Rental searches surge in Zones 1 & 2 as renters look to return

Renters look to take advantage of London’s falling prices ..

The exodus of renters who moved out of capital at the start of lockdown are slowly returning according to new data from the UK’s biggest property website Rightmove. The report analysed over 23 million London searches, revealing that annual searches for rental homes in areas of Zones 1 & 2 have jumped significantly primarily due to the low rental prices.

Nine Elms in Wandsworth has seen the biggest annual rise in rental searches in the capital, up 126%, with average asking rents in the area now at £2,802 per calendar month, down 15% compared to a year ago. Next up is another Wandsworth location – Battersea – which has also seen rental searches more than double over the past 12 months (+111%), followed by Clapham Common (+109%).

All of Rightmove’s top 10 latest rental hotspots are within Zones 1 & 2. This is in stark contrast to last August when renters searching in the capital were home-hunting in the outer zones. Chessington topped the list in August, and all but two of the top 10 hotspots were located in Zone 3 and beyond.

Rightmove’s data last summer reflected a shift in people wanting to move to areas with quieter transport links as office-based working and rail commutes became less frequent. However, the tide appears to be turning, with annual growth of rental searches in Inner London now outperforming last summer’s search activity.

For example, last August Canary Wharf ranked 203rd in terms of annual growth in rental searches (+20%), but the urban hub has now moved up the rankings to 8th place, with annual search growth of 89%.

Rightmove’s Director of Property Data Tim Bannister said:“Last year we identified a clear trend of renters moving out to quieter parts of Greater London as the allure of life in the city centre became less appealing during lockdown. However, with the prospect of some kind of normality potentially on the horizon, it appears that the capital’s renters are now looking to return to Inner London, and making the move now to take advantage of the lower rents. Our list of London’s top rental hotspots is dominated by locations in Zones 1 and 2 and that represents a significant shift in search behaviour.”

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