The London rental market – August 2019

July, August and September are peak season for demand from students and this year is proving to be no exception. The UK is the second most popular country in which to study for international students, (with only the US ahead of us), with 458,520 international students in the UK in 2017/18, 3.6% up on the previous year.

Luxe Gym at Fulham Reach

Of course many international students come to London’s renowned universities to study. University College London, King’s College London, Imperial College London, The London School of Economics and Queen Mary University of London are amongst the top universities in the UK and literally thousands of students have been looking for accommodation close to their chosen place of study. Purpose-built student accommodation only fulfills a fraction of the demand, so many students look to rent in the private rental sector. Privately rented apartments also tend to offer more space, a higher specification and better value for money than some purpose built accommodation. Buy-to-let apartments in new property developments often have a gym and swimming pool on-site plus free WiFi and these benefits are a big draw to budget conscious tenants.

So the student market is extremely important to many of London’s landlords – and there are a number of good reasons why.

Parents understandably want the best education for their children and are happy to pay for good quality rental accommodation while they are studying – and perhaps building a long term future – in the UK. Therefore, the student market is less prone to the ups and downs in demand and budget constraints that younger professionals experience. Wider economic and political uncertainty has almost no effect on a student’s decision on where to study. International students (or their parents!) are usually happy to pay full or close to asking rental for their rental property, and often pay up front – 6 or even 12 months in advance.

International students’ wish lists tend to be quite straightforward too. They would like to be around a 10 minute walk away from their university, in a good location, with a concierge to ensure good security. A good spec, gym facilities and fast broadband are also essentials.

So if you are planning to rent out an apartment in London over the next few months, please get in touch with your local Benham & Reeves branch – we are handling numerous applications from international students and are actively looking for new instructions to meet the high demand.

The City and East London

Demand for rental accommodation in the City and East London continues to grow, with enquiry levels high, stocks generally quite limited and properties therefore letting very quickly.

1 bed at London Dock £550 per week

As well as the usual demand from young professionals, we are now approaching peak season for students moving to the capital to start university in September/October. Now until October is the busiest period. Around 95% of the students we find homes for are from overseas and these usually have good budgets – typically £300+ per week for a one bed apartment, £400-£900 per week for a two bed and £500 – £1200 per week for a three bed. Two and three bed flats are usually let to sharers.

Some of the most popular developments include Blackfriars Circus, Goodman’s Fields, 190 The Strand, Pan Peninsula, London Dock, Marine Wharf and the Atlas Building.

Most applicants have searched online before they carry out viewings and have a good idea which developments they would like to live in. In the City these often include One Blackfriars,

Landmark Place and the Atlas Building while in Wapping there is a new building completing now at London Dock and nearby at Goodman’s Fields as well as Royal Mint Gardens close to the popular One Tower Bridge scheme. Asking rents at these and similar developments tend to range from upwards of £500 per week for a Manhattan/studio to £800+ per week for a two bed apartment. Canary Wharf is short of new buildings at the moment and we also have only limited stocks at Marine Wharf Surrey Quays but our Canary Wharf branch is handling new instructions at Blackwall Reach Woolwich where one beds are achieving upwards of £350 per week and Upton Gardens in West Ham which is attracting a lot of enquiries from budget-savvy City professionals. Meanwhile, our Greenwich branch is busy handling enquiries for the latest phase of Royal Arsenal Riverside – Waterfront III where Manhattan/one bed apartments are achieving £325+ per week and two beds £475+ per week.

West London

2 bed at Sovereign Court £675 per week

Our Dickens Yard (Ealing) and Kew Bridge (Brentford) and Imperial Wharf/Chelsea Creek branches all report a brisk July, handling enquiries from all kinds of applicants, with demand extremely high. We still have a huge shortage of properties across West London and in fact, demand is outstripping supply to such an extent that we have seen several occasions where applicants have tried to outbid each other in order to secure their chosen property. While this is good news for landlords who are seeing rents increasing as a result, it does mean we do not have sufficient stocks to meet demand so have waiting lists of referenced tenants ready to move into the developments here. We are therefore very keen to talk to landlords about new instructions. We have been receiving quite a few instructions at Harrow Square in nearby Harrow and the last few are now completing. These too have been letting immediately and we are, in fact, letting properties which won’t be available until September but applicants are happy to wait.

