If you’ve had the delightful (and definitely not depressing) experience of trying to find a rental in London over the past few months, then you’ll know that it’s basically a property edition of ‘The Hunger Games’. It’s hell out here.
If you haven’t had the pleasure, it basically goes like this. You rock up to a flat viewing only to find 30 other prospective tenants, all frothing at the mouth, ready to butter up the landlord. Later that day, you get a call from said landlord, who says something like: ’This property is extremely popular... I'm taking offers’ (AKA they want as much money as they can get). You then find yourself in a toxic bidding war that ends up almost doubling the asking price and you’re completely outbid. As we said: hellish.
Well, according to Foxtons estate agents, the average property rental price in London has officially reached an eye-watering record high of £533 per week, thanks, in part, to landlords taking advantage of the chronic shortage of rentals in the capital.
In September, an average of 29 renters were competing for each property with many private landlords encouraging bidding wars and ridiculous deals like six months of rent upfront for tenancy applications. And Londoners are getting pushed to extreme lengths to find a place to live. In September, renters in the capital were forced to spend 101 percent of their budgets, up three percent from August.
So, why is the demand so high? According to Gareth Atkins, managing director for lettings at Foxtons, it's a combination of factors. Students have just come back to London for IRL teaching and need somewhere to live, corporate relocations are back in full-swing post-Covid, and rising interest rates have meant some potential buyers have decided to continue renting until it’s a better time to buy. Plus, because of the rising cost of rent and living, tenants are simply renewing their current contracts and hogging the good deals.
Atkins said in a statement: ‘The lettings market in September continued to grow as we hit a new record high for the average rental price.’
’In September, 29 applicants registered for every new property brought to the market. Combined with this, there were 38 percent less new market listings than the same time last year.’
According to Foxton's data, south and east London saw the most competition in September, with 37 applicants per property, and north London saw the largest monthly increase with 20 percent more applications. But, of course, central London has continued to produce the highest average weekly rent this year at £636, a 30 percent increase on prices recorded in 2021.
And we haven't got any good news — it doesn’t seem like the demand is going to drop off any time soon. Atkins said: ‘With over three-quarters of our tenants choosing to renew rather than look for a new property, I don’t expect the pressure of low stock to ease anytime soon.’
Done with all this crap? F*** this, I’m moving abroad: the Brits fed up with the cost of living in the UK.