There’s been a slump in demand for rental properties as a result of tenants staying put in the latter part of 2021 as Omicron worries gripped the country.
This follows the pattern of earlier in the pandemic when far fewer tenants moved to different properties because of difficulties with lockdowns and viewing restrictions.
Research by Midlands lettings agency Barrows and Forrester, analysing 23 cities, found that rental demand averaged 27.6 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2021 - that’s a big 15.3 per cent decline compared to Q3.
Despite widespread declines in rental demand during the last quarter of the year, the annual change picture is marginally more promising.
On average, the UK’s major cities have seen a 0.4 per cent increase in rental demand placing the market largely back where it was at the end of 2020.
This average, however, is being bolstered by particularly strong performances in just a few locations - notably Cambridge, Edinburgh and Manchester.
Barrows and Forrester managing director James Forrester says: “Just as the UK rental market was starting to find its feet after a very difficult period, the pandemic is once again causing dark clouds of uncertainty to gather and we find ourselves back where we were at the end of 2020.
“We saw the detrimental impact workplace restrictions has had on city rental demand during the initial Covid-19 outbreak and so this is no doubt a contributing factor with the spread of the Omicron variant.
“There is, of course, a seasonal element to this decline and so there is a very good chance that now the festive period has ended demand will start to lift once again and with the government’s ambitious booster jab rollout, we should hopefully return to normality at a far quicker pace this time around.”