Agents may have busier-than-usual Christmas despite market slowing

2 December 2020 | Renting

The latest rental market snapshot from PropTech supplier Goodlord shows the November lockdown creating a subdued picture – but with early signs of a busier than expected festive season.

Rents were down and voids were up, with the average income of tenants also starting to slide. However, the market picked up speed again during the last week of November, with renewed activity sparking an above average rate of new applications during a traditionally quiet period for the market. 

In terms of rent, this dropped in every region monitored by Goodlord, falling 2.6 per cent across the UK as a whole.

The biggest shift was recorded in the North West, where average rents fell by 7.0 per cent from an average of £750 to £701 per month.  London and the South West both saw a 4.0 per cent fall; all other regions recorded smaller dips.

The average cost of a rental property in the UK is now £879.03 per month.

With the market subdued over lockdown, void periods also edged up in most regions. The average void period for England is now 25 days, up from 23 days in October. 

The East Midlands saw the biggest rise in voids – jumping from 21 days to a 32 day average. The North West climbed by six days from 25 to 31. And Greater London and the North East also recorded rises. 

The South East and South West both recorded decreases in average void periods, with these regional markets recovering well towards the end of November. 

Goodlord also records data on tenant salaries, and these were shown to decrease last month.

The average salary for a tenant in England fell seven per cent between October and November from £24,820 to £23,041.

The biggest change was recorded in the North East which saw a 10.0 per cent drop while Londoners recorded an 8.7 per cent fall in earnings.

However, the PropTech firm reports new lets trending strongly upwards in the late days of November. In the final days of the month the market was processing 10 per cent more lets than at the same time last year. 

“Following the lockdown announcement on October 31 we were expecting to see a market slowdown. We’d analysed what happened in Leicester during their increased restrictions, as well as other areas in Tier 3, and the data clearly showed that heightened restrictions subdue lettings activity. It’s therefore not a surprise to see rents down and voids up during November” comments Tom Mundy, Goodlord’s chief executive. 

“However, what is heartening to see is the level of activity during the last week of the month. This is traditionally a quieter time for the market, but we’re now recording new lets at a much higher rate than expected. People will be keen to move ahead of Christmas and so agents can expect a busier festive period than normal.”

This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.