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What lies ahead for the next 12 months?

It seems like only yesterday I was summarising the events that shaped 2011 and putting together my predictions for what the market would do in 2012. A year on and everything feels very similar and yet so much has changed. Something of a contradiction I am aware, but perhaps a worthy one.

A year ago we were talking about how busy 2011 had been, with continued rising rents and increased tenant registrations. It was also clear, that although investors and the buy to let market were beginning to return, the supply of properties was struggling to keep up with demand. A year on and the same can be said, rents have continued to rise this year and tenant registrations are at record levels. The buy to let mortgage market is however looking slightly more fruitful and the supply of properties is on the up, having said that, it still isn't nearly at the level required to fulfil current demand.

We were also talking about different areas that landlords would find themselves diversifying into, and that serious consideration was required before making any big decisions. The stand out change in market conditions came around the time of the London Olympics, when many agents were promoting the need for 'short term lets' or 'holiday lets' to handle the 'extremely high' demand they were anticipating. At the time we felt it necessary to warn landlords of the potential shortfalls that could be experienced if the situation was not managed correctly. Needless to say, the array of 'over promising agents' managed to disappoint many a landlord throughout London. Whilst Thorgills do offer a short term lettings service, it is important to take in to consideration market conditions and whether every property is suitable for the short term lettings service. An area that continues to build momentum as more landlords enjoy the flexibility of short term lettings and our increasing list of corporate clients relocate staff to London on a temporary basis.

One more area that has certainly gained momentum over 2012 and looks set to continue in 2013 is private rented sector (PRS) investment. The buy to let mortgage market is making finance increasingly available and professional landlords are certainly back. As Britain, and specifically London moves forward and cogs begin to turn, the chain of events begin to unfold. Foreign investors are enjoying the strong yields London has to offer, this investment pushes more new build developments back in to production, creating a greater supply of properties for buy to let investors. In turn this creates an incentive war as developers fight for the purchasers, which leads to bargains for professional landlords wishing to expand their portflios and new properties finding there way to the London lettings market. This trend looks set to continue throughout 2013, helping drive up the quality of rental properties available locally and perhaps help stabilise the rising rents being experienced throughout London.

Perhaps the one other area to consider as a landlord or tenant is the increasing number of estate agents offering a lettings service. As we become an island of renters it is inevitable that more and more lettings agents will appear and perhaps the once ever important estate agent may begin disappear. A word of warning, whilst we don't completely agree with increased red tape and the concept of licensing lettings agents, it is important that you select a local agent with a strong reputation and as a minimum is a voluntary member of a property ombudsman.

As Thorgills celebrate 5 years servicing West London's Rental Market the future looks bright. We are currently recruiting for negotiators, admin staff and part time staff and have some exciting new developments planned for 2013. If you think you have what it takes to join West London's Premier Lettings Specialist please send your CV and covering letter to lettings@thorgills.com.