By John Carney
A NEW report has revealed the price of renting a home locally is rising faster than ever, and the situation is allowing landlords to handpick who can live in their properties.
New research on housing market trends from PropertyPal.com found that the price of renting a home in Northern Ireland was increasing even more quickly than the price of buying a home.
With a fall in the number of available homes to rent, as demand continues to outstrip supply in Fermanagh, those on housing benefits, students and pet owners are being overlooked by landlords.
“Understandably, landlords are being selective when it comes to who they want renting their properties,” Nick Finlay of Montgomery Finlay estate agents said. “They are not being discriminatory at all. They just want to get the right people for their house, who will suit it the best.”
Young professionals or professional working couples met this criteria perfectly.
“It’s like going for a job interview when employers ask for character references and your previous work history before they hire you. Landlords are now the same. They want to know the type of people looking to rent their house and want the best possible tenant,” Mr Finlay said.
“We are getting 30 or 40 enquiries for each house that goes up for rent online and you’ll have a variety of people from all walks of life looking to rent it. Generally, though, landlords will be specifically looking for working professionals to rent to. These are clearly who they are interested in.”
The price of a home in Northern Ireland from March to June was £187,900, which went up 5.2 per cent on last year and 2.4 per cent compared to the first few months of this year.
Increasing materials and labour costs had added £40,000 to the price of a new-build home, which will now set buyers back an average of £221,700, up 17.6 per cent.
“It’s a Catch-22, in that, when there is limited property available for people to get on to the property market, then they will look to rent and this is driving rental prices up,” Mr Finlay said.
“There are very few options for people at the moment.
“For those who want to move out of their family home, or have sold up their property and need somewhere to stay in the short-term, rental is the only option.
“But because of the serious demand today, there’s not enough low-cost housing available for local people to get on to the property ladder and they end up paying rent for a place above their means.”
Those looking to buy or rent homes locally can expect to pay well over the odds as things stand, and the future is looking even bleaker.
“Just to have a roof over their heads, people are spending far more on rental properties than they’d ever planned to, and cutting back on other essentials instead to be able to afford it. It’s not going to get any easier,” Mr Finlay said.
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