Rental market sees "remarkable" bounce back in activity after lockdown lifted

Posted on Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The latest data and analysis from Goodlord has revealed that pent-up demand during lockdown translated into a 111% rise in new tenancy applications once the restrictions were lifted.

According to Goodlord's figures, the first day of June saw new tenancies applications soar above 2019 levels to 111%. Volumes of new tenancy applications have now risen by over 82% compared to the activity levels seen in mid-April. As the market has picked up, the average cost of rent has held fairly steady, although void periods have understandably fluctuated.

Following lockdown, market activity across the lettings sector plummeted. In mid-April, demand was operating at just 28% when compared to the same day in 2019 - representing a decrease in activity of 70% for new and completed tenancies.

However, pent-up demand started to trickle out of the market from the first week of May onwards, ahead of the official Government announcement on 13th May that house moves could go ahead once more. Since then, both new applications and completed lets have spiked. The busiest day so far has been Monday 1st June, when new applications reached 111% of the volumes recorded on the same day in 2019. Completed applications remain at 70% of 2019 levels, but continue to increase week on week.

Whilst the market has yet to fully stabilise, this surge in demand is more than welcome for agents, landlords and tenants after weeks of shutdown.

Average Rents

Data for average rents in May show a steadier picture than might be expected. There’s been little change in the overall UK average cost of rent, which now stands at £862.48, increasing ever so slightly from April’s average of £861.25.

Slight increases in average rents were recorded in the East Midlands (3%), North East (6%), and Wales (3%). However, the average cost of rent dropped by 2% in the capital and by 4% in the South East. Prices in the North West, South West, and the West Midlands held steady.

Average void periods & renter demographics

The average UK void period held steady at 23 days, but there was a significant amount of change within the regions themselves. The East Midlands, Greater London, North East and South East all recorded increases in void periods. Whereas drops were recorded for the South West, Wales, and the West Midlands as the pace of market recovery was felt more keenly in some areas.

The age of the average renter increased from 32 to 33 years old. And the average salary of a UK renter also increased; from £24,525 to £25,068.

Tom Mundy, COO of Goodlord, comments: “The whole industry breathed a sigh of relief on 13th May. Since then, it’s clear that agents have gone above and beyond to ensure lettings can move ahead safely and that demand for new tenancies can be handled effectively. We predict a little more ebb and flow in the market as it works to find equilibrium, but it’s wonderful to see the industry springing back to life in this way. The rental sector will be keeping the whole property industry afloat over the coming months and possibly year."

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