In Brief

London renters swap cramped flats for space in suburbia

New figures show tenants are leaving Britain's cities and looking to upsize

Lockdown has driven a “race to suburbia” among renters, with tenants in a rush to upsize and move out of cities, new research has found. 

Since lockdown eased, 34% of tenants who have moved chose a property with at least one extra bedroom, compared with 25% in the first three months of 2020, according to the estate agency Hamptons International. Across the country, the average rental bill increased by 23% to add 1.4 bedrooms.

A quarter or rental moves between May and August were from a flat to a house, up from 16% in the first three months of the year. 

Renters are also moving out of cities: in August, tenant applications in cities were down 23%.

The trend for upsizing is most pronounced in the South East, probably “driven by movers from the capital”, says The Telegraph.

The number of Liverpool residents looking for a village lifestyle has also increased dramatically, rising by 275% compared with a year earlier, according to Rightmove figures published by the BBC. In Edinburgh, village inquiries were up 205%, and in Birmingham 186%.

Across the UK, inquiries in June and July about switching city life for a village home jumped 126% on the same period last year. 

The trend has meant average rents in London have also fallen during lockdown. In July, The Guardian reported that rental prices in zone 2 of the capital were down by 8% from February. In the heart of the city, where more real estate is taken up by offices which have largely stood empty since March, prices were down by 18%. 

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