Tenant ‘squeeze’ set to continue says leading prime lettings agency

Fine & Country chief points to data showing PRS stock that remains static but demand that's been building ever since Covid faded away.

Fine & Country says that renters will continue to feel the pressure this Spring with rental growth expected to remain strong throughout the year, supported by persistent low stock levels and increasing demand as we move into the warmer months.

Nicky Stevenson (main pic), Managing Director at the premium estate agency, says: “The average prime market rent is now £3,762, up 14% year-on-year, with many regions of England and Wales still witnessing positive annual growth.

“Annual prime rental growth in London is 21% and is still outperforming the rest of the country, driven by a shortage of supply.

“Hometrack reports private rented housing supply has grown just 1% since 2016 and is set to remain generally static in 2023, particularly considering the recent interest rate rise and the ignoring of buy-to-let landlords in the Spring Statement.

Snapped up

“And according to a Dataloft poll, properties are still being snapped up, with 63% of agents saying properties are taking less than a week to go from listed to let, and 39% citing stock levels lower than a year ago.”

She adds that despite a slight slowdown from its peak of 12.3% in mid-2022, rental inflation is still outpacing earnings growth, with no signs of respite.

Stevenson says: “Average rents for new lets have increased by 11.1% in the last year, compared to an increase in earnings of just 6.7%.

“In the last three years, rents have risen by 20%, an extra £2,220 a year, increasing strain on renters. Sigma Capital report that in the same period net happiness amongst renters has dropped 8%, with 37% of renters concerned about security of tenure. These results highlight the need for more comfortable, affordable renting options, particularly in light of the uncertainty amongst renters and the ongoing cost of living crisis.”

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