There is certainly huge pent-up demand for rented accommodation. The Countrywide chain of estate agents has just reported a 48 per cent increase in the number of people applying for tenancies in the first quarter of this year, compared with the last quarter of 2009. There are now five people competing for every rental, the chain says.
The situation is even worse in Marylebone, despite rents being 3 times higher than the national average. The area is hugely popular with students from wealthy overseas families, having the main campuses of London University and London Metropolitan University on the doorstep, not to mention the London Business School.
We see 5 applicants for every tenancy offered and void periods have shortened to about 2 weeks.
Needless to say, there is considerable interest in property investment, but buyers must be more discriminating than they were in the Buy to Let bubble. The first thing to bear in mind is that just because a property is cheap does not make it a good potential let - tenants these days are extremely demanding and will not look at a rundown flat in a bad area two miles from the nearest tube station.
The second thing is to do the research - what is the local market, and what is the average rent in the area? If it is not high enough to provide a decent yeild, then don't buy.
But the best advice is to take professional advice. Here at Sandfords our team knows the rental market in Marylebone, St John's Wood and Regent's Park extremely well, and we are always ready to advise on which properties make money and which are best left to owner occupiers.