The number of new prospective tenants registering with Knight Frank in August was 73 per cent higher than the same month in 2019, and the highest monthly figure recorded by the agency over the last five years.
The second highest was July this year and June 2021 was the third highest month over the last five years.
The agency says strong demand and low supply, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic, mean landlords are now in the driving seat and the switch from a tenant’s market has been swift.
“It’s turned into a landlord’s market in recent weeks and that has happened very quickly” says Gary Hall, head of lettings at Knight Frank. “Supply is tight in some areas and demand has gone through the roof.”
He says this demand is coming from various sources, including the return of international students ahead of the academic year, and in addition from workers as they make plans to return to the office.
A second wave of workers is now planning for the full re-opening of offices, which is leading to a scarcity of rental properties in areas around the City, Southbank, Islington and as far out as Wandsworth.
“In some areas, lettings properties are coming onto and off the market on the same day” adds Hall. “The competition is so fierce that some prospective tenants are taking a property based on a single virtual viewing from their desk at work.”