How has COVID-19 affected the Sussex lettings market?

From the beach to the countryside, and vibrant cities to quaint villages, Sussex has it all. It is therefore no surprise that, with more people working from home, or not having to commute as often, the desire to re-locate from the capital to East or West Sussex is more prevalent than ever. While sales in the area are expected to soar following the Government’s stamp-duty reduction, it is the lettings market that has been affected the most from the pandemic.

Here, Darren Williams, Head of Residential Lettings for Sussex-based property lettings and management specialist PS&B, shares his insights on how the market has changed since COVID-19 and explains why now is the best time to invest in the county, with advice for landlords.

 

Sussex demand – Since lockdown began, PS&B has seen an 20% increase in demand for rental properties on the south coast and a recent report from Zoopla indicates that tenant demand in the UK is 33% higher than it was pre-lockdown1. Those who now no longer have to work in the office full time, are eagerly snapping up rentals with more space and outdoor areas, and are considering  more rural settings for the first time as they won’t have to travel as regularly. For those who were considering an investment opportunity in Sussex but were hesitant pre-lockdown, there is no doubt that the demand from rental accommodation is there, and it is growing at a rapid rate.

Flexibility - The process of buying and selling a home can be complex, lengthy, and expensive. While the Government’s Help to Buy scheme is helping some, lockdown has changed people’s priorities as well as financial circumstances due to job uncertainty. Not only is renting far simpler – offering tenants the flexibility to relocate more often, quicker, and adapt as their needs require and the job market stabilises – it is more affordable in general, giving them access to a wider range of properties that they can call home. 

 

Financial benefits for landlords – For those looking to invest in buy-to-let properties then there are certainly some deals to be had out there right now. While the sales market in Sussex has remained strong, investors are eligible to take advantage of the Government’s stamp duty holiday so could save thousands.

 

For landlords with an existing rental portfolio, now could well be the time to become a limited company. The temporary increase to the stamp duty threshold from £125,000 to £500,000 means they can make significant savings when incorporating, benefitting from mortgage interest tax relief on buy-to-let properties, which isn’t the case for landlords classed as individuals.

“There is no doubt that the lettings market in Sussex is on the rise,” explains Darren. “At PS&B we have been working around the clock since lockdown restrictions were lifted. So many people are looking to make the move to larger properties with more space, and even those already living in the county have reflected on their living situations and now have different requirements to when lockdown first began.

“From property management solutions for existing landlords, to advice for first time investors, or those looking to rent in Sussex, the lettings market can be a minefield, especially as so many things have, and are still, changing following COVID-19. PS&B has been established in the South East for almost 200 years so if there’s one thing we know… it’s Sussex property and we’re here to help.”

From the beach to the countryside, and vibrant cities to quaint villages, Sussex has it all. It is therefore no surprise that, with more people working from home, or not having to commute as often, the desire to re-locate from the capital to East or West Sussex is more prevalent than ever. While sales in the area are expected to soar following the Government’s stamp-duty reduction, it is the lettings market that has been affected the most from the pandemic.

Here, Darren Williams, Head of Residential Lettings for Sussex-based property lettings and management specialist PS&B, shares his insights on how the market has changed since COVID-19 and explains why now is the best time to invest in the county, with advice for landlords.

 

Sussex demand – Since lockdown began, PS&B has seen an 20% increase in demand for rental properties on the south coast and a recent report from Zoopla indicates that tenant demand in the UK is 33% higher than it was pre-lockdown1. Those who now no longer have to work in the office full time, are eagerly snapping up rentals with more space and outdoor areas, and are considering  more rural settings for the first time as they won’t have to travel as regularly. For those who were considering an investment opportunity in Sussex but were hesitant pre-lockdown, there is no doubt that the demand from rental accommodation is there, and it is growing at a rapid rate.

Flexibility - The process of buying and selling a home can be complex, lengthy, and expensive. While the Government’s Help to Buy scheme is helping some, lockdown has changed people’s priorities as well as financial circumstances due to job uncertainty. Not only is renting far simpler – offering tenants the flexibility to relocate more often, quicker, and adapt as their needs require and the job market stabilises – it is more affordable in general, giving them access to a wider range of properties that they can call home. 

 

Financial benefits for landlords – For those looking to invest in buy-to-let properties then there are certainly some deals to be had out there right now. While the sales market in Sussex has remained strong, investors are eligible to take advantage of the Government’s stamp duty holiday so could save thousands.

 

For landlords with an existing rental portfolio, now could well be the time to become a limited company. The temporary increase to the stamp duty threshold from £125,000 to £500,000 means they can make significant savings when incorporating, benefitting from mortgage interest tax relief on buy-to-let properties, which isn’t the case for landlords classed as individuals.

“There is no doubt that the lettings market in Sussex is on the rise,” explains Darren. “At PS&B we have been working around the clock since lockdown restrictions were lifted. So many people are looking to make the move to larger properties with more space, and even those already living in the county have reflected on their living situations and now have different requirements to when lockdown first began.

“From property management solutions for existing landlords, to advice for first time investors, or those looking to rent in Sussex, the lettings market can be a minefield, especially as so many things have, and are still, changing following COVID-19. PS&B has been established in the South East for almost 200 years so if there’s one thing we know… it’s Sussex property and we’re here to help.”

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