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The latest Goodlord Rental Index shows a subdued rental market during November, thanks to the country-wide lockdown. Rents were down and voids were up, with the average income of tenants also starting to slide. However, the market picked up speed again during the last week of November, with renewed activity sparking an above average rate of new applications during a traditionally quiet period for the market.
Average cost of rent decreases
The cost of rent dropped in every region monitored by Goodlord - dipping by 2.6% across the UK as a whole. The biggest shift was recorded in the North West, where average rents fell by 7%; from an average of £750 to £701 per month.
London saw a 4% drop (but £1,590 to £1,527) and the South West also saw a 4% decrease (£917 to £880). All other regions saw decreases of less than 4%. The average cost of a rental property in the UK is now £879.03 per month.
Void periods increase
With the market subdued over lockdown, void periods also edged up in most regions. The average void period for England is now 25 days, up from 23 days in October.
The East Midlands saw the biggest rise in voids - jumping from 21 days to a 32 day average. The North West climbed by 6 days (from 25 days to 31). And Greater London and the North East also recorded rises.
The West Midlands held steady month on month. And the South East and South West both recorded decreases in average void periods, with these regional markets recovering well towards the end of November.
Tenant salaries start to dip
Another trend that emerged during November was a decrease in average tenant salaries.
The average salary for a tenant in England and Wales decreased by 7% between October and November - from £24,820 to £23,041.
The biggest change was recorded in the North East which saw a 10% drop in average tenant salaries; going from £20,894 to £18,961. This was closely followed by Londoners, who recorded an 8.7% drop in earnings; from £35,198 to £32,390.
Market picks up late November
However, the last week of November provided seasonal cheer for the market, with new lets trending strongly upwards, shows Goodlord's Lettings Activity Tracker.
After a rush to rent following the 31st October lockdown announcement, lettings slowed right down - dropping below the expected rate of lets for this time of the year. However, as we headed into the last week of November, momentum in the market has climbed steadily as tenants began to look beyond lockdown. In the final days of November, the market was processing 10% more lets than at the same time last year.
Tom Mundy, COO of Goodlord, comments: “Following the lockdown announcement on 31st October, we were expecting to see a market slowdown. We’d analysed what happened in Leicester during their increased restrictions, as well as other areas in Tier 3, and the data clearly showed that heightened restrictions subdue lettings activity. It’s therefore not a surprise to see rents down and voids up during November.
“However, what is heartening to see is the level of activity during the last week of the month. This is traditionally a quieter time for the market, but we’re now recording new lets at a much higher rate than expected. People will be keen to move ahead of Christmas and so agents can expect a busier festive period than normal.”
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