Londoners create spike in demand for Hertfordshire rental properties

A Harpenden letting agent has reported a supply shortage due to increased interest from London rente

A Harpenden letting agent has reported a supply shortage due to increased interest from London renters. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

City dwellers keen to sample suburban life before committing to a more permanent move have led to an increase in demand for rental properties in and around Harpenden and St Albans.

The ‘try before you buy’ surge has been credited with driving the Herts rental market, with Savills saying most demand has come from London-based tenants seeking family homes with more indoor and outdoor space.

Ryan Green, who leads the lettings team at Savills in Harpenden, said demand had led to an increase in rental values in the second quarter of 2020 - and that properties were being snapped up so quickly that there was now a supply shortage.

Ryan said: “Since lockdown measures were eased, we have seen a growing trend in people wanting to rent before committing to a purchase – particularly among those who have decided to make the move from London.

“Trading up from a city centre apartment, say, to a family home in the suburbs can sometimes be daunting and in a lot of cases people have been happy to ‘try before they buy’ and rent as an interim solution.”

In a recent survey of Savills agents based in the commuter belt, 64 per cent reported an increase in ‘try before you buy’ applicants, while 93 per cent said they’d seen a spike in interest from Londoners.

Prime market rents have risen by 0.8 per cent as a result - the second consecutive quarter of rental growth, and an increase of 0.9 per cent year-on-year.

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The increased interest in working from home driven by the coronavirus pandemic has also been a factor in many movers extending their search further from the capital.

Ryan added: “Moving home isn’t just about swapping one set of four walls and a roof for another – often it provides an opportunity for a new lifestyle.

“This isn’t only down to the property itself. The surrounding area can play an equally important part, from the quality of the local schools and the types of shops on the high street through to whether there is an active local community.

“This is especially true for those moving somewhere completely new – so it’s only natural that people may want to test out the local area before committing to something longer term.”