Demand for private rented housing has reached a five-year high but demand in London has been lower than elsewhere, a survey of landlords has revealed.
More than one third of landlords surveyed (39 per cent) agreed that demand for homes to rent had increased in 2021’s second quarter.
This was an eight per cent increase on the year’s first quarter, thanks to the easing of pandemic restrictions and increased economic optimism.
Demand now matches a peak in the first quarter of 2016, according to the survey of 753 members of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) by research consultancy BVA-BDRC.
However, the situation was not the same across the country with more than half of central London landlords (53 per cent) reporting that demand had fallen in the second quarter.
Just 15 per cent of central London landlords said demand had increased in this period while in Yorkshire and the Humber, Wales and the South East, over 60 per cent said demand had risen.
Trade body the NRLA said this was further evidence of a trend of renters keen to move out of the city as home working becomes the norm.
Eight out of ten landlords in outer London (81 per cent) and in central London (78 per cent) said they would be negatively impacted as a result of the pandemic.
Elsewhere, fewer than half (49 per cent) of those surveyed in Yorkshire and the Humber thought they would be negatively affected.
“It is clear that there is a significant flight of tenants from the capital in response to the Covid pandemic. With lockdown restrictions having ended, and offices beginning to reopen, the jury is out as to whether this trend will continue,” Chris Norris, NRLA policy director said.
The proportion of landlords intending to buy property dropped from the four year high of 19 per cent recorded in the first quarter of the year, to 14 per cent.
The proportion looking to divest returned to 20 per cent, up three percentage points from the first quarter of the year.
“The only losers will be tenants as they struggle to find the homes to rent they need. The Chancellor needs to recognise the harm being done by tax hikes imposed on the sector,” Norris added.