Demand sees average rents in UK go up, especially at end of 2014

Taylor Scott International News

A slowdown in the sales market in the UK during the last six months of 2014 saw a demand for rental accommodation grow with average rents up 1.8% during the year. But this headline figure hides what has actually been happening towards end of the year as there was a 4.2% rise in average rents for new lettings, according to research by Countrywide Residential Lettings. There were 7% more would be tenants registering during the second half of the year than they did during the traditionally busier first half. The firm says that movement of households between the sale and rental markets has had an impact on shaping growing demand in the second half of the year. Indeed, the data shows that 14% of households that moved in England last year, moved between the owner occupation and the private rental sector, broadly in equal numbers. The increase in demand from tenants for rental properties is reflected in the growth in average rents. For newly let properties, the rate of annual growth ran at an average of 3.7% during the first six months of 2014, rising to 4.2% during the final six months. It was a similar story for sitting tenants for whom rents increased from 1.7% to 1.8% over the same period. 26% of tenants who chose to renew their contract at the end of 2014 saw their rent rise 2.9% over the year. Alongside the relationship with the sales market, the nature of the lettings market means it is highly seasonal. Much activity is concentrated within a few key times of the year. In city centre markets, the summer months tend to see particularly high levels of activity, the time when students seek property for the forthcoming year. In the heavily dominated student markets of Birmingham, Bath, Cambridge, Oxford and Liverpool, over a third of lets are made during just two months in the summer. For many investor landlords, this represents the best time to market their property to let. Outside of the city centre, where three times the proportion of homes are let to families with children, activity in the rental market is closely correlated to school terms. Given the longer timescales involved, properties have to be secured well in advance of the September term. April, May and June represent the three months when 35% of lets are made in the year. Conversely, half terms and the first few weeks of September see activity levels decrease, with the number of registering tenants, viewings and agreed lets all running at two thirds of the average over the year. ‘The sales and rental sector are closely linked with thousands of households moving between the two tenures every year. In the second half of 2014, we saw a decrease in the number of tenants actively looking to buy. This has kept demand for rental accommodation at a high, allowing more landlords to stand firm in the face of attempted negotiation… Continue reading →

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