Summer rental season – is it all hype?

Traditionally, most rentals take place over the summer months, or so the agents lead you to believe. Is this true or is the summer rental market just a load of hype?

Phrases such as, “The rental season always peaks in the summer months” and “get your property listed ready for the peak season” are commonplace. And in all fairness, I recall one crazy summer (2012) when I was working with central London rental teams and we simply couldn’t get enough family houses. We literally ran out of stock. It was stressful witnessing desperate tenants grabbing what they could and making silly offers to outbid one another.

But of late, this is not typical, as there are more available properties than tenants searching, likely to be down to a challenged sales market.  When sales transactions are down it is usually good news for tenants.

It’s therefore highly competitive out there for those in the trade, the negotiators, as they all have to work hard with their tenant prospects to convert them into new tenancies.

Those in the trade will tell you that the prime season starts in March and runs through until mid-October, except of course for February half term, the Easter break, the two May bank holidays and sometimes the whole of August as the Euros in particular go on holiday…!
There’s always some calendar benchmark that conveniently explains any lull.

The one consistent ‘season’ is Christmas, particularly December time – and this is a trough season, not a peak season.  The market dies. Presumably because people are nesting and far too busy preparing for the 25th than to consider a house move.

But what about the new year? You’d imagine a post NY resolution surge in activity in January? Sadly, not. For some reason December and January are dreary months in more ways than one and often come with tenant quality health warnings!

Of the handful of tenancies that I’ve witnessed that have gone horribly wrong, it seems to be the ones agreed during the winter months that are the most vulnerable.

Are agents and landlords off their guard and desperate to a new tenancy or is it just bad luck? Who knows, but if there’s a season to avoid as a landlord, then Christmas is it.

So back to the seasons: It’s true that most transactions take place from June through to September, but in all honesty, sometimes there’s just no rhyme or reason to the market and it can spring surprises on you.

So yes, the summer ‘season’ is a hype these days. Whereas in previous years we could map out transactional patterns, now we simply have to make hay while the sun shines, whatever the season.