The London Rental Market post-lockdown, what to expect?

September, 2020

Lockdown created a dramatic pause in the UK’s rental market as life all over the country generally came to a standstill. In April this year letting agents were predicting that the rentals market could explode at a swift rate when lockdown finally came to an end. The same conditions that have created an increase in demand for rental properties in the UK over the past few years still existed but were suppressed by lockdown conditions.  So, what has happened as lockdown has eased and what can we expect from the rest of the year?


How does the market behave in a ‘normal’ year?


Rentals in the UK usually peak around July and then tail off towards the end of the year. The market for student rentals is at its busiest in September for obvious reasons. Across the UK the rental market still has high demand and a relatively limited volume of stock and so has always tended to see healthy traffic even outside of these peaks.


Tenancies in 2020


In June this year Rightmove announced that it had experienced its busiest day on record at the end of May and that this was an 18% increase on even the most active day the year before. According to the data, in excess of a quarter of those who weren’t planning to move home prior to the start of lockdown had started searching for somewhere new to live by the summer. There are a number of possible reasons for the spike in interest in the rentals market since the summer. For example, it could simply be that the market has opened up and it’s possible to move once again. The push towards virtual viewings and completing the process of signing up for a tenancy agreement digitally has made it easier and potentially faster to move. Plus, many relationships have not survived lockdown meaning that more singles are looking for somewhere to live and changes in working circumstances – whether that’s working from home or the loss of a job – have also meant a lot more people are looking for a different home.


What can we expect going forward?


  • Continued busyness. The situation with COVID continues to evolve and this has left many people uncertain about the future. There has been a big surge of interest in moving to the outskirts of the city and properties that can offer outside space and these moves could continue to keep the market buoyant.
  • Conversion of short let flats to long lets. Another big trend that is likely to define the market going forward is the conversion of short let flats into longer tenancies. COVID has undermined the number of tourist stays and corporate relocations, leading to many landlords moving short lets onto a long let basis. According to recent data, around 12% of the homes now coming on to the London rentals market were previously a short term let.


The London Rental market has gone through a lot thanks to COVID but post-lockdown seems to be recovering well.


Lettings Agents London are working round the clock to keep up demand with the post-Covid rush, check out how Parkes Can help you.

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