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An update on the south London Lettings market

As we approach the traditionally busy spring Lettings market, we thought we would provide an update on the specific trends we are seeing across south London.

As a whole the London Lettings market is busy, with traffic on the Lettings pages of the Marsh & Parsons website up 48% in February in comparison to the same period last year, showing that many applicants are beginning their search in light of current restrictions easing and ahead of the spring and summer markets.

It’s certainly no different in south London. In February, we had 33% more applicants registering with our south London offices- located in Battersea, Clapham, Balham, Brixton, Tooting, Streatham and Kennington- than in the same month in 2020. Demand in south London is outstripping supply: we currently have 18 applicants per one property in the area.

Emma Procter, Area Lettings Director for south London reveals that “our offices are either working with professional sharers returning to London, or couples and families looking to upsize. Demand is greater than supply, but these applicants are also aware that there are more properties on the market than usual. As a result, we are finding that they are more particular than they previously would have been” explains Emma.

“For Landlords, it’s all about being priced competitively and ensuring that the property is presented in the best possible light. If, for example, the paintwork needs touching up, the bathroom tiles need re-grouting and the oven needs replacing then ensure it gets done to make your property as attractive as possible to tenants. With an increase in available property it is imperative that the property looks its best.”

Over the coming months, Emma predicts that there will be exceptional demand from families in particular. “Once restrictions ease, and with children now back at school, we expect there to be a release of pent-up demand from these applicants. The late spring and summer market is traditionally the busiest for family homes anyway, so we are anticipating it to be particularly strong this year” she reveals.

It’s an excellent time for Landlords and tenants alike in south London, so if you’re looking to let a property, or perhaps you’re a tenant looking to move or upsize, read on for our managers’ hyper-local take on what’s happening in their areas.

Clapham and Battersea

This wonderful one-bedroom apartment in Clapham Old Town is neutrally decorated and well-presented throughout.

Emma says that the surge of young professionals she described earlier is very typical of Clapham.

“At the start of the pandemic, a lot of young professionals in their early to mid-20s moved back home with their parents out of London, whether this was because of job loss, furlough or simply not wanting to be in the city over lockdown. Now, with graduate jobs start dates approaching and the job market opening up again, we are seeing plenty return to Clapham. The upcoming relaxation of restrictions is also fuelling this trend as people are looking forward to being able to see friends again as summer approaches.”

Rupert Viney, Battersea Lettings Manager, adds that these professional sharers are registering with higher budgets than pre-lockdown. “Young professionals won’t be spending as much on transport for the foreseeable future, and as their home is their office, they’re more motivated to spend a bit more and have an attractive space.”

Emma explains that couples who want to move tend to be upsizing. “Whereas before a one-bedroom flat might have done the trick for a busy young professional couple, they’re now prioritising a second bedroom to use as an office and outside space.”

These applicants are keen to find the perfect base for a fresh start, she says. “We recently let a gorgeous three-bedroom property on Venn Street in prime Old Town. It had a big garden and received eleven offers before being agreed at over the asking price. “

Rupert reveals that the family homes market is healthy, with applicants coming from across the river to get more space for their money. “Families want private outside space and proximity to the Commons- and they can get a house here for a similar price to a three-bedroom flat in central London. Properties within the catchment areas for Belleville, Honeywell and Wix’s Lane schools are always high in demand and will achieve a strong price, as we have an applicant base just waiting for a property to come up here.”

He agrees with Emma that this particular market is likely to get busier over the coming months. “We’ve already been achieving great results, particularly for homes that are well-put together. With the promise of Nine Elms Underground station on the horizon, people are getting the sense that now is the time to secure a long-term contract in Battersea before it becomes even more popular.”

Balham & Clapham South

This spacious two-bedroom flat is situated in the ever-popular Thurleigh Court on Nightingale Lane.

Ben Hayes, who manages the Lettings team just down the road in Balham, is currently seeing a huge amount of movement.

“The market in Balham is currently really busy” says Ben. “The vast majority of applicants we are seeing are in their mid-20s to 30s: many spent the last lockdown out of London and are now returning. People want to be back in the city after spending a lot of last year away and are choosing Balham as their base.”

“Other than professional sharers, we’re seeing families that have decided to delay buying and are instead upsizing their rental home. Most of these families already live in Balham or Clapham South and want to stay local. These applicants tend to look around Abbeville Village: for example, we recently had a house on Shandon Road that had multiple competing bids and was agreed for over the asking price.”

