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‘Option to buy’ rental clauses now reappearing, says lettings agent

A record number of tenancies have been agreed above £5,000 per week in London during the first four months of the year according to Tom Smith, Knight Frank’s head of super-prime lettings.

In total, 41 lettings transactions were agreed between January and April which was the highest figure on record for the first four months of the year, a traditionally less active time for the lettings market. 

It compared to an equivalent figure of 26 last year and 34 in 2017.


“While demand in the super-prime sales market has picked up over recent months, the finely-balanced political backdrop means the lettings market has also had an unseasonably strong start to the year” says Smith. 

The number of prospective tenants viewing properties above £5,000 per week has also been rising. 

The figure was 32 per cent higher in the year to April 2019 compared to the previous 12-month period, Knight Frank data shows.

Meanwhile the rolling annual total for super-prime lettings was 145 in April and 146 in March this year, which was the highest figure recorded for six years.

“Renting affords our clients the luxury of flexibility” says Smith. “The uncertain political situation also explains why we are seeing the re-emergence of super-prime tenancies with ‘option to purchase’ clauses written into the contract, so renters can effectively ‘try before they buy’.”

The agency says underlining the relative strength of the super-prime sales market, there were 38 sales in London above £20 million in 2018, which was the highest figure since 2014.


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