New research out this morning suggests that Coronavirus continues to change the lettings landscape, with houses now renting more quickly than a year ago in key cities.
Zoopla says data from London, Leeds, Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham shows that in many cases flats are spending longer on the rental market than houses.
Across the UK there’s increased demand for all rental property but it's taking 30 per cent less time to let a house and two per cent less time to let a flat than a year earlier.
In Leeds, it took 20 per cent less time to let a house in Q4 2020 compared to the previous year, whereas it’s taking eight per cent longer to let a flat; in London, it’s now 14 per cent faster to let a house, while it’s taking 19 per cent longer to let a flat.
In Manchester, it’s now quicker to let a house (14 days) than a flat (16 days) - a reversal from Q4 2019, when it generally took three days longer to let a house than a flat.
Zoopla says that with renters moving to where they can access more space affordably, and with more houses typically located outside of city centres, this is contributing to a so-called ‘halo effect’ of increased demand and rental growth in city markets and the widest points within a commuter zone.
As a result, in every region of the country a larger proportion of rental flats than houses are having asking rents reduced in a bid to attract tenants, notes the portal.
More broadly in the lettings market, Zoopla says there may be a permanent shift in priorities as fall out from the pandemic continues.
“Changing working, commuting and tourism patterns were felt very quickly in the central London rental market. Now we are seeing the impact in other city centres, although on a more modest scale” according to Grainne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla.
She continues: “Balancing the rental declines in inner cities is the strong rise in rental growth in surrounding ‘halo’ areas and well-connected towns across the UK, reflecting stronger demand in many of these markets among a cohort of renters.
“Yet it is important to note that most demand among renters living in central cities is within the same area - some renters will have ties to an area through schooling, or non-office based work.”