"My suggestion to investors is to be very careful in what you buy; ensure there is good cash flow as property prices will take some time to recover and, if using any creative strategy, make sure you fully understand your short, medium and long-term obligations."
Many participants also agreed that interest rates are likely to remain low and obtaining buy to let housing credit will continue to be a challenge – particularly as a result of the recently announced government austerity measures.
On a positive note, most lettings specialists believe landlords can look forward to better yields with James Davis of U-Pad stating: "demand in the rental market is likely to remain exceptionally strong. We won’t be surprised to see rent increases of 10% or more over the next year, and in some areas potentially even more."
Russell Short from Property Partners commented: "landlords and agents are now reporting rent increases in many parts of the country. This is a direct result of the mortgage companies suffiocating approach which is driving average property prices down and subsequently forcing more potential buyers into tenanted properties. The rise in demand has seen some agents asking for sealed bids from prospective tenants so driving prices up."
Other interesting opinions were voiced by Sarah Beeney (Channel 4’s Property Ladder and Tepilo) who suggested for investors to avoid media speculation: "do all you can to not take into consideration headline scaremongering of a predicted 14.7% drop in values in one newspaper one day or a 16.4% rise in another newspaper the next – why not 13.9% or 15.8% as they would be likely to be as accurate? If you have to sell for less you can more than likely buy for less too. The truth is you need to keep both feet on the ground and get finance you can afford to pay off and a property that will suit your needs for the next few years."
A handful of participants warned investors to be prepared for further drops with Simon Zutshi of the Property Investors Network stating: "there is a big chance of a second dip because the banks have repossessed many properties that they have not yet released onto the property market. If these are released too quickly there may be an over-supply which would cause prices to fall further.
"Either way this uncertainty means there is a massive buying opportunity for the educated investor who does not mind short term prices fluctuations. As long as you buy property that gives a positive cash flow now, in an area with strong rental demand, with a long term view, and at the right price, then it is a good time to buy. The key is to know what you are doing.”
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