According to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), the end of the summer is traditionally a busy time for new tenancies as prospective tenants take advantage of warmer weather and longer evenings to search for properties. The number of new rental agreements is also usually boosted by the start of graduate job programmes in August and September.
However, the number of letting agents in London registering ten or more new tenancies between July and September dropped by more than 10%, from 81% in 2011 to 70% this year.
Letting agents in the rest of the UK reported a higher average of 38 new tenancies with an average of 34 in the rest of the South East. Demand for rental property remains high across the board with over 55% of ARLA members reporting more tenants than properties available.
Ian Potter, Managing Director of ARLA, said: “It would appear that the London rental market, unsurprisingly, experienced the worst of the pre-Olympic nerves. New tenancies were down in the traditionally busy August/September period this year, despite strong evidence of ongoing demand. It seems would-be renters staying in to watch the games, signing contracts earlier to avoid moving during the Olympic period. As we move towards Christmas we may see a late surge if the pent-up demand for rental property converts into tenancy agreements signed. However, with void periods remaining low and tenancy lengths still following an upward curve, this could be the first sign of a more settled private rental sector in London and across the UK more broadly.”