Lomond taking its pick of 'ripe' lettings market

PROPERTY lettings start-up Lomond Capital is poised to announce further acquisitions over the next few months as it targets domination of the market in Scotland.

The consolidation start-up said its deal to buy Edinburgh letting agent Braemore earlier this month was the first of many. Talks are in progress with several other letting agents in Edinburgh and Glasgow and the deals are likely to be completed by the beginning of February.

Roger Lane-Smith, chairman of Lomond Capital, which paid an undisclosed amount for Braemore, told Scotland on Sunday that the consolidation vehicle had considered several industries before settling on the private rental sector.

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"We have been researching the market for 18 months or more and concluded that it's very fragmented and ripe for consolidation.

"The market is fragmented and the macro-dynamics mean it's a good one to be in at the moment. There are more tenants than landlords and, given the difficulty for first-time buyers raising finance, the dynamics are set," said Lane-Smith.

The group is targeting a minimum of 5,000 properties under management per city, starting in Edinburgh and Glasgow before moving on to other regional centres including Manchester, Leeds and Bristol, he said.

"The critical mass of 5,000 properties would make us the largest in Edinburgh and probably in Glasgow. With over 10,000 letting agents in the UK, we believe further consolidation is inevitable and Lomond will be actively leading the way."

Lane-Smith described Edinburgh as a "great market" for a consolidation play.

"It is affluent but fragmented, so it's a good place to start. Braemore met our criteria and it creates a very good hub in Edinburgh to which we can add more businesses. We hope to have one or two more within the next 60 days or so."