London flats – demand yet to bounce back

Capital city registers low numbers in flat rentals despite available stock

London flats – demand yet to bounce back

Despite a move back to normality for those living and working in London, demand for apartment style living across the capital is yet to return, according to the latest research by rental platform Ocasa.

Of the current flats available to rent across the London market, research showed that only 31.9% have already had a let agreed with a tenant.

London is home to the highest level of flat rental stock at 83.3%, closely followed by Scotland. However, work from home advice during the pandemic caused demand for London flats to plummet as professional tenants looked further afield for affordability.

Other reports claimed that rental demand in the cities has been rising and outweighing supply as many are returning to their offices and workplaces. But demand for London flats, specifically, is yet to follow suit.

Ocasa found that flats currently account for 55% of all rental homes listed to let across Britain.

London ranks just seventh out of all regions of Britain when it comes to demand for flat living, despite having the highest level of flat rental stock in the country.

It’s the East of England that currently ranks top as the nation’s flat rental hotspot. A huge 50.9% of all flats currently available in the rental market have already been snapped up, closely followed by the South West, where this tenant demand sits at 50.6%.

The South East (48.4%), Wales (39.1%), North West (34.1%) and West Midlands (33%) also rank well above the capital when it comes to the current appetite for flat rentals by their respective tenants.

At 25.7%, the East Midlands is home to the lowest tenant demand for flat rentals.

Jack Godby, head of sales and marketing at Ocasa, said that while flats and apartments are always going to be the predominant style of rental stock available in built up urban areas, they also offer a far more affordable option.

“This is particularly true in London, where the cost of renting is far higher than any other area of Britain, but it seems that despite a return to normality and the workplace, demand for this style of renting within the capital is yet to see a revival,” he noted.

“This is undoubtedly due to the influence of the pandemic as many tenants have been able to maintain an element of flexible working, meaning they no longer mind a longer commute from outside the M25 when it isn’t a Monday to Friday requirement,” he continued.

Godby said it remains to be seen how long the trend may last, but it appears, for now, that the glory days of the London flats rental market could be some way away from returning.