Renters search for “bills included” when looking for a new home and it’s now the most common term, according to Rightmove.
- Rightmove has found tenants who are now looking for larger properties
- The number of properties available for rent is 25% less than at the same time last year
- Rising interest rates and declining landlord tax credits have reduced supply levels
‘Bills included’ have become the most popular search term among tenants looking for homes in Rightmove, with energy bills threatening to reach £5,000 next year.
The real estate portal said the term has moved beyond “garden” and “pets” as a must-have for renters.
At the same time, Rightmove found that renters were expanding their searches, with the average search area jumping to 137 sq km, nearly double the 2018 average of 70 sq km.
The rising cost of energy has prompted renters to look for homes with few utilities
The rising cost of bills and rents appears to be driving changes in the search habits of renters. Last year, “bills included” were out of Rightmove’s top five search terms.
Bills have skyrocketed over the past few months. Citizens Advice has warned that millions of households fear rising energy debt, and half of them are expected to fall into fuel poverty this winter if steps are not taken to curb rising energy costs.
Rightmove said renters are under more pressure from a lack of properties coming to market, with homes being rented twice as fast as two years ago.
Although the number of new rental properties rose 3 percent in July compared to the previous month, the total number of homes available for rent was still 25 percent lower than this time last year.
Rents are also increasing. The average rent demand outside London is 19 per cent higher than it was two years ago, rising from £949 in the calendar month to a record £1,126.
Rightmove expects rents to continue to increase, and expects them to rise nationally by 8 percent compared to last year.
Rising rents may be behind the searcher’s decision to look for a place to live further away, hoping to find an affordable one.
The rise of hybrid work during and after the pandemic has also allowed workers greater flexibility regarding where they live.
Supply shortage: Increasing mortgage rates and declining tax incentives have stopped landlords from leaving their properties, leading to a shortage of homes for rent.
Tim Bannister, property expert at Rightmove, said: ‘People looking for a new place to rent are casting their net much wider than before, hoping it will help them find a suitable place they can afford.
Although it is not as restrictive as it was a few months ago, the number of houses is still not enough to meet the demand from tenants.
The home shortage is caused by more people choosing to stay in their homes and sign longer contracts, some landlords are selling off due to onerous taxes and others are taking advantage of standard home prices, and hybrid work is diverting some of the demand into more rural and suburban pockets. Great Britain.
“All of this has led to a very competitive rental market in many areas with agents reporting that in some cases properties are being rented out in just a few hours.”
Landlords have seen annual profits nearly halve in the past eight months alone, according to Hamptons real estate agent.
Driven by a rise in the Bank of England’s base rate, buy-to-let rates at the largest lenders have risen from 1.25 per cent to 3.12 per cent since October.
On a £200,000 interest-only mortgage, the owner would normally have paid £209 a month in October. Today they would normally pay £521 a month, or an extra £3,744 a year.
Landlords have also been hit by tax changes over the past few years which mean they can no longer fully offset mortgage costs against taxes.
The result of all these factors, Rightmove says, is a “fast-moving and competitive rental market.”
Ten tips to save energy
The Energy Savings Trust listed these 10 tips, along with how much it could save the typical household on energy and water costs annually. Read more about energy saving tips here.
1. Turn devices off in standby mode: £55
2. Draft resistance gaps: £45
3. Lights out: £20
4. Wash at 30 degrees and use less than once a week: £28
5. Avoid using the dryer: £60
6. Take a four-minute shower: £70
7. Replace one bath per week with a shower: £12
8. Don’t overfill the kettle and fit the tap aerator: £36
9. Use the dishwasher less once a week: £14
10. Insulate the hot water cylinder: £35
Source: Energy Saving Trust, based on a typical three bedroom gas heated house in Great Britain, using cap prices April 2022