I am very pleased to report that rental demand is increasing across London, in fact, across our branch network and our website, in June, we saw a 57.2% increase in domestic enquiries and an 18% increase from overseas applicants all looking for rental properties in London in July and August.
Properties to let in Zones 2 and 4 are the top performers. And, as we reported last month, shortages of stock are becoming a key issue for us. In many areas, we now have waiting lists of fully referenced tenants waiting to move into some of London’s most popular residential developments. In terms of priorities, applicants remain understandably cautious in what they are looking for in a rental home. Most are keen to cover all possible requirements so more space (to work from home if necessary) is a ‘must’ and some outside space is also preferred.
In most areas, we are looking for new stock to meet growing demand from tenants so if you are due to complete on a property soon or currently have a vacant property, please get in touch with your nearest Benham and Reeves branch. We have fully referenced tenants waiting to move and we expect lettings to achieve good market rentals.
Rental demand soaring across London
Enquiries for rental properties in the City and East London continue to grow and this summer is now looking ‘normal’ in terms of rental demand. Canary Wharf has the largest number of new developments completing at the moment, including Landmark Pinnacle in E14, One Park Drive and The Madison, also in E14. Demand for homes in all these projects is very high and we desperately need more stock.
Over in Wapping, our branch is receiving enquiries for Cashmere Wharf, the latest phase of London Dock which starts completing in September so we are looking for instructions from landlords who own in this development. Postmark in EC1, has also been very well received and we also need more stock here.
In West London, our Dickens Yard in Ealing, Kew Bridge in Brentford branches are reporting a similarly high level of demand and enquiries from relocation agents are picking up noticeably, many searching for homes for senior executives from Europe and Japan, looking for high end properties. As rents start to climb back to pre-pandemic levels, more applicants are making asking price offers and landlords are definitely in a stronger position due to increasing enquiry levels. The Green Quarter in Southall has been very popular with tenants seeking good value. If you have a property completing at the new phases, Sibley House and Watson House, please get in touch as we have fully referenced tenants waiting to move in. Also very popular for tenants on a ‘budget’ are the new developments in Harrow such as Eastman Village and Harrow Square.
Our Fulham Reach branch in Hammersmith is reporting an excellent start to the summer, with many flats letting within 24 hours, before they even reach the website. Our team is receiving a lot of enquiries, from professionals and international students, with many applicants wishing to move into their new home within a month or so – keen to get back to their former lives. Two bed apartments with that all-important extra bedroom/office are letting most quickly. We are desperate for more stock, particularly of two and three bed apartments.
In North London, demand at Clarendon, an outstanding Berkeley scheme remains high. In Highgate and Hampstead generally, this is proving to be a busy summer with demand higher than normal. One and two bed apartments are letting immediately and enquiries for larger family homes (four bed houses) are increasing too, ahead of the start of the autumn school term in September. Families are moving to the area from Europe and from other parts of the UK. Again, we would like to talk to landlords about taking on new instructions for good quality homes, suitable for rental.
At Beaufort Park in Colindale, our on-site branch staff continue to see enquiries increase further from BNO passport holders from Hong Kong and the area is becoming a real hotspot for Hong Kong residents moving to the UK. The development has a strong Chinese community with tenants moving here following word-of-mouth recommendation by friends or family. Any apartments we take on here are simply flying out, sometimes within hours, and we have minimal stock left at the moment. We have waiting lists for the two new buildings, Fairbank House and Fairmont House, which will be released soon. We are also starting to see enquiries coming in from international students looking to resume their studies in London.
Rents are stabilising
Generally, rents are firming up now due to the higher demand from applicants but landlords must be prepared to negotiate if required as many tenants are still prioritising value for money. But we are moving in the right direction and due to shortage of homes on our registers, we should be in a good position to achieve good rents.
Enquiries increase from international students
The last few weeks have seen a definite increase in enquiries from international students looking to return to their universities in September. There is clearly much more confidence amongst students and a real desire to return to learning in person. Our branches in areas such as East London, the City, Beaufort Park in North London and Fulham Reach in West London have been busy handling enquiries from international students and while generally the numbers are perhaps around 40% of the usual enquiries, there is clearly pent-up demand and this is a significant step forward.
Relocation agents returning to the market
Relocation agents working on behalf of international and domestic professionals are returning to the market, making enquiries on behalf of corporate clients moving to the UK soon, in time for the new school term in September. Of course, large IT firms such as Facebook and Google have never gone away but generally the market for professionals relocating to London is becoming much stronger, with enquiries coming in from Europe, the US and Asia as well as the UK itself.
Strong competition amongst landlords with brand new apartments
As the rental market strengthens, some investors may believe that it is easy to let a property quickly and for the best possible rent. But this isn’t necessarily the case. Applicants still have plenty of choice, particularly as there are quite a few completions taking place, delayed by last year’s lockdowns, bringing new stock to the market simultaneously.
For example, in one popular North London residential development, where we have an on-site lettings branch, we’ve discovered brand new apartments being listed with other agents but sitting empty for as much as three months, costing landlords thousands of pounds in lost rent. Typically, these empty apartments tend to be handled by agents who don’t have a local branch and so don’t have an established reputation or a presence in the area so they are not the first choice when an applicant makes an enquiry about an apartment there. Yet we are letting our own instructions at the development almost immediately – some in just a few hours. Clearly, it pays to choose an experienced, local agent!
Choosing the right letting agent
The lesson here is that, just as you carry out extensive research before employing a solicitor or accountant, in the same way you should check out the credentials of a letting agent before trusting them to let and manage your rental property.
In this post-pandemic world, where market conditions can evolve quickly, an experienced letting agent that understands the complexities of the London housing market and is able to accurately assess local market conditions, advise on presenting your property and accurate pricing, is essential.
Landlords essential checklist
As not only clients will be reading this, I always like to remind readers of how important it is to instruct a good letting agent, one who will have the skills and experience to let your property quickly to a professional tenant. Here is a reminder of our credentials!
Lettings experience We have over 60 years’ experience in the London lettings industry.
Experienced staff Most of our staff are ARLA Propertymark qualified. Many have worked with us for over 20 years.
Corporate HR contacts We work with the HR departments of leading international companies, including FTSE and Fortune 500 companies, to find homes for their executives.
Local and international branch network We have 18 London lettings branches and8 offices in Dubai, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Singapore and India.
Fullproperty management We have our own, dedicated property management department.
Furnishing Our interior design and furnishing company will ensure high end presentation to appeal to professional renters.
Extensive comment from Benham and Reeves in the national press
You may have seen more of Benham and Reeves in the national press recently, we are consistently in the national news and some overseas news feeds are regularly asking us for comment. There is so much interest in London property and this is where our experience comes into its own.
In the past 2 weeks alone, my fellow director, Marc von Grundherr, has given interviews to a number of national newspapers including the Times, The Guardian, the Evening Standard and City AM. See our press coverage to read our latest contributions.
And a final call for new instructions!
And finally, just to emphasise our key message, we are very short of stock in many parts of London. So if you are looking to let your apartment quickly to a reliable, professional tenant, please contact your local Benham and Reeves branch or international offices so that we can organise a free rental appraisal for you as soon as possible.
View all posts by Anita Mehra