The last few weeks have been busy at our central London lettings offices, with high demand across the board. There’s been the usual last minute rush of students looking to rent accommodation in central London before the start of University and of course, families looking for properties before the start of the new school term.
Demand is strong for rental properties in Kensington, Knightsbridge, Notting Hill Gate and Hyde Park at the moment.
Our lettings offices in Kensington, Knightsbridge and Hyde Park are reporting an increase in the number of professionals relocating to London from overseas, either searching for a rental property in central London themselves or through a relocation agency.
Tenants remain price conscious so one and two bed properties are still most popular, with demand for larger homes slightly weaker generally. Demand is highest for properties up to £1000pw.
We’re used to seeing students requesting larger properties to share in order to save money but our Hyde Park and Knightsbridge offices are also reporting that this trend is now continuing into the professional market. Budgets are under pressure and professional sharers are getting together to rent maybe a three bed/two bathroom or two bed/two bathroom property to reduce accommodation costs.
Rental demand in the City, Docklands and Canary Wharf is noticeably higher than at this time last year and much of this is due to the slowdown in the rental market in 2012 due to the Olympics. Thankfully, the rental market has now returned to a more normal pattern and the third quarter of 2013 has been much busier than the same quarter in 2012.
In fact, we are now running out of housing stock so are actively looking for new instructions. Rental properties in East London are letting quickly and all types of property are in demand, from studios to two and three bed apartments. We’re seeing high numbers of applicants, ranging from students to young professionals. Demand from relocation agents is also extremely good.
I have just returned from a trip to the Far East to meet clients in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong and I can report that investors here remain focused on East London as it offers excellent rental potential and good yields.
A real trend we’ve been noticing recently is that applicants are choosing a property by the quality of the development – the finish and the amenities, rather than by location. Tenants are more flexible and if the apartment is finished to a high spec and has the facilities they want – a gym, spa, car parking or concierge usually, they’ll look at locations that they might not have considered before, so long as transport links are good. For that reason, new build residential developments in Bow, Poplar, Canada Water, Greenwich and Lewisham – all within a 15 or 20 minute commute of the City, continue to attract lots of interest and are letting very quickly. Usually applicants will make a judgement initially by looking at images online – they’ll only view a property if it presents really well so landlords need to be aware of this before putting their property on the market.
Demand remains good for rental properties in Hampstead, with two bed apartments and three and four bed homes letting quickly at the moment. Young professional renters and families looking to relocate before the start of the new school term in September have been driving this. Properties close to Hampstead Village, Hampstead Heath and in Belsize Park are in especially high demand.
We’re noticing that landlords are becoming very focused on the level of customer service they receive from their letting agent. They expect their agent to really go the extra mile in terms of service, feedback and attention to detail and this, rather than just price, is a deciding factor on which agent to choose.
Over at Beaufort Park in Hendon, our office has been very busy with applicants, particularly students looking for a new home before the start of the University term. Many are looking to share and are opting for two bed apartments (£350-£370pw). We’re also busy with professional applicants looking for affordable homes within easy reach of the City. With applicants remaining budget-conscious, high quality residential developments like Beaufort Park, where it’s possible to find well priced rental apartments within such easy reach of the City and Canary Wharf, just continue to grow in popularity.
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