UK 5-year rental forecasts

The impact of this trend can be seen most clearly in London, where private renters accounted for 29% of all tenure types, which compares to 19% for the whole country.

Tenant demand will continue to exert upwards pressure on rental values in UK mainstream rental markets during the next five years and the largest cumulative growth is forecast to take place in the capital.

We expect rental value growth to gain momentum after 2020 as more political certainty returns to the UK after it enters the transition phase in 2020. We forecast a similar pattern in prime London rental markets, with rental value growth over each of the following five years.

While private investment and public spending will stimulate demand as the economy strengthens, there will also be downwards pressure on supply as more meaningful house price inflation returns to the sales market, prompting more owners to sell.

We expect lower-value rental markets in the capital to outperform in the short-term, with 3% growth in prime outer London forecast for 2020, a trend that will be driven by this lack of supply as owners try to capitalise on any post-election ‘bounce’.

Furthermore, housing will remain a key political issue as the Conservative government looks to redress perceived imbalances across the country and any reversal of recent tax changes for buy-to-let investors appear unlikely. This will put further upwards pressure on rental values as stock reduced and lead to the increased professionalization of the private rented sector.

New supply will come from the Build-to-Rent sector and there are currently around 132,000 units of purpose-built rented accommodation in the pipeline. However, while the BTR sector will play an increasingly important role, its relative scale compared to 4.6 million PRS households across the country should be seen in context.

In urban centres, there is a real opportunity for localised rental outperformance, especially near transport hubs in towns and cities where the local economy is outperforming.

In 2017, we forecast that the total capital committed to professionally-managed private rented sector accommodation in the UK could reach £70 billion by 2022. Our expectation is now that this figure will rise to £75 billion by 2025.

Young professionals (aged 25 to 34) no longer make up the largest group living in the private rented sector, having been overtaken, albeit marginally, by 35 to 49 year olds. This age-group is also expected to show the biggest growth in households in the private rented sector over the coming years, with difficulty in obtaining a mortgage deposit to buy a home remaining a hurdle.