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The length of void periods, in which rental properties remain unoccupied, remained the same in October compared to September, while the average cost of rent was found to have levelled off, according to a new rental index by PropTech firm Goodlord.

During void periods, landlords don’t receive rental income, and Goodlord estimated that these periods continued to last an average of 18 days, unchanged from their estimate for September. Despite this, a number of regions in the UK actually saw void periods decrease in duration somewhat, reflecting regional disparities.

The average cost of rent across the UK fell to an average of £925 in October, compared to a high of £1,034 in September. This decrease now puts average rents back in-line with their 2019 year-to-date average of £920 overall.

MT Finance – MPU

This comes a matter of weeks after Zoopla revealed that wages for the average worker continued to rise fast enough to enable them to outperform rent increases, meaning renters were paying a lower proportion of their earnings on rent than they used to.

Rents down in eight regions

Goodlord surveyed eight UK regions, and found that average rents had decreased in all regions, with varying changes between each. Rents in the South West recorded the fastest decline of 19 per cent on a monthly basis, falling from £1,088 to £881 per month in October.

In contrast, London recorded the slowest decline, of four per cent on a month-on-month basis, with average rents being the most expensive of all eight regions monitored by Goodlord. Renters in the Greater London area were paying an average monthly rent of £1,677 in October, almost twice the level compared to rents in the South West.

Renters found cheaper rental costs in the North East, where average rents fell 17 per cent in October, to £618 per month.

Goodlord claimed: “Such a decrease across the board could be explained by a surge in lets during August and September, as is expected during this period, pushing up average prices. Across the year to date, however, prices remained broadly steady.”

Regional differences apparent

When monitoring the eight regions for its new rental index, Goodlord was able to provide a demographic breakdown of the average renter, giving a clear indication of the different levels of income and the age profiles of the typical person living in a private rented sector (PRS) property across the UK.

For example, the typical renter in London was found to be aged 32, with an annual income of £34,800. In comparison, the average Welsh renter was slightly older, aged 35, earning lower average earnings of £17,750 per year.

This suggests that more affluent renters are able to enter the PRS at an earlier age, provided that they have sufficient income to meet the rental costs specific to the region they live in.

Goodlord also found that Londoners enjoyed a marginally longer rental term than Welsh renters. If a  London-based renter entered a new tenancy term, they could expect it to last 13 months in October, compared to just nine months, if they were beginning their tenancy in Wales.

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Steven Taylor
Steven reports on the daily churn of the property news cycle, often reporting on the stories you may have missed during the week. He covers a range of topics, including market sentiment, new findings and announcements by policy-makers.

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