Brexit hurting rental market with fewer EU tenants, new analysis shows

An analysis of the rental market in England has revealed a dramatic drop in the number of EU nationals taking up tenancies across the country over the past year.

This new study, from PropTech firm Goodlord, comes despite a claim by investment consultancy London Central Portfolio that Brexit had not yet had a significant effect on the rental sector in the capital at least.

But Goodlord’s analysis is of 150,000 tenancies processed through its platform for letting agents between March 2018 and March 2019.

“The statistics offer a stark picture of the decline in EU nationals moving to London and England as a whole” says a Goodlord statement.

EU nationals went from representing 18.5 per cent of all tenants in England in March 2018 to just 14.9 per cent in March this year – a fall of a fifth in the number of EU nationals overall.

The decline was just as stark in London as it was across the country as a whole with EU nationals representing 29.7 per cent of tenants in the capital in March 2018, compared to just 23.7 per cent this year.

Every month since March 2018 has seen a net reduction in the number of EU nationals signing new leases, says the PropTech firm.

By contrast, during the previous year – running from March 2017 to March 2018 – nine out of 13 months saw a net gain in EU nationals settling here.

The biggest falls in the period to spring 2019 were amongst EU citizens from Ireland, Poland and France.

The month which saw the biggest year-on-year reduction across the country was October 2018, the same month that the EU-UK were due to settle on a deal but failed to reach a consensus.

During that month alone, a drop of eight per cent was recorded.

The number of new residents from non-EU countries has remained  steady, with only a small dip of 1.5 per cent year-on-year. Numbers arriving from China dipped, although arrivals from the US saw an increase.

“The referencing checks Goodlord has been doing on the hundreds of thousands of tenants going through our technology platform paint a very clear picture of the impact that Brexit is having on the UK property market” claims William Reeve, chief executive of Goodlord.

“Over the past year there has been a 20 per cent decline in the number of EU nationals taking up rental tenancies in England. The figures clearly show a much steeper decline in EU nationals compared to those coming from further afield where the numbers have held almost steady. This represents a real worry not just for landlords, but for the wider economy. The talent and spending power of Europeans is being taken elsewhere.”

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