The London rental market – May 2021

Demand for property to rent in London is really picking up and many of our 18 London lettings branches are receiving more enquiries now than at any time over the last year.

A key trend we’re seeing is that professionals have been re-evaluating their property priorities over the last few months and are now choosing to rent larger homes, often with a second bedroom to use as a home office, as well as outside space and proximity to a park or other public open space.

Beaufort Park Colindale

We are seeing the most activity on the fringes of central London where there is a good choice of smart new residential developments. Most properties have a balcony and benefit from larger outdoor areas for residents to enjoy. These tend to come with lower rents and are still within a short commute of their office.

But homes in central London remain popular too, as many professionals would like to return to the office for at least some of the time and ideally would like to be within walking distance of work. So we expect central London to regain its popularity as life gets back to normal, with bars, restaurants and other attractions re-opening and professionals keen to get back to their old lives.

In some areas, we are starting to see the return of overseas professionals, many of whom left London in 2020 but who now wish to return to their London careers so are looking for a new rental home over the next few months. We’re also seeing tentative enquiries from some students who are hoping to return to their universities in person, in September.

So there is a much greater feeling of positivity in London generally and while rents are undoubtedly subdued compared to pre-pandemic levels, as we see the rental market getting busier, we expect rents to strengthen again as competition for the best properties increases.

The easing of lockdown restrictions boosts demand from London’s renters

The rental market in London is changing almost daily at the moment as lockdown restrictions gradually ease, releasing pent-up demand from professional tenants who are keen to return to their pre-pandemic lives.

As ever, new residential developments in many locations remain at the top of many renters’ wish lists.

Rental properties in West London

Dickens Yard Ealing

In Ealing, for example, our Dickens Yard branch is getting busier now and receiving taking on new rental property instructions which are letting relatively quickly (although demand for studios is weaker as tenants are currently needing more space). Our Japan Desk, which is based in nearby Hammersmith, is in the process of letting several apartments at Dickens Yard to Japanese professionals who are planning to move to London imminently. We’ve also let properties to students who are studying at the nearby Met Film School. And the development is also starting to become popular with BNO passport holders from Hong Kong who are moving to London to live and work.

BRAND NEW The Green Quarter

Our Ealing and Kew Bridge branches are also handling lettings at the new Berkeley scheme, The Green Quarter in Southall, West London. The first two buildings have been completing recently and we have let the majority of rental instructions here which are proving popular with young professionals – singles and couples. We’ve also let to a good number of locals who want to remain in the area and who are excited to be taking advantage of renting here at an earlier stage when the rents are lower. The development is close to Southall Station which is on the new Crossrail/Elizabeth line which is due to open in 2022 and will make the commute to Paddington about 15 minutes. One bed apartments are already achieving £250 – £300 per week and two beds £350 – £370 per week so offer excellent value for renters.

If you own a rental property at The Green Quarter, please get in touch with our Ealing or Kew Bridge branches where our staff can give you a free rental valuation.

Also in West London, our Fulham Reach Hammersmith branch is exceptionally busy at the moment. Demand is highest for two bed apartments (with the second bedroom intended for use as a home office) with young professionals, most of whom already live locally, looking to move in the next couple of months. We’re also seeing overseas professionals making enquiries, many of whom returned to their home countries at the start of the pandemic but who are now keen to return to London. Rents are still subdued in comparison to pre pandemic levels but with so many enquiries coming in now and much more movement in the rental market, the situation for landlords is definitely improving. Some new applicants are signing three year tenancies as they are keen for some stability.

New residential developments in North London

In North London, our Highgate branch is also doing some brisk business, building over the last month and because we have been letting our stock, we are keen to receive new instructions to meet the higher demand from applicants.

NEW PHASE at Clarendon N8

In particular, many young professionals are keen to move to the new Clarendon Development in nearby Haringey N8. The first apartments here have been completing for a while and our landlords have been using our professional furnishings service to furnish and dress the properties. This exceptional presentation makes a huge difference when applicants view a property, whether online initially or in person and all the apartments are letting as soon as they have been furnished. Manhattan apartments are achieving £1200-£1300 per month, one beds £1300-£1400 per month and two beds £1600-£1800 per month. Our Highgate branch is also handling lettings at Hale Works in Tottenham where we have several instructions. Rents are similar to the Clarendon so offer good value to tenants.

BNO passport holders look to Beaufort Park

At Beaufort Park in Colindale, rental demand is strong. The latest building, Fairbank House, completed two months ago and we have been receiving instructions regularly, all of which are letting almost immediately. We’re also looking forward to the launch of Fairmont House which is due to start completing later in May. In particular, enquiries have been soaring from BNO passport holders from Hong Kong –a well-known Youtuber has been recommending the development which has led to many word-of-mouth recommendations and we are seeing a Hong Kong community really taking shape here. These range from young professionals to families and retired professionals. Some enquiries are coming to us directly as we have an on-site branch here while some are coming through relocation agents who we work with regularly.

Increasing demand for rental properties in South East London

B&R branch at Royal Arsenal Riverside

And over in East/South East London, we have further phases of apartments becoming available at Kidbrooke Village (Greenwich) and in Woolwich, Royal Arsenal Riverside (where we have a new on-site lettings branch) and in both these locations we are seeing good demand. We are receiving new instructions every day and properties are letting quickly.

Contact your local Benham & Reeves branch for a free, market appraisal

If you own a rental property in London, contact your local Benham & Reeves branch(we have 18 branches across London) and you can discuss the current rental market with any of our qualified staff, and arrange a free market appraisal in person or by video link.

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About the Author

For 35 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

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