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Supply squeeze for rental properties looks set to tighten, says Knight Frank

While the property sales market is on the road to normality following the turbulence caused by the pandemic, the journey back to normality for the lettings market will take longer, especially in London and the Home Counties, according to Knight Frank.

The company reports that students and corporate tenants account for a large part of demand, which has got stronger over the last 12 months as offices and universities have re-opened. Supply has been more erratic over the same period. It surged at the start of last year as properties that would otherwise be used for short-lets and staycations moved onto the long-let market.

As lockdown restrictions were relaxed, they switched back, meaning prospective tenants were involved in race to find properties. The stamp duty holiday exacerbated the situation, with many would-be landlords deciding to capitalise on the tax break by opting to sell.

Knight Frank says that after some jitters before Christmas when the Omicron variant first appeared, the number of corporate relocation enquiries was five times higher in the final quarter of last year than it was in Q2 2020. The enquiries come from companies of all sizes looking to relocate staff to the UK across a range of sectors including finance, tech and energy.

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