Rental demand in London remains extremely strong and the summer months have, without exception, been very busy across our 11 London rentals offices. Living in London is expensive though and in most areas the London rental market remains price sensitive, with value for money a priority amongst applicants. Affordability is an issue for most tenants. Most rental properties in London are letting quickly and in some areas we are seeing shortages of rental properties, so most offices are actively looking for new instructions to meet this high demand.
Rental demand in Kensington is very good across the board, from one bed apartments through to larger family homes. We’ve been very busy finding larger homes for families looking to find a rental property in Kensington before the start of the September school term, in fact, demand for two, three and four bedroom properties has been so strong that we are now running short of stock. Most well presented properties are letting after a single viewing, two at most, and competition amongst tenants is strong.
New developments are always in high demand as tenants love the high spec as well as added benefits, typically a concierge and private parking. In fact, high end residential developments like 375 Kensington High Street create their own market, generating huge interest when a property becomes available. We always receive high numbers of enquiries, with apartments letting quickly for the full asking rental. One applicant even recently flew to London specifically to view an apartment here as soon as it came onto the market. The asking rental for a one bed apartment here is £650-£675pw. Tenants still love period conversions but the property must combine period features with a modern, high spec interior.
Generally, budgets are good and most properties are letting at or close to asking rentals, an improvement on this time last year when landlords were obliged to consider offers. Expectations remain high though and tenants do expect the ‘full package’ with a high spec finish and first class presentation.
We’re seeing a similar picture in nearby Notting Hill where again, demand is strong, with the market being driven by young professionals and families. Rental properties in Notting Hill are letting quickly, particularly one bed apartments which appeal to singles, couples and international students, many of whom are coming to study at nearby Imperial College.
We continue to see extremely high rental demand in the City, Canary Wharf and Docklands, particularly for properties priced below £600 pw indicating that tenants remain budget conscious.
With the market continuing to be price sensitive, applicants are pushing out beyond the City to East London where they can find value for money. The area between the City and Canary Wharf is particularly popular as tenants can still find a property in a smart, modern development with an easy commute without making any real compromises yet offering better value. However, this increasing demand is pushing up prices in East London where year on year, rents are rising by up to 10%.
Rental properties in Greenwich continue to be in high demand for the same reasons – high quality apartments, an easy commute and good value for money. Again though rents are fast catching up as demand increases.
The only exception to this strong rental demand is the upper end of the market where there is a lull in enquiries from high level corporate clients for properties priced over £700pw, a sign of the continuing freeze on corporate accommodation budgets.
Whatever the price bracket, applicants have high expectations of a London rental property. A property must be well maintained and beautifully presented and increasingly, ‘extras’ such as a concierge are seen as a real bonus and by some a necessity.
The summer months have seen extremely good demand for rental properties in Highgate and surrounding areas such as Hampstead. This strong demand is continuing as we move towards the autumn and we have high numbers of applicants although we are starting to see shortages of some types of property in Highgate, particularly larger family homes. This year families and relocation agents started searching for properties earlier in the season than usual, in June and July, to ensure they found the right property in time for the start of the school term in September. Asking rentals for three,four and five bedroom houses in Highgate are £700-£1500pw, a little higher than this time last year although budgets remain an issue for most applicants.
Demand is also good for one and two bedroom apartments, driven primarily by young professionals and couples. We are very busy finding homes for international students too, with developments such as Woodberry Park and Highgate Square top of their list of preferred locations. The trend towards professional sharers renting together remains strong, another indication of the continuing pressure on budgets and a need for tenants to reduce their accommodation costs.
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