Despite criticism from some within the industry about the effects of short lets, the high-end agency Knight Frank has spoken of the advantages the niche offers.
“While the political backdrop causes uncertainty in a sales market that appears otherwise ready to strengthen, short-term lets enable owners to keep their options open” says Stevie Walmesley, head of luxury short-lets at Knight Frank.
“Short-term lets are an effective and flexible way of providing income while remaining on the market. The busy time of the year is between March and May and this year the number of enquiries we had over those three months rose by more than 30 per cent compared to last year.”
And she adds that while some landlords have attempted a sale in response to recent tax changes, properties often return to the lettings market if asking prices are not achieved.
The number of new listings above £500 per week in London was flat in the year to May compared to the previous 12 months, Rightmove data shows. That compared to an equivalent annual decline of 17 per cent recorded a year earlier, highlighting the trend of what Knight Frank calls “boomerang landlords”.
In addition to the returns offered by short lets in general, it says special events such as the forthcoming Wimbledon tennis tournament offers even higher sums.
“Your property needs to be set up for a short term let,” says Oliver Cooper, head of lettings at Knight Frank in Wimbledon. “For Wimbledon, that means a full maid service, working Wi-Fi and a full TV sports package.”
He says demand centres on the roads in London SW19 within a 10 to 15 minute walk of the All-England Club.
”The top players base themselves on Home Park Road, Lancaster Road and Marriot Road in properties large enough to host their family and perhaps one or two smaller places nearby for their entourage. Houses on these roads rent on a short-term basis for about £15,000 per week” says Cooper.
“Southfields is also popular, where three or four-bedroom terraced houses can host several umpires for about £3,000 per week. For the lower seeded players, you are looking at two or three bedroom flats for around £2,000 or £3,000 per week. The players pay the rent upfront regardless of how long they stay in the tournament.”