Voids rise in January as tenant salaries break records

1 February 2023

Voids and take-home pay for tenant rise while rent costs show mixed picture in January.

The latest Rental Index from Goodlord has shown a mixed picture for January, with rents holding steady but voids markedly increasing in certain regions. At the same time, the average take-home pay for tenants hit an all-time high. 

Cost of rent rises slightly 

The cost of rent for a property in England rose fractionally between December and January - inching up by half a percentage point from £1,071 to £1,076 on average. This is 8% higher than the same time as last year.

Prices, however, continue to remain lower than the record highs recorded in Autumn 2022. Average rental costs in September 2022 hit a high of £1,249.81. 

During January, prices in most regions held steady compared to the previous month. The biggest shifts were seen in the East Midlands, where costs rose from £894 to £924 per property, and the North East, where costs dropped from £800 to £778. 

Voids rise despite demand 

Despite the ongoing demand for rental properties keeping prices buoyant, January recorded a notable increase in void periods across England. The number of void days per property rose from 20 to 23 - a rise of 15%. 

This is the highest voids figure recorded by the Index since April 2021, but follows 6-months of slowly increasing void numbers.  

In July 2022, shortly before rental costs hit their annual peak, voids reached 10 days - a record low for the Index. Voids have been rising month on month since then. 

The East Midlands, Greater London, the North West, and the South East all saw sizeable increases in their average void periods. 

The North West jumped from 20 to 27 days on average, with numbers jumping from 13 days to 17 in Greater London.

In contrast, the South West and the North East saw no change to their average void lengths. 

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Tenant salaries break records

The Index saw a new record broken in January, with tenant salaries rising higher than ever before. Average take home pay for renters in England reached £32,195, up 6% compared to December’s £30,346. 

Tenant salaries are now 12% higher year on year - well ahead of the average rental cost rise. 

The biggest shift over the last month came in the North East, where average salaries rose by 11% in one month - from £25,906 to £28,890. 

Tom Mundy, COO, Goodlord, comments:

“This was certainly an interesting month for the market. There’s clearly a huge amount of demand for available properties and costs are remaining consistently high, but we do seem to have firmly come down from the price peaks seen last Autumn. And, at the same time, this was definitely a slower paced month than we’ve become accustomed to. January isn’t traditionally the busiest month for lettings, and the void numbers reflect this. The tenant salary numbers are also noteworthy, hitting a new high this month, with year on year increases to pay continuing to outstrip the average rise in rental prices.”

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