Average UK rents outside of London increased by 2.3% in 2020, up from 1.6% annual growth in Q3 2020. This rental growth was underpinned by the continued rise in demand, up 21% year on year in January in UK rental market excluding London. In contrast, average annual rents are down -8.3% in London, with rental declines concentrated in inner London amid rising supply and weaker demand.

Some larger cities including Manchester and Birmingham are also registering rental declines of -0.9% and -0.8% respectively, although the ‘search for space’ ethos is driving demand in the wider commuter-zones surrounding these cities, creating an upwards pressure on rents.

Rental values in 2021 set to be underpinned by constrained supply in many markets. The outlook for city centre markets is dependent on effective rollout of COVID-19 vaccine allowing return to ‘business as usual’ and kick start a return to more mobility across the country, and internationally.

This content was taken from Zoopla’s, UK Rental Market Report Q4 2020

New regulations being implemented on 25 November 2020 will allow non-UK nationals in England to evidence their status for Right to Rent through a digital Home Office check and reduce letting agent workloads. Going forwards, the new system will mean that these digital checks specifically, can be conducted permanently via video call, with no need for letting agents to review documents.

New Process

The system will clearly display whether follow up checks are required and provide a record of the check for the agent to store. Some additional checks will still require documents from letting agents, as not everyone will currently have an immigration status that can be checked online. Therefore, agents must be prepared to continue conducting traditional checks involving the original documents.

Digital Checks Required

Groups that may present you with a share code for a digital check are:

  • Non-EEA nationals with a current biometric resident permit or card;
  • EEA nationals and their family members with status granted under the EU Settlement Scheme;
  • Those with status under the points-based immigration system;

 

The Home Office has updated the existing Code of Practice, and these include reference to the status of visitor nationals – known as B5JSSK nationals – from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA, which were introduced in July 2019.

A new Short Guide to Right to Rent has also been published, within which, the existing visual reference tool designed to provide examples of relevant identity documents has also been updated.

Where can a tenant/applicant obtain a ‘share code’?

The share code for these new digital checks for tenants/applicants to use can be created via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/prove-right-to-rent

Where can I view a tenant’s/applicant’s right to rent? 

You will be able to view a tenant’s/applicant’s right to rent via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/view-right-to-rent

What about Brexit?

Brexit is another external force which may yet have an impact on how these checks take place and the criteria which applicants should meet. Before the UK’s transition period comes to an end, we will continue the right to rent checks with nationals of the European Union as per the current requirements. EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020 will have until 30 June 2021 to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.

Until this deadline, landlords can accept passports and national identity cards of citizens from these areas as evidence of their right to rent during this period. After this period, the government has announced a new points-based immigration system to come into force on 1 January 2021, which will require proof of a job offer at the required skill level from an approved sponsor, and that they speak English. However, the right to rent checks have still not been explicitly defined after the deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme passes.

If you would like to find out more information regarding these changes, please complete the below contact form and a member of our team will be in touch.

Their latest research provides insights into the annual change in rental growth across the UK, regional and city-level market insight data and their predicted outlook for the rental market in the coming months.

Two-speed market

Average UK rents outside London rose by 0.7% in the three months to September, taking the annual growth rate to 1.7%. Rental growth remains in positive territory across most regions and cities in the UK. This is in sharp contrast to London, where rents fell by -3.2% in Q3, taking the annual decline to -5.2% at the end of December.

This two-speed market is likely to be entrenched during the additional lockdowns in England and across the regions, which will exacerbate the trends which is causing the split in rental performance, especially as more people work from home.

Demand and Supply

Rental growth is being underpinned in many areas by the continued imbalance between tenant demand and the supply of rental properties, with rents rising in most cities across the UK. Renter demand has moderated from the highs seen in early summer after the first lockdown ended, but year on year, demand is still around 20% higher than in the same period in 2019.

The challenges in the mortgage market for first-time buyers trying to obtain a home loan, given the current squeeze on lending for those with smaller deposits, means that many of these aspiring homeowners will be staying in the rental market for longer, underpinning demand. This comes as overall supply into the rental market from individual landlords has been constrained. The return of students to University as usual in the Autumn will also have boosted demand in the rental sector.

