Scottish rental market is fastest – and cheapest – in the UK

The Scottish rental market is the fastest moving of all the UK regions, new research shows.

The latest rental market report from property portal Zoopla has revealed that homes for rent in Scotland are being snapped up by tenants in just 15 days.

This is almost a week faster than in the UK’s slowest market, in Wales, where homes are taking 21 days to let.

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It’s also two days quicker than the UK average of 17 days.

New figures show Scotland's rental market is the fastest in the UK, with the average property being snapped up in 15 days
New figures show Scotland's rental market is the fastest in the UK, with the average property being snapped up in 15 days

The rental market is particularly buoyant in Scotland as the level of demand from tenants has spiked across the country in the last couple of years.

Demand is up a staggering 71 per cent, while the supply of new homes to let has only increased by 12 per cent over the same time period.

Scotland remains one of the cheapest places to lease a property, with tenants currently spending 23 per cent of their income on rent.

This is in comparison to the UK average of 31 per cent.

Scots pay £631 a month in rent, against £890 across the rest of the UK.

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The Zoopla study shows the search for space, driven by the coronavirus pandemic, means houses are letting more quickly than flats in virtually all regions of the UK.

Figures show the average time to rent a house is now 16 days, against 18 days for a flat.

Gardens, parking, garage and balcony are the most popular search terms for those seeking a rental property, followed by pets.

The study found rental growth has remained relatively flat over the last year, with Scotland registering an annual increase of just 0.1 per cent overall.

This bucks the trend across the UK, where prices have fallen by an average of 0.5 per cent.

Rental growth in Glasgow remains positive, up 2.4 per cent to an average of £648 a month, but in Edinburgh rents have dropped by 1.6 per cent to £941 a month.

This has been attributed to a dramatic drop in tourism in the Scottish capital due to Covid-19 and a subsequent shift from short to long lets.

Gráinne Gilmore, head of research for Zoopla, said the coronavirus pandemic has had a major influence on the property market and is likely to continue to do so for some time to come.

She said: “The split in the rental market caused by Covid-19 has now crystallised and we are seeing the two-speed market firmly entrenched.

“For most of the UK the demand/supply gap is underpinning moderate levels of rental growth.

“We haven’t seen the exodus of students from cities and, as more people are staying in the rental market given the squeeze on mortgage lending, higher levels of demand will continue to underpin rents.

“At the same time however, muted earnings growth will start to limit the headroom for rental growth in some markets.

“The search for additional space, both indoor and outdoor, within the rental sector is also set to continue as the country goes through additional periods of lockdown.”

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