Market Commentary

As previously reported, the Central London lettings market continues to perform strongly and the feared seasonal fluctuations had little real impact on the number of transactions, or rent levels over the summer and into early autumn.

However, a continued period of above average returns has led to an increase in the number of landlords deciding to cash-in and leave the market. In some cases this has been due to cashflow issues resulting from a surge in refurbishment and maintenance requests, or slight rent arrears. But with a strong sales market, some landlords have decided not to renew tenancies and to make a profitable exit. Quite where they'll park their money instead, is anyone's guess...!

Tenants have become much more vocal in their requests for upgrades as they seek more for their money. Whilst they can do little to reduce their rent exposure, they can ensure that every minor niggle is seen to, whereas previously these may have been overlooked. This is in line with the rising cost of living and the surging pressure to better manage personal finances.

September saw an enormous demand from overseas students desperately trying to organise accommodation at the last minute. Being unfamiliar with the UK market and processes, many of these were under the impression that they could move in on the same day as viewing, as long as they paid 6 months rent in advance. Sadly, they were disappointed to learn that referencing and check-in procedures still apply and that a delay of a few days was inevitable.

As the weather starts to worsen, we have been suggesting the usual pre-emptive boiler servicing, to avoid some of the winter headaches of failed heating at a time when all plumbers seem to be short-staffed and overworked. The take-up has been slow and a general willingness to gamble seems to be in place, which is rather worrying for managing agents and tenants alike.

Renewal increases have been between 5-15% depending on location and tenure, with only a handful of tenants deciding to vacate. Accordingly, void periods have been minimised for another quarter and well managed properties, let to well referenced tenants have seen overall supply fall.