Annual property rental values in prime central London fell last month

Annual rental value growth in the prime central London residential property market eased to 0.7% in December on the back of falling demand in the financial services sector.

Rental values fell 0.4% from November, taking the annual rate of growth to its lowest level since July 2014, according to the latest analysis report from real estate firm Knight Frank.

However, Tom Bill, head of London residential research at Knight Frank, explained that there is also an element of seasonality and a quarterly drop of 1.1% in the last three months of the year was the weakest since December 2014 and repeats a pattern of previous years.

Rental value growth peaked in May this year at 4.2% and the subsequent decline has resulted in prime gross rental yields dipping from 2.96% to 2.93% over the same period, the report says and demand has fallen over the last six months as a number of banks have implemented restructuring plans.

‘European banks in particular have been slower to cut jobs than their US counterparts following the financial crisis. Profitability has fallen due to new regulations that force banks to hold more capital, which has contributed to job cuts at European banks that have been in excess of 100,000 in recent months,’ said Bill.

‘As well as the macroeconomic backdrop, including uncertainty over China and falling commodity prices, the situation is compounded by the fact many large European banks have new chief executives, who typically take a more radical approach to cost savings in the early stages of their tenure,’ he pointed out.

‘The result is that optimism at financial services companies fell markedly in the third quarter of this year across a range of sectors. However, there have been signs of stronger demand from boutique financial services companies like private equity businesses and hedge funds as clarity emerges surrounding the level of 2016 bonus packages,’ he added.

The report also says that demand at the super prime level of £5,000 plus per week remains strong as uncertainty continues to surround taxation and price growth in the higher price brackets of the sales market.

‘Equally, demand remains strong in lower price brackets among workers of all professions, bolstered by the strength of the UK’s economic recovery,’ Bill said.