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London rents down on 2016 levels in two-thirds of areas

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Central parts of the capital have seen large falls in average rents, while the rest of the country records record increases
Asking rents have dropped in two-thirds (65%) of areas in London, according to Rightmove.

The property portal compared the average cost of renting in every London neighbourhood now to how much it would have cost five years ago.

The fall in rental costs is greatest in the most central parts of London.

Less expensive locations

The biggest drop in rent is in Finsbury, a central area on the edge of the City of London financial district, including Liverpool Street, Clerkenwell and Farringdon.

The average cost of rent is now £670 per month (24%) cheaper than five years ago, reducing from £2,818 a month to £2,147.

The number of rental properties in Finsbury on Rightmove has also jumped by 76% compared to a year ago.

Rents have also fallen in Barnes, in south-west London. It’s a sought-after area, but expensive. Renting a home here five years ago was about £4,140 a month on average, which has now dropped by £817 (20%) to £3,323.

The biggest drop is in Knightsbridge where monthly rents are £1,246 lower than five years ago, although they are still £6,221 a month.

Why the fall?

Following lockdown periods and the rise of homeworking, many renters are no longer tied to a regular commute to a city-centre office, so they’ve moved out of the city, either temporarily or long term.

In fact, the number of homes available to rent in London has increased by 19% compared to this time in 2019, which was a year before the first stay-at-home restrictions were introduced.

Richard Davies, head of lettings at Chestertons in London, said: “Prices are the lowest we have seen for several years and represent incredibly good value for those tenants thinking beyond lockdown and looking to lock-in to a good deal.

“As the country starts to open again, we expect growing numbers of tenants to return to the more central areas and anticipate that rents will quickly start to recover.”

Outside the capital

Across the rest of the country Rightmove is recording high demand for rental homes, and there is half as many (54%) rental homes available to choose from than in 2016.

Nationally, asking rents outside London keep rising and have hit a record high of £982 a month, the highest annual rise since 2015.

Rightmove property expert Tim Bannister, said: “Our data shows a stark contrast between the rental market in central areas of London and the market across the rest of Great Britain. Agents are telling me that they don’t have enough rental stock to meet the demand from tenants in many areas, while in London there will be some tenants who have a lot more stock to choose from.”

East Midlands has seen the biggest increase over the past five years of 19.3%, rising from £733 to £875 a month. It has also seen the largest growth over the past year, with the average cost of renting up by 7.5%.

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