There was a notable increase in the number of new tenancies in the early part of March before a sudden drop in demand from prospective renters as a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak.
The latest figures for the UK rental Market in March have now been released by Goodlord and they reveal that owed to a surge in contract completions ahead of the existing lockdown, average rental void periods dipped across most of the country during March.
The average void period for the UK as a whole reduced from 19 to 17 days on average.
The East Midlands and the North East both saw six days knocked off their average void periods, setting them at a new average of 21 days and 18 days respectively.
In contrast, London saw an increase in voidage from 10 to 14 days. This may reflect London’s status as the epicenter of the virus outbreak and an associated dip in demand.
The average rent for a UK property increased during March, reflecting the demand for tenancies during the first half of the month. All regions apart from the South West recorded an increase in average rental costs.
For the East Midlands, Greater London, North East and North West, a rise of 1% was
Wales saw the biggest rise, at 5%. This was followed by a 4% increase in the West
Midlands and a 2% increase in the South East.
The South West saw a 1% drop in average rental costs, the only decrease recorded during March.
But the rental market has quite understandably been adversely affected by the coronavirus shut down, with tenants now either unable or unwilling to move.
Since the 20th March, when isolation measures for the UK population were stepped up, applications and completions have dropped far below 2019 averages. The industry has not, however, ground to a halt. Tenancy volumes continue to sit at around 60% compared to this time last year, reflecting the fact that new tenancies continue to fuel modest demand.
Tom Mundy, COO at Goodlord, said: “It’s been an unprecedented month for the whole economy and the property market has been at the sharp end of the impact. But whilst we’ve seen a dramatic decline in the last ten days compared to 2019, the lettings market is and will continue to be needed.
“As tenancies expire and contract renewals are needed, agents will continue to play a crucial role in ensuring that this process can still be handled quickly and securely and the temporary changes to right to rent mean that can take place almost entirely remotely.
“While no one knows how long the current restrictions will last, we can be confident that a sharp increase in demand will be recorded in the lettings markets as soon as measures are loosened.”