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Home NewsRental market update The London rental market – September 2017

The London rental market – September 2017

The last few weeks have seen a real surge in rental demand across most of our 16 London letting branches during what is always our busiest time of year. Much of the recent demand has been fuelled by international students moving to the UK capital to study at one of our renowned universities. Chinese students account for much of this and there are now more first year Chinese students in the UK than from the whole of the EU combined. In 1997 there were 5,800 Chinese students in the UK, but by 2016 that figure had risen to 160,000. Chinese parents value an English university education for their children, so this figure is likely to grow while often those who study here continue to live and work here after university.

Our City and Canary Wharf branches have been handling a lot of these student enquiries while our Colindale branch found itself in the astonishing position of having queues of Chinese students waiting to rent a property at Beaufort Park – they made a bee-line for our lettings branch at the development because friends already studying at the University of Middlesex had recommended us.
While this is clearly very good news for landlords with properties close to leading universities, the London rental market generally remains competitive and applicants have the luxury of a good choice of rental properties available to them. We are having to work extremely hard to close deals – but we are pleased to say that we carried out 12.3% more lettings transactions in the second quarter of 2017 than during the same period in 2016. Meanwhile, our on-site branch at the stunning new London Dock development is due to open in the next couple of weeks so is another cause for celebration.

If you have a rental property listed with an agent that is finding it difficult to let, call us on 020 7319 9782 to discuss how we could help find you a good tenant or contact your nearest Benham & Reeves Lettings branch.

City, Docklands and East London (City, Canary Wharf and Wapping/London Dock)

Over the last few weeks the rental market in the City, Canary Wharf and East London has been busy, dominated by a lot of requests from international students – around 99% of our student enquiries come from overseas applicants. This level of student activity is at a similar level to previous years, with recent political uncertainty appearing to have had little effect on demand. Unlike young working professionals, these wealthy students tend not to be affected by wider economic issues. They usually have good budgets and are prepared to pay close to asking rental, often paying six to 12 months’ rent in advance. Typically they prefer to be within a 10 to 15 minute walk of their university and they almost always prefer to rent an apartment in a building with a concierge, seeking safety and security in a city that they are not yet familiar with.

2 bed apartment at London Dock

One of the most popular developments in the City is Goodman Fields where the latest phase is just completing. Here we are seeing good demand for one bed apartments letting for upwards of £550 a week and two bed apartments for upwards of £675 per week. In Canary Wharf the latest phase of Royal Wharf, in Silvertown E16, is also now completing. Being slightly further out it offers excellent value and on average applicants can rent an apartment for around 10% less than one in central Canary Wharf simply by commuting for an extra 10 to 15 minutes. Our new branch at London Dock in Wapping is due to open very soon, we’ve been in temporary premises for a while and it will be good to finally get settled here.

We are receiving new instructions daily at this fantastic scheme and the response is already extremely good. Again, these smart new apartments offer fantastic value for money to tenants and we expect applicant enquiries to increase still further. One bed apartments are achieving £600 per week and two bed apartments £695 to £750 per week.

South West central London (Nine Elms and Imperial Wharf)

2 bed apartment at Imperial Wharf

Rentals at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station have sky-rocketed over the last few weeks and as flats complete we are letting them the same day. We are short of stock on one bed flats which have been achieving full asking rental. We are now finding that applicants are considering moving to the area on the suggestion of friends and colleagues who are already living here and we expect demand to increase further as this word-of-mouth recommendation continues. The last few weeks have seen requests for flats to rent at Imperial Wharf really pick up and we have now let most of our properties there. We have fully referenced tenants waiting to move in to the development so are looking for new stock. Most apartments are letting quickly and achieving close to asking rental. International students have been making up much of this demand, looking for studios, one and two bed apartments. Applicants also like the feel of a brand-new apartment and those at adjacent Chelsea Creek are also letting well.

South East London (Surrey Quays and Greenwich)

Surrey Quays has proved to be a popular location amongst young professionals and international students and the last phases have been very well received, in fact we have let all our properties there and are currently looking for new stocks. Again the development’s excellent amenities have proved to be a real draw. In Greenwich enquiries remain as high as ever while a little further along the river in Woolwich, Royal Arsenal Riverside is exceptionally popular and we are currently taking on new instructions there too.

