The rental market has skidded to a halt during the coronavirus crisis, with tenants and landlords alike pressing pause as the lockdown and social distancing rules restrict viewings and people feel the squeeze on their finances.
But one agency has offered some light at the end of the tunnel, forecasting that the lettings sector will spring back quickly once lockdown is lifted.
High-end lettings agency Knight Frank have said once restrictions are relaxed, the lettings market “could explode quite quickly” and warned agents and landlords to be prepared for a busy summer period.
The agency said in usual circumstances tenancies peak around July, before declining in the second half of the year.
But the group said 2020 – no ordinary year – is likely to follow a very different pattern.
“We’re preparing for a busier late summer period than normal,” head of letting at Knight Frank Gary Hall said.
“The nature of the lettings market means it could explode quite quickly once restrictions are relaxed or lifted.”
David Mumby, Knight Frank’s head of central London lettings, agrees, saying there was “no lack of demand,” and that the number of tenants looking for properties outstriped the number available, particularly in London.
“There’s a finite amount of stock available in the capital and both tenants and landlords are aware that if they don’t move quickly, they will miss out,” he said.
In further good news for the sector, one report suggested that estate agents should be amongst the first businesses to reopen in the UK, alongside coffee shops and restaurants.
A report for the Government by Conservative peer Lord Gadhia and Sir Jonathan Symonds, chairman of GlaxoSmithKline suggested a limited re-opening of Britain’s commercial activities with appropriate social distancing measures until an anti-coronavirus vaccine is found.
Their report states: “The initial focus for reopening the economy should be on sectors that have the greatest multiplier effects with minimum risks – such as coffee shops and restaurants which support agriculture.