Residential Lettings Market in Review

As we move into the Spring and towards what is traditionally a busy time for the rental market, this is an ideal time to look at how things currently stand and what we expect to see in the coming months for the residential sector, hopefully giving food for thought to anyone planning on investing in property in the area, or insight for those who currently own property which is tenanted.

It would be impossible to begin to comment on the current rental market in any area of the country without considering the impact of Coronavirus, as it has of course had such a huge influence on how we live our lives. A large part of this is our decision making process surrounding where we want to live, whether we can afford to do so and what is important to us to have in the property which we have chosen.

Since the beginning of the year, here at Hazells we have seen a marked increase in interest in or residential lettings properties in the Bury St Edmunds area. From talking to people about their reasons for moving, we are finding that there is a natural draw to the area due to its rural location, but also because it offers a good standard of living, such as that found in London or Cambridge without the price tag that goes with it. We have had many examples where we have rented property to tenants who had previously moved away to bigger cities so that they could be nearer to their workplace or office, but since the pandemic have found they are working from home, so no longer need to pay a higher rent to maximise their leisure time, as their commute is non-existent.

Another trend we have seen is that properties in the town itself have proved to take longer to let than during pre-covid times, as the draw to the town centre hasn’t been there, the convenience of having the abundance of eateries, bars and shops on your doorstep doesn’t have the same shine when nothing is open! However, as the retail and hospitality sectors begin to open up with the easing of restrictions, we are confident that the pull of town centre living will return.

In terms of the types of property which are desirable now, two-bedroom houses, especially those with garden space have proved to be incredibly popular and we are certainly finding demand outstripping supply for these. Two-bedroom flats, which over the last ten years or so have been the most searched for accommodation on Rightmove and the other portals are no longer as popular as they once were, having been replaced by the two-bedroom house. Family homes, so three or four bed detached or semi-detached houses, also remain popular, especially those on family friendly developments such as Moreton Hall, or the newer Marham Park development.

Looking further afield, due to the influence of the US Airbases at RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall, properties in these locations and the surrounding areas are also proving to be very popular and we are finding that they rent quickly and for a good price, especially with the upcoming PCS (Permanent change of Station) season fast approaching, but also the fact that the US Airforce are getting ready to bring in the F-35’s to Lakenheath along with all of the additional personnel which goes with them. 

We have seen several new landlords recently investing in the area or existing clients expanding their buy to let portfolios, and with gross yields currently between 4-6% depending on property and exact location, it is easy to see why.

With so much turmoil and uncertainty in the future it is impossible to predict exactly what the rental market will look like in the years to come, but so far, Bury and the surrounding area seems to have ridden the recent pandemic caused storm rather well. 

As always, if you would like specific advice on any aspect of lettings please do contact either Chris or Andrew on 01284 702 626