With significantly more properties to choose from, tenants are firmly in control when it comes to the private rented market in the Home Counties, as reflected by a drop in rental prices so far this year.
Despite a 23% year-on-year rise in the volume of new tenancies agreed in the first three months of the year, prime rental values dropped by 2.3% across the Home Counties, following a 1.8% decline in the previous quarter, according to Knight Frank.
The estate agency was instructed to let 33% more properties in Q1 2017 compared with the previous year, while the number of market appraisals – a good indicator of future stock levels – was up by 39% compared with the corresponding period, placing downward pressure on rental values in the Home Counties.
The volume of new prospective tenants, in comparison, rose 15% year-on-year between January and March, with demand highest in the sub-£2,000 per month price bracket
Some 61% of new tenants in Q1 were from the UK, followed by tenants from North America, the data shows.
Corporate enquiries from individuals relocating to the Home Counties for work were fairly robust over the course of the quarter, increasing by 17% compared with the same point last year, and the indications are that interest from corporate tenants will rise further over the summer months ahead of the start of the new US and UK school terms in August and September.
Jemma Scott, a partner in Knight Frank’s Home Counties lettings team, said: “The figures very much reflect the feedback that we have been getting and the general sentiment within the market.
“After a challenging summer last year we saw a surge in rental deal volumes at the beginning of 2017 which, coupled with the heightened level of enquiries from prospective tenants, means we head into the traditionally busy spring and summer market with great optimism.”