High demand continues as tenants snap up rental properties within 13 days

Residential Lettings

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Q1 Rental Market Review:  Seasonal trends continue as private rental market remains stable

High levels of demand for rental properties has led to tenants renting properties within an average of 13 days in the first three months of 2011 [1], compared to 17 days in quarter one last year, reports Countrywide, the UK's largest letting agent and property services Group.

In line with typical seasonal trends, Countrywide's 1,300 estate and lettings agency offices also saw a 51 percent uplift in demand from tenants in the new year, a greater increase than that seen at the start of last year (46 percent) from quarter four 2009.

Findings of the quarterly review also revealed a significant rise in the proportion of small scale buy-to-let landlords coming back into the market, reflecting an increased appetite for lending to these investors. These buy-to-let investors with a small portfolio of 1-3 properties now account for 40 percent of all landlords, up from 35 percent at the end of 2010.

Overall, supply remains stable but low with a shortfall of supply across all property categories, from studio flats to five bedroom houses, with an average 5 tenants vying for each available UK rental property. Demand remains consistent with Countrywide's observations throughout the last twelve months and remains strongest in theLondon and South East, with above average supply shortages across all types of property.


John Hards, Co-Managing Director of Countrywide Residential Lettings comments:

"The number of rental properties becoming available is still extremely low, in comparison to high levels of tenant demand. There has been an increase in the availability of buy-to-let lending and there are indications that small investor landlords are coming back into the market. This uplift in activity in the buy-to-let market is welcomed and we hope that the Government will do more to correct the widening gap between supply and demand in the private rental sector."

 

Regional highlights:

·        South West:Properties in this region were let within an average of 14 days, 2 days quicker than the same period the previous year.

·        South East:  Couples under 35 and Singles represented almost one half (43 percent) of all tenants looking for rental properties in the South East. The average time to let in Q1 2011 was 13 days, down from 17 in the same period last year.

·        North West:The number of rental properties available to tenants has decreased by 11.5 percent from Q1 2010 to Q1 2011, with an average of 3.9 applicants vying for each available property.

·        North:Couples under 35 represent almost one third (30 percent) of all tenants looking for rental properties in this region, whilst nearly two thirds (60 percent) of all landlords in the North are buy-to-let landlords with small portfolios of 1-3 properties.

·        East Midlands:The number of rental properties available has increased by 38.4 percent from Q1 2010 to Q1 2011, the largest increase of all regions, increasing ever so slightly by 0.7 percent from the previous quarter.

·        West Midlands:42 percent of properties were let within 10 days and 72 percent of properties within 15 days. Overall the average time taken to let a property has decreased to 13 days, compared with 17 days in Apr 2010.

·        London:Rental properties in this region are snapped up by tenants an average of 11 days after it has come onto the market, compared to the national average of 13 days. Young couples under the age of 35 account for the greatest proportion of tenants (29 percent) in this region.

·        Scotland:43 percent of landlords in this region are buy-to-let landlords with a small portfolio (1-3 properties). This region has the largest percentage of student tenants (16 percent) compared to the rest of theUK.

·        Wales:Nearly half (47 percent) of all landlords in this area are enthusiastic first time landlords, whilst the greatest proportion of tenants in this area (34 percent) are couples under 35 years of age.



[1] Measured from when property becomes available to becoming occupied.

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