Renters from the Far East made up almost a quarter of the total in the first half of this year. That is far beyond the long-term average of 15% and perhaps reflects the interest from Hong Kong nationals in relocating to the UK since the introduction of the British National Visa scheme in January 2021.
Overseas nationals have long dominated our rental markets and in the first half of this year, only 28% of renters were British (a little below the long term average of 31%). Europeans are consistently around 30%.
However, the majority of letting activity takes place in the summer months when new students arrive and graduate recruitment peaks. For this reason, leases tend to come up for renewal around that time of year and it is not until Q3 that the true picture emerges of who is renting in London in 2023.
The proportion of renters aged under 25 tends to be lower in the first two quarters of any year because it is not the season for student rentals. In the first half of 2023, the age distribution is skewed towards older age groups and that is entirely consistent with the seasonal pattern of previous years.
Students accounted for 9% of rentals in Half 1 2023 but we can confidently expect their share to be far higher in the second half of the year in line with the academic year.
The most surprising shift in the employment structure is in the increase of renters employed in the tech sector which has risen to 21% compared to a long term average of just 10%. Given the perception that tech sector employers do not demand an in-person office presence, it is interesting to note that their staff choose to live in central London. It also makes sense to live in a lively urban environment for young people working from home where there is access to co-working spaces, cafes and social interaction. It is a reassuring signal that central London retains its special appeal for footloose young renters.
There are notably fewer sharer households renting homes in our markets this year with 27% of the total, down from a longer-term average of 32%. It is consistent with our observation that people working from home are choosing to live in smaller households and reinforced by the numbers for singles and couples, both of which hae increased their share of the total.