Corporation tax cut 'will boost' home rentals in Northern Ireland
A cut in corporation tax will help to improve the residential rental market in the greater Belfast area, an estate agent has said.
Ryan Andrews, a director of Reeds Rains, said the number of rental properties around Belfast has increased steadily in the past decade and he is optimistic that it will continue to grow.
Mr Andrews spoke as the Homelet Rental index today showed an increase in monthly rents in Northern Ireland to £612 a month, up from £587 last year.
Out of 12 UK regions, Northern Ireland had the second lowest rents, the lowest being £540 per month in the north east of England.
Mr Andrews said the rental market in the areas where Reeds Rains operates - Glengormley, Newtownards, Lisburn, Carrickfergus, south Belfast and Bangor - is strong.
He also said he believes that rents will increase in the coming months.
"There are a lot more professional people renting now than there have been for the last few years," he said.
"People who would have never rented before have been looking at it as a viable option.
"For example, with the jobs market maybe not doing so well, people might not want to commit to a mortgage, but they may be in a position where they have to move, perhaps to accommodate a growing family.
"Maybe they cannot afford the house they want in the location they want, so they decide to rent instead."
At the same time, Mr Andrews said more properties are coming on to the property market.
As a result of the property crash, many homeowners ended up in negative equity, so rented their property instead of selling it when it came to moving on themselves.
Overall, he said that demand remains high for rental properties.
"We had a semi-detached house in Bangor recently that six people all wanted to take," he said.
"That means that landlords have more say over who lives in their property, which makes renting more attractive.
"At the same time, people wanting to rent a property have higher standards and they expect more from a property.
"I do think things are going to continue to improve and I don't think Brexit will have any long-term negative impact.
"You may have people putting off signing up to a 25-year mortgage and renting for a few years while waiting to see how things pan out.
"I think a competitive reduction in corporation tax will increase jobs.
"You're more likely to get companies wanting to invest here and especially the likes of the IT companies that tend to have short contracts, their employees will be looking for short term lets."
William McFarland - a director of Enniskillen-based estate agency Eadie McFarland and Co - said he believes the rental market in Co Fermanagh has improved, although he said he does not expect the rental market in rural areas to grow as fast as in Belfast.