Escape from the country: home counties leavers driving record London rental growth

According to Hamptons Lettings Index, London rents have increased by 12.3% in the past twelve months – the highest rate since records began in 2013. The average rent for a newly-let London property currently stands at ?1,886 a month, compared to ?1,680 this time last year.So far in 2022, one in three new London tenancies has been secured by someone moving from outside of the city, compared to 12 per cent in 2020, when many renters retreated to parents’ homes or more affordable areas during the pandemic.READ MOREBuying a London property: the number of homes for sale now in every London boroughWhere to buy a home on Crossrail: best-value locations near Elizabeth Line stationsLondon’s top boroughs for homes with gardens — Croydon, Barnet and Bromley are the capital’s garden property hotspotsThose leaving the surrounding counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent or Surrey are leading the charge, representing over half of all tenants moving into London this year, compared to 40 per cent pre-Covid.Extra enthusiasm has been shown by renters from Wokingham in Berkshire, Hertsmere in Hertfordshire and Epping Forest in Essex, with roughly one in four making the big move to the capital.Places with the most tenants leaving for LondonWokingham28%Hertsmere27%Epping Forest25%Epsom and Ewell23%Hart22%St Albans20%Southend-on-Sea16%Elmbridge15%West Berkshire14%Guildford13%Unsurprisingly, given the rise in home working, just 31 per cent of tenants are moving into London for job purposes, compared to the 40 per cent who did so in 2019. The rise in home working means that only 31% of tenants are moving to London for work purposes, compared to 40% who did so in 2019. Aneisha Beveridge of Hamptons’ research said that “tenants are returning to bright lights of the capital.” “The footloose nature so many jobs today means that culture and lifestyle will become the capital’s greatest draw. Tenants are returning to the bright lights and this is driving record-breaking rental growth. The average rent in London today is 103% higher than the average elsewhere in the capital. This gap is higher than it was a year ago. However, it remains below the 120-130 per cent pre-Covid premium. This premium has been eroded in recent years by strong rental growth. “However, the current rate of rental growth in London will likely push the premium closer towards its pre-Covid level within two years.”