Under normal conditions, Spring and Summer usually bring a seasonal uplift in the number of tenants looking for properties, something you would expect to have been thoroughly dampened by the current movement restrictions – but, I believe we have some very clear indicators as to why demand for rented properties remains extremely high; which we go into detail below.
Burns & Webber have seen demand for rental properties surge exponentially during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Lets look closer look at the lettings market as we enter May 2020.
What is happening in the Surrey lettings market right now?
Since lockdown began we have received over 1600 enquiries from tenants and buyers for properties listed on the market.
We have carried out hundreds of virtual viewings using our online service and this has led to a significant number of new tenancies being agreed during this period.
Many properties have seen multiple offers from prospective tenants.
We have conducted a number of virtual valuations with prospective landlords looking for our expert advice on letting their properties.
Many tenants have committed to letting properties without physically viewing thanks to high demand and the quality of our virtual tours. This is a clear indicator that for many tenants the restrictions currently in place have simply increased the motivation to move during this time.
We’ve agreed a significant number of new lettings during this period. Equally, we have assisted in a number of essential move-ins whilst taking all appropriate precautions in terms of health and safety / social distancing in line with government advice. Pictured below are a selection of the properties we have successfully let during lockdown since 23rd March 2020:
Why are so many tenants looking to move?
Despite many industries grinding to a halt, it is clear that the residential lettings market has not gone into ‘quarantine’. The initial signs are that this market will be extremely buoyant once normal life resumes, especially in light of all the following reasons that we are seeing tenants enquire about properties to rent.
Lockdown has forced many tenants to spend a longer period of time in their homes then they normally would and as such many are starting to get ‘itchy feet’ as they consider whether the property they currently rent suits their long term needs.
Tenants are also considering their geographical requirements with many looking to move out of the densely populated parts of London, in favour of the open spaces in Surrey and greater value for money properties in this area offer.
Changing Property Requirements
Whether it’s a growing family needing more living space or a professional couple who would like a small garden to enjoy the summer evenings, tenants’ needs are ever changing and for many this period has encouraged them to reassess those needs and get in contact with us.
Similarly, as working from home becomes more widely accepted we have seen a number of tenants who are now looking for space for a home office or simply a larger home where they can spend more time comfortably.
Buyers Now Looking To Rent
Many would be buyers have also now entered the lettings market, as they put on hold their plans to purchase during this period of uncertainty.
What will the lettings market look like moving forward?
There is little doubt that demand will remain high and whilst it would be hard to argue against the possibility of a slight reduction in rental values in the months ahead, the level of demand from tenants should have a stabilising effect, helping to underpin values. Similarly, the number of tenancies which are subsequently renewing during this period of restricted movement is on the increase and with less rental properties returning to the market, the supply of rental properties will remain low against the demand.
Equally, there is a large element of ‘pent up demand’ from prospective tenants during this time as we are speaking to a large number of people who are enquiring about a property but may not yet be in a position to commit. Tenants are clearly using this time to prepare for their next move and ensure that they are as informed as possible so that they can act quickly once the restrictions are lifted.
We therefore anticipate there to be another surge in activity once the government restrictions have been lifted and tenants can physically ‘view’ properties again.
How can landlords prepare to let their property?
To help prospective Landlords get prepared we have conducted a number of valuations virtually so that Landlords have been given all the appropriate advice in advance and we can let their properties effectively when they are ready to come to market.
Many landlords are taking this opportunity to follow our guidance on improving their property with a view to making it more attractive once it comes to the market.
Burns & Webber ‘virtual’ valuation service is just as effective as if we were visiting your property in person. Before we speak we research evidence of similar properties nearby that are on the market and have recently let to help us value your property.
We will look at our tenant database to give you an indication of the likely demand for your property before it goes on the market, with whom we can conduct Virtual Viewings.
Our senior property letting professionals know the local market extremely well and in some cases they may have even been inside your property during a previous sale or let, helping us form a basis for your valuation.
How do virtual viewings work?
Shortly after lockdown started Burns & Webber launched our Virtual Viewing service, which asks landlords to film a tour of their property, which is then kept private from potential tenants unless an official virtual viewing is booked.
Once the video tour is received, we have continued to market properties to our database of tenants and provide feedback from every ‘virtual’ viewing.
This approach has been so successful that we have agreed tenancies by way of virtual viewing without a physical visit, so if you are thinking of letting your home now, or when lockdown ends contact your local Burns & Webber branch for further advice.