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Agency says enquiries and tenancies up but rents are falling

The number of prospective new tenants in the Home Counties over the first three months of the year has risen 15 per cent compared to the same period of 2016 according to high end agency Knight Frank. 

What’s more the number of tenancies agreed in the first quarter of this year is 23 per cent above the comparable period of 2016, with demand highest in the sub-£2,000 per month price bracket.

Enquiries from individuals relocating to the Home Counties for work increased by 17 per cent year-on-year and Knight Frank was instructed to let 33 per cent more properties in Q1 2017.

In an upbeat report  Jemma Scott, a partner in Knight Frank’s Home Counties lettings team, says this “very much reflects” sentiment within the market.

“After a challenging summer last year we saw a surge in rental deal volumes at the beginning of 2017 which, coupled with the heightened level of enquiries from prospective tenants, means we head into the traditionally busy spring/summer market with great optimism” she says.

Date from the agency’s research team suggests that prime rental values across the Home Counties fell by 2.3 per cent between January and March following a 1.8 per cent decline the previous quarter. Home Counties prime rents are 3.9 per cent lower over the past year.

The slowdown is due to a rise in stock levels at the top end of the market and uncertainty for landlords created by the mortgage interest tax relief changes. 

KF says below £2,000 per month activity has been particularly strong, especially for flats and smaller family houses with such properties often letting faster than those in higher price brackets.

Above this price threshold demand has been less strong, with landlords willing to be more flexible on rents in a bid to retain tenants.

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