Lockdown sees rent levels tumble across England and Wales

Average rent levels have dropped in seven out of 10 areas of England and Wales, new data from lettings management platform, Howsy, has revealed.

The research considered average amounts of rent paid between the start of the year and start of lockdown, finding that the cost of renting had climbed by an average 2%, with just the South West (-0.5%) seeing a drop.

The East Midlands and North East had seen the most significant increases, rising by 4.4% and 4.1% respectively, while the North West (2.2%), London (2%) and the South East (2%) also saw average rents increase.

However, with the UK entering lockdown on 16 March and a ban on evicting tenants following soon after on 26 March, Howsy highlighted that many landlords have since seen their rental income dwindle or disappear altogether.

Since March, the average rent paid across England has declined by as much as -3.4% in parts, while Wales has seen a smaller decline (-0.9%). London has been one of the worst-hit regions, with theta revealing the average rent paid has plummeted by -7.9%.

The South East has also seen a large reduction of -7.7%, followed by other notable falls in the East of England (-3.1%) as well as Yorkshire and the Humber (-2.5%).

“Already, it’s become clear that landlords are paying the price of an eviction ban that has seen many go without any rental income for months on end,” Howsy founder and CEO, Calum Brannan, commented.

“To see such a considerable reduction in rent levels across the board highlights the prevalence of the financial hardship many tenants are facing across England and Wales and, of course, this is no fault of their own.

“However, while the plight of the nation’s tenants is an unfortunate one, expecting landlords to shoulder this financial decline with no help has dire consequences for the rental market going forward.

“Rents have already been consistently increasing across England and Wales for some time due to the lack of suitable rental stock to meet overwhelming demand. However, having been left high and dry, many landlords face no other choice but to start eviction proceedings. This will see them face many months more without any rental income and so it may take some time before rent levels recover to those seen pre-lockdown.

“Should they decide to leave the sector, an inadequate level of stock will shrink even further, causing rents to climb higher to the detriment of tenants nationwide.”

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