8:30 AM, 26th August 2022, About a month ago
The effect that the rising cost of living and record rents are having on people searching for a new place to rent has been revealed – with news that ‘bills included’ has jumped into the top position for the users of one property platform.
According to Rightmove, users who prioritise their search results by choosing specific terms have seen bills included overtaking those who are looking for pet-friendly homes for the first time.
It is now also a higher priority than gardens and garages.
Last year, the term ‘bills included’ was just outside the top five.
And Rightmove reports that many people are also contacting agents about available rental properties across a much wider area than they did four years ago.
This is to have a better chance of finding somewhere available within their budget.
One reason for this is said to be hybrid working because many people have more flexibility about where they live.
Rightmove says that the average area renters are searching for and contacting agents in has expanded from 70 km² in July 2018 to 137 km² currently.
And while the number of new rental properties coming onto the market is slowly getting better, there is still a huge imbalance between demand and supply.
The portal’s figures show that the number of new rental properties was up 3% in July versus June, but the total available rental properties remain 25% behind this time last year.
The result is a fiercely competitive and fast-moving rental market, with prospective tenants seeing properties being snapped up twice as quickly as they were two years ago.
Rents are also continuing to reach new records, with the average asking rent outside London now standing at £1,126 per calendar month, 19% higher than two years ago.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s property expert, said: “People looking for a new place to rent are casting their net much wider than before, in the hope that it will help them find a suitable place that they can afford.
“Although it’s not as constrained as it was a few months ago, the number of homes is still nowhere near enough to meet demand from tenants.”
He added: “The lack of homes is down to more people choosing to stay put and sign longer contracts, some landlords selling up due to more onerous taxes and others taking advantage of record house prices, and hybrid working shifting some demand to more rural and suburban pockets of Great Britain.
“This has all led to a fiercely competitive rental market in many areas with agents reporting that in some cases properties are being rented out in just a few hours.”
(Bills included was in position 6 in August 2021).