North/North West London (Colindale/Beaufort Park, Highgate and Hampstead)

5 bed house in Golders Green

Our Beaufort Park branch in Colindale has had a phenomenally busy few weeks. In fact, on occasion we have had a long queue of applicants (mainly Chinese students moving to the area to study at the University of Middlesex) waiting to view properties, having been referred to us by friends already at the university. As a result we let all our Manhattan, one, two and three bedroom properties and at one point only had a few studio apartments remaining. This is an exceptional situation, even at this very popular development and we have been even busier than last year. Most international students pay close to asking rental and will pay a little more for an exceptionally well presented or brand new apartment. As this busy student season starts to settle down now, we are again receiving new instructions, building up stocks to meet renewed demand from young professionals looking for homes in this popular development. The rental market has been picking up in Highgate with good quality enquiries increasing over the last month by 6%. One and two bed flats are letting well as are houses. We have also been receiving enquiries from relocation agents looking for larger properties. Applicants are aware however that there is a lot of choice so they do expect landlords to negotiate on asking rental. Similarly in Hampstead demand has picked up noticeably over the last couple of months, with most enquiries coming from young professionals, international students and families. Three bed properties have been popular this past month with professional sharers looking to save on accommodation costs. Some applicants are looking to save money by moving slightly further away from Hampstead to areas such as Golders Green and Camden where rents are more affordable. Again applicants are keen to negotiate and we are advising landlords to be flexible in order to minimise voids.

West London (Ealing, Kew/Brentford and Hammersmith)

1 bed apartment in Hammersmith

August proved to be our busiest month of the year at Fulham Reach in Hammersmith and as we move into September we are continuing to see similarly high demand. One and two bed apartments at the latest phase, Faulkner House, have been letting incredibly quickly, achieving very close to asking rental and as such, we are now short on stock and looking for more instructions. The new Vista Apartments at Dickens Yard in Ealing are being received with great enthusiasm from tenants, typically letting within a week or so of completion. All the properties we are handling here have been furnished by an interiors specialist and their superb presentation is undoubtedly one of the key factors in their appeal, particularly to corporate tenants, who demand such high standards. The development continues to attract corporate tenants from the UK but we are now seeing significant numbers of overseas applicants moving here, particularly Japanese professionals working for companies both in central London and along the M4 corridor. Demand is also high for apartments particularly at the popular Kew Bridge development overlooking the River near Brentford which is now becoming a popular choice with families as well as young professionals. Generally, developments in West London are seeing a real growth in popularity as applicants recognise they can find a high spec home at an affordable rent, yet still only a short commute from central London.

Central London (Knightsbridge, Kensington and Hyde Park)

1 bed apartment in Kensington

The rental market in Knightsbridge has been hectic over the last few weeks and demand has been picking up significantly. We have been receiving greater numbers of enquiries from applicants, particularly for new property developments such as Chapter Street and Nova. We have also been receiving plenty of new instructions, many in these types of development which are so popular with tenants. Generally, budget remains a priority for tenants so the highest demand is for studios priced at around £300 per week and one bed apartments at £400-£450 per week. As usual at this time of year we have also seen a lot of students looking for smaller properties, particularly studios. We continue to see a high number of tenants renewing – around 80% – with a wide choice of properties on the rental market, most landlords recognise that retaining a good tenant, even at the same rent, ensures a continuous income stream in a competitive market. Accurately priced, well presented apartments are letting well in Kensington, with one bed apartments at £400-£600 per week and two bed apartments at £550-£700 per week the most popular types of property amongst tenants. Enquiries from young professionals is good and we have also been letting quite a lot of three and four bed apartments to students looking to share a property in order to save money. Our Hyde Park branch has seen the rental market pick up noticeably over the last few weeks and properties in W2 are letting well as long as they are accurately priced. Budgets remain at the forefront of applicants’ minds though and landlords must be prepared to negotiate to ensure a property lets quickly. Again, students have dominated the rental market in recent weeks, fuelling the rising demand. With properties letting so well, we are again looking for new instructions in the area.

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.


About the Author

For 40 years Anita has been the driving force behind Benham and Reeves’ success as it has grown from a single branch in Hampstead, to one of central London’s oldest, independently owned sales, letting and property management companies. 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