Both Rightmove and Spareroom report an energetic re-opening of the private rental market since the government’s decision to allow home moves last week.

Monday saw the highest number of rental searches ever recorded in one day on Rightmove.

The platform reports that demand for rental properties is up 33% compared to this time last year as renters start trawling the site in earnest, with the largest year-on-year increase in Rotherham (+97%), Cambridge (+77%) and St Helens (+75%).

With the market now open, it’s the same story on flat-sharing site SpareRoom which reports that more than half (54%) of renters are feeling confident again about viewing a property now restrictions have been lifted.

SpareRoom’s survey found that while one in three (32%) would only feel comfortable viewing properties if they absolutely had to move, it’s reporting a huge increase in the number of video viewings since lockdown began, with six times the normal volume of uploads.

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Virtual methods

Director Matt Hutchinson says renters, landlords and agents are keen to get on with their search as safely as possible. “It’s clear that people are embracing virtual methods to continue searching for properties safely,” he says.

“We’d encourage as many people as possible to upload a video to their ads, especially if it includes the people living in the property. We may well see video remaining a natural part of the way people find rooms and flatmates way beyond the end of social distancing.”

Rightmove reports that there are almost 23,000 new rental listings since the first day of reopening, down 10% on the same week last year, with total available rental stock up 13% since before lockdown. Asking rents – on average £1,089 pcm – are currently up 2.1% on 2019, but down from an annual rate of 3% before lockdown.

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