A look back at 2021

From Robert Ulph on December 30, 2021

Working closely with Propertymark, the main body representing the property industry it is interesting to look at the trends that have been seen over the past year, especially in the private rented sector.

I think last year I may have written that it was ‘a year like no other’ and none of us would have thought that 12 months on, we would be saying something similar, but I am pleased to say that the property market has been generally resilient, despite the times of lockdown and the general uncertainty.

In the latest report on the private rented sector from Propertymark, it is pleasing to see that generally the number of properties managed per letting agent branch increased from 196 in October to 212 in November. Although this is slightly lower than during October 2020 when the figure stood at 214 and regional differences are stark. Here in the East of England we have the second lowest figure, with an average of 150 properties per branch. Only Wales is lower with an average of 106 properties per branch and Scotland is the highest with a figure of 304.

The average number of new prospective tenants was the highest on record for the month of November with 82 per Propertymark member branch. This represents a significant rise from October’s figure of 71. Here in the East, we are just above the average with 90 new prospective tenants. 

In terms of length of tenancy, in November, tenants stayed in their rental properties for 22 months on average, a slight increase from 21 months in October. This figure is also slightly higher than during November last year when the length of tenancy stood at 20 months.

So, some mixed results for supply and demand and there is continued concern that landlords will look to leave the sector if they are not given greater support from Government especially as the rise of the omicron variant brings further unknowns. The sector is a vital part of the country’s housing, with nearly 13 million renters it represents 20% of all households.

“The Private Rental Sector – which makes up a significant amount of the UK housing stock – is facing the reality that many landlords are increasingly considering an exit from the market,” commented Nathan Emerson, CEO Propertymark. 

“A key focus for Governments in the New Year needs to be how to incentivise more landlords to remain in the sector and attract new interest in the market. However, looking towards the sector’s immediate challenge as the pandemic rears its head once again, the unfortunate reality is that we may see an increase in the number of renters falling into arrears. It is therefore vital that vulnerable tenants are adequately supported during this time.”

If you would like any further discussion on anything on the local property market, please do not hesitate to contact me and I wish you all the very best for a happy, healthy and safe New Year.