Some landlords in the UK’s cities over the last 18 months may have experienced fewer tenants looking for properties in urban areas. A string of national lockdowns and the many restrictions that came with them caused rental demand to dwindle across the UK’s major cities during much of 2020. But the vaccine rollout and a return to the workplace are now playing a part in reviving the rental market, with the majority of major UK cities seeing increased demand during the second quarter of this year.
CITY RENTAL DEMAND HAS RISEN SINCE LAST YEAR
There are different ways to measure rental demand. One way is to calculate the number of properties already let as a percentage of all rental listings. Using this metric, rental demand in cities across the UK was at an average of 33% for Q2 of 2021. For the same period in 2020, it was just 23%.
HIGHER RENTAL DEMAND IS FUELLED BY EASING RESTRICTIONS
Q2 of 2021 saw more and more businesses reopening after lockdown, meaning that cities had more attractions to offer to renters. Plus, vaccines were made available to younger age groups at this time, allowing them to return to their pre-pandemic lifestyle and enjoy a fast-paced city life once more.
INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS LOOKING TO RENT
Rental demand in Bournemouth grew from 36% in Q2 of 2020 to 66% in Q2 of 2021, a change of 30%. There has been an increase in the number of students looking to rent in this city, as well as young professionals who would like to live near the beach but still within reach of London.
HIGHEST RENTAL DEMAND IN SOUGHT-AFTER CITIES
Newport currently has rental demand of 69%, an increase from 40% in 2020. It is partly popular due to its location, situated within easy reach of both Cardiff and Bristol, now with no charge to cross the Severn Bridge. Other highly sought-after cities include Cardiff, where rental demand is 48% (up from 19%), Cambridge (41%, up from 25%) and Glasgow (37%, up from 20%).
LONDON RENTAL DEMAND HAS SLIGHTLY INCREASED
Across all London boroughs, rental demand increased from 26% to 30% from 2020 to 2021. Demand has increased most in the City of London borough, from 11% to 26%, while demand is highest in Kingston upon Thames, at 40%. While demand has risen in 24 boroughs, it has fallen in 8, including Croydon, Waltham Forest, Hillingdon, Havering and Lewisham.
RENTAL DEMAND HAS FALLEN IN THREE CITIES
Though the overall picture looks good for landlords, there are three cities where rental demand has fallen. These are Nottingham, where demand has fallen slightly from 37% to 36%, Plymouth, with a bigger drop from 30% to 26%, and Belfast, with a substantial decrease from 20% to 8%.
CAPITALISING ON HIGH RENTAL DEMAND
High rental demand is an opportunity for landlords, as you’ll have more quality tenants looking for property, which can drive up rental prices and help you avoid vacant periods. currently vacant or coming to the end of a tenanted period, now is a great time to find the right incoming tenant. Make sure that your property is in good condition and any necessary repairs have been taken care of. Find the right letting agent who can help you to establish the optimal rental price and fill the property quickly.