Relationship break-ups ‘number one reason’ for surge in rental demand

Demand for rental property in the east of England has surged Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

Demand for rental property in the east of England has surged Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Relationship breakdowns and families looking to upsize are some of the reasons being cited for a surge in demand for rental properties.

Data released by Rightmove suggests interest in rented homes and flats in the east of England has risen sharply in the last few months.

When comparing figures from each year, demand for rented accommodation in the region is currently 25% higher than at the same point 12 months ago.

This is in stark contrast to March 23 - the start of the lockdown - when demand was 25% lower than the previous year.

The Rightmove data also suggested the demand for house sales in the east of England dipped slightly throughout March and April, but is now 6% above normal levels.

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Gary Everett, franchise owner of Ipswich letting agents Martin and Co, said the breakdown of relationships during lockdown is the “number one” reason for the surge in demand.

Mr Everett said his business has experienced a busy period over the last months, receiving more and more enquiries as time went on.

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Face-to-face house and flat viewings continue to be arranged, with potential tenants wearing masks and observing social distancing measures in property.

Mr Everett said he started work on Monday to discover he had received more than 100 enquiries for tenancies and had to turn some down due to the excess demand.

He also predicted rent prices are likely to increase over the coming months, as fewer flats and houses are available.

Mr Everett said: “Since the lockdown came into effect on March 23, tenants have not been looking to move out. Because of the lockdown, people have been staying for longer and they have been extending their tenancies.

“This means there is a demand, and rent prices will start to go up.

“We have been letting properties throughout all of April and May.

“People are making decisions about who they need to live with and where they want to be. If two people are to split up, they need to move out.

“There have also been a lot of cases of people wanting to upsize to a larger property.

“And we have noticed more people have been looking to move into Ipswich for work.”

MORE: 96 homes sold in Suffolk in March - but estate agents busier than ever

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