‘Bills included’ tops renters’ needs as cost-of-living crisis bites

Renters search for ‘bills included’ when looking for a new home and it has now become the most popular term, according to Rightmove

  • Rightmove found tenants who are now looking for properties in larger areas
  • The number of properties available to rent is 25% less than in the same period last year
  • Rising interest rates and decreasing tax breaks for homeowners have pushed supply levels down

‘Bills included’ has become the most popular search term among renters looking for homes on Rightmove, as energy bills threaten to hit £5,000 next year.

The property portal said the term had surpassed ‘garden’ and ‘pets’ as an obligation for tenants.

At the same time, Rightmove found that renters were expanding their searches, with the average search area jumping to 137 square kilometers, nearly double the 2018 average of 70 square kilometers.

The rising cost of energy has led renters to seek homes with some utilities included

The rising cost of bills and rent appears to be driving changes in tenant search habits. Last year, ‘invoices included’ was out of Rightmove’s top five search terms.

Bills have increased dramatically in recent months. Citizens Advice has warned that millions of households fear rising energy debts, with half expected to fall into energy poverty this winter if steps are not taken to curb rising energy costs.

And renters are being further pressured by a lack of properties coming to the market, with homes renting twice as fast as they were two years ago, Rightmove said.

Although the number of new rental properties increased 3 percent in July compared to the previous month, the total number of available rental homes is still 25 percent lower than last year.

Rents are also increasing. The average rent asked outside of London is 19 per cent higher than two years ago, from £949 per calendar month to a record £1,126.

Rightmove expects rents to continue to rise, forecasting that nationally they will end up 8 percent higher than last year.

Rising rents may be behind the seeker’s decision to look further afield in the hope of finding an affordable place.

The rise of hybrid work during and after the pandemic has also allowed workers more flexibility in where they live.

Supply Shortage: Rising mortgage rates and declining tax incentives have caused landlords to stop renting their properties, leading to a shortage of rental housing.

Supply Shortage: Rising mortgage rates and declining tax incentives have caused landlords to stop renting their properties, leading to a shortage of rental housing.

Rightmove property expert Tim Bannister said: “People looking for a new place to rent are expanding their net much more than ever before, hoping it will help them find a suitable place they can afford.”

“Although it is not as constrained as it was a few months ago, the number of homes is still not close enough to meet tenant demand.

‘The lack of housing is due to more people choosing to stay and signing longer contracts, some owners selling due to higher taxes and others taking advantage of record house prices, and hybrid work shifts some demand to more rural areas. and suburban. Britain.

“All of this has led to a fiercely competitive rental market in many areas with agents reporting properties in some cases renting in just a few hours.”

Homeowners have seen annual profits nearly halved in the past eight months, according to the Hamptons real estate agent.

Driven by the Bank of England base rate increase, purchase-to-let mortgage rates at major lenders have risen from 1.25% to 3.12% since October.

On a £200,000 interest only mortgage, a homeowner would normally have paid £209 a month in October. Today they will typically pay £521 per month, or an extra £3,744 per year.

Homeowners have also been affected by tax changes in recent years, meaning they can no longer fully offset mortgage costs with taxes.

Rightmove says the result of all these factors is ‘a fast-moving and fiercely competitive rental market’.

Ten tips to save energy

The Energy Saving Trust has listed these ten tips, along with how much a typical household could save in energy and water costs per year. Read more about energy saving tips here.

1. Put appliances on standby – £55

2. Draftproof Gaps – £45

3. Turn off the lights: €20

4. Wash at 30 degrees and reduce use once a week: €28

5. Avoid using the dryer: €60

6. Limit showers to four minutes: £70

7. Trade one bath a week for one shower: £12

8. Don’t overfill the kettle and fit a tap aerator: £36

9. Cut your dishwasher usage by one use per week – £14

10. Insulate your hot water cylinder – £35

Source: Energy Saving Trust, based on a typical three-bedroom gas-heated house in Great Britain, using April 2022 peak prices