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Graham Awards


Huge pressure on lettings market from sellers temporarily renting

A study by Hamptons shows that so far this year 10 per cent of new tenancies have been taken by someone selling their home, the highest share since 2016.

This is likely to equate to 117,200 ex-homeowner households becoming renters across Britain in 2021.

The strength of the sales market has meant that many vendors have secured a record price for their home, but have been unable to find somewhere suitable for their onward purchase.  


To speed up their sale and to put themselves in a stronger position when they do come to buy, growing numbers of sellers rent as a stop-gap. 

Sellers in Scotland, Wales and the North West, three of the country’s most competitive housing markets, have been most likely to rent following the sale of their home.  

Here 16.4, 15.3 and 11.8 per cent of new tenancies respectively taken out so far this year were to someone who had sold their home. The numbers increased as the end of the stamp duty holiday approached, but have remained high subsequently.                                                                       

Hamptons says the growing number of ex-homeowners looking to rent is contributing to the squeeze in stock as they compete with longer-term tenants.  In July there were 43 per cent fewer homes available to rent than at the same time last year, a fall that's accelerated significantly over the last four months.

In Scotland, the number of homes on the rental market was down 69 per cent on the same time a year ago, while Wales recorded a fall of 53 per cent and the North West 39 per cent.

The pandemic appears to have acted as a catalyst for other rental moves too.  With workers less closely tied to the office, the proportion of tenants moving because of job relocations has fallen. So far this year just 11.5 per cent of tenants moved for work, the lowest figure on record and down from 13.7 per cent in 2019, pre-pandemic.

Meanwhile 49 per cent of tenants – so far this year - moved because they simply wanted to live somewhere different.  These are moves often driven by the search for more space.  This was up from 48 per cent in 2019 and 38 per cent in 2012 when our records began.  

Some 18 per cent of tenants moved due to a change in family circumstances, another record high.


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