Knight Frank says the plummeting rents in prime central London have at least managed to attract a surge in the number of tenant enquiries.
The agency says that the number of tenancies started in the first two months of this year in PCL was five per cent up on 2020 – the two months before the pandemic started in the UK in earnest.
Knight Frank says the fall in rents has been created by a fall in the number of international students and corporate tenants, underlined by passenger numbers through Heathrow plummeting by 80 to 90 per cent.
Meanwhile, a high level of short-let properties are still in the long-let market, driving supply still higher.
The agency insists that “there are early signs that the trend may only have a number of months left to run.”
On the supply side, the UK government has said that staycations may be allowed from the middle of next month, which will eventually reduce the quantity of stock on the long-let market – although Knight Frank cautions that there is a certain amount already in the system that will take a period of time to unwind as tenancy agreements expire.
“The picture we are getting is of increasing optimism for the spring and particularly the summer” says John Humphris, head of relocation and corporate services at Knight Frank.
“Many corporates have plans that were put on hold and they are now considering re-activating them, with the tech and media companies leading the way. There are some question marks over the impact of new Covid-19 variants but the success of the UK’s vaccine rollout has been a strong boost for sentiment in the rest of the world.”
This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.