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London may never regain pre-Covid appeal to tenants - rental chief

A lettings chief says London may never regain its appeal to the typical renter, as new data shows the capital still struggling to recover.

Room-sharing service SpareRoom says the price of the average London room rent in the third quarter of this year was £725, down seven per cent from the £780 in Q3 2019. 

Although London fared worse than other English cities, it was actually Edinburgh that saw the single biggest rent drop, out of the UK’s 50 largest urban locations, with rents in the Scottish capital down 10 per cent between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020. 


Telford, Glasgow, Gloucester, Ipswich, Birmingham, Reading, Aberdeen and Stoke-on-Trent also showed declines, although only between one and two per cent.

“Once again, London dominates the headlines in terms of falling rents, and it’s generally the most expensive neighbourhoods that are worst affected. With so many young renters leaving the capital, either to find cheaper rents, to move with family, or to leave the UK altogether, it's hard to know when - or even if - London will regain the appeal it had before the pandemic” says SpareRoom director Matt Hutchinson.

"What we’re seeing might just be a temporary shift in the rental market, or it may be the start of the UK’s rental map being redrawn permanently. Even if young renters do return to the capital in their previous numbers, affordability will be their absolute top priority, in a city that already had an affordability crisis coming into this.”

SpareRoom’s analysis looks in detail at the rent falls across the capital.


Rents in EC3/Aldgate (down 34 per cent), W9/Maida Vale/Paddington (down 20 per cent) and SW1/Westminster/Belgravia/Pimlico (down 17 per cent) saw the biggest falls in London, decreasing dramatically from £1,244, £983 and £1,108 to £824, £788 and £922 respectively year-on-year. 

The only London postcode district that didn’t see a drop is SE, with rents sitting at £713. 

Taking a closer look at the capital’s postcodes, there were also dramatic rent decreases in W10 (North Kensington), NW8 (St John’s Wood) and W8 (Holland Park), all down by 16 per cent from £932, £944 and £1,132 to £785, £797 and £956 respectively. 

NW1 (Camden) saw rents drop from £1,011 to £860 (down 15 per cent), with SW6 (Fulham) down 14 per cent (£939 to £807) and SW8 (South Lambeth) down 13 per cent (£856 to £744).

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  • George Dawes

    Why I concentrate on 3-4 beds and commercial with high £ , studio/1 beds are a non starter as they attract kids with no money and there's a glut of them thanks to air bnb flooding the market

  • Mark Wilson

    I have been saying from months rents in central London have taken a kicking. I would be surprised (it would make no sense) if any sector comes out of this unaffected.

  • icon

    I expect London will take a kicking, people moving out and who can blame them.


    The places people are moving to will enjoy a boom in market rents, especially with lots of rent dodgers sitting it out until eventual eviction.

    Perhaps not such an ill wind.....

  • icon

    "London may never regain pre-Covid appeal to tenants - rental chief" is a 'grab your attention' heading - that is just speculation. No-one can predict the situation after Covid19 has gone. You might as well have devised a heading "London may well regain its pre-Covid appeal to tenants". No-one knows. More factual headlines please ...........

    • 21 October 2020 10:28 AM

    There won't be a post-Covid situation.
    There will be a permanent change to the London economy.
    If I was investing there would be no way I would even consider any London property especially anywhere within the North and South Circulars.

    London is a busted flush.
    The clever money got out just before CV19 hit.

    The money to be made now is with houses near stns that can reach London easily.
    Hour commutes are no problem if being done once or twice a week.
    The WFH phenomenon will become part of normality.

    There will be many developers going bust in London.
    Nobody needs or wants shiney new office blocks anymore.

  • icon

    Is all this data from 'Room-sharing service SpareRoom'? From the figures it looks like it, and the drop in attractiveness of flatshares during COVID-19 is hardly surprising. That it most affected two capital cities with young, mobile populations, equally predictable. The headline of this piece should be 'flat-sharers' not 'tenants' - the two can be very different things. Another sloppy corporate press release rewarded with free advertising.

  • Ruan Gildchirst

    34% fall in rents?!?!!?!?!!

    That is a crash by any way you look at it

    What will it look like next year as this crash picks up speed

  • Kristjan Byfield

    A bizarre comment to make even in these strange and uncertain times. London, due to our history, culture, architecture, etc will always be a top destination for tourists- this market will return which will see the return of the likes of Airbnb which will help to normalise supply. The office sector will either slowly return to a near-normal after a cure/vaccination is delivered OR central London will transform in to a more residential & social space creating a different type of appeal (akin to the 70 & 80s) where it is a lifestyle choice rather than a work related choice. None of this will happen overnight but to suggest 'London may never recover' is just daft- London will ALWAYS recover.

    • 21 October 2020 13:51 PM

    Nah it won't commuters have been the lifeblood of London.
    Tourists though very significant to the London economy will never make up for commuter loss.

    WFH has changed everything.
    Comnuters will have got used to saving £7000 a year on travel costs.
    4 years WFH enough for a decent deposit with the travel savings.


    I agree, I've got my fingers crossed for a flat overlooking the Tower of London... but only if it has a 24hr concierge. Here, in Islington, our concierge service only covers 10 hrs a day and it isn't even always 7 days a week ?!? It is shameful, I tell you.

  • icon
    • 24 October 2020 08:14 AM


    Well you get what you pay for perhaps you should be aspiring to more select accommodation.
    Maybe somewhere in Mayfair!

    Clearly you have high expectations.
    Perhaps if Central London becomes cheaper you may find alternative accommodation more in keeping with your high standards

    Of course you have to mix with the diverse communities where the CV19 virus tends to be prevalent.

    Big risk to take which is why hundreds of thousands are leaving London

    So your life risk if you wish to be in a crowded city.

    Mind you it looks like the crowds won't be returning anytime soon!


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