11:37 AM, 5th September 2022, About A year ago
One lettings agency in London says that tenant demand is so great in the capital for rental properties that many homes are being let within minutes of becoming available.
Benham and Reeves point to demand created by the return of professionals and international students, along with the growing shortage of available properties to rent, for creating a ‘challenging market’.
Tenant enquiry levels have continued to increase over the summer, across the firm’s 19 branches.
They say this is the ‘Most competitive London rental market that we have ever known’.
In addition, tenants are finding that many branches have had almost no stock available, at best one or two apartments available to rent.
In a market update, the agent says: “Many properties are renting within hours – and some within minutes – as applicants immediately make an enquiry as soon as a property goes live on our website.
“This is swiftly followed by a full asking rent offer and once agreed, a holding deposit – so anxious are they to secure a property.
“This of course is great news for buy-to-let investors who, in many parts of the capital, are seeing their rental properties let immediately with voids at an absolute minimum. Sometimes just a day or two.”
The update also makes clear that the imbalance between supply and demand means that London is now a ‘landlord’s market’ with property investors expanding their property portfolios.
And rents are rising to pre-pandemic levels – some are now 10% higher.
Investors from overseas are also finding that the weakness of sterling makes London property considerably more affordable, while the shortage of rental properties means demand is the highest that the agent ‘has ever seen’.
Professionals returning to live and work in London, along with international students, are fuelling demand.
In some areas, including the City and east London, around 85% of applicants have been international students.
With the rental market so competitive, tenancy renewals remain at an all-time high – often more than 90% of existing tenants are renewing because they see there is a limited choice of properties available.