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Home Press releasesProperty marketLondon tenants facing severe stock shortage as just 4% of rental properties currently to let

London tenants facing severe stock shortage as just 4% of rental properties currently to let

london tenants facing severe stock shortage

The latest research by London lettings and estate agent, Benham and Reeves, has revealed the uphill struggle facing those in search of a London rental property, as currently, just 4% of London rental homes are available on the market for new tenants.

Benham and Reeves analysed current rental market stock availability across London, looking at how the availability of stock has changed and which boroughs are home to the lowest level of homes for rent as a proportion of total rental properties.

The research shows that at present, there are some 40,496 rental homes available to rent across London. This equates to 4% of the capital’s total 1,009,266 rental homes highlighting the slim pickings on offer to prospective London tenants.

The good news is that this low level of stock has, at least, shown signs of increasing, up 21% on a quarterly basis and 5% annually.

However, in some boroughs of London, the chances of securing a rental property are almost non-existent.

In Barking and Dagenham, there are currently 180 homes listed to let, equating to just 1% of the borough’s total rental properties.

Across Newham, Haringey, Croydon, Havering, Bexley, Enfield, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, current available rental stock equates to 2% of total rental properties, climbing to 3% across Ealing, Hounslow, Bromley, Brent, Hillingdon, Harrow, Sutton and Lewisham.

Across a further 12 boroughs, less than one in ten rental homes are currently available to new tenants, with just Camden (10%), City of London (11%), Kensington and Chelsea (12%) and Westminster (12%) home to a higher percentage, albeit available rental stock levels are still scarce.

Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, commented:

“London may be seeing a subdued rate of growth when it comes to the sales market, but the rental sector has been on fire of late and is buckling under the pressure of huge tenant demand.

A return to normality has seen increased activity from professional tenants, students and foreign renters, all of which have caused stock levels to plummet, making it extremely difficult for new tenants to find and secure a property.

As our research shows, stock levels are scarcest across the capital’s more peripheral, affordable boroughs, but even those with the financial clout to rent in prime central London will struggle. In fact, we’re seeing an average of 37 applicants for every available rental property that enters the market.

At the same time, our landlords have seen a four fold increase in the monthly cost of their mortgage and this will inevitably result in rents climbing higher, otherwise landlords will have to exit the sector. If they do, even less stock to meet demand will also push up rents so it’s a tough time to be a tenant whichever way you look at it.

The only silver lining is that the total number of homes to let has started to creep up, however, this increase is simply insufficient when it comes to fulfilling the current appetite for London rental properties.”

Table shows rental listings as a proportion of all London rental properties by quarter
Period Available rental stock to let Proportion of Total Stock Available*
Q1 2022 26,760 3%
Q2 2022 38,670 4%
Q3 2022 30,106 3%
Q4 2022 30,134 3%
Q1 2023 33,562 3%
Q2 2023 40,496 4%
Q change % 21% 1%
Annual change % 5% 0%
*Based on total London rental stock level of 1,009,266
Table shows available rental listings as a proportion of all London rental properties by quarter (July 2023)
Location Available rental stock to let Total Rental Market Stock Est proportion %
Westminster 6,203 52,137 12%
Kensington and Chelsea 3,721 31,926 12%
City of London 321 2,873 11%
Camden 3,445 34,284 10%
Tower Hamlets 3,862 46,903 8%
Hammersmith and Fulham 2,230 30,658 7%
Islington 2,069 29,936 7%
Wandsworth 2,662 49,995 5%
Southwark 1,909 37,198 5%
Richmond upon Thames 918 21,099 4%
Merton 955 22,881 4%
Lambeth 1,800 44,295 4%
Greenwich 1,095 27,346 4%
Kingston upon Thames 672 17,133 4%
Hackney 1,343 35,807 4%
Barnet 1,584 43,517 4%
Ealing 1,357 40,659 3%
Hounslow 841 27,447 3%
Bromley 605 22,248 3%
Brent 1,070 39,850 3%
Hillingdon 618 23,288 3%
Harrow 586 22,629 3%
Sutton 405 15,734 3%
Lewisham 884 34,719 3%
Newham 1,087 45,164 2%
Haringey 888 37,170 2%
Croydon 888 39,223 2%
Havering 310 13,706 2%
Bexley 281 14,065 2%
Enfield 507 31,676 2%
Redbridge 425 27,776 2%
Waltham Forest 447 29,399 2%
Barking and Dagenham 180 16,525 1%

Current rental market stock sourced from Rightmove
Total rental market stock sourced from the Office for National Statistics – Subnational estimates of dwellings by tenure, England


About the Author

Established in 1958, Benham and Reeves is one of London’s oldest, independently owned property lettings and sales agents. With specialism in residential sales, corporate lettings and property management in prime areas of London, the company operates from 21 prominently located branches and 14 international offices.