Rental hotspots moving away from commuter hubs – Rightmove

The UK’s new rental hotspots are further afield from traditional commuter hubs, according to new data from Rightmove.

The property expert’s latest study, which analysed more than 60 million rental searches in August compared to August 2019, showed that rental searches across the UK were up by 34% in August compared to this time last year.

The data indicated that more renters who are looking to move outside London are planning to migrate to the Home counties, while renters searching in the capital are home-hunting in the outer zones.

Rightmove suggested this highlights a growing trend of people wanting to move to areas with quieter transport links, as office-based working and rail commutes become less frequent as result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chessington in Kingston upon Thames has seen the biggest annual rise in rental searches in London, with searches up 99% compared to the same period in 2019. Tenants in Chessington are paying average monthly rents of £1,258, which is a 4.3% year-on-year increase, but still £742 cheaper than average rents across London as a whole. Chessington South railway station, a Zone 6 location, is at the end of the Chessington Branch Line.

Rightmove’s analysis also showed that Clapham Junction and Earls Court – two of the busiest stations in London – have both dropped in the number of searches this year. The property expert suggested this reinforced the idea that renters are looking for places with quieter transport links.

Outside of London, Cambridge was found to be the prevailing hotspot for renters, with annual rental searches up 76%. Tenants are paying asking rents of £1,319 on average each month in the university city, which is almost £90 more expensive than the national average, but still £681 cheaper than in London. The cost of renting in Cambridge has risen by just 1% compared with this time last year.

Cirencester in Gloucestershire (up 75%) has seen the second biggest annual increase in rental searches outside the capital, with places in Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Kent and Buckinghamshire completing the top ten. The data revealed that only three cities, Cambridge, Oxford and Gloucester, are among the rental spots seeing the biggest increases outside of London.

Rightmove property expert, Miles Shipside, commented: “Since the market reopened in May we’ve seen a growing trend of buyers looking to move out of urban areas, and it appears renters are now following suit.

“As working from home becomes the new normal for many people, and lesser significance is placed on living near a station to commute into central hubs, the appeal of living in quieter areas with more green spaces is becoming too attractive to ignore for tens of thousands of renters.

“No one knows what the future holds, but at the moment, it’s clear to see that places with a slower pace of life are top of renters’ home-hunting wish-lists.”

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