There is increasing optimism in the rental market as the threat of coronavirus eases and restrictions are lifted, with early indications many renters are considering new moves in the coming months.
In its trading update this week, Rent.com.au said its Renter Resume – which allows renters to upload a profile online – was starting to pick up after a slump when the pandemic first hit.
Rent.com.au CEO Greg Bader said Renter Resume was a good indicator of renter sentiment over a shorter period.
“Following record numbers in January and February, we saw new Renter Resume creation drop from mid-March as concerns over the coronavirus grew and social distancing restrictions took hold,” he said.
“However, as Australia has had success in ‘flattening the curve’ and restrictions ease, we are seeing renters start considering their next move and resume creation rates are improving towards where we expect.”
More than 800,000 renters have now created a Renter Resume through Rent.com.au, creating one of Australia’s most comprehensive renter profile applications.
“People often start their property search by browsing properties on websites but then when they start to get serious about moving, they’ll create a Renter Resume and start building that out with endorsements and verification such as that provided our RentCheck product,” Mr Bader said.
“Renter Resume therefore serves as a key indicator for us in terms of what’s happening in the renter community.”
Rent.com.au does not charge a renter to create their Renter Resume, but as renters progress through the different stages of their property search they make updates to their Renter Resume, in many cases utilising Rent.com.au’s Renter Products to make the process easier.
Mr Bader said 72 per cent of Renter Product sales come via Renter Resume so it was no surprise that COVID-19 affected Renter Product sales.
“There are signs, however, that this is turning around. RentCheck (our ID and tenancy verification) is one of the first products purchased by renters as they navigate the renting process, and over the past four weeks we’ve had some of our best RentCheck sales weeks ever as renters start looking for a new place to rent,” he explained.
“We have not yet seen this activity translate to RentBond or RentConnect sales which typically lag RentCheck by several weeks because they occur once a renter has found their home, but the increase in RentChecks serves as an early indicator and gives us great confidence that the market is
opening up again.”
According to a rent.com.au survey this month, almost 60 per cent of renters had been adversely affected by COVID19.
But Mr Bader said they predicted a flow-on effect from that would be more renters using Rent Resume to make extra sure they present their rental application as positively as possible.
“While we don’t expect to post revenue growth for the June quarter, our current forecast is much more positive than it was a month ago,” he said.
“We’re seeing positive signs in terms of the numbers of renters getting ready to move. There is increasing optimism as the threat of coronavirus eases and restrictions are being lifted. This bodes well for a recovery in our Renter Products revenue.”