With autumn now upon us, it’s once again time to reflect on the past months’ rental market, and consider what may lie ahead over the Christmas and new year period.
Supply versus demand has always been a big factor in the housing market, and the lack of supply during the summer months was impossible to ignore, both in Guildford and throughout the country. Savills UK Housing market update* reported that “…Across the country there is a lack of supply of homes to rent, 60% lower than this time last year…rents are therefore likely to continue to increase over the coming months…”. This has certainly been felt by searching tenants, who regularly reported that they had missed out on previous properties due to multiple applicants coming forward.
The expected rent increase this was due to bring is already being felt. According to Zoopla, the UK average rent increased 2.1% in the year to August, with the South West being the most affected area (7.7%). A theme that emerged earlier in the year was the exodus from the major cities. According to Graham Norwood, writing for Letting Agent Today, Rightmove revealed the imbalance of supply and demand for rental properties in suburban and rural areas. This has led to a jump of 11% in asking rents compared to pre-pandemic levels. The average asking rent in suburban areas across Great Britain is now £1,041 pcm, up from £940 in February 2020. In rural areas, rents have jumped from £1,141 pcm to £1,264 pcm now. Urban rents are up by just £25 over the same period, from £1,347 to £1,372 pcm.
The family sector, which proved to be exceptionally strong throughout the spring and early summer months, has continued to be very buoyant. In what has been a common theme this year, the quality of fixtures and furnishings has continued to be vital in securing the best possible rents. Tenants have been casting a discerning eye over anything deemed to be ‘not finished’ or ‘tired’.
Back in July, we were surprised by the unprecedented number of student properties still on the market, with several hundred homes yet to secure tenants. We predicted that these may end up finding their way onto the family market, which to a certain extent, they did. Many landlords have decided to take at least a year out of the student cycle, in search of a more stable and reliable market segment. Prices (vs student rental prices or room by room) have had to drop to bring these properties in line with the family market levels, and investment into decoration, furnishing and general upkeep has proven to really help with the success of these transitions.
Interestingly, while many have made this move to the family market, many landlords have moved to a room-by-room model, letting each room as an individual listing. Currently there are over 60 rooms available on Rightmove in the area, flooding the student and professional sharer market.
Quarter 4 and the winter months are traditionally slower due to the natural lull in activity in the lead-up to Christmas. The months to come are likely to be calmer, with property numbers decreasing as the final student/sharer properties are snapped up. Although price sensitivity didn’t seem to be a factor during the summer, it is expected to play an increased role in a property’s success on the market. Previously, numerous interested parties were competing on nearly every property, and prices were at an all-time high, particularly in the family market. However, with less active applicants searching, prices will need to be reviewed regularly to remain competitive and appealing. As employers begin to bring staff back into offices, and the gradual return to a normal working life continues, there is likely to be a return in popularity to the more urban and town centre properties. The flat/apartment market, which suffered post-lockdown due to the desire for outside space has already seen an increase in activity and this is set to continue as the lockdown hangover subsides.
The Home Club – a multi award-winning lettings agency!
Having had so much great feedback from our landlords and tenants, we were thrilled to learn that we scooped a few awards and nominations for our work.
The International Property Awards awarded us with two – one for the title of ‘Best Lettings Agency in Surrey’ and the other for ‘Real Estate Agency Website’ for the UK. In addition to these we also won a Gold Award from the Best Estate Agency Guide Awards.
Finally, we are very humbled to have been shortlisted by The Negotiator for ‘New Agency Of The Year’, the results of which will be announced next month, so please keep your fingers crossed!
It’s a real boost for the team to know that their hard work has been recognised by such prestigious awards and reinforces the effort we put into ensuring our clients and the Guildford community always come first.
In other news…
What do you get when you mix artistic flair with community passion and an awful lot of paint?
The answer? Something incredible.
We are really proud of the personalised mural of Guildford, that was painted by the townspeople under the Tunsgate Arch as part of the Guildford Car Free Day 2021.
Guildfordians embraced the activity, with people of all ages rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in. The finished artwork is a vibrant, powerful image that encapsulates the energy and enthusiasm of our town.
We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our town than to capture its essence through this painting as seen by the people who live here.
The finished artwork is currently in display in GU Art Gallery on Swan Lane, for everyone to see. Take a look and let us know what you think!