Lettings platform Goodlord is claiming void periods are on the rise, despite this time of year traditionally being one of the busiest for letting agents.
Analysis of 4,000 tenancies processed through the platform last month found that void periods increased in seven out of eight regions in England and Wales.
Void periods in the west midlands more than doubled month-on-month, moving from 15 days in August to 34 in September. Void periods in Wales and the east midlands were at 23 and 26 days respectively.
The shortest void periods in September were recorded in the north east, where it took just ten days to fill an empty property in September, up from seven days in August.
London was the only region in the sample with a reduction in void periods, dropping from 14 days to just 11 in September.
Overall, it took an average of 18 days to fill an empty property in the UK in September, up from just 11 days on average in August.
Tom Mundy, chief operating officer at Goodlord, said: “The trends seen throughout the summer were characterised by very low void periods and an uptick in average rents. The figures for September show that this ‘summer bump’ for agents and landlords might be coming to an end.
“Void periods have ticked up again across nearly all regions, taking us back to levels seen in the first quarter of 2019, and average rent prices are proving jumpier as the market adjusts to new levels of demand.
“As we move into the winter months, letting agents and landlords should do all they can to ensure their business models can withstand any forthcoming market fluctuations.”
Autumn is traditionally a busy time of year for agents and the mood on the ground appears to contradict Goodlord’s figures.
Marc Schneiderman, managing director of Arlington Residential, told EYE: “We have had no significant change during the month of September, although generally we are experiencing more tenants renewing their leases as they feel it is not quite yet the time to buy.”
Tim Hassell, managing director of Draker Lettings, said numbers have been stable and are helped by an influx of students as well as those who come to study and choose to stay and rent after they graduate.
He said: “We have seen a stable level of new properties coming to the market, but an increase in tenant numbers and new tenancies being agreed.”
James Somers, head of residential letting at Sotheby’s UK, said: “I saw void periods fall during September which was fuelled largely by the huge demand which is typical for the time of year but combined with the lack of supply we’re experiencing at the moment.
“Tenants are securing properties as soon as they come back to the market and aren’t taking any risks in waiting for something better to come along, as in this current market there is no guarantee of when that might happen.
“There is large demand from international students in September who are prepared to pay a premium to be in popular areas or on the doorstep of their university as well as paying six months to a year’s rent upfront which can be very attractive to a landlord and not always something your normal renter can match.
“This means competition is rife and securing a property as soon as possible is essential.
“We now have more than five prospective tenants on our books for every new letting.”
A Goodlord spokesman said the difference could be due to its users having relatively lower void periods in the summer months.