues to be an import factor when looking for a new home. There is no sign of this demand decreasing as we enter the winter months.”

Jonathan Gordon

Clan Gordon, Edinburgh – Jonathan Gordon

“The Edinburgh rental market has been strong in terms of demand for the last 13 years since we started but I’m not sure tenant demand has ever been as high as it has been in the last 2 months. Student lets in particular have been really difficult to find, but demand has been strong for all types of property and especially for those in good condition that we focus on in the city centre. We are also seeing very strong interest from new investors and landlords looking to rent out for the first time, suggesting that confidence in the market remains high despite continued regulation of the sector.”

Ross Macleod

Macleod Lettings, Glasgow – Ross Macleod

“Quarter 3 in Glasgow has seen unprecedented demand for rental properties. With the easing of lockdown restrictions coupled with a buoyant sales market, the PRS once again is under pressure with a lack of supply. Glasgow, Stirling & Edinburgh have seen sharp rent increases and on some properties, ‘bidding wars’ from tenants eager to secure a property. University students in particular have struggled to find suitable accommodation, despite the increase in student beds across the numerous Student Residency Halls that have been built over the last 5 years. The Scottish Government need to entice private landlords back into the market, rather than consistently targeting them as a means of revenue generation.”

Karen Turner

Rettie & Co., Edinburgh – Karen Turner

“Both Edinburgh and Glasgow are seeing unprecedented demand across all price points. The volume of enquiries shows no signs of slowing. We did say it would take 12/18 months for the oversupply of Airbnb stock to be reversed in Edinburgh. Rents are beginning to get back to pre-Covid levels. Glasgow rents are still increasing and are showing no signs of abating. Investment appetite still remains across for both cities.”

Chris Cockburn

Let it, Glasgow – Chris Cockburn

“The glaringly dominant theme we have seen during Q3 is that of massive demand vs massive undersupply of stock. The main factors appear to be that tenants are staying for longer, and some landlords (mainly from the BTL ‘boom days’ as I call them) are choosing to exit the sector due to a mix of strong sale prices and the legislative landscape. This means that a symptom of the resulting undersupply allows rents to continue to be on the increase, which in turn leads to a spiral of more undersupply and higher rents. The Scottish Government would do well to take heed and instead of proposing rent controls, encourage more BTL investment, which would allow a more natural redress of the balance of availability and more affordable rents.”

Steve Coyle

Cullen Property Ltd, Edinburgh – Steve Coyle

“Quarter 3 saw our HMO stock move rapidly as students started returning to Edinburgh for in-person teaching once more. Small professional properties fared well too, with rents holding steady. Signing of rental agreements for our remaining HMO properties gained significant momentum towards the end of August, leaving no stock left on the market for this year’s student flat-hunters. With the ‘leave it til last minute’ mentality, there are still large numbers of students hastily enquiring about properties with immediate availability – often from abroad, currently residing in B&Bs in the city. It would seem that the market has misjudged how quickly properties would ‘move’ this year.”

Andrew Markham

Burgh Property, Edinburgh – Andrew Markham

“The Edinburgh market has seen a positive upturn in activity over recent weeks with tenant demand increasing in all sectors of the market – including students for the HMO market. An easing of pandemic restrictions and a general return to normal working and living practices has seen a degree of normality return to the capital’s fast-paced market – a very welcome change compared to recent months. Although stock levels are decreasing and tenant demand is increasing, the market still remains competitive and to attract the best tenants, you need to have the best product – as tenants still to choose to shop around.”

Wendy Gallagher

One Stop Properties, Glasgow – Wendy Gallagher

“Covid has had a larger impact on the housing market than people realise. Throughout the year, many landlords have decided to sell, taking advantage of a tremendous sales market. Some new landlords have entered the market but not enough to satisfy demand. There is a substantial lack of rental properties in and around Glasgow, highlighting the importance of the PRS. This further proves the rental market is exceptionally short on housing stock. This has led to a significant increase in rents in Q3 across all postcodes. For the first time in history, I had no stock available. There is a massive void in social housing and not everyone is in a position to buy. Therefore, in my opinion the Scottish Government need to start thinking about incentivising private landlords instead of penalising them. Without private landlords the housing market would be in crisis.”

Danielle Kerr

Umega Lettings, Edinburgh – Danielle Kerr

“The big story of Q3 2021 has been the significant switch in the supply and demand imbalance. Going into this quarter we had started to see the volume of properties on the market dropping, but as the quarter progressed we’ve reached unexpected record lows in the number of available properties across Edinburgh. This is coupled with an all-time high in terms of tenant demand, with enquiries for Q3 2021 sitting at triple the number for the same period in 2020, and twice the number for Q3 2019. We received an average of 100 enquiries per advertised property throughout the quarter and tenants are really feeling that pinch, with those who can afford it bidding higher rents to try and secure their preferred property.”