Rental growth is being underpinned where demand is outstripping supply. In the West Midlands, rents in Birmingham, the largest rental market in the region, narrowly dipped into negative territory in September. The city may be starting to feel the impact of changing working patterns, with demand in some city centres being affected by limited office attendance, as well as new-build supply coming into the market creating more choice. In the North West, rents have increase by 1.8% although rents in Manchester dipped slightly by -0.1%.

There is also increasing sensitivity about rental levels in some regional and city markets due to muted earnings growth. Average pay in the private sector fell in real terms in April, according to the latest official data, and this pressure on wages is likely to have continued through the summer. These factors could cause a gradual slowing in rental growth in the months to come, but the UK market outside the capital will still outperform London.

London focus

The rental declines in the capital reflect the changing picture on working and commuting patterns and tourism. At the start of lockdown, there was a shift from short-lets to long-lets, especially in the centre of the city, pushing up supply in the sector which is still being absorbed.

The market is highly localised however, with the balance between supply and demand a key factor determining the movement in rents. The central London rental market is being affected by the changes in working trends, with rental property typically used by workers staying in town for part of the week coming back to the market as many continue to work from elsewhere. The muted tourism during Summer and Autumn mean that any short-let landlords who had not switched into a long-let option may be choosing to do this now.

Demand remains stronger for rental property in outer London boroughs however, stretching supply and underpinning rental growth. The housing stock available in mid and outer London zones, with more houses and outside space, also fits with the search for space being seen across the rental market as a whole. The data suggests that landlords in the rented housing market are making fewer cuts to asking price, highlighting demand in this sector. This also underlines the fact that headline rents in London are covering markets which are becoming more distinct, namely rented single-family houses, single-family flats and houses of multiple occupation.

 London exodus?

There has been an uptick in activity in some more suburban or urban rental markets, reflecting a cohort of renters who are choosing to make a change to how and where they live. However, the data shows that most Londoners are looking for rental property within the capital, so the idea of a large-scale move from London is probably an overstatement. The proportion of Londoners looking to stay in the city has risen compared to last year.

 Search for Space across the country

Just as in the sales market, the data indicates that renters across the UK are also reassessing the property in which they live. In some markets, rented houses are now being snapped up more quickly than flats, indicating the additional space, often with a garden, is increasingly attractive for renters. The average time taken to rent a house is now 16 days, down from 20 days last year. The time between listing a flat and let agreed is 18 days, also down from 20 days last year.

The most popular search terms for rental property also reflect the emphasis on space for renters, with Gardens, Parking, Garage and Balcony, topping the list. The fifth most popular search term is pets, with renters looking for pet-friendly accommodation.

Outlook for rents

The two-speed market across the UK is likely to remain in the coming months, as the lockdowns across the regions entrench some of the trends around working and commuting patterns seen during the previous lockdown and over the summer.

However, moving into next year, more large urban centres could see supply start to catch up with demand, especially in the city centres, which could put downward pressure on rental growth. There will also be more turnover in some parts of the market once the eviction bans are repealed into next year. Earnings growth, which is set to be subdued this year, is forecast to pick up again in 2021, however. This could allow more headroom for rental growth in some areas, especially if there is a return to more frequent office working.

Original content taken from Zoopla’s Market Rent Report, November 2020.

 

If you would like to speak to a member of our team on regarding your investment property or would like to find out more about our service offering in London, Manchester or Birmingham, please complete the below contact form.

 

Confidence in the housing market remains high with homeowners expecting property prices to increase by 4.8% in the coming six months. Despite the recent slowdown in house price growth, 81% of people think property values will increase in their area, according to Zoopla. But there was significant regional variation, with homeowners in Yorkshire and Humber most likely to predict further price rises at 91%, while a third of people in London expect house price falls.  Those in the northern regions tended to be more optimistic about the outlook for the housing market, while those in southern ones were most likely to expect a downturn.

