Over the course of the last three years, the property market in the UK has been somewhat volatile, with rises, falls and uncertainty being the order of the day in the sector for some time. However, while the price of property has always been hard to predict, there is one area that has performed consistently well for a number of years.
The private rented sector has seen a real upturn in fortunes ever since 2011, with landlords capitalising on strong demand, and the increased number of people who see renting as a long-term alternative to buying, in order to secure strong yields.
It has meant rents rising time and again, though, to the extent that in October this year they reached all time highs of £788. While this is fantastic news for landlords, who see their returns improving all the time, tenants across the country have been seeing the cost of securing a new home rising for a long time, which makes it harder to find the right place at the right price.
However, now may well be the right time for tenants to pounce and move to a new rental home, with the quieter end of the year having brought about a real change in the market. According to the latest report from Your Move and Reeds Rains, the cost of renting a property on average across the UK has fallen over the course of the last month.
Although rental costs are still some two per cent (or £15 per month) higher than they were in November 2013, the same month this year has seen the cost of renting fall compared to October. The 0.2 per cent drop takes the average price to just £768 per month.
The companies say that this time of year is one that is mutually beneficial to landlords and tenants. While owners don't want to have to leave their properties empty and end up bringing nothing in over the winter period when it's quieter, tenants are able to secure a far cheaper rental price.
So is now the time to rent? It certainly seems like this could be the case. Anyone who is looking to rent a property at this time of the year will be able to take advantage of the slower period to fix in a lower price for themselves over the next six months to a year, which means they are protected against rises in the immediate future, even when the market picks up pace again in the new year.
"As a whole, 2014 has been remarkably positive in terms of the affordability of renting which is just as positive a note to end the year on for landlords as for tenants themselves," said David Newnes, director of Your Move and Reeds Rains.
At this time of year, though, it's possible that both landlords and tenants can find a reason for smiling, as the market allows them to work together to make sure everyone is happy heading into 2015.