Seaside living is at the top of many tenants’ wishlists, that is according to Rightmove.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many Brits have welcomed the idea of moving to seaside locations in the UK. Some see this as a safer option rather than moving abroad as the traffic light system, a set of countries that are safe to travel to, continues to raise uncertainty.
By analysing more than 400,000 rental listings and comparing the available rental stock in June and July 2021 with June and July 2019, property website Rightmove was able to measure current rental availability against pre-pandemic levels.
Tenant competition was measured by comparing the number of tenants enquiring in an area on Rightmove and comparing this to the number of available rental properties in that area.
Matthew White, director at Hose Rhodes Dickson on The Isle of Wight, says: “In more than 30 years working in lettings, I’ve never seen a rental market like it is now. Stock levels are reducing year on year, and tenant demand is the greatest it’s ever been.
The Isle of Wight is in a unique geographical position, and due to many now able to work from home, we’re seeing fewer‘ accidental landlords’, whereas pre-covid, homeowners could find themselves suddenly needing to commute to the mainland due to a change in job or circumstance, which is reducing a source of the rental properties becoming available.
A lack of choice and available property also means we’re seeing more tenants staying put. That said, conversely, we’re seeing more investment in property this year, as people look for a greater return on their money, which more often than not, property delivers”.
The decline of available rental properties
Known for its beaches and seafront walkways including Shanklin Beach and Ventnor Beach, the Isle of Wight is a popular seaside location in the UK.
In the study, the Isle of Wight had the biggest decline in available properties to rent when compared with the summer of 2019. Overall the available rental stock fell by 82%.
As a result of the shortages, there has been a vast increase in competition among tenants hoping to secure a long-term place to rent by the sea.
Rightmove’s findings conclude that there is an average uplift of 317% in tenant demand for each property across the 10 locations that have seen the greatest declines.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, further explains: “Landlords in the typical tourist destinations around Britain have been chasing the huge surge in demand for holiday lets this summer, which has led to a temporary drop in the stock available for permanent tenants.
However, as the summer holidays are coming to an end, agents are now reporting more landlords turning their attention to longer-term tenants as a more secure and stable option for the rest of the year and into 2022. The value of a good tenant should not be underestimated, and with the competition for rental properties in these areas so high right now, it could be a good time for landlords to take stock and consider their best longer-term option.”
Competition for a seaside stay
The lack of availability has resulted in a have led to a surge in competition among tenants. The research shows that long-term rents seem to gather the most interest too.
In comparison to 2019, the competition among tenants is four times higher in the top ten areas. In Blackpool competition has increased by an astounding 517%, the Isle of Wight has seen a 376% increase and Cornwall 345%.
Craig Webster, managing director of Tiger Sales & Lettings in Blackpool, explains: “Tenant demand and the lack of rental supply are really driving the shortage, although lots of different factors are contributing. We’re seeing more tenants staying put, which means a lack of movement in the market and new rental homes becoming available. We’re also seeing some landlords seeing an opportunity in the market with shorter-term rents. One thing we are starting to see more of is tenants approaching us about longer-term contracts, which is unusual, and could be an opportunity for some landlords in the coming months looking for a longer-term tenant.”