A 2-bed terraced rental home in Hertfordshire

Letting agents are receiving 25 tenant enquiries for every rental home

If you’re looking for a new home to rent, you may already have first-hand experience of how busy it is right now.

In the past two years, average rental prices have kept rising, and more people are looking to rent homes than there have been properties available. In fact, the number of tenants looking to move now, compared to 2019, has increased by more than 40%, while the number of available homes to rent has dropped by 35%.

As a result, letting agents are now receiving an average of 25 email and phone enquiries from prospective tenants for every home available to rent. This has risen from eight enquiries per property in 2019, and five more than in May of this year.

Our property expert Tim Bannister says: “Record rents and far more tenants looking to move than there are homes available means it will still feel very difficult for many tenants navigating the market. But there are signs that things are slowly improving.

“The number of new rental properties coming to the market is now at its highest level since the end of last year. While it is likely that there is some way to go before this filters through to rental prices, if the improving trend between supply and demand continues, we could start to see the pace of yearly rent rises slow more significantly than it has been.”

What’s happening with rental prices?

As mortgage rates began to rise towards the end of 2022, and early 2023, some landlords decided to sell rather than continue letting out properties. The shortage of available rental properties to meet the levels of tenant demand is one of the reasons why rental prices keep rising.

Outside of London, average advertised rent for new properties has hit another new national record of £1,278 per calendar month (pcm). This is 10% higher than this time last year. Average rents in London have also risen to a new record of £2,627 pcm, up 12.1% compared to a year ago.

You can check what’s happening with rental prices in your area in our quarterly Rental Price Tracker.

How can I prepare if I’m looking to rent somewhere new soon?

In such a busy rental market, it can really helpful to be in a position to act quickly to give yourself the best chance of getting the home you want. You may have already contacted several lettings agents and have viewings arranged. Some more tips shared by our property expert Tim include:

1. Move fast to set up a viewing

Set up instant property alerts, and even make yourself known to local estate agents, to make sure you’re one of the first to know about a newly listed property

2. Lay out your non-negotiables

This includes your maximum budget, how many rooms you need, and how long you intend on staying at the property. This will help keep the focus solely on properties that are right for you

3. Be flexible where you can

Being open to different move-in dates is tricky, but it can be an attractive addition to a tenant application

4. Be as organised as possible

Have your finances and documentation ready, so you can move through the tenancy application process smoothly and quickly

5. Widen your search, if you can

Home-hunters are increasingly looking outside of traditional hotspots when looking for their next property. Expanding your search could open up more options to find available properties, and you could potentially find cheaper homes, too

The header image for this article was provided courtesy of Ashtons, Harpenden.

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