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Rental market reveals UK divide between affluent and deprived areas | Money

Rental market reveals UK divide between affluent and deprived areas | Money

Britain’s rental market has diverged since reopening after the Covid-19 lockdown, with the number of homes in affluent areas being let increasing, while activity in deprived neighbourhoods has sharply dropped.

Research by Hamptons International showed that in 10% of the wealthiest neighbourhoods, the number of homes let between May and September was up by 1.3% on last year. Meanwhile, new instructions rose by 4%.

In contrast, in the bottom 10% instructions fell by 17.7% over the year, and the number of homes let was down by 14.8%.

The property firm, which analysed data from its Countrywide agents, said across Great Britain the total number of homes let between May and September 2020 fell by 5.3% compared with the same period in 2019.

The fall in activity could reflect a reduction in people moving to start new jobs, as redundancies rise, as well as an increase in the number of tenants who are not financially in a position to sign a new rental contract.

Aneisha Beveridge, the head of research at Hamptons International, said: “Over the course of the pandemic tenants are more likely to have seen their incomes hit than homeowners. But the economic crisis has also widened divisions within the rental market.”

She added: “Tenants living in the least affluent areas of the country are most likely to have been impacted by the economic crisis and this has made it harder for some renters to move home – typically at a time when they need to prove their income and pass referencing checks.”

The data showed that across Great Britain rents for newly let properties flatlined in September. In inner London, they had dropped by 14.1% since September 2019, and there was also a fall in Wales, but in all other regions landlords were asking more than a year

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‘Much cheaper than … rental payments’

‘Much cheaper than … rental payments’

In August 2017, Kirsten and Devin Trout decided they needed a change. Devin, a touring musician, was always on the road for work, and one day, both he and his wife had an epiphany of sorts: They needed to be in Nashville.

“I was just watching Netflix and something just told me [that] we need to move to Nashville,” Kirsten said. “I definitely think it was like a God thing ‘cause Devin was listening to a podcast and he felt the same thing … We told our family the next day we were moving.”

With their minds made up, Kirsten and Devin started researching housing options in Nashville for the two of them and their three small dogs. There was just one problem: Everything was out of their price range.

“All of our friends [either] have roommates or they’re crazy rich,” Kirsten joked. “Housing here is super expensive and so is rent.”

For a fleeting moment, the young couple thought that was the end of the road for their Nashville fantasy. However, Devin wasn’t ready to throw in the towel that quickly, and it’s good that he didn’t. While browsing the internet, the 28-year-old entertainer stumbled upon a video of a man living contentedly in his van, which inspired him to start looking into alternative housing options.

“I’m, like, at home by myself with my thoughts of wanting to move to Nashville so I’m spending all my nights on YouTube … researching all this stuff and I just [found] a video of some guy living in his van,” Devin explained. “It was like a 30 or 40-minute video. I ate that whole video up and after that … spent all night sending [Kirsten] videos of this.”

Kirsten wasn’t too keen on the idea of sharing a small van with her

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