Due to the ongoing pandemic, office-based working and rail commutes have become less frequent this year, fuelling a growing trend of people making the move to areas with quieter transport links.
Newly released research from Rightmove has found that emerging rental hotspots are further afield from traditional commuter hubs, with more renters looking to move outside the capital.
Across the UK, rental searches were up 34% in August compared to this time last year.
Chessington has seen the biggest annual rise in rental searches in London, with searches almost doubling (up 99%) compared to the same period in 2019. Agents are reporting in some cases over 100 prospective tenants enquiring about a single property.
Tenants in Chessington are paying average monthly rents of £1,258, which is a 4.3% year-on-year increase, but still £742 cheaper than average rents across London as a whole. Chessington South railway station, a Zone 6 location, is at the end of the Chessington Branch Line.
Conversely, Clapham Junction and Earls Court – two of the busiest stations in London – have both dropped in the number of searches this year, reinforcing the suggestion that renters are looking for places with quieter transport links.
Outside of London, Cambridge is the prevailing hotspot for renters, with annual rental searches up 76%.
Tenants are paying asking rents of £1,319 on average each month in the university city, which is almost £90 more expensive than the national average, but still £681 cheaper than in London. The cost of renting in Cambridge has risen by just 1% compared with this time last year.
Cirencester in Gloucestershire (up 75%) has seen the second-biggest annual increase in rental searches outside the capital, with places in Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Kent and Buckinghamshire completing the top ten.
Only three cities, Cambridge, Oxford and Gloucester, are among the rental spots seeing the biggest increases outside of London, again highlighting that renters are looking to move to less built-up areas.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove’s Property Expert, said: “Since the market reopened in May we’ve seen a growing trend of buyers looking to move out of urban areas and it appears renters are now following suit. As working from home becomes the new normal for many people, and lesser significance is placed on living near a station to commute into central hubs, the appeal of living in quieter areas with more green spaces is becoming too attractive to ignore for tens of thousands of renters. No-one knows what the future holds, but at the moment, it’s clear to see that places with a slower pace of life are top of renters’ home-hunting wish-lists.”