With the local market being so competitive, landlords are achieving excellent results here. “Plenty of our properties are going for over the asking price” says Ben. “A property in the popular Clapham Mansions block received three competing bids and was agreed at over the asking price, as was another property we recently let on Oakmead Road.”

“The average time for a property to be on with us before it is let is less than a week. Homes with outside space continue to be in high demand, but everything from a one-bedroom apartment with no outside space to a four-bedroom house is going quickly.”

Ben expects the next few months to remain busy as more people return to London. “It’s looking like these levels of activity will continue. Our stock levels are rising as the market picks up, but there’s still far more demand than there is supply.”

Tooting

This stunning New York-style split-level flat is located in a beautiful old school conversion on Gatton Road.

Matt Huggins, Marsh & Parsons Tooting Lettings Manager, says plenty of his clients are making changes to their living situation as a result of last and this year’s lockdowns. “At the moment I’m most commonly working with couples who are moving into their first home after living together during lockdown.”

“One and a half to two-bedroom properties are currently in extremely high demand with our clients, as are properties with gardens. The majority of people are working from home and want to be able to separate the office from their personal lives when it comes to the weekend and out-of-office hours, which the extra space allows them to do.”

“To give you an example of the type of demand we’re experiencing here, we recently let a property on Isis Street to a lovely couple who already lived locally. They signed for three years as they wanted to make it a long-term home. This was also a great result for the landlord as they were looking for a long-term tenant.”

“We also had a property on Idlecombe Road go on the first viewing at asking price to a corporate couple. They had been looking all over London and when they saw this property, they were willing to pay over their initial budget in order to secure it.”

Brixton and Streatham Hill

This two-bedroom apartment on Streatham Hill has undergone an extensive refurbishment with wood floors, double glazing and LED spot lights throughout.

Down in Brixton, Rachel Ade-Odunlade, who heads up the local Lettings team, echoes Emma’s point that properties that stand out are achieving the best results. “We had a stunning four-bedroom family property on Appach Road that was finished to the most incredible standard come on with us. We had ten viewings in the diary before it was launched on Rightmove or Zoopla and within a few hours, we had three competing bids and it ended up going at above the asking price for three years to professional sharers.”

We were able to achieve such a great result due to our inter-connected office network, explains Rachel. Negotiators at M&P are encouraged to let any property, no matter the location, so properties are advertised throughout our 32-strong office network and across seven branches in south London alone. “The applicant can come from anywhere and we certainly capitalise on that” she says.

Just south of Rachel, Willem Poot, who manages the Streatham Hill Lettings team, is also seeing demand for attractive homes increase. “The lovely period conversions close to Streatham Common and Tooting Bec Common are going fast, as are those closer to the Telford Conservation Area and Streatham Hill.”

He adds that he foresees the next few months will continue to be busy. “More and more families will be looking to secure larger properties and outside space as we grow closer to the summer months, and we are in a fantastic position to build on already great results for 2021.”

Kennington

This fantastic one-bedroom apartment on Hotspur Street is newly decorated and has access to communal gardens.

Seb Turk, who manages the Lettings division of our newly opened office in Kennington, is pleased to report a strong start in the area that reflects wider trends being seen in south London.

“We are experiencing healthy applicant numbers, a large portion of whom are professional sharers who have been living at home over the last two lockdowns and are now ready to return. Three and four-bedroom properties suitable for young professionals are reaching competing bids, which is great to see.”

That is not to say that smaller properties aren’t getting good results, he adds. “The very first flat we let here was a one-bedroom property in Vanbrugh Court, which ended up receiving two offers at asking price.”

“We also had a new build one-bedroom flat in Vauxhall go under offer after the first viewing. The new tenant is a corporate applicant who has been relocated from Singapore to London, hopefully an encouraging sign of things to come from this sector of applicants.”

“Being competitively priced is absolutely key to get that initial interest online and feet through the door. The Landlords who are willing to do this are those that are seeing these types of results.”

“From my end, I would add that a landlord requires a proactive agent now more than ever. Combining a competitive price with an agent who can introduce the property to applicants from multiple areas, rather than just relying on direct enquiries, is the way forward in this market.”

If you would like to speak to the Marsh & Parsons Lettings team about the current market, please get in touch here.

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