Rental demand has surged in most parts of the UK but continues to fall in London, the latest figures from estate and lettings agent Barrows and Forrester shows.
Its rental demand index gives a quarterly overview of tenant activity, analysing rental demand based on the proportion of total rental market listings that have already had a let agreed.
The latest index shows that across England, 39.8% of rental stock has been snapped up by tenants in Q3, rising by 4.1% from the second quarter, when 35.7% of stock was rented.
However, demand for rental property was fiercer last year, when it stood at 46.0%, 6.2% higher than current levels.
West Sussex the most in-demand region of England, where 56.5% of landlords who list properties have already reached an agreement with renters.
Bristol ranks as the second most in demand rental market at present, where 55.5% of properties have already been let.
Northamptonshire sits third with rental demand at 55%, with Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Somerset, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Essex and Cambridgeshire close behind.
Greater London is registering below-average rental demand at 32.6%, while the City of London has the weakest demand across the whole of England, at 28.6%.
Leicestershire is the fastest growing region among renters, where demand increased by 10.6% between the second and third quarters.
It’s a similar trend with West Yorkshire, where growth of 9.0% brings it up to 35.2%, while in Tyne and Wear strong quarterly growth of 10.3% has pushed demand up to 48.1%.
Demand has dropped off the most in the Isle of Wight (-16.4%), Rutland (-12.1%) and Dorset (-11.4%).
At the other end of the spectrum demand dropped year-on-year in Nottinghamshire (-15.9%).
Barrows and Forrester managing director James Forrester says: “Tenant activity is showing no signs of slowing down, which is reassuring news for the nation’s landlords who should be able to avoid lengthy void periods between tenancies as a result.
“What’s striking is demand is stronger outside of London, as properties in south coast areas like West Sussex are being rented out like hotcakes.
“Clearly a high number of tenants are still prioritising green space and having access to the coast, from which you can draw a number of conclusions.
“Tenants could be looking for more value away from major cities in commuter towns, more could be taking advantage of the post-pandemic work from home culture, while older tenants could be moving to areas more suitable for their needs, where they’re better placed to start a family.
“Regardless of the reasons, it’s encouraging that demand is rebalancing away from the capital and becoming more evenly distributed across England.”