Tenant demand is highest for homes that come unfurnished

Tenant demand is highest for homes that come unfurnished

10:30 AM, 4th August 2020, About 3 years ago 3

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The latest research by Howsy, has revealed that across the UK’s major cities, tenant demand is highest for homes that come unfurnished.

Howsy compared the level of stock already snapped up by tenants as a proportion of all stock listed to see which was most in-demand when it came to furnishings and whether it’s worthwhile for landlords to kit out their property before putting it on the market.

The research shows that in 19 of 23 major cities, demand for unfurnished homes was the highest, hitting 41% on average.

Demand for an unfurnished rental property was at its highest in Plymouth (62%), Portsmouth (62%) and Bristol (60%).

In just four cities, tenants preferred a partly furnished home with demand at an average of 35%, although demand for a partly furnished home was at its highest in Bournemouth (59%), Bristol (57%) and Plymouth (55%).

Finally, furnished homes saw demand fall to just 21% overall, with Bristol (37%), Nottingham (33%), Oxford and Newport (30%) home to the highest demand for non-furnished rental homes.

Founder and CEO of Howsy, Calum Brannan, commented:

“The initial costs surrounding a buy-to-let investment can quickly pile up and so as a landlord, it’s important to decide how you’re going to furnish your home, if at all. It can be a laborious process and one that comes back around if any items are missing or damaged come the end of the tenancy, and our research shows that it may not even be necessary.

“Currently, the majority of tenants are opting for unfurnished homes and this could be due to a few reasons.

“In the current climate, some may not want to run the risk of using furniture from a previous tenant. Others will want to work with a blank canvass as you would when buying your own home in order to put their own stamp on the place.

“While some may already have their own furniture which they won’t want to get rid of, but it can be costly to store and unpractical to bring to an already furnished home.”

Location Unfurnished – Tenant Demand
Plymouth 62.9%
Portsmouth 62.3%
Bristol 60.4%
Nottingham 59.8%
Bournemouth 58.3%
Southampton 53.0%
Sheffield 49.5%
Newcastle 48.9%
Cambridge 47.4%
Cardiff 47.0%
Newport 46.9%
Oxford 40.1%
Liverpool 39.0%
Birmingham 39.0%
Leeds 38.3%
Glasgow 36.4%
Manchester 36.3%
Leicester 29.1%
Swansea 27.1%
London 24.1%
Belfast 20.0%
Edinburgh 11.4%
Aberdeen 10.8%
Average 41.2%
Location Part Furnished – Tenant Demand
Bournemouth 59.5%
Bristol 57.0%
Plymouth 54.8%
Nottingham 54.0%
Oxford 50.9%
Portsmouth 45.5%
Cardiff 43.2%
Leeds 41.1%
Newcastle 41.1%
Sheffield 36.6%
Glasgow 35.4%
Belfast 33.3%
Liverpool 32.9%
Manchester 30.7%
Cambridge 29.0%
Birmingham 28.9%
Newport 25.0%
Leicester 24.8%
London 21.6%
Swansea 21.4%
Southampton 17.0%
Edinburgh 10.8%
Aberdeen 10.2%
Average 35.0%
Location Furnished – Tenant Demand
Bristol 36.8%
Nottingham 32.6%
Oxford 30.0%
Newport 30.0%
Belfast 29.6%
Portsmouth 27.1%
Glasgow 26.3%
Bournemouth 26.2%
Cambridge 23.5%
Sheffield 21.5%
Newcastle 21.5%
Liverpool 21.3%
Southampton 20.6%
Manchester 19.9%
Cardiff 19.5%
London 19.4%
Birmingham 16.5%
Plymouth 14.1%
Swansea 13.6%
Leicester 13.2%
Edinburgh 8.7%
Leeds 8.5%
Aberdeen 6.6%
Average 21.2%


  • Data sourced from rental listings currently listed on Rightmove and Zoopla.
  • Demand = Proportion of stock already listed as Let Agreed as a percentage of the total stock listed.

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The Forever Tenant

11:27 AM, 4th August 2020, About 3 years ago

Being Bristol based, this matches with my experience.

I suspect that Bristol will always be an unfurnished city because due to tenants already having all the furniture, they will simply want to move all their items to the new place.

I certainly would have no desire to pay for storage for a whole house of items so I will continue with looking for unfurnished for the time being.

Sam Addison

11:36 AM, 4th August 2020, About 3 years ago

Try adding up the percentages for various cities. Leicester adds up to 67.1 %.
Please do not rely on this research!

Old Mrs Landlord

8:01 AM, 8th August 2020, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by The Forever Tenant at 04/08/2020 - 11:27
I think the demand is for unfurnished throughout the South West except for students and those who for various reasons live in HMOs. We find our tenants are looking for a home rather than a pad one step up from lodgings, something they can decorate and furnish to their own taste and ideally where they can also keep pets.

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