Of all Britain’s 50 largest towns and cities, London recorded the biggest jump in the ratio of demand to supply between July and September, up 165pc. “Room wanted” adverts now outnumber adverts for available rooms for only the third time in six years.
Matt Hutchinson, of SpareRoom, said: “Huge numbers of people who moved home for lockdown are starting to look for their own places again.”
The new demand has been driven primarily by people moving out of parents’ or friends’ houses during the pandemic, as well as people who now want to flat share after living alone during lockdown.
Rightmove data showed competition for three- and four-bedroom flats was up 124pc and 131pc respectively compared with September 2020.
SpareRoom data showed a quarter of prospective tenants had planned to move out of a parental home, while 10pc were moving from staying with a friend. Students returning to cities now universities have brought back in-person teaching have also been a major factor.
All of these movers are searching without in turn releasing supply to the market, which has triggered a bottleneck.
“Last summer we had record levels of supply in the rental market, alongside demand at an all-time low. Now that’s completely flipped,” Mr Hutchinson added.