The first six months of 2022 saw 171 per cent more enquiries from tenants looking for properties in London compared to the pre-covid year of 2019, says Chestertons.
This was 58 per cent more than last year.
The agency’s figures also show 45 per cent fewer available rental properties on the market compared to last year, illustrating just how competitive London’s rental market currently is for tenants.
This continued shortage is the main cause for the jumps in rents seen over the past six months. The average monthly asking rent in London, according to Rightmove, stood at £2,193 in Q1 2022 – a 14.3 per cent increase since last year.
Chestertons managing director Richard Davies says: “We have certainly seen the most competitive rental market in recent history over the past six months. Tenants are having to act quickly to arrange viewings and make offers and come to terms with the fact that they will almost certainly be paying more for their rent than they were previously.”
Chestertons believes the demand from tenants is being driven by factors including aspiring house hunters postponing their property search; people working from the office more regularly; and the return of international students and company relocations.
Davies continues: “As rents have continued to rise, we have noticed more and more tenants opting to renew their existing tenancies and avoid going back into the open market. There are now 24 per cent more tenants choosing to extend their lease than in 2019, and 13 per cent more than last year.”
He concludes: “As we enter the busiest time of the year for the rental market, all the numbers point towards it continuing to be extremely competitive for tenants. We expect rents will creep up slightly, although probably slower than in previous months as affordability ceilings are reached and cost of living issues start to bite.”