Students return to London lettings market in force, says Dexters

London property for sale

Overseas and domestic students have returned to the Central London lettings market in force this September, according to estate agent Dexters, despite Covid-19 challenges. 

Students comprising an average of 25 per cent of all tenants currently registering with the agency’s 12 Prime Central London offices, all seeking private rented accommodation in the capital’s prime addresses. 

The new Dexters London students survey found that the top five most popular locations for students to live in the capital are Bloombsury and Fitzrovia (where 70 per cent of all tenants registering are students), South Kensington (60 per cent of all tenants registering), Chelsea (40 per cent) and Notting Hill (35 per cent). 
Over the last month, 450 new student tenants per week seeking private rented accommodation have been registering with Dexters' 12 offices in Prime Central London, with additional student tenants registering across the company’s wider network of 70 offices across the capital. Generated over just a few weeks, this large wave of new student applicants (almost 1,800 students) add to the agency’s existing database of over 100,000 buyers and tenants currently looking for a new London home.  
Dexters highlights that historically London has the largest student population of any British city and one of the largest populations of overseas students of any city in the world. In the most recent academic year there were over 372,000 higher education students living and studying in London, comprising 251,000 undergraduates and 121,000 postgraduates (Source: London Higher & Gov Higher Education Statistics).  
Dexters says that of this grand total, 107,200 were overseas students who in the last academic year spent GBP1.75 billion on subsistence spending in the capital (rent, food, travel and leisure) and generated GBP1.52 billion in tuition fees for London’s universities and higher education facilities. An additional GBP131 million was spent in London on short term lets, hotel accommodation, travel, food, shopping and tourism by overseas relatives and friends visiting international students living in the capital (Source: London Higher & Gov Higher Education Statistics).  
The leading overseas countries sending the most students to London include China, (last year Chinese students spent GBP407 million in the London lettings market and economy in terms of rental income, fees and spending), the United States, India, Italy, Germany, France, Greece, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada. Over 70% of the domestic students who come to study and live in London originate from the South East and West Midlands (Source: London Higher & Gov Higher Education Statistics). 
Whilst some students choose to live in purpose built student accommodation or halls of residence, especially in their first year at university, many rent privately, together or with student friends; generating over 210,000 private renters living in Central London (Source: London Higher & Gov Higher Education Statistics). 
Mayfair might not be a location people would associate with students yet the DEXTERS survey found that for homes priced up to GBP1,500 per week, 30 per cent of the market comprises wealthy students, with super-affluent “platinum students” also renting luxury homes priced between GBP1,500 to GBP3,000 per week. 
Mayfair’s wealthy student elite are from the Middle East (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait) and the Far East (Hong Kong and Singapore) and they like living in luxurious one or two bedroom apartments with concierge/porter, with the students wanting their “student digs” to offer them features such as air conditioning, underfloor heating, on-site gymnasium and CCTV security. 
The survey also found that Covent Garden is extremely popular with British students, with 65 per cent of the students registered being domestic. Marylebone and Westminster are popular with continental European students with Marylebone attracting student tenants from France, Germany and Belgium and Westminster having a significant number of student tenants from Spain and Germany. Leafy Hyde Park is popular with students from the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi and Dubai) and France. 
Richard Page, Marketing Director of Dexters, says: “Each summer our Central London offices, in particular Bloomsbury, Fitzrovia and South Kensington, receive a wave of new student registrations seeking lettings accommodation. This year, some industry commentators were anxious about whether the student accommodation market would return due to uncertainties related to COVID-19 such as travel and social distancing, alongside the ongoing lack of clarity surrounding fees for EU students due to the Brexit discussions. The new DEXTERSLondon student survey shows that this September the student market has returned in force to the capital’s lettings sector and our findings underline the continuing appeal of London and global confidence in the UK university system and the calibre of courses being offered.”