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Lucinda Newell the property rental expert

To be seen pottering along the highways and byways of Luton in her Mini Clubman, her trusted Scottie Malcolm at her side, our super sleuthing property rental expert Ms Lucinda Newell is on the case on your behalf! My New Year resolution for 2012 is a simple one as usual. Look for the positive in everything and everyone and try and create as much of a “feel good” factor in those around me that I can. I therefore wish you all the very best for a happy, healthy and successful 2012. As we enter 2012, few people expect the year to be anything other than a challenging one for everyone within the UK and indeed, across the globe. Financial issues seem to dominate the headlines and there is no doubt that the road to a strong economic recovery will be long and bumpy. I am not sure that anyone has a definitive and workable plan to resolve the Euro issue and so expect it to form part of our headlines for some time to come. Unemployment levels are likely to increase and reductions in public spending will bite deeper. Banks, particularly due to their exposure to debt, will continue to restrict lending and be cautious in exposing themselves further. The residential property market is changing with owner occupation falling and those renting in the private sector increasing, often through a lack of an alternative. New homes building and sales, despite Government incentives, will still run at relatively low levels and yet demand for housing is set to continue to rise as the population grows. This is due, in part, to increasing life expectancy which, in turn, creates the issue of their being enough people working to fund those that have retired. Against this uncertain and difficult backdrop we look certain to continue to benefit from low interest rates and the basic need for housing and the need for greater mobility in finding employment will become increasing drivers of activity in the housing market. 2011 saw the volume of sale transactions run at the lowest level for years. Figures, when published, are likely to show around 550,000 UK wide transactions. Interestingly the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) recently issued a report saying they expected transaction volumes to increase in 2012. I hope they are right but I saw little evidence in their report for such a claim. The private rental sector grew however and now stands at around 16% of all households in the UK. With all the doom and gloom that is around us you would think that the property market was going to be dead on its feet and that 2012 would look set to be a terrible year. Whilst I don’t underestimate the challenges that we all face and the impact of the financial issues around the world, I am positive that there will be a decent market in 2012 and that there will also be many who take advantage of the low cost of borrowing to make a move or add to their property portfolios. My personal view is that property market will actually remain fairly stable with the volume of supply balancing demand and keeping values steady. Indeed I am expecting a similar market to 2011 overall with perhaps a small increase in the size of the private rental sector. More than ever, I believe that sellers and landlords will look for agents that “add value” to the process and get results. In that regard I know my small portfolio is in safe hands with the team at Lenwell. Now, after a little too much food and drink this Christmas and New Year, I like many others, will be looking to shed a few pounds in the weeks ahead. This may be a challenge for me  but I know “someone” who’ll be pleased at getting out and about more! Come on Malcolm - Walkies!
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