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Home NewsThe London Rental Market – May 2016

The London Rental Market – May 2016

With spring finally here, demand for rental accommodation in London is increasing noticeably in most areas, with young professionals looking for affordable one and two bedroom properties dominating the rental market. New residential developments across London are in high demand and many tenants now opt for these in preference to a period conversion. The rental market remains competitive and with applicants keen to negotiate to get the best deal they can, we are advising landlords to be flexible on asking rental to ensure their property lets quickly.

Central London

2 bedroom flat at Fitzroy Place, W1
2 bedroom flat at Fitzroy Place, W1

Our Hyde Park branch is busy and experiencing strong demand for affordable one bedroom properties which are letting within days. There is also a good market for high-end properties priced between £800 and £2,000 per week. Relocation agents are very active, looking for family homes for senior executives of large firms, many of whom are relocating to London from the Far East. Areas like Fitzrovia and Mayfair are sought-after, with prestigious new developments such as Fitzroy Place are in high demand. Despite their higher price tag, we’ve successfully to let two apartments at full asking rental within 48 hours of instruction. Most professional tenants prefer the high spec and amenities of an apartment in a brand-new development, and period properties often struggle to compete with these.

There is good demand for one and two bedroom properties in Kensington as we move towards the busy spring and summer season.  Relocation agents are busy requesting properties for executives looking for family homes ahead of the September school term and most of these are looking for high-end properties in the £1,500 – £2,000 price bracket. We have also been receiving a number of new instructions recently, both period properties and apartments in new developments. In Knightsbridge there is strong demand for studios and one bedroom apartments. Our branch is also receiving plenty of enquiries for short let properties for short stays in London over the summer.   Many tenants are choosing to renew their existing tenancy rather than incur costs by moving meaning tenancy renewals are around 85% at the moment. This is good news for landlords who wish to retain a good tenant, maintaining continuity of income and eliminating voids. Our Ealing branch at the Dickens Yard development continues to see good rental demand, particularly from Japanese corporate tenants moving to London.  The development’s next phase, Dashwood House, completes later this month and we are already receiving enquiries for apartments in this new building.    Quayside House at Kew Bridge is also completing soon and we have received keen interest in apartments here too. Apartments at Fulham Reach remain popular and our branch on-site at the development is receiving plenty of enquiries, particularly for smaller apartments. Many tenants really fall in love with the development once they have moved in and we are seeing tenancy renewal rates of around 60% at the moment. For tenants on a more modest budget, apartments at nearby developments such as Hamlet Gardens, King Henry’s Reach and the Beacon Tower at Putney Plaza offer a good alternative. Rental demand remains good at Imperial Wharf and we continue to see strong levels of enquiries, both from overseas applicants moving to the UK and from applicants wishing to move here from other parts of London. One bedroom apartments are letting particularly quickly at the moment.

City, Canary Wharf, Docklands and East London

2 bedroom flat at Kidbrooke Village, SE3
2 bedroom flat at Kidbrooke Village, SE3

Our City and Canary Wharf branches have had a very strong first quarter to 2016 and this high rental demand looks set to continue into the summer months. In the City developments such as Goodman’s Fields top many applicants’ wish lists while in Canary Wharf, we have had an excellent response to the launch of apartments at Lincolns Plaza. This development ticks all the boxes for those looking for a high spec and fantastic amenities including a health club, cinema, 24-hour concierge and winter garden ‘Sky Lounge’. While stock levels are generally good in Canary Wharf, we are starting to see shortages of smaller properties – studios and one bedroom apartments.  There are around five applicants for every one bedroom apartment and this strong competition can create a bidding war amongst tenants, pushing up asking rentals above the market rate in some areas.

Our Surrey Quays branch at the Marine Wharf development is seeing strong demand too.  Enquiry levels are high – IT professionals are looking for high spec homes within a short commute of Old Street’s tech hub at ‘Silicon Roundabout’, while young professionals are generally looking for affordable homes within easy reach of Canary Wharf. Our Wapping branch is also very busy, with many high quality developments springing up in the area, offering a standard of accommodation and amenities that were once the preserve of Canary Wharf. We are finding tenants are looking for more affordably-priced rental homes in the area. The popularity of Greenwich and Blackheath continues to grow and Kidbrooke Village is one of the developments which continues to attract strong enquiries. It is only a 15-minute commute from London Bridge yet is in a leafy, green part of South East London with good amenities.  Apartments in the latest phase, Grayston House, are letting quickly and start at £290 per week.

North West London

3 bedroom flat, East Heath Road, NW3
3 bedroom flat, East Heath Road, NW3

The Hampstead rental market is really picking up and there is a noticeable upturn in enquiries. Applicants are looking for good quality two bedroom apartments, ideally with two bathrooms. Most are also looking for outside space, either a small garden or balcony. The relocation market is busy, with agents looking for three or four bedroom family homes at asking rentals upwards of £1250 per week.

One bedroom apartments remain sought after, particularly with young couples moving to Hampstead from elsewhere in London, keen to put down roots here.  Character properties too are in high demand and we have just let several Victorian period cottages in quick succession, all within a few days of going on the market.

In a competitive market, most landlords recognise the importance of presentation and we have several who are currently upgrading their rental properties. Refurbishment can boost asking rental by around 10%, and smart, newly-decorated one bedroom apartments are achieving £400 – £425 per week.

There is strong rental demand in Hendon and Colindale and, as ever, the Beaufort Park development remains extremely popular, with very high levels of enquiries for studios and one bedroom apartments.  The Carleton Apartments have just completed and we have been receiving a lot of new instructions here as there is very good demand from tenants wishing to live in this brand new building. Many applicants are moving to Beaufort Park from central London, looking for more affordable yet still high quality accommodation and we also receive a lot of enquiries from applicants who have been recommended to us by existing tenants who love living here.

Rental demand is picking up significantly in Highgate, with good levels of demand for one bedroom properties, which are letting immediately. We are also starting to receive enquiries from relocation agents looking for three, four and five bedroom properties on behalf of their clients with good budgets of £700 – £2,000 per week. We are also receiving plenty of new instructions from landlords, ready to meet the growing demand in the busy summer months.


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