City jobs cull hits prime rents

Marion Dakers
THE CITY jobs bloodbath has helped drag property rental prices down for the sixth month in a row, according to research out today.

As banks cut headcounts and freeze pay, rents in prime London homes fell 0.1 per cent in March – and the very top of the market has been hit hardest, claims estate agent Knight Frank.

Houses with rents topping £1,500 a week in the most desirable areas have seen rental prices fall 1.2 per cent on last year, while properties on Knight Frank’s books with rents above £500 are up 1.5 per cent.

And renters are staying put rather than risking a move, with the number of new tenancies falling seven per cent. This comes as vacancies in the financial sector dropped eight per cent in March alone, according to Morgan McKinley’s London research.

“These figures underline that the lettings market has been struggling since November last year. The Morgan McKinley data is a strong indicator for corporate relocation and is a concern,” said Knight Frank’s head of residential lettings Tim Hyatt.

But he also pointed out that recent drops have come in the wake of record highs for prime London property last year.

For owners outside the capital, all but the most expensive country piles are also seeing values eroded. Prime country prices fell 0.5 per cent in the first three months of 2012, Knight Frank said.