Voids decreased in all regions in February due to rising rental demand: Goodlord – Mortgage Strategy
The rental market saw a re-injection of pace in February as voids dropped by a quarter and rents rose, the latest rental index from Goodlord finds.
The data indicates renewed rental market momentum, after the traditionally quieter months of December and January.
There was a significant reduction in the average void period for a rental property in England during February.
The average dropped by 26% from 23 days to 17, highlighting strong demand among tenants.
The biggest change came in the North West, where voids declined by 33% from 27 days in January to just 18 days in February.
The East Midlands also recorded a decrease of 31%, with void periods in the region going from 29 days to 20.
Greater London, the North East, South East and the West Midlands all saw voids reduce by more than 20%.
The smallest change was recorded in the South West, where voids decreased from 21 days to 19 days, representing a 9.5% decrease.
The new average void period for England of 17 days is the lowest since September 2022, when void averages hit 15 days.
Elsewhere data shows that rents across most regions in England rose during February.
This takes the average cost of a rental home to £1,089.04 and represents a rise of 1% on January’s figures.
While this is below figures from last year, when prices peaked in September 2022 at a record £1,249.81 per property, February’s figures are the highest rental averages recorded since October 2022.
The biggest increase in the average cost of rent during February was seen in the North East, where prices rose by 3%.
In contrast, both Greater London and the South West saw fractional decreases in the cost of rent.
Year on year, the cost of rent is now up by 12.50%.
After breaking records during January, average tenant salaries held steady during February as the trend of higher wages continues.
The average salary of a renter in England was £32,168 in February, an 11.7% rise year on year.
This means wage increases are only slightly behind the increases seen in the cost of rent.
In the North West and the South West, the rise in salaries over the last year has outstripped the rise in the cost of rent.
Goodlord chief operating officer Tom Mundy comments: “December and January are traditionally slightly quieter times for the lettings market and, given the intense demand the rental sector has seen over the last year, I’m not surprised to see how pace has increased during February.”
“The big drop in voids is a clear reminder that housing stock is low and tenants are moving quickly to secure properties – everything listed is getting snapped up extremely quickly. This is linked to the renewed increase in rental costs.”
“Although we’re not at the cost averages we saw during last summer and early autumn, the price per property averages are significantly higher than this time last year.”
“These trends are being intensified by a rise in landlords leaving the market, pointing to an urgent need for decision makers to incentivise landlords to stay in buy-to-let whilst ramping up house building efforts.”
“We believe the industry is facing unsustainable pressures and repeat our call for the Government to rapidly take meaningful action to help landlords and tenants alike.”