Laura Howard, spokesperson for Zoopla, said: “Despite evidence of a slowing housing market and ongoing political uncertainty, homeowners remain optimistic about the future of property prices.”

Where are homeowners most optimistic?

Homeowners in Yorkshire and Humber were most likely to expect house prices to increase in the next six months at 91%, followed by those in the north west at 90.5% and people in Scotland at 90.3%. People in Wales were also optimistic, with 89.5% anticipating further growth. In terms of actual price growth, those in Scotland are expecting the biggest gains of 5.5% in the coming six months. They are followed by homeowners in the north east at 5.4%, while people in the West Midlands and East Midlands think prices will rise by 5.1%.

Where do people expect to see house price falls?

Homeowners are least optimistic in London, where 32.8% predict house prices will drop during the next six months, losing an average of 6.7% of their value. Those in the south east are also downbeat, with 26.1% expecting price falls of around 6.1%. Despite this, there are still more people in these regions who expect the cost of property to continue rising than those who expect it to fall, with 67.2% of people in London and 73.9% of those in the south east expecting price rises. The biggest price falls were predicting in the north west, where those who think property values will decline expect them to be 8.5% lower in six months’ time.

What’s the background?

Zoopla’s latest UK Cities House Price Index suggests homeowners may be too optimistic, with this showing property price growth had slowed to just 1.7% in the 12 months to the end of April across the UK as a whole.

That said, homeowners in Yorkshire and Humber who are predicting price rises of 4.5% are not too wide of the mark, with property values in Sheffield currently rising at an annual rate of 4.4%, while in Leeds annual house price inflation is running at 3.5%. It is also no surprise that people in London are the least confident, with property values in the capital falling by an average of 0.5% during the past year.Howard points out that even if consumers’ forecasts fail to prevail, sentiment still plays a crucial role in the health of the housing market.

She said: “A feeling of stability means buyers are more likely to start actively looking for their next home, confident that now is the right time to make a purchase. And, in turn, an active pool of buyers will encourage sellers to list their homes for sale. Measured confidence in the housing market is also more likely to see homes marketed at the right price which, by its nature, generates demand.”

Top 3 takeaways

    • Homeowners expect property prices to increase by 4.8% in the coming six month
    • 81% of people think property values will increase in their area, with people in northern regions more optimistic than those in southern ones
    • Homeowners in Yorkshire and Humber are most likely to predict further price rises at 91%, while a third of people in London expect house price falls

 

Original content taken from Zoopla, which can be accessed here.

The residential development market in Birmingham is one of the most active development markets within the city, with just over 5,000 residential units under construction, according to Deloitte’s 2019 Crane Survey. With this increase in residential development across the city, we opened our Birmingham office in May 2018 to ensure we are best placed to service the needs of our clients.

We manage two blocks in the recently completed The Curve development at Park Central. Our team were initially instructed on 78 units in Lincoln, the first phase of the development, which were all successfully let out within a few months. Due to our exceptional performance with the rental units at Lincoln, the team was subsequently instructed on 23 units within the next phase, Washington. We have successfully let out 83% of our rental instructions as the end of February. Across both of these phases, our team managed to secure gross rental yields between 4.5% and 5.1%, with the average for the development being 4.7%. The tenant profile for The Curve is split between international students and young working professionals, including university lectures and doctors, due to the development’s proximity to local universities and hospitals.

Birmingham’s future is extremely bright, with HS2 due to arrive by 2026, with many major employers choosing to expand or relocate to the city. Along with the large and diverse student population, Birmingham is truly embracing the title of Britain’s second city and will continue to expand and evolve.

Birmingham has so much to offer to its residents including a multitude of canal side bars – Birmingham’s canals cover more distance than those of Venice, Michelin Star restaurants and an amazing shopping district with many big brands including Selfridges and the world-renowned Bull Ring shopping centre. Birmingham is also home to the Botanical Gardens and Cannon Hill Park, which are lovely for seeing the outdoors and enjoying walks in the warm months.

If you would like to find out more about how we can assist you with any property requirements in Birmingham,  please contact us on reception@complete-ltd.com or call us on +44(0) 203 551 9900.