Covid – how it’s hit the lettings market over the past year

6 April 2021 | Renting

With Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirming the next phase of the roadmap out of lockdown, a PropTech firm has reflected on how Covid has impacted the lettings market.

Goodlord says that once the initial lockdown came into effect on March 23 last year, the impact was swift – a strong start to 2020 came to a complete halt.

Between mid-March and mid-April the number of new tenancy applications dropped to a mere 28 per cent of the expected volume, and April 13 turned out to be 2020’s slowest day for the sector. 

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Restrictions were suddenly lifted in early May, with the sector having to rapidly restart operations in a Covid-secure way. Upon re-opening, the market made a slightly erratic return to bigger volumes before bouncing back more consistently in June. 

June 1 2020 was the first time new tenancy volumes surpassed their 2019 averages since mid-March, as the industry benefited from a release of pent up demand. 

The market then hovered just above or below predicted volumes of new and completed tenancies throughout the summer, including the predicted August rush ahead of the new university term. 

Despite a slightly more subdued September and October, the real surprise for the market came across the winter – lettings surged. 

Through the continual changes to regional tier restrictions and lockdown regulations, house moves remained permitted and the market came through November and December in good shape. 

The number of new lets processed on each day in December 2020 outperformed 2019 averages. This included a post-Christmas surge, taking the market into 2021 on a high. 

The busiest winter day for lettings was – perhaps bizarrely – in the middle of the Christmas break on December 27 where volumes of new lets soared to 207 per cent of their 2019 average. 

Goodlord says the early months of 2021 haven’t been as strong as the first quarter of 2020, which at the time outperformed expectations.

Between January 1 and mid-March this year, new lets volumes have been tracking at 93 per cent of those recorded over the same period in 2020.

This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.