'Race for space' not yet over

Most brokers think tenants are still leaving the city

'Race for space' not yet over

Almost seven in 10 brokers, or 69%, think that the “race for space” is not yet over, according to a poll undertaken by short-term property finance lender TAB.

Less than a quarter of the brokers asked said the race for space was either “definitely” or “probably” over. Around 8% of the respondents were not sure.

In late 2020 and early 2021, the pandemic started driving a “race for space” as people moved from city centres to outlying suburbs.

Residential rents in the big cities fell as tenants left. In the last quarter of 2020, flats in London were taking 20% longer to rent than they had before the pandemic, while the time taken to rent houses in the capital fell by over 10%.

Read more: Race for space been more of a marathon than a sprint.

In the first three months of 2021, home movers flush with housing equity left first-time buyers trailing as the drivers of the UK housing market, as the race for space led to a switch in the long-term balance of demand.

“I didn’t expect that to last until now,” Duncan Kreeger, founder and chief executive at TAB, said. “A year down the line and brokers are telling us this trend is still dominating the market. The move to home working during the pandemic loosened ties to the office and emerging hybrid working conditions are making distant suburban and more rural living more possible. Buyers with savings are targeting bigger properties with more outdoor space.”