City Centre Living in the UK Returns to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Activity within the letting market will increase as we head into the warmer spring months in the UK according to Nicky Stevenson, MD of Fine & Country.

Stevenson pointed out that if the predicted increase in activity transpires, it will increase the level of activity in an already very busy rental market, with a shift back to city-centre living and a rising interest in value-for-money and energy-efficient homes.

“The rental market continues to perform well and is expected to see a ramp up in activity as we transition from winter to spring,” the MD said. “Rental prices remain high, supported by demand outstripping the market’s persistent low stock levels.

“Some in the industry have projected a 6% increase in rents by the end of this year, increasing by around 20% by 2027,” she added.

Stevenson also observed that the market is seeing a resurgence in metropolitan areas, as the hangover of Covid eases and city living returns, increasing demand for value-for-money homes.

She pointed to research by Dataloft Rental Market Analytics which found 53% of properties let in the first two months of the year were apartments – similar to pre-pandemic levels.

Looking specifically at the prime rental sector, Stevenson noted that the average rent for a prime market property is up 13.6% year on year.

According to Stevenson, EPC ratings (Energy Performance Certificate ratings) are moving up renters’ list of priorities as increasing inflation and living expenses cause concern.

“As uncertainty surrounding energy costs lingers, renters are increasingly prioritising energy efficiency,” she said. “Statistics from Dataloft and the Property Academy reveal that 78% of renters considered the Energy Performance Certificate important when searching for a property.

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