Mike Malloy, 26, is the proprietor of Martin and Co, a franchised estate agent in Wanstead, North East London.
Over the last two years he has witnessed a dramatic increase in the demand for rental properties and therefore the price.
“There is a real shortage,” he tells The Huffington Post UK. “People are finding it harder, especially first time buyers, to get on the property market for purchasing so we’re finding people are living with their families longer. The other option is to rent.”
Mike has found that the age of renters over the last six to eight months has also increased.
“It’s not just young people who are looking to rent,” he says. “It’s people in their 30s and 40s, many with one or two kids. A lot of families are now looking to rent, which is a change.”
“Two years ago a one-bed flat was gold dust. That’s what everyone wanted, both singles and couples. It was £750 to £800 for a one-bed in Wanstead. Now it’s £750-£900. The market is such that landlords are now saying they want the upper end of that range. Even if the property is not in that good condition landlords know know if they hold on, people will pay eventually due to the high number of people looking. There’s a ‘bottling’ of tenants.”
According to Mike, it’s not just one-bed property prices that are increasing. All properties are going up.
“I’ve seen a massive increase in three-bedroom properties coming up for rent,” he says. “That was never normally the case. Free-share professionals or young families are snapping them up.”
In regards to housing minister Grant Shapps suggestion that the government was taking measures to cut red tape, Mike says there’s not that much beurocracy on the estate agent side
“The government is talking about bringing in licensing for landlords, like they do on the continent. There are some cowboy landlords out there – people that say they have a place to rent out but can’t prove they own it or landlords who steal tenant’s deposits. There does need to be some tightening.”
Yet the real problem for renters remains simple economics. “There are no real new builds in Wanstead so it’s supply and demand. No new houses means demand outstrips supply, hence high prices.”