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Revealed - rental stock drops below pre-pandemic levels

New research from property lending expert, Octane Capital, has revealed that rental market stock levels have plummeted across the major cities in the UK. 

Rental stock across 21 major UK cities and how the availability of rental homes has changed during the pandemic was analysed to generate these findings.

2019 and 2020 rental stock level comparison


The covid-19 virus reached the UK towards the end of January 2020, meaning that dates prior to this count as pre-pandemic. 

According to Octane Capital, towards the end of 2019, there were around 82,726 rental homes available to tenants across these 21 cities. 

In January 2020, the start of the pandemic, the number of rental homes available to tenants jumped to 96,735. At the end of 2020, this had a 107% increase compared to the pre-pandemic market. 

With rental stock levels falling from 171,080 to 145,196, the research by Octane Capital shows tenant demand started to return this time last year. 

Contemporary rental stock levels

With all restrictions currently lifted, the rental market seems to be on the mend. Octane Capital’s latest figures show with only 64,839 rental properties listed there is a 55% annual decline in rental stock availability and 62% reduction compared to the pandemic high.

Overall, the capital of England has the largest return compared to this pandemic peak in available rental properties at the end of 2020. 

Across London, the level of currently available rental homes has decreased by 74%. Edinburgh has experienced a drop by 69%, Aberdeen (-64%), Newcastle (-62%) and Cardiff (-59%).

Chief executive officer of Octane Capital, Jonathan Samuels, concludes: “The rental market revival is in full swing and the recent decision to lift all remaining Covid protocols will have only bolstered this confidence further, as tenants return to our major cities in their droves to both live and work.”

“This will make for extremely welcome reading by the nation’s landlords who have suffered greatly due to dwindling demand during the pandemic, forcing them to massively reduce their rental income expectations while also suffering from lengthy void periods.”

“It’s fair to say that we couldn’t find ourselves in a more different place at present and if anything, there is now a shortage of suitable rental stock to meet this returning demand. As a result, we’re seeing sharp growth in rental incomes and while this won’t negate the impact of the last two years, it will certainly help steady the ship moving forward.”


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