Rental voids hit two-year low

Nia Williams

April 6, 2011

This is on the back of strong levels of tenant demand, according to research by buy-to-let mortgage specialist Paragon.

The average annual void period recorded in the first quarter of 2011 stood at 2.8 weeks. This figure has steadily declined from a high of 3.5 weeks recorded in the second quarter of 2010. The current figure is at its lowest since the first quarter of 2009.

According to Paragon’s research, nearly half of landlords (45%) experience a void period – the length of time a property is without a tenant – of less than two weeks a year, with 34% experiencing voids of between two and four weeks. Void periods allow landlords to carry out maintenance and improvement work on their properties.

Tenant demand has risen significantly over the past two years due to the continued shortage of mortgage finance in the owner-occupied sector, whilst there are longer-term socio-economic changes occurring, such as greater numbers of economic migrants and single person households, which is placing greater pressure on private rented sector stock.

Commenting, Nigel Terrington, Paragon Group chief executive, said: “Many people choose private rented accommodation as a lifestyle choice because it gives them flexibility and convenience. But private rented property also offers people an attractive alternative to house purchase, which remains out of reach for many, and renting has grown significantly over the past 12 months.

“We would expect the average void period to remain low during 2011 as a growing number of tenants compete for property in the private rented sector.”

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