As we head into what we all hope will be a sensible exit from lockdown, it’s inevitable that the past few weeks immersed within the confines of our own homes will have changed the outlooks, priorities and material needs of many homeowners and renters.
And it will be interesting to see how these factors could impact the property market.
There are also other factors to take into consideration. Will remote working change the way businesses run and provide greater flexibility for a larger proportion of the workforce, therefore influencing the way people do, or don’t commute. Or maybe people will require another room to incorporate that new office and realise that their current space is not enough for their future needs.
Will the attitudes of the younger generation change towards the huge commitments necessary for getting onto the housing ladder? And will the homeownership dream even be achievable for the younger generation in the current economic climate? Could this combination of factors lead to even more people becoming reliant on the rental market?
This is the big question for landlords, and this could well be the case amidst fresh concerns over the potentially precarious nature of a variety of people’s short and medium-term employment status, plus the ability to generate income from alternate sources.
As with any period of uncertainty, this tends to generate far more questions than answers. Having said that, one thing we do know is that our love for the great outdoors has never been more apparent. According to research from Movebubble, searches for rental properties with outdoor space and bike storage have risen substantially since lockdown.
Data from over 700,000 users of the app revealed the growing appetite for properties with a garden, with searches up 193%, while interest in terraces rose by 204%. There has also been a surge in a demand for properties with bike storage, up 1,500% since mid-March. It added that rental searches for solo properties have dropped by 5%.
When it comes to activity across the rental sector, additional data from Goodlord highlighted a resurgence in lettings activity since restrictions around moving were lifted on 13 May. The busiest day so far was said to be Monday 1 June, when new applications reached 111% of the volumes recorded on the same day in 2019, while volumes of new tenancy applications rose by over 82% compared to mid-April. As the market has picked up, the average cost of rent has held fairly steady, although void periods have understandably fluctuated.
There will undoubtedly be a seismic shift in rental attitudes and needs post lockdown, and landlords must be fully aware of any implications on potential yields. Adapting to what will undoubtedly be described as the ‘new normal’ will be easier for some landlords and tenants than others, but the fact remains that the importance of the private rented sector will only continue to grow and it will prove to be the backbone of the property market in the coming months and beyond.