Unsurprisingly, there has been a sharp drop in the number of new rental listings, while the volume of properties let last month also fell significantly, as coronavirus restrictions prevent potential renters from moving home, according to the latest data from the Agency Express Property Activity Index.
The figures, which look back at activity throughout the UK lettings market in March, which is traditionally a buoyant period, reveal that national new listings ‘to let’ fell to -10.8% month-on-month, while properties ‘let’ plunged further at -21.6%.
The Property Activity Index’s archives also show March’s activity to be the slowest on record for the month, but the data is impacted by the suspension of services towards the end of month.
Across the UK, 10 regions reported declines in new listings ‘to let’ and 11 in properties ‘let’.
Somewhat surprisingly, the North West bucked the wider trend, with figures for new listings ‘to let’ sat at 7.1%, down from 14% in 2019.
A resilient Scotland also reported an increase in new listings at 3.6%, but again was down from 37.2%.
Of the remaining 12 regions the smallest declines in this month’s index were reported by:
New listings ‘To Let’
North East -2.3%
Yorkshire & Humberside -4.8%
East Anglia -5.6%
South West -9.4%
East Midlands 0%
Yorkshire & Humberside -12.9%
The largest declines in activity were reported in the South East. Falling for a second consecutive month figures for new listings ‘to let’ fell at -27.3% while properties ‘let’ sat at -31.8%.
Stephen Watson, managing director of Agency Express, said: “March’s data from the Agency Express Property Activity Index, has as expected returned significant declines, but did fair better than the sales market. This is due to the natural slowdown that occurred as the COVID-19 virus gained momentum, followed by the suspension of services. On this basis is it hard for us to give a true reflection of the month’s activity.
“Moving forwards, we don’t expect to see any immediate changes or growth and our figures will remain heavily impacted by the suspension of services for the fourth coming months.
“We will now aim to resume the Property Activity Index report once the lockdown has been lifted.”