December 5, 2023 11:19 am

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Nikka Sulton

London’s ultra-prime rental market is marking a significant rebound in 2023, surpassing pre-Covid levels, as reported by Beauchamp Estates. Drawing on data from Lonres, which encompassed all London rental deals exceeding £5,000 per week during the first half of the year, the findings reveal a robust performance. Among the 63 deals transacted at this premium level, 38 were for houses, while 25 were for flats, collectively contributing to a substantial monthly rent roll of £2.39 million.

This resurgence in the ultra-prime rental sector underscores the resilience of London’s property market and the growing confidence among high-end tenants. The data from Lonres not only reflects a return to pre-pandemic norms but also signals a potential upswing in demand for luxury residences, painting a positive picture for the capital’s real estate landscape.

During the initial half of 2023, North West London emerged as a focal point for super-prime house rentals, accounting for 10 out of the 38 deals in this prestigious category. St John’s Wood and Hampstead stood out as dominant areas, with NW3 claiming the title of the most expensive rental in North West London at £15,000 per week for a furnished six-bedroom house featuring an outdoor swimming pool.

Comparing the rental landscape to 2019, a parallel is drawn with 63 top-of-the-market rental deals achieved in both periods. The total combined monthly rent for houses and apartments in 2023 reached £2.49 million, closely mirroring the figures from 2019. However, the shift in demand is noteworthy, as back in 2019, among the 35 ultra-prime houses rented, only six were in NW postcodes. The preferences leaned towards flats in SW1 (13 deals) and W1 (nine deals) postcodes, indicating a change in the dynamics of the luxury rental market over the years.

During the initial half of 2020, marked by the onset of the pandemic, the super-prime rental market underwent a significant transformation, recording a noteworthy decline to just 38 deals. This shift was particularly pronounced, with a substantial 70 percent of these transactions being for houses, ushering in what has come to be known as the ‘outdoor boom.’ This trend reflects a notable change in tenant preferences, with an increasing demand for properties boasting significant outdoor spaces, a departure from the traditional emphasis on apartments.

The traditional strongholds of the super-prime rental market, such as Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Mayfair, and Kensington, known for their apartments lacking substantial private outdoor areas, have witnessed a remarkable evolution. The landscape of super-prime lettings has expanded beyond these areas, and affluent tenants are now actively seeking houses and apartments equipped with spacious terraces. This shift is particularly evident in North-West London postcodes, with favored enclaves including Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill (NW1), St John’s Wood (NW8), and Hampstead (NW3), signaling a changing paradigm in luxury property preferences.

The luxury rental market in London has become fiercely competitive, with a constant tug-of-war among three or four serious tenants vying for the same properties. What’s intriguing is the willingness of the victor to splash out one or two years’ rent upfront just to secure their desired space. A recent success story involved an estate agent clinching an impressive £10,000 per week for a lavish Marylebone apartment initially marketed at £7,000 per week. Remarkably, the tenant sealed the deal within a mere seven days of finalizing the terms.

The demographic dominating the ultra-prime rental scene in London is diverse, featuring wealthy international expats hailing from countries like Ukraine, Denmark, Turkey, China, the United States, and various parts of Eastern Europe. Interestingly, the current political climate has made the British capital an attractive and secure haven, particularly for affluent Eastern European families grappling with concerns related to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

During the summer months this year, Beauchamp Estates observed a notable surge in interest from Chinese and Middle Eastern clients. These discerning individuals were keen on securing short-term rental contracts for detached, spacious family houses complete with swimming pools, often preferring sought-after locations like St John’s Wood and Hampstead. This trend underscored the dynamic and evolving preferences within the luxury rental market, reflecting a global influx of discerning tenants seeking not just premium residences but also unique amenities and neighborhood appeal.

Erik Holmgren, who manages lettings at Beauchamp’s Mayfair office, notes that the high-end rental market in London has seen significant growth in 2023. Ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) are expanding their horizons beyond the traditional areas of Mayfair, Belgravia, and Kensington, showing interest in super-prime homes in locations like Marylebone, St John’s Wood, and Hampstead.

Over the last six months, Beauchamp Estates has successfully closed super-prime letting deals, collectively generating an annual rental income exceeding £5.5 million. Notably, tenants from the United States, China, and the Middle East have played a prominent role in the Prime Central London (PCL) market during this period.

In Mayfair, apartments have been leased to tenants from the USA and Western Europe, while the lettings portfolio of houses in Mayfair and Chelsea has found favor among tenants from the Middle East and Asia. Marylebone is emerging as a sought-after luxury lettings destination, with apartments attracting tenants from the USA and China. Similarly, in Hampstead, both houses and apartments have drawn interest from families and students originating from China and Western Europe. This shift in preferences highlights the evolving dynamics of the super-prime lettings market in London.



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