New analysis reveals the effect the rising cost of living and record rents are having on people searching for a new place to rent.
According to Rightmove, people looking for ‘bills included’ has jumped up to the top position for renters using Keyword Sort, a tool on the property portal where people can prioritise their property search results by choosing specific terms.
The term ‘bills included’ has overtaken those looking for pet friendly homes for the first time, and is now also higher priority than gardens and garages. Last year bills included was just outside the top five.
Many people are also contacting agents about available rental properties across a much bigger area than four years ago, to have a better chance of finding somewhere available within their budget.
Hybrid working is also a likely factor as many people have more flexibility about where they live.
The average area renters are searching and contacting agents in has expanded from 70km2 in July 2018 to 137km2 currently, according to Rightmove.
While the number of new rental properties coming onto the market is slowly getting better, there is still a huge imbalance between demand and supply.
New rental properties were up 3% in July versus June, but total available rental properties remain 25% behind this time last year.
The result is a fiercely competitive and fast-moving rental market, with prospective tenants seeing properties being snapped up twice as quickly as they were two years ago.
Rents continue to reach new records, with the average asking rent outside London now standing at £1,126 per calendar month, 19% higher than two years ago.
Rightmove’s Tim Bannister said: “People looking for a new place to rent are casting their net much wider than before, in the hope that it will help them find a suitable place that they can afford. Although it’s not as constrained as it was a few months ago, the number of homes is still nowhere near enough to meet demand from tenants.
“The lack of homes is down to more people choosing to stay put and sign longer contracts, some landlords selling up due to more onerous taxes and others taking advantage of record house prices, and hybrid working shifting some demand to more rural and suburban pockets of Great Britain. This has all led to a fiercely competitive rental market in many areas with agents reporting that in some cases properties are being rented out in just a few hours.”