Lettings activity within England and Wales is fast falling off a cliff-edge, latest industry research shows, although it is far from dead.
Research by rental platform Goodlord reveals that the number of new applications for rented properties has dropped by 25% since the 23rd March when Boris Johnson announced the lockdown.
But activity had begun to quieten several days before his televised announcement and, after comparing day-by-day new rental applications via the Goodlord platform, its researchers reckon yesterday’s activity levels were 44% down on the same day last year.
On the other hand, the pandemic has yet to severely impact the funnel of agreed lets, which are less than 15% down on last year.
“It’s been an unprecedented month for the whole economy and the property market has been at the sharp end of the impact,” says Tom Mundy, COO of Goodlord (left).
“While we’ve seen a dramatic decline in the last ten days compared to 2019, the lettings market is and will continue to be needed.
“As tenancies expire and contract renewals are needed, agents will continue to play a crucial role in ensuring that this process can still be handled quickly and securely and the temporary changes to right to rent mean that can take place almost entirely remotely.
“While no one knows how long the current restrictions will last, we can be confident that a sharp increase in demand will be recorded in the lettings markets as soon as measures are loosened.”
The lockdown has also had one unexpected benefit – void periods have been shortening thanks to a surge in contract completions ahead of the lockdown as tenants rushed to secure a home.