On your marks, get set… go!

Although initial reports indicated that rental prices would soar, reaching unprecedented levels that have never been seen before, the experts at Belvoir have warned that landlords should be careful not to price their properties out of the market.

Zain Mahal proprietor of Belvoir Stratford, which operates in the heart of where the Olympics will be held, says that although there has been an increase in rental demand in the Stratford area, excessive rental returns have in fact been muted. “Due to the influx of a high number of tourists from both the UK and abroad, plus the athletes and companies participating in The Games, the demand for rental property in our area has increased,” he says. “There is a high demand for properties near the Olympics’ Park and in and around Stratford to save commuting time – and many landlords have looked for the best ways to capitalise on this. “However, although we have seen some rental price increases I have advised landlords to focus on keeping the prices realistic and not to demand too high a premium. “While undoubtedly the London 2012 Games will help boost the economy and the rental income for some central London landlords, they still need to be realistic – accepting a good rental offer is better than being left with a vacant property. “Although there is a huge demand for properties, there is also a wide supply of properties available,” he continues, “and landlords must remember that they are competing directly with hotels and high quality properties.”

While central London agents, such as Zain, have reported some increased rental activity, agents on the outskirts of the city say that the impact of the Olympics has actually been fairly minimal. “I think the demand for properties around London is extremely high anyway so I’m not sure the Olympics have had that much impact,” says proprietor of Belvoir Ilford Carl Belle.

“Some landlords have tried to increase rent for the Olympics period but, of course, there is only a defined amount of money out there and some of them have been unrealistic and failed to get any interest. “It’s important for landlords to be sensible and not get on the hype bandwagon of trying to achieve crazy levels of rent, especially if the property is nowhere near Stratford.”

Jon McNeice of Belvoir Brentwood agrees that some landlords on the outskirts of London have unrealistic expectations of what rents can be achieved during the Olympics, with some landlords asking tenants for more than £20k a month. “Some landlords have been asking for huge sums of money to rent their properties,” he says. “One couple were asking for £9k a week and, although they were very confident this was achievable, their property is still sat there unoccupied. “In all honesty there hasn’t been a massive surge in demand for rental properties in our area. We had enquiries last December from the Olympics organisers looking for accommodation for staff, but we haven’t seen an increase in tourists looking for short-term lets. “We’ve got a large hotel opposite our office and we asked them to contact us if they got fully-booked or there was an overflow of guests, but even they aren’t fully-booked at this stage. “Maybe it’s because of the many news articles describing ‘soaring rental prices’, or perhaps it’s because of the premium rents achievable during Wimbledon, but I think a lot of landlords have got unrealistic ideas. “In Brentwood the supply of property has definitely outstripped demand. Although I’ve had a lot of landlords pop in to the office and say their properties are available to let or for B & B, we’ve not really had many tourist enquiries.” In fact, for most landlords and agents, it’s just business as usual…

“I’d love to say that the Olympics has made a big difference for our landlords but it hasn’t,” says proprietor of Belvoir Camberley Craig Walker. “Like many other offices on the outskirts of London, at Belvoir Camberley it is just business as usual.”

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