An exodus of international students has dealt a heavy blow to the London rental market, with demand dropping by nearly a fifth this summer.
As universities start the new academic year with a ‘blended learning’ approach, estate agency LiFE Residential says landlords have a tough decision to make as some face up to an 18% drop in rent.
“The dilemma landlords have on their hands now is to weigh up the calculations of adjusting their expectations to the new market conditions and take less rent, or hold out in the hope that there is a notable wave of student demand in Q4 and they will be able to achieve something close to what they were achieving before,” says area director Daniel de Abreu.
Some student landlords are no doubt still smarting from disputes with tenants last term when swathes of students left their accommodation early and demanded refunds.
After the Government refused to step in and help pay rent bills, many even went on rent strike at colleges around the country.
Despite this, interest from British students is still consistent, claims LiFE Residential, with only a 5% drop in applications for 2019-2020.
“The behaviour of domestic students seemingly hasn’t been impacted in the summer months,” says De Abreu, who adds that they’re enjoying a more tenant-friendly market, as average rent on those student properties is down about 11% for August.
He predicts that international student demand for London property will return in Q4, as many universities are offering remote study options for only the first term. And he adds landlords should remember that professionals in the capital are also continuing to flood the market looking for homes to rent, making the last two summer months traditionally the busiest of the year.