London needs at least 83,000 new private rented homes a year to meet its housing needs, new research has found.

The Capital Economics report, commissioned by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), bases its findings on government targets which outline how 340,000 homes a year must be built across the UK by the middle of this decade to meet future demand. This is despite government figures revealing how the supply of private rented housing in London has fallen by 85,000 during the past five years.

Government targets

Capital Economics reports that, if owner occupied and social rented homes in the UK continue at their ten-year average rate of growth, private rented sector supply would have to increase by 227,000 properties annually to meet government targets. This growth is needed if supply is to meet the needs of an anticipated 1.8 million new households over the next ten years. In London, the number of 15-24-year olds is forecast to grow by more than 120,000 (almost 12%).  

Additional survey data by the research consultancy BVA-BDRC suggests that, in central London, 74% of private landlords saw an increase in the demand for homes to rent in Q4 2021 – up from 54% in Q3.  

Investment needed

Capital Economics believes that to meet targets for housing supply, the Treasury needs to encourage investment in the sector, including increasing the rate of new builds and switching commercial property to residential use, moving stock from short-term to long-term lets and bringing empty homes back into use.

nrla ben beadle new pic

NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle says that for all the efforts to support homeownership, the private rented sector has a vital role to play in housing so many Londoners. He adds: “Today’s analysis demonstrates the folly of the mayor’s calls for rent controls in the capital, a policy which would serve only to freeze investment in the very homes renters need.”


  1. The easiest way of releasing housing stock in Towns and Cities is by making it possible for people to move out of them.

    Many older residents (you know the retired couple in a 4 bed house) would love to downsize into the countryside but a lack of properties and infrastructure don’t make it easy.

    We should be building Retirement Villages adjacent to every village in the Country – lodge style homes built to residential standards but on Council land either compulsorily purchased or from stock.

    Such homes sit at raised heights alleviating flood risk issues. The extra people living in each village would help to support that last pub, shop or post office perhaps. Bus services become more sustainable.

    Why can’t we think differently and look at solving a problem without the massive cost of squeezing more into our overcrowded Cities.

  2. I am not quite sure where they think these homes can be built. Some of the new Build to Rent luxury tower blocks are merely giant concrete jungle. There is a lack of natural light adding making them gloomy and miserable. Every piece of scrap land is being built on, including next to busy roads, where air quality if very low.

    London Council are causing great annoyance with the Landlord licensing schemes. It is making renting the capital more expensive. Parking is another issues, where council makes it hard to landlords and tradesmen to get visitor parking permits. How is a builder supposed to do their job, if they can’t park outside the property. Parking meters restrict parking to 2 or 4 hours.

    The quality of tenants varies enormously. Professional tenants are not easy to find (depending of locations). Professional sharers are having a hard time, due to HMO licensing schemes. There is no differentiation between single-let HMO (one group) and a multi-let HMO (group of individuals / strangers).

    With office blocks being empty and more working from home, levelling up. London is on the decline.

    London has lost something due to Covid, it will take time to re-build that energy.

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