Demand for rural properties from tenants fleeing cities has pushed up rents in country areas by a staggering 5.5% last month, latest research from Hamptons International, while cities have seen a 5.3% drop.
The firm says a seismic shift in renters priorities has led to a significant escape to the country, prompting a 29% increase in properties available to rent in cities and a 48% reduction in available homes in rural areas.
As millions of city dwellers realise they are likely to be working from home for months to come, many are now looking for more bucolic and larger homes to rent, says Hamptons International.
This includes estate agents including Carter Jonas, which last week reported that the pandemic had persuaded its senior management to be more relaxed about flexible working for staff.
The trend is particularly severe in London where rents have fallen for the eight month in a row, and that the rents increasing/decreasing gap between inner and out London is now at a record level (-14.3% vs +3.3%).
Hamptons International says that the race to country means overall rents increased across Britain for the first time since the pandemic struck, rising by 1.4% during October to £1,041 per tenancy.
“The flexibility of the rental market has meant that while some renters have decided to make a permanent move out of cities in search of more space, others have moved out temporarily,” says Aneisha Beveridge, its Head of Research.
“The opportunity to work from home means tenants can save while paying less rent in more rural areas. As a result, the gap between rents in cities and the countryside is closing.”
The research mirrors similar research by Knight Frank in July, which said demand for rural homes was rocketing in the sales market.