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London rents still the most expensive in Europe despite virus slowdown

The typical rent for a London property makes it “the undefeated number one most expensive city in Europe” despite increases slowing to a trickle thanks to the virus crisis.

Housing Anywhere, an international lettings platform, says almost all major European cities have seen their rent rises level out in recent weeks as the lockdown hit most countries.

In addition, rents have been hit by new legislation in Berlin where a freeze has been imposed for five years; meanwhile in Barcelona, the location for civil unrest last year and over the winter, rents have dropped as a result of lower demand.


Italy, the first hard-hit European country by COVID-19, showed a stable first quarter of the year in terms of rent rises although the Housing Anywhere analysis suggests the second quarter should reveal some dramatic changes.

Looking ahead the platform says: “With [Coronavirus] outbreaks very likely to return with resulting limitations on international travel, 2020 will prove to be a dynamic year with regards to the mid- to long-term rental market. … If the 2008 economic crisis can serve as an indication, homeownership will decrease and the demand for rentals will increase in the coming years.”

Even before the worst effects of the virus hit the UK, London’s rental market - especially for apartments - was levelling out, with rent rises at their lowest level since 2015 according to the platform.

In the first quarter of the year - so with little impact from Coronavirus in some areas - the Austrian capital Vienna saw the largest annual rent rise on the continent, at some 11.5 per cent for apartments. 

Madrid saw the second-highest overall increase in rent prices year over year - some 4.7 per cent. Berlin was third, with a 4.3 per cent rise before the government-imposed rent freeze took hold.


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