As the calendar edges towards Spring and the late afternoons start to feel brighter, the Lomond lettings’ team wanted to share some updates and insights from 2021. With the end of the pandemic looming, hopefully we are all starting to feel a renewed sense of optimism, and reflecting on another unusual year seemed apt.
By the beginning of last year we’d fully consolidated operations into our new Prestwick HQ, eager to serve all our landlords and tenants across 700 properties, and it was another busy 12 months at Lomond: despite the continued uncertainty around COVID-19, our letting portfolio remained strong, keeping rent and yield levels in very favourable positions.
In 2021, on average we executed just under 2.5 move-ins per week, finding 126 tenants new homes. In terms of bringing on new rentals, it’s been more than one a week – and although those 56 properties do include “recycling” some existing tenanted flats and houses to new landlords, it highlights Lomond’s experience working with all landlords and investors when it comes to providing stock with ongoing rental agreements: sometimes it’s possible to have your cake and eat it.
Our occupancy rate is exceptionally high at 95.5%, especially considering the industry average tenancy is 18 months, and with a minimum turnaround of about one month to secure new tenants once move-outs are complete: this high occupancy shows happy tenants, leading to longer lets and more secure rental income for landlords. Although our headline figure of just over £6k per annum rental is across the estate and reflects different yields and properties, Ayrshire – in particular East and North – has been reported for some of the highest yields in Scotland. Although the link above represents sales, the low costs of entry for purchasing a rental property translates into great value-for-money yield in these areas.
Despite the occasional isolation period, the trauma of “Zoom Face” has been on the wane at Lomond, and the team has primarily been office-based in 2021. However, where necessary, 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, our online application process for each prospective tenant continues to be a great boon, whilst still maintaining robust pre-tenancy checks. We’ve followed social distancing advice and 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.
In general, the COP26 conference put the global spotlight on the west of Scotland, and the occasional Trump-based press story keeps Ayrshire in the national news – all good publicity for the wide-open spaces, rolling farmland and sea views that many of us are lucky to experience on a daily basis.
The market continues to be extremely buoyant with demand outstripping supply. In some areas last year, Citylets report stock levels having dropped by 65% and just last week one of our chief spotters saw – in Edinburgh, and therefore not Lomond’s core market – the front window of a letting agent displaying a mere four properties, with most of their display crying out for more stock : 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 for many under a blended working model, and as people seek to keep commuting to a minimum, life in the leafier provinces promises much for 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.