Demand for flats in the capital still below pre-pandemic levels

Property Reporter
20th May 2022
Flats 600

Despite restrictions being lifted and life 'returning to normal for the vast majority of those living and working in London, demand for apartment-style living in the capital is yet to return, according to research by Ocasa.

With the rental sector already notoriously expensive, it’s hardly surprising that smaller flats and apartments form much of the rental stock currently available on the market as they enable a lower cost of renting.

In fact, Ocasa found that flats currently account for 55% of all rental homes listed to let across Britain.

London is home to the highest level of flat rental stock at 83.3%, closely followed by Scotland. However, work from home advice during the pandemic caused demand for London flats to plummet as professional tenants looked further afield for affordability.

Despite a return to normality, it seems as though demand for London flats is yet to follow suit. In fact, of the current flats available to rent across the London market, just 31.9% have already had a let agreed with a tenant.

This means that London ranks just seventh out of all regions of Britain when it comes to demand for flat living.

It’s the East of England that currently ranks top as the nation’s flat rental hotspot. A huge 50.9% of all flats currently available in the rental market have already been snapped up, closely followed by the South West where this tenant demand sits at 50.6%.

The South East (48.4%), Wales (39.1%), North West (34.1%) and West Midlands (33%) also rank well above the capital when it comes to the current appetite for flat rentals by their respective tenants.

At 25.7%, the East Midlands is home to the lowest tenant demand for flat rentals.

Jack Godby, Head of Sales and Marketing at Ocasa, commented: “While flats and apartments are always going to be the predominant style of rental stock available in built-up urban areas, they also offer a far more affordable option when renting due to their smaller size and so they’re often preferable to the vast majority of tenants.

"This is particularly true in London where the cost of renting is far higher than in any other area of Britain, but it seems that despite a return to normality and the workplace, demand for this style of renting within the capital is yet to see a revival.

"This is undoubtedly due to the influence of the pandemic as many tenants have been able to maintain an element of flexible working, meaning they no longer mind a longer commute from outside the M25 when it isn’t a Monday to Friday requirement.

"It remains to be seen how long this trend may last, but as it stands, the glory days of the London rental market could be some way away from returning.”

Related articles
More from Landlords
Latest from Financial Reporter
Latest from Commercial Reporter
to our newsletter

Join a community of over 30,000 intermediaries and keep up-to-date with industry news and upcoming events via our newsletter.