Young tenants help fuel property rental boom

One-bedroom properties are being rented 'almost exclusively' by young professionals like Bridget Jones. Picture: PA

One-bedroom properties are being rented 'almost exclusively' by young professionals like Bridget Jones. Picture: PA

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A “BRIDGET Jones effect” is leading to a surge in the Capital’s lettings market, with more young professionals than ever before choosing to rent.

A new report has shown that renting is becoming the default choice of singletons like the fictional lovelorn 30-something, and young couples.

The Winter Report by Lettingweb.com, which advertises around 13,000 homes every month across Scotland, has also highlighted a growing supply crisis in the rental market, with significantly more properties going off the market than coming onto it.

It found that while rental prices for larger properties rose by less year-on-year than the Retail Price Index (RPI) rate of inflation, prices for one-bedroom properties in Edinburgh rose by 4.3 per cent, driven by rising demand.

Rob Trotter, senior property manager with DJ Alexander, said that those renting one and two-bedroom properties in the Capital were “almost exclusively young professionals” in their 20s and 30s, many of whom did not wish to be committed to a mortgage.

“I suppose you could call it the Bridget Jones effect,” he said. “For a person who doesn’t want to be tied down to one city and wants to keep their options open, it doesn’t make sense to buy and to take on the risks associated with that.”

Ewan Foreman, managing director of established Edinburgh agents 1LET, said he had seen an “upturn in the market”, with investors flooding back in.

“I think it is fair to say Edinburgh is second almost to London, and is right up there. It is becoming increasingly popular to invest in residential property. A huge percentage of these are buy to let. The majority of the properties are let to couples. But is there a move towards people wanting their own individual space? I think that is happening, particularly at the professional end of the market.”

Another indication of the growing popularity of renting is that the time taken for properties to let is falling for all property sizes across the city, with the average property in Edinburgh renting out in 18-20 days, and 80 per cent of all property going within one month.

The average monthly rental cost for a two-bedroom property in Edinburgh is £754, compared with the national average per month which is now £627.

First time buyers may also have encountered difficulties in accessing mortgage finance.

Steve Tigar, managing director of Lettingweb.com, said: “This is the clearest indication we have ever seen that renting is the new buying for a large cohort of property-seekers.

”Young couples and singles, in particular, who would have previously been described as first time buyers in Edinburgh, are now choosing to rent.”