Back to school bonanza starts early

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Back to school bonanza Simon Scott, Regional Head of Savills

Simon Scott, Regional Head at Savills, looks at how the south west London family house rental market is performing this year with a back to school bonanza over the summer months.

It’s been a busy year so far for the south west London family house rental market and, we’re up 32 per cent on agreed deals compared to this time last year.

In the summer we see a real rise in family house searches before the new school term. Move ins and applicants are at their highest between June and September; we usually see a 60 per cent increase in applicant levels compared to previous months.

The prime London rental market continues to be driven by quality over the location or prestige of a well-known address. Generally when registering tenants they’ll prefer high-specification properties in immaculate condition with the best new build properties setting the bar in terms of amenities, specification and connectivity. While some applicants will be looking only for furnished properties, others will want an unfurnished home – as they will have their own furniture.

Good sized kitchens are essential in this market because it’s where families will often spend most of their time. When it comes to gardens, some people want the outside space for children to play, whereas others have chosen to live here because we have the likes of Battersea Park and the Commons that have family-friendly aspects to them such as Battersea Park Zoo and play areas. In terms of budget, a tenant can expect to pay around £3,250 per month for a well-appointed classic terrace up to £8,450 for a substantial detached house in a prime Commons position.

Looking to our family tenants, they’ve a varied profile with a range of different reasons to rent, be it lifestyle, circumstantial or re-location. We have local applicants who are upsizing as well as homeowners moving into rented accommodation while they are waiting for their homes to be renovated. Over the last few years we’ve also seen a significant rise in the proportion of tenants who have sold their home and are now renting for a couple of years and waiting for the right property to come along.

It’s usually for work reasons that people will be re-locating and the summer season is the busiest time for that. Places like Richmond are popular thanks to local international schools such as the Deutsche Schule. Whereas Wandsworth and Clapham are both on good bus routes to schools such as Whitgift, Alleynsand Trinity School in addition to well-regarded state maintained primary and secondary schools more locally.

Over the past few years we have seen the length of tenancies rising, with people taking properties for longer. Family houses are typically let for a minimum of three years which provides a sense of security and stability. For those re-locating, they may choose to settle and get used to the neighbourhood to scope out what type of property they might want before then looking to buy later on. 

As the year plays out we expect to see a continued demand for best in class properties and with Brexit uncertainty it’s possible that we may see accidental landlords coming into the market. We have strong demand for family properties across the region, but landlords will need to remain competitive on guide pricing and flexible on terms in order to attract tenants.

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