Eilidh Finlayson

Eilidh Finlayson - Finlayson Gore

“Q3 has been a period of diverse climates in the industry. While the student market remains in a state of some flux – a hangover from students not being residents in their university cities for the last academic year – the rest of the market is extremely buoyant with rents significantly up on the previous quarters and multiple applications for almost all properties. The competition to secure good quality property is fierce for tenants. It remains to be seen what impact the end of the JRS may have on our tenants – hopefully Q4 will continue to enjoy the strong market we are currently experiencing.”

Steven Strachan

Capital Letters, Glasgow – Steven Strachan

“Our Glasgow office has seen a continuation of the rise in figures produced in Q2 with even further easing of Covid restrictions leading to an even larger increased demand for property, and with supply and demand also seeing rental figures achieved increasing. We have witnessed more first time tenants entering the PRS, with renting now viewed as a lifestyle choice as the PRS becomes more popular with the realisation of the benefits renting has to offer in terms of flexibility, stability and continuity in expenditure each month for tenants. We have also witnessed an increase in new landlords coming into the market as well as existing landlords increasing their portfolio due to the increase in demand.”

Matt Pullinger

Northwood, Aberdeen – Matt Pullinger

“During Q3 we have experienced increased levels of activity in both Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire with positive increases in daily online page views of properties listed, enquires and viewing requests. Family homes remain very popular with demand high and supply short for good quality homes. Two-bedroom apartments with parking, gas central heating and en-suites have proved very popular with record levels of interest too. It has been a very encouraging to see consistent levels of demand returning to the granite city.”

Mike Erskine

Cox & Co., Edinburgh – Mike Erskine

“With the relaxation of lockdown and travel rules, the ongoing vaccination programme, and the return of students, the PRS in the cities particularly has seen a huge uptake of properties and an increase in rental value. The light is ever getting brighter at the end of the Covid tunnel. TTL have reduced significantly and investment remains strong allowing us to continue to offer quality properties to prospective tenants. The start of Q4 will likely continue this trend and we expect further improvement into 2022 and hopefully we will step out of the tunnel into the light away from the pandemic.”

Eduardo Prato

Martin & Co., Aberdeen – Eduardo Prato

“Summer 2021 has been a phenomenal period for the rental market in Aberdeen. Rents have consistently held their position, which is a good change to the down trend that we experienced until 2020. The upper end of the market, especially properties in the West End, Cults, Milltimber and Bieldside have been extremely strong. Relocation companies have been more active in 2021, with four and five-bedroomed properties being snatched up quickly. This is where our stronghold position is based. For those interested in the low end of the market, it’s important to note that there is a clear surplus of 1 bedroom properties. In this segment of the market only extremely well presented properties sensibly priced will let. It will be really interesting to see what happens in the last quarter of 2021.”

Rick McCann

At Home In Edinburgh , Edinburgh – Rick McCann

“We predicted a return of confidence in Q3 but the level of demand for properties has far outweighed our expectations. The return of students has put pressure on a limited supply of stock and has increased rent levels and reduced time to lets to pre pandemic levels. The acceleration of the market has caused us to evaluate how we manage advertising and viewing properties. Properties have been made available on selected portals for a limited period and screening of enquires has increased to ensure tenants are a perfect match. We expect demand to remain high throughout Q4.”

Jack Gallagher

Western Lettings, Glasgow – Jack Gallagher

“Tenant demand is at an all-time high and we are routinely seeing over 50 applicants within a couple of hours of a property being advertised for rent. The frantic market has been partly caused by a sudden return of students in greater numbers than pre-pandemic, but a reduction of supply is also contributing to the squeeze. Many landlords have taken advantage of the run-up in property prices and sold up. Others have returned to the booming short-term rental market. There is also some evidence that HMO properties have changed hands and reverted to owner occupancy during lockdown.”

Derek Hawson, Edinburgh – Derek Hawson

“There is a clear continuation of the recovery we saw commence toward the end of the second quarter, although rents generally are not yet fully reflecting that. Bigger properties are in constant demand to accommodate home working and a general desire for more living space. Flats and houses are renting faster than this time last year and it is to be hoped that more available property will make its way back into the market as yields increase and confidence returns. We think that by the end of the year rents will have returned to pre pandemic levels and will set an optimistic tone for 2022.”

Grant Fairbairn

Grant Fairbairn PL, Aberdeen – Grant Fairbairn

“Q3 has been one of the busiest periods we have seen in Aberdeen for a long time. The student market has been strong, with many students willing to pay more for better quality accommodation; we often see some students with bigger budgets than most professionals. Professional lets also seem to be back to normal. The price of oil being steady at around $70 per barrel seems to be helping the local oil and gas industry.”

Ken Bell

1LET, Edinburgh – Ken Bell

“One of the busiest quarters 1Let have experienced for many years. Pent up demand combined with low stock levels have seen the Edinburgh rental market balloon. Students, professionals and a surge in people relocating to Edinburgh from abroad, especially Hong Kong, have come together to create a fiercely competitive rental market. As we move into Q4 we see no signs of this slowing which will be a relief for many landlords who have experienced challenging times during the pandemic.”

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