Rightmove reveals this year's busiest rental market

The ongoing imbalance of supply and demand has shaped the landscape of Britain's rental market this year and has seen the average number of individual enquiries per available property surge from just six in 2019 to 20 today.

Related topics:  Landlords,  Tenants,  Rental Market,  Rightmove
Property | Reporter
19th December 2023
To Let 690
"There are still far more renters looking to move than there are homes available which means we still expect rents to rise on average next year"
- Tim Bannister - Rightmove

The latest market analysis from Rightmove reveals that Wrexham is this year’s busiest rental location, with each home available to rent attracting an average of 56 enquiries from prospective tenants.

This compares to just eight enquiries per property back in 2019, when Wrexham was in 55th position in the rankings. Local letting agents say the stock shortage has been exacerbated by some landlords selling up at the height of the pandemic and some renters staying put for longer.

An enquiry is measured by a prospective tenant phoning or emailing a letting agent to request to view a property to rent. The analysis was carried out across 360 local authorities in Great Britain.

The number of tenants chasing every available property has increased significantly over the past few years across Great Britain due to the gap between supply and demand.

Redbridge in London is second on the list with an average of 49 enquiries per available rental property compared with 11 in 2019, and Tameside in Greater Manchester is third, with an average of 48 enquiries compared with 14 in 2019.

Across Great Britain, a typical rental home on the market has received an average of 20 enquiries per property this year, compared to six in 2019, more than triple.

However, there are signs that the balance between supply and demand will improve next year.

The number of properties available to rent is now 11% higher than this time last year, while the number of renters looking for a home and sending enquiries to estate agents is 12% lower than at this time in 2022.

Though the gap between supply and demand is improving, tenant demand is still 42% higher than at this time in 2019, and the number of available rental properties is 28% lower. This indicates it will take more time for the balance between supply and demand to reach the more normal market levels of 2019.

However, these early signs of improvement suggest that the average rise in newly advertised rents will be lower in 2024 than in recent years.

Over the past year, newly advertised rents have increased by 10% outside London, and by 6% in the capital. Rightmove forecasts a 5% increase by the end of 2024 outside of London, with a 3% increase in London.

Rightmove’s property expert Tim Bannister said: “The balance between supply and demand has been slowly improving this year, and while it will likely be a long time yet before we reach the more normal market levels of 2019, the early signs of improvement are promising heading into 2024.

“The increase in available homes for rents we’re seeing is likely to be a combination of some longer-term leases agreed during the pandemic years coming to an end, some new developments across the country being converted into rental homes, some landlords choosing to sell up, and also other landlords now returning who temporarily switched to the short-let market.

“There are still far more renters looking to move than there are homes available which means we still expect rents to rise on average next year. But these early signs of a better balance of supply and demand means we predict rents will rise by a smaller figure of 5% next year, rather than another year of double-digit rental growth.”

Karen Evans, Operations Director at Monopoly Buy Sell Rent in Wrexham said: “It’s been a really crazy year for the Wrexham rental market. Like most areas of Great Britain there just haven’t been enough properties to meet the demand from tenants and this has resulted in higher rental prices.

"Due to the sheer volume of enquiries we’ve been receiving for rental properties, we’ve had to reduce viewing times and host group viewing sessions. For cheaper properties up to around £900 per month in rent, we’re still seeing very high volumes of interest, with many working in the area still really needing a place to rent.

“We’re seeing some early signs of activity calming down heading into next year. We’ve recently had some landlords with higher-end properties reduce their advertised rent for the first time in a while, and tenants are approaching the ceiling of what they can afford to pay.

"There are signs of supply improving, but there are still far more tenants than homes available and it will take a while for the balance to get back to normal.”

Vaughan Schofield, Owner at Belvoir Wrexham, said: “On the supply side, we saw a wave of landlords sell up during the heights of the pandemic, taking a significant chunk of the rental stock out of Wrexham. Additionally, we’re seeing more would-be first-time buyers stay put for longer and less movement among renters who are looking to avoid a rent increase.

“The average enquiry numbers don’t surprise me. For a three-bed detached or semi-detached house on a good street in Wrexham, we could receive 100 enquiries for the property. Our focus is often finding the best tenant for the property who is keen to stay for the medium-long term.

“Over the course of the year, we’ve seen more landlords come back into the market, but it’s not been enough yet to replace the homes that left during the pandemic, and it’s likely to be another busy year for the area in 2024.”

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