31 May 2022
The rental market for quality family homes in Aberdeenshire is booming, according to a leading property-letting expert at Aberdein Considine.
Yvonne Bryce has now revealed five "hot spots" in the area attracting increasing numbers of would-be tenants.
The Aberdeenshire lettings manager also said that the situation has been made worse by stock levels in the shire being at their lowest level for two decades.
Mrs Bryce, who has worked in the rental sector in the north-east for more than 25 years, said the current demand for top-notch properties to lease in Aberdeenshire is even exceeding past times when the North Sea oil and gas industry was at its peak.
"In today's in-demand areas, we have had times where 20 viewing requests have been received within a day of a home being put on the market, and it then going under offer by the end of the week - securing in many cases higher-than-advertised rentals."
The top locations in the shire for renters have been identified as:
But the lettings manager also reported that good-quality homes in surrounding areas were also proving popular for renters.
Asked to explain the popularity of the "hot spots", she commented: "It is the lifestyle that these areas and their local amenities offer - they are scenic areas, family-orientated, and have good schools with relatively easy access to the city.
"The Aberdeen bypass has had a positive impact by allowing easier access to north, west and south areas of the city. This, along with increased levels of remote working, has meant commuting distances are less of a priority when searching for a home."
The property-letting expert said homes in the "hot spots" are attracting a mixture of people looking to move.
"Many are locals who are seeking to upsize or downsize. Others are people 'dipping their toe in the water' before committing to buying in an area."
Mrs Bryce said the journey of the private rented sector in the north-east over the decades has very much reflected that of the North Sea oil and gas industry since the 1970s.
"I witnessed almost a continued rental growth right up until less than a decade ago. Things reached their peak in 2014, when the average rent for the area was £1,132 per month.
"At that time, the north-east was the most expensive area to rent in Scotland.
"However, following the last oil downturn in 2014, rents tumbled almost overnight.
"Within a year, the oil workers whom the private rented sector heavily relied upon had left the area and rents fell by almost 16% whilst the average time-to-let increased by 60%. This downward trajectory continued until 2021 when the average rent fell to £747 - almost 35% below its peak."
Asked to give an example of how just one location in the area was affected, the property-letting expert said a typical four-bed detached home in Westhill in 2014 would have achieved a monthly rent of about £1,800, but this fell to £1,200 in 2018. Last year was when the north-east market started showing the "green shoots" of recovery.
Mrs Bryce added:
"As lockdown restrictions eased, we witnessed a desire from many city dwellers to seek out properties with a bit more space and room to roam. This has resulted in a huge demand for good quality family homes in the shire which, in my opinion, exceeds even the peak of the oil boom."
She said the average four-bed detached home in Westhill is now achieving a monthly rent of £1,550 - still £250 behind the figure for 2014.
"In summary, market rents are recovering but not to pre-oil crash levels."
The lettings manager expects rents will continue to rise in the years ahead, continuing to close the gap on the 2014 peak.
Mrs Bryce went on:
"The pace will be dictated by the availability of properties for let. Stock is at its lowest level for I would say 20 years as less new homes are coming on the market. There is also reduced levels of current private rented sector properties returning to the market as tenants are staying longer and landlords deciding to sell."
Aberdein Considine is an award-winning Scottish law firm which has been letting homes north of the border since 1981.
Its large team includes estate agents, letting agents, lawyers and independent financial advisers.
The letting staff are among the most qualified in the country and they manage more than £300million of assets in Scotland.
As well as letting, other services they provide include property letting, buy-to-let mortgages, conveyancing, property management and property maintenance, in addition to rent guarantee and legal expenses insurance.
Mrs Bryce said Aberdein Considine provides an unrivalled genuine "all under one roof" service for its wide variety of clients - and another benefit is the firm's use of innovative technology.
She highlighted a massive social media and website following, with more than four million users reached on social media in the first quarter of this year. Aberdein Considine also has more than 66,000 followers online.
A new report from Citylets has revealed that activity in the Scottish property-leasing market continues to strengthen, despite negative factors such as the big rise in the cost of living and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
There was good news for Aberdeen landlords in the study of how the market performed in the first-quarter of 2022. The average monthly rent is up 3.4% year-on-year - and Citylets says this is the city's first significant annual rise for a number of years. Aberdeen is also said to stand out among Scotland's key cities for its continued reduction of supply of homes to let over the quarter, which is reflected in rising rents and a fall of time-to-let by 17 days to average 37.
Four-beds saw the biggest year-on-year increase in rents in the Granite City - ahead by a typical 6.3% to £1,506 a month, with three-beds next best after jumping 4.1% to £914.