Tenants are opting for houses over flats in the wake of the lockdown

Tenants are opting for houses over flats in the wake of the lockdown

As the majority of the nation are spending nearly all their time alone and looking at doing so for the foreseeable future, it is becoming clear that tenants are starting to prioritise space in their homes.

This change in attitude has been made apparent in the latest research from lettings platform Howsy. The firm looked at rental demand across 22 major cities across the UK and how they varied between property types. In their research, Howsy found that there was a growing trend of tenants who were opting for houses over flats when looking for a new home, with the demand for houses averaging out on 29%, while enquiries about flats only averaged out 26%. Cities that had the highest demand for houses included Belfast (69%), Glasgow (59%), Portsmouth (49%) and Sheffield (30%) – to name but a few.

This clearly indicates a change in attitudes amongst tenants since the UK lockdown was introduced back in March. The majority of the population have been doing more or less everything from home since the lockdown was introduced and are stuck with members of their household, so it would make sense that they would long for more space in a time like this.

However, this wasn’t a unanimous trend throughout the entire country. Howsy found in their data that there was still a strong appetite for apartments in some parts of the country. This was particularly apparent in cities in the North West, with 57% and 53% of enquiries looking for flats in Manchester and Liverpool, respectively.

Calum Brannan, Founder and CEO of Howsy, commented: ‘There’s no denying that the current pandemic has caused a shift in tenant demand trends as many have looked for more space in the wake of initial lockdown restrictions.

‘However, this trend hasn’t quite swept the nation completely and demand for flats and apartments remains robust in a number of major cities. As we slowly return to normality, we should see flats and apartments continue to increase in demand as our major cities reopen their doors both professionally and socially.

‘This will be welcome news for landlords who have seen demand for flats fall and have had to slash rental prices to secure a tenant.’

Overall, the rental market managed to remain strong throughout the start of the Autumn. In the latest rental index data by HomeLet, it was reported that the average rent in the UK increased to £987, which is an increase of 2.1% in the year to September 2020. This was despite a number of landlords supporting their tenants in a tricky economic climate. It seems to be the case that tenant demand remains high because there continues to be a chronic shortage of rental properties across the UK.

Martin Totty, chief executive at HomeLet, said: ‘Whilst it’s undoubtedly the case many landlords are being supportive of their tenants and agreeing temporary reductions or deferrals, it will be encouraging for them to see rents agreed on new tenancies, in almost all parts of the country, are continuing to hold up and generally edge forward.

This is likely because tenant demand remains strong whilst supply may be a little more constrained thanks to some landlords looking to capitalise on the stronger sales market, even if it could be a short-term phenomenon. It also doesn`t help tenants much if, for them, the prospect of securing first time mortgage finance remains as elusive as ever.’

Despite the turbulent economy, there still seems to be a strong demand from tenants across the country – whether they are putting off getting on the property ladder or simply looking for more space while they are spending the majority of their time at home.

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