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New research suggests that the rental market across Britain’s major cities has bounced back, as available stock levels are now lower than prior to the pandemic.

Available rental stock levels across 21 major UK cities we’re analysed by nationwide buy-to-let specialist, Sequre Property Investment and found that at the end of Q4, 2019 before the pandemic struck, there were a total of 96,735 rental properties listed to let.

During Q1 of 2020 when the pandemic hit and the first lockdown was implemented, dwindling demand due, in part, to working from home restrictions saw the level of rental stock surplus across major cities start to climb.

Propp – MPU

It continued to climb consistently throughout 2020, hitting a high of 171,080 at the end of Q4, 2020 – a 77% year on year increase in rental stock surplus.

However, a slow but steady return to normality during 2021 has seen this trend start to reverse.

In fact, the number of rental properties available on the market has slowly declined since the start of the year, with the latest data showing just 57,382 available on the current market.

This is not only -66% less than the pandemic high of 171,080, but some -41% lower than the levels seen prior to the pandemic.

Sales Director at Sequre Property Investment, Daniel Jackson, commented:

“2020 was an incredibly tough year for landlords, particularly those with rental properties in major cities who were largely reliant on tenant demand from working professionals.

With restrictions preventing many from heading to their place of work, demand for rental homes within city centres plummeted as many chose to rent for less further afield while working remotely.

However, 2021 has seen a slow but steady reduction in the level of rental properties left sat on the market as a trickle of tenant demand has started to return.

However, the latest data suggests that with restrictions all but gone, this trickle has turned into a strong and consistent stream and available rental stock is now lower than pre-pandemic levels.

This will be welcome news for those landlords who will no longer need to lower their rental income expectations in order to secure a tenant and we should now see a far greater level of stability remain for the remainder of the year.”

Table shows the total available rental market stock across each city at the end of each respective quarter during the pandemic
City Q4, 2019 Q1, 2020 Q2, 2020 Q3, 2020 Q4, 2020 Q1, 2021 Q2, 2021 Q3, 2021
London 37,558 46,621 74,230 90,175 102,240 85,929 73,797 35,292
Oxford 1,608 1,385 1,971 1,431 1,893 1,681 1,472 702
Cambridge 520 773 1,098 977 928 1,134 865 515
Manchester 6,265 6,127 6,868 6,709 8,607 7,747 5,236 2,986
Liverpool 4,004 3,619 3,821 3,120 4,240 1,489 2,416 1,521
Birmingham 5,268 5,511 6,325 5,291 6,307 6,298 5,131 2,779
Nottingham 3,049 2,212 2,603 2,640 4,861 4,164 2,606 1,450
Leeds 8,109 5,668 4,706 3,538 7,840 1,363 5,544 1,944
Sheffield 3,851 3,695 3,425 2,437 3,946 3,515 1,887 1,159
Leicester 2,697 2,421 2,340 2,256 3,268 3,101 2,526 1,832
Newcastle 5,246 4,404 3,853 2,609 5,764 4,662 2,370 1,132
Southampton 3,060 3,023 2,900 2,491 3,361 3,550 1,743 870
Portsmouth 1,625 1,532 1,488 1,497 1,760 2,038 1,410 974
Bournemouth 1,740 1,611 1,521 1,355 2,202 2,303 659 514
Plymouth 1,608 1,322 1,104 846 1,621 1,500 858 570
Bristol 2,901 2,102 2,286 1,972 3,556 3,559 1,637 964
Cardiff 3,530 2,833 2,693 2,179 3,421 2,927 1,430 595
Swansea 516 673 673 366 520 346 287 123
Glasgow 1,686 1,915 2,205 1,442 1,943 2,050 1,538 582
Edinburgh 1,038 1,644 2,349 1,459 1,754 1,935 1,727 360
Aberdeen 856 936 1,092 1,030 1,048 905 868 518
All Cities 96,735 100,027 129,551 135,820 171,080 142,196 116,007 57,382
Data sourced from Rightmove
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