Central London rents jump by record as tenants return to capital

Published Mon, Jul 12, 2021 · 10:44 AM

[LONDON] Londoners have returned to their city center with a bang.

Rents in central districts surged 4.3 per cent in June from the previous month, the fastest pace on record, as the easing of lockdown restrictions lured tenants back to urban life, according to estate agent Hamptons International. That's the first time since the start of the pandemic that rents saw a monthly increase.

"Inner London landlords have suffered more than investors anywhere else in the country. But in recent months rental growth here has changed course," said Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, which sees rents in the area returning to pre-pandemic levels over the next year.

Prices were boosted as the number of tenants seeking leases surged by 45 per cent in June compared with the same period in 2019. A lack of available homes has also put upward pressure on rents, as short-term lets such as Airbnb properties come back to the market.

The revived interest in city living offers the potential for central London to bounce back from a devastating year. Debate is still raging about whether the pandemic has permanently soured the allure of city life - or if the trend of urban flight will unwind along with the remaining lockdown measures.

Those who are returning to the city may be in for something of a bargain. Despite the June spike, rents are still down 16.5 per cent from a year earlier.

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