This is also the case for our Kew Bridge branch which has let many apartments in advance at Queenshurst Square in Kingston – again another extremely popular development.

In Hammersmith, the picture is similar. Rental demand is extremely high but thankfully we are starting to receive a number of new instructions, particularly in Sovereign Court and Fulham Reach where our branch is located on-site. The Henley Apartments at Fulham Reach are completing now so we expect more instructions over the next few weeks and have a number of Japanese tenants ready to move in here. Students also make up some of the current demand for rental accommodation here, particularly for Sovereign Court which is so close to the Tube station. Many are preferring to share a two bed apartment, and typically have a joint budget of around £900 per week.

Central London

Nova Building, Victoria

Demand for rental apartments at Nine Elms Point has soared over the last few months and is exceptionally strong – demand generally is definitely higher than last year as the area’s Zone 1 reputation grows. We have seen an exceptional number of enquiries for the most recent building to launch, Gladwin Tower. We received 25 new instructions there on completion – all one and two bed apartments – and within 10 days we had 23 of them. Until we receive some new instructions we still have 19 applicants on our waiting list wishing to secure a property here. One bed apartments on the lower floors are achieving £465 per week and those on the higher floors £525 per week while two beds on lower floors are achieving £625 per week and those on higher floors £800 per week. We are seeing strong student demand at the moment – earlier in the year than in 2018 – as students are aware they need to move quickly to secure their chosen property. Most are international students – particularly from China, South East Asia and also Japan and many are coming to study at Kings College. Generally around 65% of applicants are professionals and 35% are students.

In Knightsbridge, Kensington and Hyde Park, the news is positive too, with rental demand growing, particularly for apartments priced up to £650 – £700 per week. Again, demand from students is building now with many looking in plenty of time to ensure they secure the property they want. Most now are organised and understand that good properties are in short supply in many areas so they are happy to pay rent for July and August even if they don’t plan to move until September, if it ensures they don’t miss out on their chosen property. Victoria is becoming ever more popular as new developments complete and new shops, restaurants and other businesses move into the area. The Nova Building is always in high demand, as is Abell and Cleland.

North London

1 bed at Beaufort Park £320 per week

Beaufort Park in Colindale remains a firm favourite with both young professionals and students – rental demand is strong and stocks are very limited due to the high demand. At the moment we have very few one bed apartments, just a few two beds and no three beds at all. The next building, the Cornelia Apartments, starts to complete in September though and we are already in discussions with new landlords who have bought properties there. We will definitely have no trouble letting new apartments! Demand is really ramping up now from students too (many of whom are studying at nearby Middlesex University) and many get in touch with us before arriving in London to enquire about rental properties at Beaufort Park. They are often recommended by friends and they know how strong rental demand is here so they know they must act quickly. Budgets are good and apartments are achieving asking rental.

Rental demand in Highgate and Hampstead is also increasing and both branches are receiving new instructions, with enquiry levels up too. Demand is good, particularly for one, two and three bed properties which meet the needs of singles, couples and sharers. Budgets are good, with one beds achieving £300- £400 per week, two beds £350 – £550 per week and three beds £450 – £600 per week – most applicants are making sensible offers, close to asking rental. Top of most applicants’ wish lists are a good location close to a tube station, good presentation and value for money. We are also starting to see families now starting their property search – usually looking for a good sized three or four bed property – in plenty of time for the start of the September school term.

If you have a property to let in any of these areas, or would like a free no-obligation rental valuation of your property please contact us. For more London rental market news and updates, subscribe to our newsletter.

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About the Author

For over 35 years Anita has been the driving force behind Benham and Reeves success as it has grown from a single Hampstead lettings branch to central London’s largest, independent lettings and property management company, with 16 branches across the Capital. Anita’s vision has driven the expansion of the business to offer a complete range of property investment related services from under one roof, from purchase to handover, furnishings and/or refurbishment to lettings and property management. Read more about Anita Mehra here - Read full profile

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