Pick up in demand for rental properties during April

Demand for rental property picked up in April with prospective tenants starting to plan for life after lockdown, according to research from Knight Frank.

The real estate consultant suggested the number of new prospective tenants registering in London and the home counties fell 59% during the first week of government restrictions, compared to the five-year average. In the week ending 18 April, however, Knight Frank found the decline was 28%.

Knight Frank head of lettings for the city and east region of London, Jon Reynolds, suggested that people “froze” in the early stages of lockdown.

“That has changed as time has gone on,” he added. “People now know whether they’ve been furloughed or not and some are starting to plan for life after the lockdown.”

Knight Frank’s research also showed the number of web views for rental properties had increased in recent weeks. In the week ending 4 April, the figure was 1% higher than the five-year average, but by the week ending 18 April, the real estate consultant said the increase was 10%.

Knight Frank suggested lettings transactions are quicker, involve smaller financial commitments and are “established for fixed periods of time”, meaning demand “typically responds more swiftly” to change than it does in the sales market.

Knight Frank head of central London, David Mumby, commented: “The lettings market can turn on a sixpence. It is the most nimble area of the UK housing market and we trade by the day with a product that can come on or off the market.

“Small variations in currency or tax policy can produce sudden changes in demand and the infrastructure is now in place that means we can move people quickly.”

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