Prime London lettings market buoyant despite seasonal voids

Prime Central London estate agent, W.A.Ellis, saw a buoyant lettings market in 2013, with a 50% increase in tenancies agreed in 2013 compared to 2012, and an estimated 2.8% increase in rents in 2013, however, this price increase was 0.4% less than 2012 when prices rose by 3.2%.

Lucy Morton, senior partner and head of lettings at Prime Central London estate agency, W.A.Ellis, comments:

“Although rents did increase last year overall, in the lead up to Christmas, we did see prices reduce by as much as 20% in order for landlords to secure a tenant and prevent void periods.

“Voids periods did creep up last year but the figures are slightly distorted as the lettings market has become more seasonal.  For the last two years in particular, the key lettings months have been between April and October – in these periods, a property can let within a week, whereas void periods can be substantially increased if a property becomes available between November and March.  The changeover season in the lettings calendar continues to be during July when we notice a marked increase in our tenancy terminations.  This is driven by not only the end of the school year for families, but also the end of the academic year for universities.  Year on year, we are noticing a substantial increase in high net worth overseas students flocking to study in London which adds to this.

“Presentation was key in 2013 and will continue to be paramount in 2014.  A badly presented property will sit on the market and warrant a rent reduction, therefore distorting rental statistics even further.  A property well presented and priced correctly should let within a month of commencement of marketing, particularly in the key calendar months.  Once a property is let, our average tenancy hovers around the three year mark.

“It is always difficult to predict market conditions 100% accurately, but I believe that it will be more of the same for 2014 although with the economy picking up, indications are that the City will be hiring thus creating more tenants.  I therefore predict that Prime Central London rents will increase by marginally over 3% in 2014.”

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