How Much Does a Short Lease Devalue a Property

How Much Does a Short Lease Devalue a Property?

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    When it comes to real estate, one of the crucial factors that can significantly affect a property’s value is the length of the lease. For those unfamiliar with the term, a leasehold property is one where you own the building but not the land it stands on. Instead, you lease the land from the freeholder (landowner) for a number of years, decades, or even centuries. However, as the length of this lease decreases, so too can the value of the property. In this blog, we’ll explore just how much a short lease can devalue a property, and what you need to know to navigate this aspect of real estate investment.

    Understanding Leasehold Properties

    Before diving into the devaluation, it’s essential to understand what leasehold properties entail. Unlike freehold properties where you own the land and the building, leasehold properties mean you have a lease from the freeholder to use the property for a set number of years. Learn more about leasehold vs. freehold properties.

    Why Does Lease Length Matter?

    The length of the lease can significantly impact the property’s market value. This is primarily due to the diminishing time left to use the property and the potential difficulties and costs associated with extending the lease. Read more on how lease extensions work.

    How Much Does a Short Lease Devalue a Property?

    Market Perception and Demand

    One of the primary reasons a short lease can devalue a property is market perception. Properties with shorter leases (generally considered to be under 80 years) are less attractive to buyers. This is due to the higher costs and complexities involved in extending the lease, as well as potential difficulties in obtaining a mortgage.

    Mortgage Challenges

    Lenders are often reluctant to provide mortgages on properties with leases shorter than 70 years. As the lease length decreases, the number of lenders willing to finance the purchase also diminishes, reducing the pool of potential buyers. Consequently, this lack of demand can lead to a decrease in property value.

    Lease Extension Costs

    Extending a lease can be a costly process, especially if the lease has less than 80 years remaining. The cost can include legal fees, surveyor fees, and a premium to the freeholder. Buyers often factor in these potential expenses when considering the purchase price of a property with a short lease. Get detailed information on lease extension costs.

    Case Studies

    To better illustrate the impact of a short lease on property value, let’s consider a few case studies.

    Case Study 1: London Flat

    A flat in central London with a 70-year lease was initially valued at £500,000. Due to the short lease, it struggled to attract buyers and eventually sold for £450,000, a 10% reduction. The buyer anticipated spending an additional £30,000 on lease extension costs.

    Case Study 2: Suburban House

    A suburban house with a 75-year lease had an initial valuation of £300,000. After months on the market without offers, it sold for £270,000, representing a 10% devaluation. The buyer faced estimated lease extension costs of £20,000.

    Strategies to Mitigate Devaluation

    If you own a property with a short lease, there are strategies you can employ to mitigate devaluation

    1. Extend the Lease Early: If you have a lease with less than 80 years remaining, consider extending it as soon as possible. The cost of extending increases significantly once the lease falls below 80 years. Learn how to start the lease extension process.
    2. Negotiate with the Freeholder: Sometimes, negotiating directly with the freeholder can result in more favourable terms for lease extension. Tips for negotiating with your freeholder.
    3. Market the Property Strategically: Highlighting other attractive features of the property can sometimes offset the short lease issue in the eyes of potential buyers.


    The length of a lease is a critical factor in determining the value of a leasehold property. Short leases can significantly devalue a property due to market perception, mortgage challenges, and the high costs associated with lease extensions. However, by understanding these factors and taking proactive steps, property owners can mitigate some of the negative impacts. For potential buyers, being aware of these issues can help in making informed decisions and negotiating better deals.

    If you’re dealing with a leasehold property, it’s always a good idea to seek professional advice to navigate the complexities of lease lengths and extensions. Contact our expert real estate advisors today for personalised guidance.

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