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Barnet Council is planning to introduce stricter licensing for landlords with prosecutions and/or fines of up to £30,000 for those failing to comply. The aim is to try to marginalise rogue operators and improve housing conditions for the 26% of the borough’s residents who rent privately. Latest figures show that the proportion of tenants locally has increased from 17% in 2001 and is rising rapidly. People are renting for longer and buying their first home later.

We have found our landlords continue to take advantage of a good supply of professional tenants and families attracted by excellent employment prospects, schools and transport facilities as well as difficulty in purchasing despite recent tax and regulatory changes. The result is solid returns and average private sector rents rising to over £1,500 a month.  

Barnet has proved to be a particular beneficiary of low mortgage rates and real incomes increasing at their fastest in almost 8 years, resulting in the highest number of first time buyers for 12 years in 2018. Property portal Rightmove said at the end of February that ‘buyer affordability is improving at its fastest rate against average asking prices since 2011!’ 

The good news is spreading.  Last year, Barnet became   the largest borough in London by population with the third highest number of shops (2,044) and fourth highest number of restaurants and cafes (441), according to property consultants, CBRE. The firm also suggested Barnet’s residential property market has bucked the trend of falling house prices by recording growth of 1% last year so that the average property price in the borough is now £545,000! 

And the future looks bright.  Regeneration of over 800 acres at Brent Cross should deliver 27,000 new homes, 4 million sq ft of new offices and 30,000 jobs in one of Europe’s largest projects at a cost of around £4.5bn. A new Thameslink mainline station will connect the development to Kings Cross in 15 minutes from 2022, with schools, parks, healthcare and leisure facilities included too. 

Buying or selling, renting or letting, investing or managing, Barnet is an exciting place to live and Jeremy Leaf & Co can make it happen!

Jeremy Leaf, a former RICS residential chairman &  independent North London Estate Agency owner.
March 2019