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UK tenants keeping a long-term outlook on moving while Covid remains

Research by lettings and estate agent, Barrows and Forrester, has found that UK tenants are looking at the long-term picture while Covid remains a prominent threat.

Properties available within 12 months are currently seeing the largest demand from renters compared to those available more immediately. 

Barrows and Forrester analysed the appetite for rental properties across the UK’s major cities based on their availability within the market. The analysis of nearly 50,000 listings looked at tenant demand across each location and rental availability timeframe, based on the ratio of properties already let as a percentage of total properties listed

The figures show that the current issues caused by Covid are causing many tenants to look to the long term. The highest tenant demand is currently for rental homes available within the next year, as the usual urgency to secure a property takes a back seat while lockdown restrictions remain and the threat of catching the virus continues to increase. 

However, while tenants are looking to the future, they’re still putting their plans in place for when it arrives, with 38% of all rental properties listed as available within the next year already seeing a let agreed on them. 

In contrast, tenant demand for rental homes that are immediately available is far lower, with just 24% of properties listed as such already seeing a let agreed on them. 

Similarly, demand for rental properties available within one and three months sits at just 23%, with those available in six months the lowest of all at 21%. 

This current trend is prominent across all but three of the 23 major UK cities analysed by Barrows and Forrester, with just Belfast, Bournemouth and Aberdeen seeing stronger demand for more immediately available rental properties. 

Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, commented:

“The rental market is a strange place to be at the moment for tenants looking to secure a property. While lockdown restrictions aren’t preventing them from house-hunting per se, the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic is presenting its own issues.

Many are in doubt over their current financial situation and whether they’ll even have a job to return to, while it’s also unclear as to whether the growing trend of remote working will remain once we can go back to our places of work. 

As a result, many tenants are wary about entering into lengthy tenancy agreements across our major cities when they may be able to secure a more affordable option in the surrounding areas. This has caused a major shift in rental market trends with many choosing to sit tight and plan for life after Covid. This is a stark contrast to traditional market speeds where you could quite literally blink and miss a newly listed rental property within hours of it being listed because demand was so high.  

As we continue to roll out the vaccine, we should see stability return and the rental market revert back to a sense of normality.”

LocationAvailable ImmediatelyAvailable within 1 monthAvailable within 3 monthAvailable within 6 monthAvailable within 12 month
DemandDemandDemandDemandDemand
Bristol38%34%34%32%39%
Glasgow24%22%21%21%27%
Sheffield15%16%15%12%47%
Leeds16%17%16%11%34%
Plymouth27%31%31%32%60%
Portsmouth31%31%31%31%40%
Nottingham30%30%30%30%57%
Belfast50%30%30%30%33%
Cambridge22%22%21%21%52%
Cardiff26%25%24%20%30%
Southampton28%30%29%22%34%
Liverpool18%17%17%17%39%
Birmingham21%20%20%16%47%
Newport58%57%55%55%66%
Manchester20%19%19%17%31%
Leicester18%18%17%13%36%
Edinburgh5%4%4%5%16%
Swansea11%11%11%8%33%
Oxford21%24%23%22%52%
Newcastle13%13%13%18%43%
London16%15%15%15%23%
Bournemouth43%43%42%42%29%
Aberdeen10%3%3%3%3%
Average24%23%23%21%38%
Data sourced from rental market listings on Zoopla (14/01/2020)
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