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What does the Lettings market for family homes look like in 2021?

The busiest period for family homes in the Lettings market is traditionally the spring market, so in preparation we thought we’d give you an update on what is currently happening in this sector.

Applicant demand for family homes is outstripping supply, a trend which looks set to continue into 2021 and reflects the current conditions of the wider Lettings market: in the first two weeks of January alone, we saw a 150% increase in Lettings viewings booked through our website. This encouraging figure has set the pace for the rest of the year.

Spending most of 2020 at home has highlighted just how much impact one’s living situation has on quality of life. For those with children any drawbacks of their current home have been amplified even further: suddenly a garden to let off steam in, a spare room to use as an office, or a more spacious living area have become a requirement while the whole family is learning or working from home. In contrast, length of commute is no longer as important for parents with corporate jobs- where they once would have taken the decision to have the family living close to the office in central London, they are now prioritising more space or a greener area.

Families are high-quality, extremely committed applicants. They tend to know exactly what they need from a new family home, and where they want it- if they need to consider schools, they will be even more specific about where they are looking. Corporate applicants with families that are relocating from elsewhere in the UK or from abroad are keen to secure a home before settling in London, as children tend to remove a degree of flexibility from a move to a new city.

These applicants tend to be waiting for what they want to come onto the market; when it does, they are willing to proceed at pace to secure the property. Families also tend to sign longer contracts: with children’s schooling to consider, not to mention the additional possessions that come with having a family, once they have found the right home in the right area, they want to stay there.

As more families identify what they need from a new home and commit to finding one in 2021, we are expecting already healthy levels of activity in the family homes market to surge over the year. For those looking to let a larger property, we’ve done a deep dive into areas popular with families. Below, our managers reveal who is looking in the area, why, and what other hyper-local trends they are seeing in the family homes market.

North and east London

Charteris Road, NW6: this lovely three-bedroom apartment is in a family-friendly cul-de-sac

“In the first nine working days of January 2021, we experienced a 98% increase in applicant registrations compared to the same period last year.” says Sarah Warmington, Regional Lettings Director for north and east London. “North and east London are shaping up to have busy years, and the family homes market is no exception.”

The type of applicant looking for a larger home tends to be particular to each neighbourhood in north and east London. “Specific pockets of this part of London are very family friendly, and as soon as we get a house or large lateral apartment within one of these areas we have a lot of enquiries. There’s always a pent-up demand for houses in Queen’s Park and Tufnell Park, for example, while areas like Camden attract a lot of corporate tenants who are being relocated from overseas.”

“We recently let a property on Rochester Road to a family from overseas who’d been registered with us and looking since September. They signed a three-year contract having seen the property over Facetime: we always make sure that tenants searching via video are shown the street, every internal detail, and any faults with the property. I’d say around half of our viewings at the moment are virtual.”

Willesden Green and Shoreditch are also offices that have a lot of families registered. Willesden Green has always been popular with families, and in east London we’ve definitely seen an increase in applicants who previously would have wanted an apartment looking for larger properties over the past year.”

South-west London

Lillian Road, SW13: This charming house offers beautifully presented accommodation in a quiet location near the river.

Barnes in south-west London has similar levels of pent-up demand for family homes. “Since Covid-19, we’ve seen more families wanting to move over here from central London, due to the village lifestyle and leafy green areas that the area offers: Barnes is certainly seen as a destination” says Rupert Osborne, Barnes Lettings Manager.

“Applicants looking in Barnes generally want to upgrade in size, have outside space, and be within reach of parks such as Richmond Park. The excellent schools here are also a draw- there’s a number of top schools in the area and Barnes is also home to London’s only Swedish school, meaning that many applicants are part of a Scandinavian community committed to the area.”

“Demand is always high here. As well as applicants coming from central London, we have local applicants on our books waiting for something bigger and better than their current home to come up, and when it does it goes quickly. These applicants are serious, motivated people who understand Barnes and want to be here long term while their children are at school. Because of this, tenancies are usually agreed at a minimum of two years.”

Chiswick Lettings Manager Freddie Windsor reports a similar trend in his neighbourhood, with applicants motivated by the area’s schools and beautiful, sizeable properties.  “A lot of our applicants are corporate professionals who, now that they’re working from home more regularly, want to swap central London for a leafier, greener area where you can get more space for your money.”

“Applicants with children are drawn to three main pockets of Chiswick: Grove Park, Glebe Estate and Bedford Park Estate. Properties here are popular because they’re super attractive, spacious, and near to desirable schools. Renters here prefer longer lets, as they don’t want to move all the furniture that comes with having a family, and properties within catchment areas are high in demand- once a family manages to secure one, they’ll want to stay.”

West and central London

Raddington Road, W10: this beautiful family home boasts plenty of space indoors and outdoors.

The popularity of larger homes in west London also remains high. Sharn Reynolds, Brook Green Lettings Manager, says that there is currently a shortage of available family homes to rent in her area, causing applicants to become highly targeted in their search.

“Applicants tend to be people who are in a one or two-bedroom flat and want a larger, better quality home. Many know what they want and make a direct enquiry when they see it: three of the family homes we’ve recently let went to those who asked for that specific property. I’ve also noticed an increase in applicants who are happy to conduct an initial viewing over video call as well.”

Demand is also outstripping supply further into London, as is confirmed by Rob Pratt in Holland Park. “We have a live database of applicants who want to be notified as soon as we get a new family home on our books. The scarcity of stock available means that we haven’t experienced a large percentage drop in rental prices, and families are keen to secure a property long term: a lot of the contracts at the moment tend to be for three years, which provides security for the tenants and the landlord.”

It’s clear that larger properties are set to be even more popular with applicants in 2021- if you’re one of them, check out our selection of the best family homes to let currently on our books..  

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