Tenants leave central London to escape high rents

Tenants are continuing to vote with their feet in the most expensive parts of London, by moving out to cheaper areas.

Agents are reporting the ongoing exodus, amid an over-supply of properties, with landlords having to freeze or cut rents.

Douglas & Gordon says there are currently 30% more properties available than a year ago.

Lettings director Virginia Skilbeck said: “One of the biggest changes we are seeing is the reduced demand in prime central London as tenants are forced to move further out to save money.

“Traditionally, corporate tenants have housed themselves in the best and most expensive parts of central London. However, we are seeing much greater demand from corporate tenants in the peripheral areas as many companies have reduced accommodation allowances.”

Chesterton Humberts says its supply of rental properties is 12% ahead of this time a year ago, and that tenant demand has ‘softened’ due to cuts in corporate budgets, City redundancies and cheap mortgage deals which are encouraging people in rented accommodation to buy.

Landlords have become keener to renew existing tenancy agreements, and the firm said: “Many landlords are responding by offering to free rents for tenants and sometimes reduce them altogether.”

Chesterton Humberts’ and Douglas & Gordon’s reports follow an almost identical analysis from Cluttons.

All three firms have been outspoken about market forces driving rents down, at a time when London Mayor Boris Johnson has come under pressure to impose rent controls across the city.