How has Covid changed the rental market

The housing market in general has been impacted in different and unusual ways by COVID. Some renters or flat owners decided that they want more space and have moved to or bought houses in the countryside. The exodus from the cities is real. With people working from home and wanting more space or those with children wanting a garden for them to play in, as they attended school virtually, demand for houses and flats in the countryside have been soaring. The rush to purchase a home instead of renting was also driven by lower mortgage rates, people’s ability to save money during the COVID lockdown and relief on stamp duty.

However, the rental market has been more complex than the home purchase market. Rental prices have significantly increased in some areas and yet decreased in others. As with houses, there has been a shift for renters to move from cities into the countryside and this has driven rental prices up in areas like the South East and South West of England. With construction projects having been halted during COVID, there is now a limited supply of new rental properties coming onto the market. With demand exceeding supply, rental prices will continue to increase for the foreseeable future in those areas. However, as people are moving out of cities, rental prices in cities have seen a decline. For instance, rental prices in Inner London have fallen by almost 20% in the last year.

What this means is that there are opportunities for lower rents in cities. Although finding a rental property to move into might be challenging, as due to the pandemic, tenants do not want prospective renters walking through their properties, letting agents are now providing masks, hand sanitiser and covers to put over shoes for renters wanting to view. With such procedures in place, it may be the time to find something more affordable in the city. In fact, if you live in a city and looking for a new rental property during COVID sounds daunting, it may even be worth contacting your landlord to see if they would consider lowering your current rent.