It was a mixed picture for the private rented sector across the UK during October, shows the latest Goodlord Rental Index, with some regions enjoying lower void period and stable rents, with others slower to stabilise. The overall picture, however, paints a return to a more consistent period following a summer boom and a variable September.
The UK average for void periods remained at 18 days during October, no change from the previous month. However, five out of the eight regions monitored by Goodlord saw void average drop or remain steady.
The West Midlands saw the most dramatic fall, with average void periods dropping from 34 days in September to just 20 days in October. The East Midlands and Wales also saw a drop in void periods, moving from 20 to 17 days and 23 to 10 days respectively. Void periods across the South West (18 days) and the South East (19 days) remained unchanged month on month.
It was a more variable picture in Greater London, the South East and the North East. The North East saw the most significant shift after a positive September. Void periods in the region jumped from 10 to 25 days, taking it just above the region’s year to date average of 22 days. The South East also saw a shift, moving from 14 to 25 days. The impact was smaller in London, where a jump from 10 to 14 days was recorded.
However, despite these shifts, seven out of the eight regions across the UK had lower void periods in October compared to January 2019, marking an overall positive trend.
The average cost of rent also levelled out last month, taking the UK average down from a 2019 high of £1,034 in September, to £925 in October. This means UK rents are now much closer to their 2019 year-to-date average of £920.
Every one of the eight regions monitored by Goodlord saw a decrease in average rents last month, with decreases ranging from 3% to 19%. The South West saw the biggest shift, with average rental costs dropping by 19% during October - moving from £1,088 to £881 per property per month.
Such a decrease across the board could be explained by a surge in lets during August and September, as is expected during this period, pushing up average prices. Across the year to date, however, rental prices broadly steady.
The average age of UK renters was 34 in October, the highest recorded all year. The oldest renters are living in the South East and Wales (35 years), with the youngest in London and the North West (32 years).
Tom Mundy, COO at Goodlord, comments:
“After a fantastic summer for lettings followed by a more tempered start to the Autumn, the rental market is starting to stabilise in key regions across the UK. The numbers indicate a return to consistency across void periods and rental prices, although this is being felt at different rates depending on the region. Overall, void periods are generally below or on par with annual averages, as are average rents across most areas of the UK.”