In April the slowdown was most marked in Wales, where a home that found a tenant had been available to let for 34 days, seven days longer than in April 2019. But Yorkshireand the Humber and the South East were also becalmed. In each of these regions, a home took an average of 33 days to find a tenant. In April 2020, the time to let a home in the South East was 23 days. However, the tempo was speedier in the South West where it took 25 days to let a home, only three days fewer than in April 2019. This may be another indication of the new allure of countryside and seaside locations to citydwellers spending lockdown in homes with little or no green space.
In April, rents on renewed tenancies fell for the second month in a row. The £925 monthly average was down 1.1% over a year. But this figure masks regional variations. The average in Scotland rose by 4.2% between April 2019 and April 2020 from £622 to £648. There were increases too in the North, where the £609 average was up by 2.7%, and the Midlands where there was a 1.9% rise to £658 a month.
In London the average was 3.2% lower at £1,647, against £1,701 in April 2019. The average for the South East also declined by 2.4%. London and the South East were the only regions to record rent falls, and this reflects the areas where tenants’ incomes tend to be most stretched already. Unfortunately, this trend seems unlikely to change since the service industry jobs in these regions could be under threat this year, with jobs in hospitality and retail some of the most vulnerable.