Despite the rise in house prices over the past year, real estate remains a good investment for future homeowners, according to one County Armagh Real Estate Agent.

As for the tenants, residential market price increase as demand outweighs supply, but there is good news for those looking for business units, because the owners will no longer have it “as they please”.

When it comes to property ownership, Owen Matchett is truly a household name, and in January the Portadown man took the plunge by setting up on his own, under the name ‘The agent’.

So, who to contact to know the status of the rental.

Talk to Armagh I, Owen said the market for rent to buy has “exploded” in recent years, with people seeing it as a wise investment.

“There are a lot of people who think ‘it’s retirement time for me’, the money in the bank only brings in a few cents in a year,” he explained.

“Throwing your money into the property can make a good return every year, and then there’s the annual growth, when it comes to selling the house.”

However, Owen admitted there had been some grumbling over the past year as house prices rose significantly.

“Homeowners are especially concerned with the cheaper side of the market, but for years that have stopped, with maybe a one or two percent increase,” he said.

“At the height of the market, your two-plus-two down was valued at around £ 150,000, but when the bubble burst it fell by around £ 100,000.”

So, according to Owen, what many considered a prudent investment vanished overnight, with standard street houses costing around £ 50,000.

“Then there was the problem that the banks were more and more reluctant to lend on these old street houses, which required work on the electricity,” he added.

“They are still reluctant, most of these houses have to be bought with cash as they have sat for many years without any improvement.”

Despite this, Owen estimates that these houses, which now cost between £ 70,000 and £ 75,000, remain good investments for rival owners.

“You always get a pretty good return for your money; the days when owners were making 10%, which is the ideal scenario, is no longer happening, but you could get a 7 or 8% return. “

Regarding the price of rent, Owen noted that often realtors “struggle”, but sometimes it is unavoidable.

“At the end of the day, the owner is running a business,” he explained, “they have to get X percent return or else they might as well keep their money in the bank.

“So it’s not us who set the rent, the landlord says, ‘I bought this house for X amount of money, so I have to price the rent at X to pay the mortgage.” “

Owen admitted that he often doesn’t advise homeowners to seek help from a management company.

“Morally, I don’t offer a management service,” he says, “a lot of realtors would be looking for around 10% of your monthly rent and the reality is they really don’t do anything.

“The rent normally goes up every month and then if the washing machine breaks down or there’s a problem with the heating all the real estate agent does is call the landlord and say ‘you have to solve this problem’.”

Instead, Owen said his main help to landlords is helping them get a tenant through and make sure everything is in place to do so.

As for tenants, he said before they even visit a property, they should make sure they have all relevant references, bank statements and proof of employment.

“It’s going to give the real estate agent – and the owner – some comfort in knowing that affordability is there.

“So it’s pointless for a tenant to go and see a property, in my opinion, unless all this documentation is readily available on site.”

In Owen’s own words, the rental market right now is most certainly one of the demands far exceeding the supply.

He said he rented some properties in just 15 minutes, while others didn’t even make it to his website because decent tenants were already waiting.

However, because of this fact, Owen said owners have been able to take advantage of it with a “comfortable” 10% increase in rental prices over the past year.

Contrary to popular belief, Owen believes the demand is high because many people don’t want to buy.

“There are people who just cannot afford to buy, there are young people who are in high paying professions but need to save for a down payment to buy their first home.

“But there are also those who have retired, they sell their house that they don’t have a mortgage on and they think, ‘I don’t want to invest in another house.’

Owen said he could see where many of these people were coming from and said when the time came he too would be “tempted”.

As for the business side of the rental market, Owen said it was a “sad state of affairs,” but hoped that would change as we returned to some sort of normalcy.

“Of course, no one was looking at business units, simply because they couldn’t open,” he explained, “the only units that were rented were those in the food industry, that could trade. . “

Owen said potential new tenants, with the reopening of the retail market, have an advantage.

“Business unit owners are going to demand tenants, and where business owners have been able to do what they want in the past, it just won’t be like that.

“They will really want these units to be rented and will have to offer very favorable terms, such as a long period without rent and a reasonable exit clause if things don’t work out.

Owen noted that many homeowners he spoke to were “sane” in this regard and they had to be, otherwise the country was going to be filled with “ghost towns.”

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