Knight Frank says one week in August saw the lettings market in London and the Home Counties hit a 10 year record for viewings.
This was achieved in the week ending August 22 and Tom Bill, head of residential research at Knight Frank, says: “Part of the explanation is the unusual seasonal pattern of activity in 2020. Students account for almost a quarter of the market and uncertainty around the start of the new academic year meant July was quieter than normal.”
This contrasts with the number of new prospective tenants registering in the week ended July 11, which was 26 per cent below the figure last year.
“Some students held out until late August before deciding what to do, with many universities providing the option of online learning until Christmas” adds Bill.
Despite the record, corporate rental activity remains modest, the agency notes.
Meanwhile in the 12 months to July, average rental values in prime central London declined 5.8 per cent while in prime outer London the decrease was 5.4 per cent. In both cases, it was the largest annual decline since the global financial crisis in 2009, the agency says.
“London will remain an attractive destination for overseas students irrespective of how long it takes for universities to return to more normal conditions. Demand is strong in the capital due to cultural as well as academic reasons and many students have worked for years with the specific aim of a place at a London university” says Bill.
“Should flight schedules around the world continue their return to normality, this will support demand in the normally quieter final quarter of the year and could lead to a few more seasonal records being broken.”