As March 1st marked the start of meteorological spring, and as we approach the changing of the clocks the Lomond lettings’ team wanted to share some updates and insights from 2020. With the end of the pandemic looming, hopefully we are all starting to feel a renewed sense of optimism, so reflecting on a strange and challenging year seemed apt.
At the start of 2020 Lomond were looking forward to consolidating operations from Ayr into our new Prestwick HQ, eager to serve all our landlords and tenants, before sloping off at the end of the week for a crisp pint or dry sherry at the Lido. It all turned out a bit different. Regardless, it’s been a busy year at Lomond and despite the major disruption of COVID-19 the letting portfolio remains strong. At a glance you can see we have been actively managing across a number of areas, keeping rents and yield levels in very favourable positions.
Working with and for our landlords and investors, our occupancy rate is exceptionally high, especially considering the industry average tenancy is 18 months, with a minimum turnaround securing new tenants of one month thereafter, which means a void rate of just over 5%. Our high occupancy shows happy tenants, especially when some letting agents saw high turnover rates as people looked to move after the first lockdown in spring 2020. Happy tenants lead to longer lets and more secure rental income. Although our headline figure of £6k per annum rental is across the estate and reflects different yields and properties, Ayrshire – in particular East and North – has been reported for having the highest yields in Scotland.
Those of you with insatiable appetites for US prison documentaries will be familiar with the term lockdown. But now it’s a concept and reality we all know. The lettings team at Lomond have been working hard, fighting Zoom face whilst ensuring your tenants remain Covid-secure. We’ve carried out virtual / video tours on each property available to let, and we’ve gone that extra mile with our pre-tenancy cleans. To cut down on office and face-to-face meetings, we have an online application process for each prospective tenant, whilst maintaining robust pre-tenancy checks. We’ve always had some office access as permitted by The Scottish Government, but to ensure social distancing we don’t have everyone in the Irvine and Prestwick offices: staff working remotely have access to our cloud-based management system and digital phone software. Where we have had issues that need some immediate attention, like water ingress or a possible gas leaks, all tenants and tradesmen have been excellent, being both flexible and respectful of guidelines during visits.
The market continues to be extremely buoyant with demand outstripping supply. This is excellent for landlords and Lomond, but the reality is that some prospective tenants are going to miss out. But with working from home likely to remain, and as people seek to leave some cities and urbanised areas, as well us cutting their commutes, life in the leafier provinces promises much for the landlords and their communities.
Lomond Property are a leading, independent Estate Agent and Ayrshire’s largest Letting Agent. Our marketplace spans rural, town, suburban and city properties, and with our collective 50-plus years of staff experience we take pride in providing the right service for every client and every customer.
Note: statistics, percentages and references are correct at the time of writing.