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So the New Year has come and gone! We're pushing through the miserable winter months and starting to look forward to the Spring. New Year's resolutions are gradually being given up, we've done the big Spring clean, we've joined the gym, we've 'attempted' the January detox, and we're almost through an entire series of whichever box set you were given for Christmas. All that's left to do is pull our finger out and do what we've been saying we want to do for months............move home.

The New Year, and particularly the approaching Spring does seem to create that moving home frenzy. Not to say the Winter was a quiet period in the Lettings market, we are pleased to report our busiest winter on record. The tough winter months really give you an insight in to the British economy, even though for many this is the hardest time of year, with increased overheads, the lettings market from Thorgills position certainly stayed buoyant. Compared to the rest of the year, the market of course took its usual seasonal dip, but we were pleased to maintain a very high level of applicants registering and a steady flow of high quality rental properties coming on to the market. Combine this with some inventive marketing, a sprinkling of landlords offering perspective tenants 'seasonal specials' and we had our recipe for success.

This busy pre-new year period has only helped to build momentum, and lead to 2012 kicking off with a bang. Anyone thinking the 'kipper' season starts in January will be sadly mistaken, well at least in the case of lettings in West London. Applicant enquiries, specifically from corporate clients are dramatically on the up, with recent acknowledgment from a number of blue chip companies based in the Great West Road area of Brentford. These companies placing Thorgills on their preferred supplier lists mean we really are able to offer Landlords a fantastic cross section of the market as perspective tenants. Specifically top quality rental properties in Brentford, Chiswick and Ealing are being let in record time.

There is of course the other side to the lettings market, the side that many will have forgotten. The side that for years, before the buy to let investment became such an attractive alternative to other investment opportunities was always here. The side that was around before the recession hit, and mortgage products dried up, and all those perspective buyers quickly became perspective tenants. The side of the market I refer to is of course the bread and butter tenants that are simply looking for affordable housing. They want a clean, safe property that they don't have to pay the earth for, they need good properties and good landlords. In today's world, all too often we hear the bragging rights of a company, for example in the lettings industry you will regularly hear the 'highest rent achieved' brag. Whilst Thorgills will always try to achieve the best we can for our Landlords, and have certainly on a number of occasions in the past smashed highest rents achieved in a given road or block, that is not all we stand for, or provide. A word we are particularly fond of at Thorgills is 'stability'. Stability helps to ensure the safe keeping of your investment, it helps to ensure that your investment is always providing a return and not sitting vacant, or worse has a tenant in place that can no longer afford that headline rent your agent convinced you was achievable. Whilst the lettings market is strong, you should be achieving a maximum return on your rental property, but take sound advice and don't overinflate your rental price to the point that the bubble bursts, and leaves you in a place you don't want to be.

As the local and national newspapers will tell you, rental prices are on the up, in fact it appears as though the only person in the country who seems to disagree is our faithful leader, David Cameron. The PM was recently quoted as saying 'private rents are coming down'. Of course he is mistaken, we assume he misunderstood the seasonal dip in rental prices as a direct result of the government's recent housing benefits reform. A surprisingly obvious mistake for arguably the most informed man in the country to make, but who are we to judge. What it does point out though, is that the PM and his army of advisors are not Lettings specialists, and are still capable of making mistakes, and that in this industry consulting with the experts really does help.

At the moment, rents are on the up. Top quality property, high spec new builds and riverside developments are achieving great things very quickly, particularly with our corporate clients. The value for money side of the market is still here, and there is great demand for clean affordable housing, as tenants are being served notice by landlords convinced they can achieve higher rents. If you have had a tenant for two to three years and have not increased the rent, then we would certainly suggest speaking with Thorgills, these are the tenancies that perhaps it is time to think about a rent increase on, or finding new tenants offering a better return on investment.

If you are a landlord or tenant and require any advice whatsoever please contact your local Thorgills Branch. Remember we are voluntary members of both the National Landlords Association and the Property Ombudsman, so our work is always carried out to the highest standards. Thorgills advice and valuations are free so please do not hesitate to get in touch.