Increased Demand In Rental Market Attributed To Lockdown

Property website Rightmove has released figures stating that the demand for lettings has increased by 22% compared to last year, despite the corona virus and lockdown. The demand for rentals has increased at a faster rate than those looking to buy a property.

This need for ‘immediate housing’ has been caused by what experts believe is the easing of restrictions releasing “two months of pent-up tension”.

Following the relaxation of lockdown measures in the property sector, property websites such as Rightmove have seen huge increases in traffic to their websites. Zoopla has reported an increase of 88% in buyer demand. Buyer demand is described as the amount of visits to a property’s details online.

One reason for the increase in buyer demand has been attributed to the fact that many of the houses are unable to offer viewings, meaning potential renters need to make a choice based on a virtual tour.

Other reasons for the increase in demand is that people are being forced to move as a result of the lockdown. Examples could include having to move to a new area for employment or downsizing following a redundancy.
Some are also putting the increased demand for immediate housing down to the break-down of relationships and increase in incidents of domestic violence.

The increase in demand is not being met by an increase in available properties however, with rental listings on Rightmove dropping 4% below the levels seen in 2019.

The thinktank Resolution Foundation found that over 12% of renters were struggling with the housing costs as a result of coronavirus.

Mr Shipside from Rightmove commented on the struggles renters will now face, especially with landlords ‘exiting the market’ over concerns tenants will be unable to afford rent:

“They [landlords] are going to pick those with the best references and who can move in immediately. Those whose credit record is not the best tend to lose out.

“More people bidding for fewer properties was almost certain to push up the prices of rented accommodation.”

As the lockdowns are slowly eased and the economy is given a chance to recover, there may be the hope that more landlords return to the market, however it is unlikely all aspects of the property market will return to what they once were for a while yet.

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