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This is how the property market stayed resilient in 2020

2-minute read

Mollie Millman

8 January 2021

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While landlords faced a challenging year in 2020 because of coronavirus, the buy-to-let market ultimately proved to be resilient.

Many tenants were unable to pay rent and the housing market was forced to close temporarily – but recent research points to some signs of strength in the property market.

Rents have risen in many regions

The data includes HomeLet’s latest figures showing average rents have climbed 2.9 per cent between November 2019 and November 2020.

It means the average rent in Britain now stands at £974, compared to £947 a year earlier.

Nine of the 12 regions analysed by HomeLet showed a year-on-year increase in rental values, with the South West seeing the largest increase for the third month in a row at 8.6 per cent.

However, it said that rents in London continue to fall, dropping 4.4 per cent during the past year. It’s the sixth annual decrease in subsequent months for the capital.

Changes in rent is ‘continuation of a theme’

Andy Halstead, HomeLet’s chief executive, said: “Outside of the capital we’re seeing rents rise at the highest rate we’ve ever reported.”

He suggested that this is ‘a continuation of a theme’, which started when the country exited the first national lockdown, with declines in central London boroughs being the most pronounced.

He explained the trend is being driven by the increase in people working from home and tenants looking for properties with extra space, both inside and outside.

He added: “Alongside the increase in rental values outside the capital, we’ll continue to see confidence grow in property investment in areas such as the North West.

“We’d also expect that demand for property in less built up areas, which are commutable to urban centres, will continue to increase across the country.”

Record numbers of tenants searching for homes

Meanwhile, data from ARLA Propertymark revealed the highest number of tenants on record searching for homes in August.

It said there were 101 tenants looking per branch on average during that month, compared to 86 per branch on average across the year.

This yearly average of 86 is itself the highest on record, up from 69 for the previous year.

Mark Hayward, chief policy adviser at ARLA Propertymark, said: “The rental market has remained remarkably resilient throughout this trying year, despite the market closure between March and May.

“The prioritisation by the Government of a functioning property market and subsequent implementation of the stamp duty holiday as well as measures taken to keep the rent flowing within the private rental sector have allowed for record breaking levels of house sales and rental accommodation.”

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