London Home Rents Fall for First Time Since December 2009

Londoners are paying lower home rents for the first time in more than seven years amid rising supply and weakening demand from senior executives for properties.

The average rent paid in April for new lettings in Greater London was 1,519 pounds ($1,968) a month, a 1.2 percent decline from a year earlier, HomeLet, the U.K’s largest reference-checking and rentals insurance company, said in a statement on Monday. Annual rental inflation across the U.K. was 0.4 percent in the same period, the lowest in seven years.

"Rents have been rising at a more modest pace across the whole of the U.K. in recent months," HomeLet Chief Executive Officer Martin Totty said. "We continue to see landlords and letting agents weighing tenant affordability considerations very seriously.”

London’s housing market is weakening amid affordability issues, new taxes and preparations for Brexit. Landlords rushed to buy homes before the introduction of a new stamp duty sales tax in April of last year, boosting supply and leading to greater competition for tenants.

The number of tenancies agreed at 1,000 pounds to 5,000 pounds a week fell 3.7 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, Knight Frank said on Friday. Demand in that segment of the market usually comes from senior executives in industries including financial services, the broker said.

Home values in the U.K. capital grew at their slowest annual rate in almost five years in February as values in the most expensive boroughs including Camden and Kensington and Chelsea fell, according to Acadata and LSL Property Services Plc.

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