By Joe Hoppe
Rightmove PLC said Wednesday that asking rent dropped up to 12% in the last quarter of 2020 in some of the biggest U.K. city centers, as tenants shift focus after the coronavirus pandemic.
Inner London was the worst hit in the three months to Dec. 31, as annual asking rent fell by 12.4% on average, followed closely by Edinburgh city center at 10% and Manchester city center at 5.3%.
The coronavirus pandemic has prompted tenants to rethink where they want to live, and many appear to be prioritizing larger gardens, roomier work-from-home solutions and increased living space over convenience, the property portal said. This led to falling rents and a flood of properties coming to the market.
"There's no doubt that higher rents will return once life goes back to some form of normality, but it will be the city center properties with gardens and balconies that will be able to command the biggest premiums," Rightmove's Director of Property Data Tim Bannister said.
Out of the 10 biggest city centers in the country, all saw an uptick in the number of inner city tenants enquiring about properties outside of the area. In Inner London, 53% of renters asked about properties outside the city center in the final quarter, up from 45% a year before, while in Edinburgh, the proportion rose to 37% from 29%, Rightmove said.
These tenants seeking a quieter life and greater space, coupled with some short-let homes changing to longer-term lets, have led to a significant increase in the number of properties available for rent--properties available have more than doubled in Leeds, Inner London and Nottingham alone.
"Outside city centers it's a very different picture, with agents reporting extremely busy markets and rising rents. Available stock is lower than the usual level we would see at this time of year, and demand is higher, leading to a much better outlook for those landlords in the suburbs and in smaller towns and villages," Mr. Bannister said.
Write to Joe Hoppe at firstname.lastname@example.org