Lower rents in prime central London locations are grabbing the interest of prospective tenants, suggesting urban living still has strong strength of demand despite the pandemic.
The number of new prospective tenants registering in prime central London (PCL) who came from outside the area was 35 per cent between June and December 2020, according to estate agent Knight Frank, up from 26 per cent in the same period in 2019.
The average distance of prospective renters from the boundary of prime central London more than doubled to 3.1 miles from 1.5 miles over the same period.
Coronavirus drove average rent down by 13 per cent in central London in the year to January, which took prices back to levels last seen at the end of 2009 during the global financial crisis.
Knight Frank head of prime central London David Mumby said people living as far out as Croydon were moving into central London because of the new-found affordability of central London rental property.
“There has always been a group of people living on the periphery of central London who couldn’t afford to go in any further,” he said.
“This fundamental reset of rental values means there has almost never been a more affordable time to rent in central London. The allure of PCL hasn’t gone away and tenants are thinking beyond lockdown. People working from home like the idea of being close to central London amenities and parks.”
Separate research found London house prices near Tube stations have dropped as buyers are less concerned about the length of their commute due to the shift to remote working.
Properties near the Waterloo and City line – which has not yet reopened due to the Covid crisis – suffered the largest drop, with homes near Waterloo and Bank stations seeing prices fall 11 per cent on average.