by Mark Durban - Paramount Lettings Negotiator
The winter months saw the usual drop off in activity in the local lettings market. Overall the demand last year was as high as ever, assisted by the unusually higher stock levels not encountered in previous years.
The increase in the supply chain came from three sources – investment buyers of new build property that reached completion, a one-off increase in supply from those who bought rental property prior to the stamp duty deadline in April 2016, and “accidental landlords” caught by the weak sales market in the aftermath of the EU referendum.
On the demand side, the referendum slowed demand from those employed in the banking industry and made large corporations more cautious about recruitment, particularly at a senior level. This has had a particular impact on demand for family housing. With tenants increasingly budget conscious, they have also continued to be more flexible around chosen locations. Despite being much more price sensitive, the market has remained very active for smaller properties, especially in areas such as Islington and Shoreditch, where growth in the tech industry has supported demand.
There still remains the risk of continued falls in prime rental values in London over the short term. This will mean landlords, particularly those who own larger properties, needing to remain flexible in their rental expectations and ensure the property meets prospective tenants' hopes in terms of condition and amenities.