New tenant applicants went up 25% 3rd QTR 2013, Countrywide

New tenant applicants went up by 25% in the third quarter of this year, the Countrywide chain has reported.

The letting agency’s quarterly lettings index found that rents went up on all types of properties apart from three-bedroom homes, where they decreased by 0.5%.

Overall, rents across England, Scotland and Wales went up 2.7% on the previous quarter. Exceptions were central London and the South-East where they went down 3.3% and 1.5% respectively.

Rent arrears fell in all regions apart from Scotland where they increased 4.2% The greatest fall in rent arrears was in central London where they fell 2.1%.

Countrywide also said that a lack of new stock across London has seen tenants sign extended tenancies. The average tenancy length in Greater London is now 17 months.

Nick Dunning, group commercial director at Countrywide, said: “Rental demand has continued to strengthen with the number of new tenants registering for rental accommodation increasing 25% in Q3 2013 compared to Q3 2012. The recent announcement to introduce Help-to-Buy phase 2 in October 2013 will undoubtedly facilitate a proportion of tenants to make the transition to home ownership. This is great news for both first-time buyers and tenants frustrated by the lack of available accommodation in the current market.

“A lack of new stock across Greater London has seen tenants sign extended tenancies as they are keen to secure their property for longer. The average tenancy length in Greater London has increased 13% year-on-year to 17 months.

“While the start of the academic year in September sees students traditionally make up a large proportion of the lettings market, year-on-year their share has reduced. Older tenants and families are now forming an ever larger proportion of tenants renting in the UK. There are varying reasons why people rent for longer but many choose to do so because they enjoy the flexibility it offers, especially in terms of job mobility. With this in mind, now is an ideal time for landlords to expand their portfolios and provide a more diverse range of affordable rental properties to meet the demand of those renting for longer.”