The number of tenants that moved home in London in December was double that of December 2019, according to an agency chain in the capital.
Chestertons says its December 2020 performance was its busiest on record for that month.
With 88 per cent more rental properties available compared to 2019 and with prices substantially lower in many areas, Chestertons noted an unusual surge in December as tenants rushed to take advantage of the market conditions and secure a deal before Christmas and lockdown.
Activity was further boosted by a promotion it ran, where many landlords offered a rent-free periods on their property in December. It received 69 per cent more enquiries from tenants, conducted 61 per cent more viewings and processed 63 per cent more offers than December 2019.
As a result of the large number of available rental properties on the market – many of which were previously let on short term contracts via platforms such as Airbnb - prices remain under pressure and around 20 per cent of landlords decided to drop their asking rents.
Prices for flats with no outside space have been hit especially hard whereas larger family houses have generally maintained their rental values.
Richard Davies, Chestertons’ head of lettings, comments: “December is usually the quietest month of the year for the rental market as very few people want to view properties and move, however, with less Christmas parties and another lockdown on the cards, we had a very busy month and helped a record number of tenants move.”
He continues: “The current lockdown has obviously put the brakes on the market, but once cases get back under control and restrictions ease we expect activity to catch-up pretty ckly and are anticipating a strong spring market.”