The faltering economy has hit corporate lets hard, says Savills
Jane Ingram, head of lettings at Savills says, “Typically, the prime London family house market is fuelled by corporately-funded families who would rent a 4 bed house, but we are increasingly seeing them downsizing to 3 bed properties with their budget cut from £2000 per week to £1200 per week.
“The lettings market is definitely responding to the current economic uncertainty and the corporate-geared market always suffers most at such times and rents are coming off by around 5%. Companies are sitting on their hands and relocation demand is therefore coming in at the lower end of prime, with budgets below £1000 per week.”
Prime Central London prices have seen a small growth in both houses and flats quarter on quarter. The international student demand has kept the flats market in particular very busy over the last few months, with an average budget of £1000 per week, but rising to £7000 per week with much of the demand coming from the Middle East and Asia.
“For landlords prepared to take in a student this can be a very good let,” adds Ingram. “International tenants don’t have a credit history here so pay a year in advance.”
However, she concludes: “Whilst a seasonal slowdown is expected as this time of the year, there is no doubt the economy is having an effect on the corporate driven market.”
Prime London capital values rose by 1.1% in the quarter – itself a slowdown from 3.2% growth in the previous three months – while rents rose by an average of just 0.4% compared to 1.8% in the second quarter. Annual prime London price growth now stands at 8.5% compared to 7.3% rental growth.
“Conditions in the prime London rental market are still favouring landlords,” says Yolande Barnes, director of Savills residential research. “But the fact that house prices have outpaced rental growth means yields remain suppressed, so the advantage is good occupancy levels rather than income growth.
“The balance of supply and demand is showing that supply coming on to the rental market is below average for this time of year.
“We had anticipated that by this stage in the market we would be seeing accidental landlords, those unable to sell and so forced to rent their property, bringing stock to the market. A robust prime London sales market has, to date, meant this has not been the case.”