Research by Hamptons International shows that since the end of the spring lockdown and the reopening of the rental market, affluent areas of Britain have recovered far better than elsewhere.
While the total number of homes let between May and September 2020 fell by 5.3 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, the most affluent areas in Great Britain saw 1.3 per cent more homes let.
However the least affluent areas of the country have seen the largest drop off in rental market activity.
The number of homes let in the 10 per cent least affluent areas of Great Britain was down 14.8 per cent between May and September in comparison to the same period last year.
Similarly, the number of new instructions coming onto the rental market in these same areas was down 17.7 per cent over the same period. Meanwhile the 20 per cent most deprived areas recorded a 11.3 per cent fall in the number of homes let.
However across the whole market, the number of lets agreed is now on an upward tradjectory.
From July onwards there have been more lets agreed than at the same time last year. And by September the number of lets in the wealthiest areas of the country was up by over a fifth compared with September 2019.
Only areas which are part of the least affluent 10 and 20 per cent saw fewer lets agreed than at the same time last year – down 6.3 and 2.5 per cent respectively last month.
These figures in the least affluent areas declined between July and August, unlike in the more affluent areas where the number of lets continued to rise.
Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, says: “Over the course of the pandemic tenants are more likely to have seen their incomes hit than homeowners. But the economic crisis has also widened divisions within the rental market.
“While the top of the rental market has flourished over the summer months, the number of renters in the least affluent areas of the country moving home remains down on the same time last year.
“Tenants living in the least affluent areas of the country are most likely to have been impacted by the economic crisis and this has made it harder for some renters to move home – typically at a time when they need to prove their income and pass referencing checks.”