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Renting in London: the desperate battle to rent homes in the capital’s hottest district

Wandsworth has emerged as London’s latest rental hotspot with two reports this week highlighting how rapidly prices in the area are rising. “Prices on some properties are going up £1,000 since they were last on the market,” says Alice Karn, lettings manager of the Wandsworth branch of estate agents Chestertons. “It almost feels a bit mean.”

But demand is such that even these steep rises don’t deter would-be tenants, and many places are let for higher than their asking price.

“We only ever have about 10 properties available and they often go within 24 hours,” says Karn. Chestertons recently listed a property in the area at £1,800, some 30 per cent higher than its previous listing at the start of last year, and received eight enquiries within an hour.

“It will go for over the asking price,” says Karn. “People are taking places from videos — someone recently said they didn’t have time to watch a video and made a decision from photos. They lose out on a couple of places and get desperate.”

Karn says Wandsworth has become “more of a destination” and was appealing to young professionals who could not afford to buy in the district or to rent in Clapham or Putney.

“It is slightly more affordable and very well connected,” she says. “People are also becoming less fussy in the current market. Where they use to insist on being five minutes’ walk from the Tube they will now consider taking the bus.”

The spike in demand in the area stands out even against the backdrop of ongoing rent hikes across London as a whole.


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