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The rental market roared back to life in May after a steady start to 2021, with void periods diminishing across the country, according to the latest Goodlord Rental Index. Despite the sales market taking centre stage following the stamp duty-induced frenzy, the increasingly strong performance for lettings is set to dominate the narrative this summer. Across the country, voids are tumbling and rents continue to be more resilient than predicted.
Voids narrow as summer market heats up
Voids dropped in seven of the eight regions monitored by Goodlord during May, reducing the average void period in England by a sizeable 15% overall. The West Midlands saw the biggest shift, with voids reducing from 27 days to just 18 days - a reduction of 33%. This was followed by an 18% drop in the South West, 15% in Greater London and 13% in the East Midlands. The only region to record an increase in void periods was the North East, where voids rose by one day in May - from 29 to 30 days.
The market is now one year on from the initial lifting of the 2020 lockdown restrictions. The current buoyancy in lettings may therefore be attributed to renewals or new tenancies being processed 12 months on from the huge surge in activity recorded between May and July 2020.
Rents hold steady for another month
The average cost of rent in England barely shifted between April and May, as sustained demand kept prices steady. Overall, the country average shifted very slightly from £920 in April to £919 in May.
The North West, North East and South West all recorded modest rises in the average cost of rent. The East Midlands, Greater London, the South East, and the West Midlands saw prices dip slightly. Overall, no region saw a rise or fall greater than 4% during May. This continues a trend of steady rent prices that have been seen throughout 2021 to date.
Positive signs for tenant income
Additionally, the average income for tenants is further cause for optimism. Over the last 6 months, average income for renters in England has risen by 8.2%. After dipping at the end of 2020 and in the early months of 2021, incomes have built back steadily as the economy opened up once more. Renters in London and the North East have seen a 10% increase in their take home pay over the last 6 months, and the West Midlands a healthy 14% rise.
Tom Mundy, COO of Goodlord, comments: “The latest figures show that we’re on track for a bumper summer of lettings. Whilst many agents have been busy with sales, the lettings market has been quietly gathering steam and now looks set to make things very busy for the rest of the summer.
"This time of year is always a busy period but the combination of increased consumer confidence, pent up demand, and what looks like a more normal year ahead for student housing, is on track to deliver a hugely successful season for the lettings market. Agents and landlords should make sure they’re prepared for this demand and ready to capitalise on it.”
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