Fresh data from one of London’s largest co-living operators has revealed the positive impact of lockdown restrictions lifting on tenant sentiment within the PRS, in particular the co-living market.
The effect of lockdown restrictions gradually lifting over the past three months on the co-living portion of the private rented sector has now been shown in a clearer light by data from Built Asset Management (BAM), which found that lettings within shared properties increased by 36% in the period of May-July this year – the months where the largest easings of Covid restrictions have occurred.
According to BAM’s data, August has also been the first month where pricing within the co-living market has returned to pre-pandemic levels since the impact of Covid was first experienced in March 2020. The steadying of the economy, and the subsequent increase in confidence amongst tenants, has resulted in a balance of supply and demand not witnessed since February 2020.
What’s more, the data showed that March 2021 – which saw lockdown restrictions first easing in England following a complete national lockdown in January and February - witnessed a 78% rise in lets agreed when compared to the previous two months.
Although the PRS was not forced to close during the lockdown of January and February, confidence amongst tenants was incredibly low, with the promise of restrictions easing on April 12 having a direct and marked boost on confidence throughout the month of March.
All data released by BAM relates to lettings agreed within the co-living sector; private rooms within furnished, shared properties, rented to young professionals across London.
Its latest findings show that co-living lettings across London have steadily increased month-on-month in line with restrictions easing post April 12. In May 2021, there was a 7% increase on the month prior, in June there was a 14% increase, and July saw a 15% increase.
“It’s clear from the data that the impact of restrictions easing has been enormous when it comes to tenant confidence and market buoyancy within the PRS. Our lettings data shows a marked and incredibly direct correlation between the lifting of restrictions on daily life and the number of lettings transacted,” Alex Gibbs, co-founder and director of BAM, commented.
He added: “Despite the winter lockdown measures not legislating the closure of the PRS, confidence amongst tenants was understandably incredibly low, particularly in London which witnessed an exodus of young professionals as offices remained closed.
“When the roadmap out of lockdown was then published, with late March/April seeing the first major signs of normal life returning, reaction amongst tenants was immediate and marked; resulting in the enormous 78% increase in agreed lets that we saw in March.”
He went on: “From there, it’s been a positive, albeit steady, rise in lettings as more and more restrictions have been lifted. The data tells us that young professionals have regained the confidence to move into new shared properties, and to return to city life, as increasing numbers of offices and social establishments have re-opened their doors.”
Gibbs concluded: “These figures help to highlight the profound impact that lockdown measures have on societies and economies, even within industries which are not mandated to close during these periods.”