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Guildford’s Rental Sector Booms as Lockdown Eases

Published on: 2 Jun, 2020
Updated on: 2 Jun, 2020

Lockdown break-ups, job losses and urgent relocations are thought to have led to a surge in the rental sector nationally and locally.

Demand for lettings in the South East is up by 28% compared to last year, according to property giant Rightmove. Experts say the lifting of lockdown restrictions has released “two months of pent-up tension” in the market.

Guildford Estate Agent James Quantrell said: “What I am finding from our lettings department here at Guildford Estate Agents, is that the Guildford lettings market has had a large surge of new tenants from London looking for larger properties than they currently have. In some cases, they can pay less for a larger property, here in Guildford, with a garden.

James Quantrell

“I know that this has been fuelled from the Covid-19 lockdown and the outdoor space a lot of the London properties just don’t have. These last two weeks have been our busiest this year with over 26 new lets being agreed this weekend.

“We are just running out of properties, and this will push the rental prices up. It’s great news for landlords at the moment.”

According to data provided by Rightmove, demand for all kinds of property plunged during the height of the lockdown.

The restrictions prevented house viewings, surveys and searches from taking place, while removal companies were also temporarily closed. People were urged to stay in their current homes unless absolutely necessary and evictions were put on hold until June 25.

Since estate agents were allowed to reopen on 13 May, demand for rental homes has increased at a quicker rate than the sales market, Rightmove said.

Rightmove housing expert Miles Shipside said the pandemic had left many people with an “immediate housing need”.

Wednesday, May 27 saw more than six million people visit the Rightmove website, its busiest day ever.

“They may need to move for a job,” said Mr Shipside. “In the environment we are in now, there is a need for people with specialist jobs to be in a certain place – just think about the Nightingale hospitals that have sprung up.

“Where some people have enjoyed lockdown, others’ relationships haven’t survived it and this has had knock-on consequences.

“There could be people who need to move because of job losses too. Effectively we have two months of pent-up demand that needs to be satisfied.”

The South West has seen the biggest surge in demand for new rental properties with a 34% increase compared to last year and a national increase measured at 20%.

Rightmove classes demand as the number of times website visitors clicked through to the details of a property listed online.

Nationally, the number of new rental listings on Rightmove is 4% below 2019 levels. It dropped to a level of 64% below during the week of April 6.

Landlords are “exiting the market” Mr Shipside says, due to Covid-19 and the uncertainty over tenants being able to afford rent. Thinktank the Resolution Foundation found one in eight renters were struggling with housing costs as a result of coronavirus.

“It means that landlords have sort of got a choice now,” said Mr Shipside. “They are going to pick those with the best references and who can move in immediately. Those whose credit record is not the best tend to lose out.”

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Responses to Guildford’s Rental Sector Booms as Lockdown Eases

  1. George Potter Reply

    June 2, 2020 at 12:14 am

    Good to see that even a deadly pandemic which has claimed tens of thousands of lives in the UK won’t get in the way of landlords exploiting the situation to increase rents and discriminate against those who are struggling.

    Good to know that all those mortgage holidays couldn’t have possibly gone to nicer people, and good to see that Rightmove can’t resist putting out gleeful press releases about the situation in order to get some free advertising.

    George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham.

    Editor’s note: No press release was received from Rightmove. The story was based on a story lead and basis provided by our news partners the BBC and developed by The Guildford Dragon NEWS.

    • George Potter Reply

      June 2, 2020 at 11:22 am

      So is the Dragon editorial team saying that the BBC story that the article above was based upon has nothing to do with this Rightmove press release which includes, verbatim, the quotes used in The Dragon article?

      George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham.

      Editor’s response: It was a story lead provided by the BBC’s Shared Data Unit, offered to all news partners for local development. It contained a stipulation that the data must be attributed to Rightmove but there was no mention of a Rightmove press release.

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    June 2, 2020 at 8:19 am

    A bit harsh of Cllr Potter to generalise that all landlords are discriminatory and exploitative. I know some extremely responsible and decent landlords. Letting property is a perfectly legitimate business, which provides housing for those unable to get a mortgage.

    Not the standard we expect from our elected representatives.

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