For the first time Rightmove Rental Market Trend Tracker has reported a Quarterly drop in rental asking prices across the South East of England excluding Greater London. This now takes the annual change to a 1.9% drop overall. Arun Estates have seen generally much less of an impact across their trading area, with a 0.58% increase in asking rents across Quarter 3, which has taken the drop in average asking rents YTD to just over 1%.
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Rightmove are also reporting the time to find a tenant outside London is on average 8% longer in Q3, 2017 against the same period in 2016. Arun Estates have seen the rates of successful let speed up in Q3, actually taking 14% quicker to find a tenant than this time last year.
This is hardly surprising on the basis that the level of available stock is extremely high so tenants certainly have a lot of choice currently, although the level of tenants searching for properties has also risen exponentially. It seems to be where there is uncertainty within the housing market generally, the safe option where possible is to rent (if only for a short period of time) until the full effects of Brexit become clear.
Real hot spots as far as average “asking rent” changes across the network are evenly split across Surrey and Kent, with a massive jump of 17% in the Shirley / Croydon area, just under 10% in Thanet and around 7.5% in both Dover and Canterbury. Those areas worst hit in Quarter 3 include Tonbridge, Worthing, Brighton and Basildon, all of whom saw a drop above the average.
Areas to watch based on the most requested area by potential tenants is headed by Maidstone, Thanet and Medway, all successfully trading across Kent with the first entry in Horsham, West Sussex.
It appears to be pretty difficult to read the market currently, although the higher level of available stock matched by a very active potential tenant market is resulting in record levels of lets being carried out. It remains to be seen as to whether there will be an acceleration in the drop in asking rents, given the available rental stock across Q4, but this will probably be dependent on tenant activity levels.