As the UK's lettings market continues to bustle after lockdown, data shows that just over one third of tenants moving into a new home are choosing to upsize and leave cities behind. Willingness to spend more on rent for an extra bedroom and more space has risen. Tenants opt for houses over flats where possible.
The desire for more room at home echoes the purchase market, and comes after a period of lockdown which saw many Britons confined to their home for all but one hour a day. While tenants in their thirties and upwards have been the keenest to move out of the cities, some younger renters have also shown interest in more space, with studio tenants typically opting for larger apartments with a separate bedroom.
Tenants Willing to Pay More
With tenants across all regions moving into larger rental properties than their previous home, it’s clear the last few months have made an impression on the UK’s growing army of renters. Being forced to spend more time at home has shown up the importance of having more of your own space, particularly when confined to it, and this is considered by many as worth paying for.
According to Hampton’s latest UK rental survey, between May and August across the UK as a whole, some 34% of tenants upsized their rental home with an extra 1.4 bedrooms being the average increase in space and paying £149 per month more. This compares with just 25% of tenants upsizing in the first three months of the year, pre-pandemic.
By region, 47% of movers in south east England moved to a larger rental home, paying an average of £266 more per month for that extra space. That was followed by tenants in North West England, where 37% of movers opted for more space, spending £301 more per month.
At the other end of the scale, just 18% of movers in Yorkshire and Humber upsized, but those who did spent on average 16% more. Meanwhile, of those renting a home in Wales, 21% moved to a larger property during May and August spending £242 per month more.
Here is the full list of renters adding more space when they move, by region:
Average Rents Ease Despite Upsizing Activity
Although there was an increase in the proportion of tenants moving into larger homes during May and August, Property Management Firm Hamptons International’s latest rental index showed that the average rent paid across the UK was 0.5% lower in August compared to the same month in 2019. That’s the fourth decline in this measure over the past five months.
However, that decline comes as rents fell in just three regions across the country:
- London -3.9%
- South East -0.8%
- East England -0.1%
The strongest rental gains, meanwhile were:
- Wales +3.9%
- South West +3.6%
- Midlands +2.6%
The research highlighted that the overall decline in rents is being driven by rising stock levels in London, where tenants are seeking to move further out of the city to gain more space in their homes. How long the trend of upsizing will be prevalent is currently unknown but while fears of a second strict lockdown remain, it’s likely tenants coming to the end of their contracts will at least consider more space in their next move.