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Demand drops across UK cities as tenants stay put during pandemic

Rental demand has dropped significantly across London and other major UK cities as a result of the pandemic.

When comparing current levels of rental stock to this time last year, there has been a decline of 12 per cent across the UK’s major cities, while in London this drop is more pronounced with 20 per cent fewer rental properties now on the market.  

Belfast (down 57 per cent), Cambridge (down 36 per cent) and Newport (a drop of 27 per cent) have seen the largest declines; however, Edinburgh, Swansea, Leicester, Sheffield, Leeds, Southampton and Plymouth have all seen more rental homes hit the market.  


In London, all areas but the City of London have seen a decline in property stock hitting the market, with Barnet the worst hit with a drop of 31 per cent. 

The figures come from an analysis made for online platform Howsy.

When comparing tenant demand to this time last year, there has been a drop of five per cent across 23 major UK cities and by three per cent across London.

The largest declines were in Oxford and Plymouth, where demand has dropped 11.3 per cent since last year.

In London, the City of London has seen rental demand reduce by 10 per cent year on year, while Southwark and Tower Hamlets are down eight per cent.

“While demand has waned somewhat on an annual basis, it is stock levels that have declined the most and there are still plenty of tenants looking for rental properties for those landlords still striving to provide them” says Howsy founder Calum Brannan.

“For these landlords, remaining visible on the market despite the wider landscape is the sensible approach to ensure any void periods are as short as possible and any financial loss is as limited as can be.” 

  • Mark Wilson

    Rental demand is down with the country in lock down. Thanks for letting me know!

  • Billy the Fish

    I've seen more reliable stats from referencing companies which shows new tenancy applications and it is more like 40% drop across the UK vs 2019, although they are picking up again now as agents are catching up with available technology


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