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Demand for rental homes set to ‘grow over the course of the year'

Buy-to-let remains an attractive asset class, according to Mary-Anne Bowring, managing director of Ringley Group. 

The latest figures from Zoopla reveal that there was a notable increase in demand for rental homes in the first half of this month as more people start planning for life after the existing lockdown. 

The property website reported that demand for rental property increased by 30% in the two weeks to 14th April, although it is worth noting that this hike comes off a low base following the impact of coronavirus, which saw a 57% fall in demand for rental housing in the two weeks to 30th March. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the rental market, but Bowring firmly believes that there is room for growth. 

She said: “A subdued for sale market will likely see demand for rental homes grow over the course of the year, as buyers put off committing to purchasing a new home and sellers hold off owing to a dip in values and impracticalities of trying to sell when social distancing measures are in place.

“The big question is who is going to meet this rising demand for rental housing. Many buy-to-let landlords were looking to exit the market thanks to additional tax and more stringent regulation.”

Bowring added: “Coronavirus will only have added extra financial pressure, especially for those who own their rental properties outright so cannot benefit from a mortgage holiday but potentially face tenants withholding their rent due to their own financial circumstances changing.

“The latest BPF figures show strong growth for build-to-rent in key regional cities which is positive news but completed BTR homes still make up only a tiny fraction of the overall rental market. 

“More worrying is the slowdown in activity in London, where demand and need for high quality rental housing is arguably greatest, with investors put off by potentially hostile policies such as rent controls.”


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