We know only too well that the popular press equates rising house prices with a ‘healthy’, ‘improving’, or ‘strong’ property market – and vice versa. Yet, perversely, they often bemoan the fact that youngsters find it ever harder to get on the housing ladder. It rarely seems to occur to them that rising house prices (a Good Thing) are linked to issues of affordability (a Bad Thing). And so it is with rental values…
Agents need to show some sensitivity as to how they present information about what is happening in the market – as Reliable Homes in Crouch End found to its cost at the weekend.
The Ham & High is reporting that the firm, ‘celebrating’ rising Muswell Hill rents during the pandemic, has been forced to apologise.
Apparently a Facebook video was posted by RH welcoming the fact that rental prices were “absolutely soaring” in the district. In it a staff member from Reliable Homes said his “heart goes out” to tenants who have struggled during the pandemic, but that the “silver lining in a very difficult year” is that Muswell Hill rents have risen; and they quoted an “absolutely enormous” 10% increase.
There was a substantial social media backlash to the video which has since been removed.
Hornsey and Wood Green MP, Catherine West, said it was “saddening” to see a local estate agent “take pleasure” over rising rents, and Haringey Council’s housing lead called the video “incredibly disappointing”.
Councillor Emine Ibrahim, Haringey Council’s housing lead, said: “It is incredibly disappointing that a local estate agent would celebrate the fact that the already astronomical rents in Muswell Hill are increasing during a global pandemic.
Muswell Hill resident Hal Sinden was reported as calling the video “smug” and said it “jeopardised” the character of the area while “capitalising” on the hardship of Covid-19.
Jakub Orna, Reliable Homes’ managing director, said the video was “reporting the facts” and had been “completely misunderstood”.
He said: “We do not dictate the rents, the market does, the same way the market dictates the price of gold. If rents have risen, it shows how desirable our areas are.