Rents rise and voids fall as market bucks usual seasonal trend

Posted on Friday, March 1, 2024

There was a further rise in rents and a reduction in void lengths during February, the latest Rental Index from Goodlord shows.

According to the data, the average rental cost of a property in February 2024 remains 7% higher than at the same time in 2023.

Average rents rose by 1% during February, taking the average cost per property to £1,162 per calendar month (pcm) in England, up from £1,154pcm in January.

Rents have steadily been increasing following the traditional Christmas dip, despite rent rises between January and February being far from the norm; rents have dipped in February during four out of the last six years, according to Index figures.

Looking at the year-on-year data for February 2024 compared with the corresponding month last year, the biggest increase in rents has been seen in the South West, where year-on-year prices have risen by a huge 11%. This is followed by the North East, which has seen a 7.5% rise in rents.

The smallest year-on-year change was seen in the West Midlands, where tenants are paying 4.5% more in rent compared to this time last year.

The biggest regional rise in rents during February came in the South West and the South East, where rents rose by 2.5%. The average price of rental property in the South East is now £1,293, with the South West not far behind at £1,173.

Although overall rents rose across England by 1%, two regions saw a drop in prices during February. Rents in the West Midlands dipped by 2% and Greater London also saw a decrease, with rents dropping by 1%.

Further highlighting the ongoing demand for rental properties across England, void periods  – the average length of time a property is vacant between tenancies – also shortened during February. Average voids shortened from 22 days on average across England to 18 days – a reduction of 18%.

The biggest change to voids was recorded in the North East, where a 29% shift saw voids shorten from 24 days in January to just 17 days in February.

All regions recorded shorter voids, with the exception of the South West, which saw void periods hold steady at 20 days month-on-month.

William Reeve, CEO at Goodlord, commented: “We don’t normally see a bump in rents during February. It’s typically a slower month where things cool off following the post-Christmas release of demand we see in January. The fact that we’re seeing a rise this month is indicative of the ongoing squeeze on the market and a lack of available stock – something that’s further evidenced by the shortening of voids across England.

“Right now, the market is delivering fairly consistent year-on-year stats when it comes to rent rises and we continue to hover around the 7% mark. All eyes will be on whether this starts to reduce as we come into the summer following last year’s record breaking numbers, or if new records will be set.”

Via @PropertyIndustryEye