As we move through our seventh week of lockdown, our curiosity to look further into the data available to us remains unwavering. We’ve had time to adjust to a ‘new normal’ and we’re digesting information as we go. The general sense from our own internal metrics and through the Rightmove market data is that the market is moving positively again, slowly.
There are less tenancies ending
After the initial spike of tenants serving notice in late-March/early-April, over the past 2 weeks we’ve experienced a steady decline in tenancies ending due to factors relating to Covid-19, however the number of properties available to rent in Edinburgh remains high. According to Rightmove, the number of properties to rent in Edinburgh is 35% higher than it was this time last year with re-lets (properties already under management by agents, coming back on the market to let) still accounting for the vast majority of available properties. The number of new tenancies agreed for all properties on Rightmove in Edinburgh over the last 2 weeks is half of what they were for the same 2 weeks last year.
But, there is good news on the horizon…
Activity on the market – we’re moving again
Without getting too carried away, activity in the market is moving in the right direction, especially at Umega. At the start of lockdown, the number of new lets were down across the board but the number of lets agreed over a 2 week period have more than doubled since the same time last month. For the month of April, Rightmove reported 127 lets agreed across Edinburgh, 30 of which were from Umega lettings via virtual video viewings. May looks like it will fair even better with enquiries up. We’re now averaging around 30 tenant enquiries a day against numbers as low as 6 or 7 a day at the end of March.
Rent levels are so far not badly affected despite the low numbers of tenants on the market over the last 6 weeks. The new tenancies that we agreed in April were at an average rent of only 4% below the advertised figure. The first two weeks have seen this 4% reduction continue. As lockdown announcements are made and potentially eased into the summer, we expect that an increasing number of new tenants will come back to the market and the pace in the market will continue to pick up.
What does 3 more weeks in lockdown look like for lettings & Umega?
Our prediction is that May will share many characteristics with April in terms of tenant activity and market movement. Enquiries for available properties are steady for May; we are at 400 enquiries for the first half of the month.
We’re running Umega now in a totally remote and socially/customer distant fashion and it’s clear we can operate like this safely for as long as is needed.
If you would like any more information on what we’re noticing in the Edinburgh rental market during COVID-19, please get in touch.