One of the country’s largest lettings agencies is to lose 17 jobs out of 100 in what the company founder calls “the most horrific" circumstances he has experienced in 40 years of business.
DJ Alexander, based in Edinburgh, says it’s to shed those jobs at the end of the government’s furlough operation, part of the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme.
Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News, David Alexander says: “This is the most horrific thing I have gone through in my four decades. The 2008 crash was a tea party compared to this.”
Alexander says Coronavirus came on to an an influx of Airbnb properties in and around the Scottish capital - because they are not letting to tourists, they are likely to lead to a surplus of long-term rental supply, which he believes will lead to a reduction in rents.
“The Airbnb market has collapsed and more people are putting those properties on the long term market which makes the problem even bigger.
“You have a vast number of empty units, there are thousands of properties available and rents are about supply and demand and if you were looking at renting something to day, would you be offering £1,000 if the landlord was asking for it?
“My own thought is that there will be a substantial drop in rents and the Airbnb situation has exacerbated that.”
Near the end of last year DJ Alexander received £7m from Santander to help launch their new online property business Apropos - although that apparently launched last week, the Edinburgh Evening News says this online platform “may be a casualty.”
Alexander is quoted as saying about Apropos: “We were three years in the making and just at the time we were ready to go, the whole country is in lockdown. It is not ideal but we have just got to get on with it. We have to make sure people are safe but it will come to an end. The real difficulty is not knowing how it will end and how things will look in the future.”