What causes the summer letting wave?
The letting market is seasonal, with the ‘busy period’ running from May into August. The same is true every year: these months form the crest of the letting wave, with enquiries surging across these months (see graph). But why does this happen across the Oxfordshire letting market?
Enquiries 2017 – Indexed to 100
The ‘family home’ market comes alive between April and the end of July. Keen to secure their home before the summer holidays start, location plays a big part in these applicants’ searches both in terms of being close to the children’s school and still being commutable for the parents. For example, we let a 7 bedroom house in Weston-on-the-Green at £6,500 to a family who needed easy access both to London for work and Bicester for the children’s school.
While we do still let family homes in August, there are fewer applicants around at those budgets. Landlords of large family homes which have not yet let should talk to their agent about the next steps; the property must look as good as possible and the rent must be priced relative to current demand.
In the same way that sales of convertible cars soar in the spring/summer, we see tenants looking to move to a property with outside space in these months. This can be a communal garden, a small courtyard garden, a balcony, a mature garden or acres of land, but when the sun is out in Oxfordshire people want to have the option to be out in it!
Graduates and PhD students
Graduates – often looking to share – come to Oxfordshire in the summer months to start their new careers. With so many excellent employers across the county – including those in the Science Vale (Harwell Campus, Culham Science Centre, and Milton Park) and Motorsport Valley – our eight offices see young professionals moving here from all over. The PhD students coming to the universities are typically more fixed on central Oxford, often wanting to be a short walk or cycle from their place of study.
(…But not undergraduates)
The one category of tenant we don’t see at this time of year is undergraduate students. Their letting market runs to a very different calendar – our Student Letting division lets 95% of their portfolio in December/January for the following academic year.
The first Wednesday in August is the day junior doctors start work and more experienced doctors swap departments (and possibly relocate to new hospitals) and as such, they typically want to move in end of July/beginning of August.
Although the volume of enquiries dips in the autumn, the quality can often be higher as these tenants are a) genuinely motivated to move and b) more decisive as there is less stock on the market. It is also worth noting that summer is not the only busy ‘wave’; there is a trend every Christmas for people to make the most of their time off to ‘window shop’ for new properties from the comfort of their own home. When we return to work we have a rush of enquiries to respond to, which results in a significant number of great lets every January.
Call Finders Keepers on 01865 311011 to discuss your property needs.