Prime property rents in Home Counties in UK fell at end of 2015

Rents in the prime country house market in the UK’s Home Counties fell by 0.3% in the final three months of 2015 but were up 4.3% year on year, the latest index data shows.

It follows a 0.8% drop the previous quarter but overall higher stock levels have ensured greater flexibility from landlords on rents, tipping the balance in the favour of the tenant, according to the prime country index from Knight Frank.

It points out that in 2015 landlords looked to keep void periods to a minimum and remain competitive while agents noted that the number of properties available to rent across the Home Counties has been steadily rising over the last year.

The report reveals that an increasing number of owner occupiers have been entering the prime rental market as higher tax burdens are felt by potential buyers.

The data also shows that that the number of individuals registering their interest in renting in the Home Counties between October and December was up by 10% year on year and the total number of viewings conducted was up by 22% over the same time.

As ever demand from individuals relocating for work, both locally and from overseas, continued to form a significant proportion of the market in the fourth quarter with a number of move-ins scheduled for early 2016, especially in the prime commuter hotspots of Ascot, Cobham and Esher.

In 2015, around 40% of Knight Frank tenants in the Home Counties were from overseas, led by Europeans who accounted for 14% of all tenancies agreed and North Americans who accounted for 13% of all tenancies agreed over the period.

Demand has generally come from professional couples and families, looking for flats and small houses. In the super prime market, for properties above £15,000 per month, larger budget tenants have been less active.