Demand for central London rental properties has increased by 195% compared to January 2020, according to data from estate agent Dexters.
Over 330 deals were agreed in each week of January 2021 and there are currently more than 36,700 prospective tenants looking for a place to live in London — up 48% from 2020.
Central London has seemed like a ghost town during the COVID-19 pandemic, however it appears behind the scenes there is a bustling rental market preparing for post-coronavirus life.
Dexters CEO Andy Shepherd, said: “Despite a few negative trading statements being reported by some online lettings agents, to the contrary Dexters lettings activity has been extremely robust and our data shows that the London rentals market is in good health.
“The COVID-19 vaccine rollout will help to breath life back into central London and lead to a renaissance in the lettings market.
“London lettings properties are currently more affordable than pre-COVID and due to the lockdown and travel bans many tenants can afford slightly bigger budgets.”
Lettings in prime central London (PCL) have remained hot commodities for the estate agent, with the last eight months being the busiest for PCL lettings in the past five years.
Despite the future of the UK property market remaining uncertain as restrictions begin to ease and coronavirus vaccines are rolled out across the country, Dexters expects to see a 2-3% increase in the value of PCL lettings in 2021 and a doubling of the number of lettings transactions.
The rental agent revealed it had seen particularly high demand in the West End and the City of London areas, as well as in suburbs such as Notting Hill, Wimbledon and Hampstead where renters are looking for leafier surroundings.
Areas such as London Bridge, Southwark, Canary Wharf and Docklands have also seen high demand as renters are now placing more focus on avoiding a long commute post-COVID1-9, as well as proximity to green spaces, the river and leisure activities.
Matt Huybrechts, Dexters Mayfair lettings director, said: “Not only are people looking for pieds-à-terre but family homes as well and tenants are taking properties for lifestyle reasons, often they are working from home, have a bit more money to spend as a result of that and have one eye on a return to work and avoiding a commute.
“For every tenant leaving central London for the shires we are seeing one return and look to be more central in London than they would normally be able to be.”
The lack of tourists, students and business travellers is partially responsible for increased availability of rental property in England’s capital, resulting in “some bargains,” according to Dexters.
With increased choice, many renters have been able to move closer to central London and take out longer lets, although Dexters expects this to recede in 2021 as short-term lets make a comeback, potentially forcing rental prices back up.
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