A growing number of buy-to-let landlords with empty homes are looking to avoid lengthy void periods and maximise profits in the current economic climate by accepting lower rental offers on their properties, especially at the luxury end of the market, according to UK Sotheby’s International Reality.
The letting agency, like most firms, has seen rental market activity increase since lockdown rules were relaxed for agents last month, with enquiries from prospective renters increasing by 130% between April and May.
But despite the growth in people actively looking to rent property, UK Sotheby’s International Reality forecast that rent levels will fall over the coming months.
The company points out that while the June to September rental period is traditionally the busiest of the year, corporate lettings have reduced significantly since Q1 and the uncertainty around universities has affected the demand from students.
Moving forward, UK Sotheby’s International Realty anticipate a trend towards renting while the effects of the pandemic continue and people wait to see what happens generally, but says that renters' choices are changing to opt for properties that offer good home working space and a relaxing outdoor space.
James Somers, head of residential lettings at UK Sotheby’s International Realty, said: “We advised landlords to make use of the lockdown to refurbish and decorate their investment properties and this has proved beneficial.
“UK Sotheby’s International Realty’s country department has seen an increase in London families seeking to move out to the country or acquire a large second home with more flexible space than their London residence.
“Come 13th May we had many multiple offers on rental properties that we had successfully organised video tours for, having tried to think creatively about how to showcase rentals in lockdown and not be complacent.”
Reflecting specifically on the luxury lettings market, Somers added: “Staycation short-term rental properties with a pool and tennis court appear to be popular for people holidaying in the UK this year.”
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