Demand for rental properties in the Thames Valley remains strong into the new year – with connectivity to London still important for those who will be heading back to the office once lockdown restrictions are lifted.
Gordon Hood, head of residential lettings at Savills Reading, said one and two bedroom town centre flats continued to be much sought after – particularly among young professionals.
He said the end of the last lockdown period had also seen a rise in the number of couples previously living separately who had now come together to set up home.
In the last six months of 2020 Savills Reading witnessed a 152 per cent increase in the number of would-be tenants registering on their books compared to the same period in 2019.
Mr Hood said: “Against all expectations 2020 was an exceptionally busy year. Similar to the mainstream housing market there has been a significant rise in the number of tenants looking for larger properties with a private garden as well as those wanting to ‘try before they buy’ – renting a property in the area before committing to a purchase.
“However one and two bedroom town centre properties – particularly among young professionals – are also highly sought after.
“Connectivity to London is still hugely important. While it’s true that many of us may well be spending less time in the office once lockdown restrictions are eased, I think for the younger generation that won’t necessarily be the case. They still want to be within close proximity of the capital.
“Interestingly, at the end of the second lockdown period we also witnessed a rise in the number of couples – separated by restrictions and living in separate house shares – coming together to set up home. It’s a trend that we could well see continue when the current lockdown comes to an end.”
Mr Hood said that levels of activity had remained strong into the new year and that a ‘virtual first’ approach had proved popular with tenants – with agents encouraging people to view a property through an online video tour in the first instance.
“Demand is especially high in well-connected towns and, in some cases, it is outstripping supply,” he said. “There is definitely an appetite for more stock. If anything, we expect the current lockdown to only reinforce people’s desire to move if their current home no longer meets their requirements.
“In the first week of January for example the Reading office had three times as many applicants registering than in 2020 and we have done twice as many viewings – albeit virtually.
“Sister offices in the likes of Harpenden and Rickmansworth have also seen a rise. All three locations have regular train services into London of less than 30 minutes for when restrictions lift.”
1: Osprey House at the Kennet Island development in Reading where Savills recently let a two bedroom apartment with a guide price of £1,250 a month.
2: Lakeside apartments in Flagstaff Road, Reading where Savills recently let a two bedroom apartment with a guide price of £1,375 a month.
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