It has seen a flurry of coronavirus-generated deals in the last 10 days, with affluent tenants paying up to £8,000 per week (£32,000 per month: often paying for the entire tenancy upfront) in order to swiftly acquire short and medium-term lets, located in North West or outer London. This is so they have somewhere where they can safely isolate themselves during the outbreak.
What is the potential scale of people currently displaced in London due to coronavirus?
Aston Chase claims that there are typically 2.5 million tourists and overseas visitors in London on a monthly basis. If just 0.25% to 0.5% of this figure have ended up displaced in the capital during the coronavirus crisis, this means that between 6,250 to 12,500 people are having to urgently find rental or long-stay hotel accommodation in London over the next two to six months. If the figure is as high as 1%, this equates to 25,000 people displaced in the UK capital needing turn-key accommodation.
The agency argues that there are five distinct type of ‘must-let-immediately’ tenants that have been generated by the coronavirus outbreak. The first group, which is also the largest numerically, are displaced international people - typically from Italy, France, Spain and Asia - who are unable or wary of returning home. As a result, they are seeking short to medium-term rental accommodation in London.
The second group, meanwhile, are domestic Londoners, who usually live in Prime Central London in large ‘close-confine’ apartment developments or townhouses. However, they have become concerned by the coronavirus outbreak and have decided to relocate to large gated detached houses in outer London or further afield.
On the other hand, the third group are medical, diplomatic or businesspeople on secondment or emergency duty in London due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The fourth group are ‘at-risk’ UK domestic households, aged over 60, who are wanting to relocate temporarily from apartments to detached houses in order to be able to self-isolate safely from neighbours, while the final group are ‘accidental tenants’. These are the people who were in the process of purchasing a home in London, who are now choosing to rent rather than buy. Equally, they may have been forced to rent because their sellers have taken properties off the market due to the current situation.
Aston Chase says, over the last fortnight, it has advised two Italian clients seeking accommodation in London, a Japanese client, a domestic UK client and two international medical staff.
It says it’s currently marketing an ultra-prime property in Hampstead which is highly representative of the type of lettings instruction ideal for the ‘situation tenancies’ deals that the estate agent has conducted for displaced clients over the last two weeks.
The property is available to let at £8,950 per week. Should a tenant wish to view the property, Aston Chase staff can arrange for a video walkthrough of the property to be provided to the applicant.
“The coronavirus outbreak has resulted in a significant increase in what we could describe as ‘situation tenancies’,” Ben Sloane, lettings director at Aston Chase, said.
“Like everyone, we at Aston Chase have been extremely concerned about the current global pandemic and looking after our clients, both tenants and landlords, to help them through this current challenging situation.”
He added: “We have noticed a rise in the number of people who have approached us seeking suitable short to medium-term accommodation to see them through this very difficult period. We hope to be able to help people as much as possible and find suitable solutions to help all our customers and clients through these unprecedented times.”
He continued: “The coronavirus situation has transformed operating procedures in both the sales and lettings market in the capital. In the sales market, sellers are using Aston Chase to carefully vet people who visit their properties and many sales viewings are being done through our team remotely, with Aston Chase sales agents using smartphone video, professional videos or photo libraries to provide applicants with virtual tours of properties.”
The Aston Chase office is currently temporarily closed during the coronavirus lockdown period. However, all staff are fully operational, working as normal remotely.
For further information on the portfolio of properties available via the lettings department of Aston Chase, you can visit www.astonchase.com.