The UK rental market has seen a significant shift in 2023, with a new king dethroning the previous champion in the race for tenant enquiries. Bradford, in the north of England, has seized the crown from Liverpool. This dramatic change may reflect a nationwide trend of rebalancing supply and demand. However, the likelihood it is due to more available homes in 2023 in that area appearing on our website.
Bradford’s surge in affordable rental property enquiries
While Bradford’s surge to the top of rental property may be surprising, it tells a larger story. Cities like Bradford, Gateshead, and Sunderland, all located in the North of England, have seen a significant influx of tenant enquiries, pushing them into the top 10 busiest rental locations. This trend can be attributed to several factors:
- Affordability: Compared to the South, housing prices and rents in the North remain relatively lower, attracting budget-conscious tenants priced out of southern markets.
- Regeneration Projects: Many northern cities are undergoing impressive regeneration initiatives, making them more attractive to young professionals and families seeking a vibrant and affordable lifestyle.
- Remote Working: The rise of remote working has loosened geographical ties, allowing people to seek out more affordable and desirable locations outside traditional business hubs.
- Social Mobility: There is active social mobility from those seeking affordable housing whether under or over 55 years of age.
- Availability of Homes: There have been more homes available in these regions which have seen more enquiries.
However, the top 5 in 2023 also reveals interesting continuities. London, despite facing stiff competition from the North, holds onto the second spot, demonstrating its enduring appeal as a place to live. Birmingham, another mainstay in the top 5, shows the continued strength of major regional hubs offering economic diversification and cultural attractions.
2022 rental property enquiries compared to 2023
Looking at the 2022 rankings, it’s fascinating to see the changing fortunes of some locations. Liverpool, the undisputed king of 2022, has slipped down to second place, likely due to a combination of factors like rising rental costs and increased competition from neighbouring cities in the North. However, it is most likely due to lack of availablity of these affordable homes compared to 2022. Swanage, a coastal town in the South, drops out of the top 20 entirely, possibly reflecting a cooling of demand for holiday destinations as the cost-of-living crisis affects discretionary spending.
Rightmove’s rental statistics for 2023
Letting Agent Today recently reported Rightmove’s own rental statistics which showed Wrexham coming out in top spot. They predict rental price increases moderating in 2024. They forecast a 5% increase outside London and a 3% increase inside, a significant downward shift from the double-digit hikes witnessed in recent years.
This news offers cautious optimism for UK renters. While challenges remain, with the gap between supply and demand still significantly wider than in 2019, the changing dynamics of the market could provide much-needed breathing room. The rise of northern cities like Bradford and Gateshead as rental hotspots showcases the potential for geographic affordability within the UK housing landscape.
Lack of social or affordable rent properties skews the data
The main issue is the lack of affordable homes being built, specifically social housing. Unfortunately the data may get skewed due to the availability of affordable homes. Just because there have been fewer enquiries in some areas, we can still see huge demand for homes in these areas. For example, London and Birmingham are always the most searched locations for affordable and social rent properties.
Huge demand for affordable housing to rent
One thing is for certain there is huge demand for social and affordable rent properties. This includes areas where there is a lack of available homes too.
As we move into 2024, it will be interesting to see how these trends evolve. Will Bradford hold onto its top spot? Will the south-north shift in tenant demand continue? And will rental price increases truly moderate as Rightmove predicts? Only time will tell, but one thing is clear: the UK rental market has entered a new chapter, offering a glimmer of hope for stability and affordability amidst the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
Top 20 rental locations by property enquiries in 2023
Houghton le Spring
Top 20 rental locations by property enquiries in 2022
Newcastle upon Tyne