Summary The residential landlord market provides a mixed picture in terms of its current state and future outlook. While it has undergone significant growth over recent years, the market is ripe for change following government plans to raise taxes on secondary properties and increase stamp duty. Landlords may also be vulnerable to interest rate changes, which have caused some financial providers to revamp their lending criteria and introduce tougher restrictions. This is a concern for insurers that have previously enjoyed the buoyancy of the market. Insurance providers are primarily in the market for accidental landlords - those acquiring properties by ways other than outright purchase. And as lending rules strengthen and it becomes increasingly difficult to attain a buy-to-let mortgage, this may become a principal route to market for insurers. However, although the number of those offering rented accommodation through a secondary home has declined from last year, providers are adamant the market's value will continue to grow, especially as investors rush to buy a second property and attempt to beat the tax hikes. On the commercial landlord side, the firms involved in the real estate and rental space are moving towards the expansion of investment in commercial property outside of London. This is becoming a preferred option due to the prospect of gaining a better return on the investment, including more financial gain or an improvement on the space acquired for rental purposes, such as a larger office area at a reduced cost than if the space was to be rented in the capital. Key Findings -The proportion of consumers offering rented accommodation in the UK through a secondary property has fallen year-on-year from 60.3% in 2014 to 56.5% in 2015. -Contacting the insurer directly is the main distribution platform for private landlords, with 43.0% of consumers opting to purchase insurance via this channel. - Telephone is the most popular method of arranging cover in the real estate and renting space, with 46.9% of SMEs opting for this medium. Synopsis Verdict Financial's "UK Private and Commercial Landlord Insurance 2016" explores the buy-to-let and commercial property sectors, and the factors affecting those with investments in these markets. The report discusses how insurers will fare following the introduction of new regulations and the tightening of rules, which is set to impact landlords and in turn their need for insurance cover. New regulation is highlighted, as well as key issues insures will need to consider and address over the next few years. Reasons To Buy -Keep up-to-date with the latest developments occurring in the private and commercial landlord markets. -Be informed of the latest issues affecting customers and the subsequent impact on insurers. -Be prepared for how regulation will influence the landlord space over the next few years.
Table of Contents
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The profitability of the market is in question amid changes to policies Key findings Critical success factors PRIVATE LANDLORDS AND RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES Introduction The landlord insurance market is worth an estimated £2.22bn GWP in the commercial property market has fluctuated in recent years The residential buy-to-let space is thriving but is facing several challenges Rising house prices are driving consumers into private rented accommodation Buy-to-let lending is thriving but has been a concern for policy makers Ownership of secondary properties is most prevalent in London and Southern England Government intervention will reduce buy-to-let lending Landlords are clamping down on illegal subletting Airbnb-style "host insurance" could fill gaps in the landlord and home markets The protection of tenants is now a priority amid the introduction of new safety measures New regulation for letting agents provides landlords and tenants with increased powers Ownership of secondary properties has increased but fewer are willing to let 13.4% of consumers own secondary residential properties in the UK 56.5% of consumers use second properties to provide rented accommodation for tenants Rental property ownership among the different age bands presents a mixed picture Consumers with larger incomes are most likely to afford second properties Purchasing is the most popular means of acquiring a second property Direct communication is favored by residential landlords purchasing insurance Insurers remain the top channel for individuals insuring their rental property Telephone is the outright winner in terms of arranging landlord cover Over one third of properties let by landlords in the UK are inadequately insured The residential landlord market going forward Buy-to-let market to grow as investors strive to beat tax rises The influx of foreign investors is driving the impact of buy-to-leave Increased competition would bring about a drop in rates The simplicity of landlord insurance could encourage use of the online channel COMMERCIAL LANDLORDS, REAL ESTATE, AND RENTING The market is mainly comprised of micro businesses and is best served by Aviva The real estate and renting sector is most affiliated with micro businesses Aviva remains the top insurer serving SMEs in the real estate and renting sector E-commerce is driving uptake of large storage units London is increasingly becoming a competitive market for commercial landlords Increased demand for London office space puts downward pressure on vacancy rates Investors are turning to areas outside London for commercial property purchases Regional office markets are predicted to perform strongly in 2016 Brokers remain the first port of call for commercial landlords The broker channel continues to dominate the distribution landscape Price is the main reason for opting to use a broker Telephone is the most popular medium in the real estate and renting space Most real estate and renting sector SMEs spend between £1,000 and £1,999 on insurance Property cover is the main product purchased in the real estate and renting space APPENDIX Abbreviations and acronyms Definitions Banks Brokers Direct Price comparison websites SME Methodology Verdict Financials 2015 UK General Insurance Survey Verdict Financials 2015 UK SME Insurance Survey Bibliography Further reading About Verdict Financial Disclaimer
List of Tables
Table 1: Top property insurers for SMEs in the real estate and renting sector, 2014-15 Table 2: Annual insurance spend of SMEs in the real estate and renting sector, 2015
List of Figures
Figure 1: The total commercial property market was worth £5bn in 2014 Figure 2: House prices have risen 53.2% from £173,000 in 2004 to £265,000 in 2014 Figure 3: 2015 saw a rapid increase in the number of buy-to-let mortgage deals Figure 4: London has the largest share of consumers owning a secondary property at 27.5% Figure 5: London represents the largest proportion of landlords in the UK with a 28.3% share Figure 6: House prices were highest in Greater London during 2015 at £395,000 Figure 7: 2016 will see lending in the buy-to-let space slow amid changes to government policies Figure 8: Belong Safe looks to provide insurance for home owners with paying guests Figure 9: Communication failure is the most common lettings issue reported Figure 10: 2014 marked the first drop in the number of complaints to The Property Ombudsman for five years Figure 11: 13.4% of consumers own secondary residential properties in the UK Figure 12: The proportion of consumers offering rented accommodation has fallen year-on-year Figure 13: The majority of landlords acquire their second property by way of purchase Figure 14: Insurers remain the top distribution channel for private landlords Figure 15: Phone remains the most popular product distribution method for private landlords Figure 16: 35.6% of individuals letting second properties do not have adequate insurance Figure 17: The North West of England has the highest number of long-term empty properties Figure 18: The real estate and renting sector has a bias towards the micro end of the market Figure 19: 2015 saw growth in the number of micro enterprises in the real estate and renting sector Figure 20: Aviva and AXA are the standout SME insurers in the real estate and renting sector Figure 21: Over two thirds of property take-up in London during Q4 2015 occurred in the City Figure 22: Office availability in the City of London during Q4 2015 was 55% of 14.2 million sq ft Figure 23: Recent years have seen office investment volumes increase despite a fall in 2015 Figure 24: The speculative pipeline for regional office development has picked up pace in 2016 Figure 25: Brokers dominate product distribution in the real estate and renting space Figure 26: Broker usage has slipped 2.3 percentage points but they continue to lead the market Figure 27: Price is the determining factor for using an insurance broker Figure 28: Almost half of real estate and renting SMEs purchased insurance over the phone Figure 29: 20.6% of retail and renting SMEs annually spend between £1,000 and £1,999 on insurance Figure 30: Property insurance is the main product purchased in the real estate and renting sector
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