Searches for Rental Properties up 76%, Zoopla Reports

rental properties

Slowly but surely, some semblance of normality is creeping back into everyday life. Homeworking and hybrid working models look set to remain the norm for some, but millions are nonetheless finding themselves being summoned back to the office.

The mass exodus from major towns and cities has ended and is beginning to show signs of a gradual reversal. According to Zoopla, this return to conventional office life is one of the key drivers behind a huge spike in the number of people currently searching for rental properties. Coupled with skyrocketing property prices, effectively pricing millions out of the market, more people are setting their sights on private rents.

Specifically, private rental property searches were 76% higher in 2022 to date than during the same period of the last three years, Zoopla reports. More homes are being placed on the private lettings market than at this time last year, but not nearly at a pace sufficient to meet the demands of prospective tenants.

It has become the norm for landlords to have multiple parties effectively ‘bidding’ on their private rental properties at the same time, driving average monthly rents to record highs in many areas of the country.

Younger tenants leaving parents’ homes

Throughout the pandemic, millions of younger tenants made the decision to terminate their agreements and move back in with their parents. As homework negated the need to continue paying elevated monthly rents in major towns and cities, the sensible option was to make huge savings by relocating.

Today, with almost all coronavirus restrictions having been removed, workers from across the country are once again being beckoned back to their original workplaces. Those who moved back in with their parents are frantically looking to secure affordable housing in major towns and cities, as are those who gained employment remotely during the pandemic.

For the overwhelming majority of these individuals, purchasing a property outright is not a realistic option.

In addition, those who are able to secure quality rental homes at affordable prices are, in some cases, signing longer agreements in order to mitigate the risk of being forced to vacate their homes in the near future.

“We’re hearing from agents and landlords that tenants are signing longer leases, which has prevented some of the stock that would normally come back onto the market,” Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said in a statement.

“When it comes to demand, we’re still seeing the effects of the pandemic, whereby tenants are balancing what they need from a home and how close they need to live to work with where they can afford.”

Along with rising rent costs, private tenants are also feeling the squeeze of skyrocketing energy bills and record-high inflation.