Coronavirus lockdown prompts spike in searches for rental homes with gardens

24 April 2020, 10:22

File photo: Demand for homes with gardens has spiked
File photo: Demand for homes with gardens has spiked. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Searches for rental homes with gardens have spiked during the coronavirus lockdown, according to data from Rightmove.

The property website also said seaside locations have risen in popularity in people's searches for rental properties.

Overall, searches for rental homes plunged at the start of the lockdown, when physical viewings were put on hold.

While searches for homes to rent on Rightmove are still around 20 per cent down on more usual levels, demand for homes with gardens has been bucking the trend.

It said searches for homes with a garden were up by 26 per cent during the week leading up to April 21, compared with a year earlier.

Some lettings agents have online videos of homes to rent available for tenants to view.

Rental searches in places such as Southsea, Bognor Regis, Dover, Southend-on-Sea and Margate have also seen an upswing in recent weeks.

Riverside locations such as Cambridge and Marlow have also seen a growth in rental search popularity during the lockdown, Rightmove said.

Rightmove's commercial director, Miles Shipside, said: "Having a garden is often a rarity for many rental properties in larger cities, and so it may be that during lockdown people are re-thinking their needs and location and are searching for some outdoor space and tranquillity.

"That allure may draw them further away from where they have habitually lived and travelled to work from, as can be seen by some of the coastal locations that have seen the largest search increases.

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"Interestingly we've not yet seen this trend mirrored by those looking to buy a home, perhaps as renting is usually a much quicker process and so renters are thinking sooner about what changes they want for their next place.

"Agents report they're helping their landlords line up new tenants ready to physically view properties when restrictions are lifted and we're also seeing a lower but steady level of tenant referencing taking place.

"Those properties with a garden are likely to be able to fill any landlord voids more quickly post-lockdown.

"Understandably, most of the rental market has hit the pause button right now except where there are essential moves taking place, and so we haven't seen an indication of price movements yet."

The top 10 places across Britain with the biggest increases in searches for rental homes, when comparing the second two weeks of lockdown with the first two weeks, are:

1. Southsea

2. Cambridge

3. Worthing

4. Marlow

5. Bognor Regis

6. Sale (Greater Manchester)

7. Dover

8. Burnley

9. Southend-on-Sea

10. Margate

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