Lifestyle change is ‘reshaping rental demand’

The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted a shift in demand for homes in central locations to properties further afield with more space, gardens, balconies and near local parks.

London in particular has seen a sharp decline in demand from renters, as people flee the capital.

Fresh in-depth analysis of the rapidly morphing UK rental market, detailing supply changes, time on market and rent changes, released by property search engine,uk, reveals a major increase of more than two thirds – 68% – in the monthly supply of homes to rent in the capital region compared to a year ago, as tenants fail to renew tenancies.

Moreover, the typical time on market in the capital is now 29 days, which is the highest of all regions, as landlords struggle to find tenants keen on city living.

Asking rents have been cut across London due to a lack of demand, with the current average rent in Greater London currently stood at £2,127 a month, down 11.2% year-on-year.

In the worst-hit boroughs, landlords have dropped their rents by more than double the London-wide average fall in rental value, according to the data.

Over the last year, rents have fallen in the City of London by 28.8%, in Hammersmith and Fulham by 23.5% and in Kensington and Chelsea by 22.5%.

Meanwhile, in the low-density leafy suburbs of the capital, rents are increasing. In Bexley, Havering and Croydon rents are up 4.2%, 4.6% and 6.7% respectively.

Greater London is the only English region to see rents fall over the last year and to see the typical time on market figure rise. It takes on average four more days to find a tenant in London than 12 months ago.

The South West is among key destinations for renters in the capital to move to in search of space and greenery, the figures indicate.

Rents in the South West have increased by 8.3% over the year to their current average of £1,065 per calendar month (pcm), while the typical time on Market now stands at 13 days, down from 17 days 12 months ago.

East Anglia is another popular destination. Rents in the region have risen by 6.3% over the last six months and by 7% over the year to £1,135 a month. Meanwhile, the typical time on market figure is 19 days, which is four days fewer than in November 2019.

The widening supply-demand imbalance in other parts of the country is pushing up rents: by 9.5% in the East Midlands; 6.7% in the North East; 11% in the North West; 14.7% in the West Midlands; and 8% in Yorkshire and Humber over the last 12 months. But less demand in the relatively pricey South East has meant that rents have risen only 1.4%,’s analysis found.

Wales has seen the largest increase in rents over the last year, up by a staggering 22.3%. The average rent in the principality is now £894 a month and the typical time on market figure is 15 days, three days fewer than last year.

In Scotland, the average rent is £857pcm, an increase of 15.8% year-on-year. The typical time on market has been cut by four days to 20 over the last year.

Director Doug Shephard said: “While homeworking is not an option for all, this lifestyle change is now a key trend that is reshaping rental demand.

“Since the Greater London rental market represents nearly half of the UK lettings market, any refocusing of demand towards the regions will have a dramatic effect on the balance of supply and demand. This is why we are witnessing dramatic rent hikes in most English regions, Scotland and Wales.

“In fact, Welsh rents, and home prices for that matter, are rising to such an extent that locals fear of being priced out by newcomers. Wales will certainly not be alone in feeling the knock-on effect of the exodus from the UK’s largest cities.”


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  1. paulgbar666

    ‘White flight’ continues apace.


    This will result in cities becoming far more diverse which means more Labour MPs being voted in.

    London will become a Labour town.


    This mass exodus will have major political ramifications making a Labour Govt far more likely.

    Very worrying for LL.


    Tory voters are effectively abandoning cities.


    LL should sell up city centre stock and head for the coast and country areas.

    That is where tenants want to go.


    The allure of city centre life has certainly waned.


    The former vibrancy of cities will certainly not restore to as they were.


    This CV19 pandemic won’t be the only only one.

    Being away from busy cities is worthwhile.

    It could save your life!



  2. jan - byers


    London has been Labour for ages. Almost all London wards voted Labour last time even at the worst result for 35 years.   It will not change the election . For Labour to get in they need to get seats in Scotland which they used to do well in but have now totally lost.

    1. paulgbar666

      If you look at how London votes it is seen that the centre of London is avowedly Labour. The outer boroughs are Tory. As they leave these outer boroughs they leave behind Labour voters. A few more London seats plus taking marginal ones in the rest of the UK will result in a Labour Govt.   Granted that currently the SNP is doing the UK a massive favour by preventing Labour winning back the Scottish seats which would definitely make a Labour Govt more likely. Hopefully we can rely on the dopey Scots to keep on voting SNP which should keep Labour out of power for decades.   Labour have a lot more to fear from Scottish independence as it would most likely finish any reasonable chance of attaining power again. The nightmare scenario for me is that the SNP come to an electoral pact with Labour such that the SNP instructs it’s voters to vote Labour!! Then the SNP will get their Indy Ref 2. But of course that would mean the Indy Ref 2 voting out of the Union.   That wouldn’t assist Labour.     But I do believe with all the effects of WFH and the economic outfall from CV19 that there will be many changed electoral demographics which would lead to a Labour Victory next GE. I sincerely hope by then that I am no longer a LL should such an unfortunate event occur!!!

  3. Russell121

    It’s been happening for decades, you get older, more affluent and want to escape the traffic, people, noise etc. But on the other hand some older people end up moving back into towns for amenities etc so no real enlightenment just a lack of good quality housing to choose from.


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