The number of properties showing ‘To Let’ signs showed a marked increase in October following months of decline, a new report has shown.

The Property Activity Index from Agency Express, which collates figures on the number of boards of properties available to let and those that have been let out, shows a national 24.8% month on month increase on ‘To Let’ boards.

That uptick follows on from three straight months where that number was in the negative. And there are more ‘Let By’ signs around the country, with an increase of 8.1% on the previous month.

Agency Express managing director Stephen Watson said the upturn was particularly welcome given it comes at a time of year when the figures quieten down.

“If we look back at historical data recorded by the Property Activity Index, we can see that a slowdown is usually anticipated in October. This month we have seen a spike in activity.

“However, looking at the figures more closely we can see that the increased number of working days (23 in October over 20 in September) has had some impact on the monthly data and overall the year on year figures remain relatively true to trend.”

Good news from around the regions

The north east of England is the best performing region for properties that are newly available to rent, with 66.8% more ‘To Let’ notices erected by Agency Express franchisees. Yorkshire and Humber showed a 45% increase on the previous month, but the West Midlands also returned a notable performance with 38% more new lettings.

This comes as little surprise. Tenant demand in Birmingham has soared in recent years, and with some high-profile building and infrastructure projects under way, that trend is highly likely to continue with opportunities for the investor following on.

Rental demand in Birmingham likely to increase

The city will host the Commonwealth Games in 2022, for which several venues are to be built or extensively rebuilt. They will require people to carry out the building projects, as will the high-speed rail link HS2 due by 2026 that is to go through the heart of Birmingham. In addition to the line itself, stations will be built in Curzon Street in the city, and out in Solihull. Add in an extension to the tram network, and the likelihood is that an increased workforce will be demanding places to rent out.

The West Midlands was also tipped to perform well in Savill’s recent Residential Property Forecast, with a prediction of a growth rate of 19.3% over the next five years. Birmingham has one of the youngest populations in Europe, with under-25s making up 40% of all inhabitants – while 49% of graduates from the local universities stay on in the city, too.