The 'new normal' with Ben Sloane, Lettings Director at Aston Chase.

As we begin to look forward to a new normal, the team at GKR has had several promising and insightful discussions with leaders across the property sector. Ben Sloane, Lettings Director at Aston Chase shared his thoughts with us on how they plan to progress forward safely and what they expect over the coming months in the core and prime residential markets.

Ben, I’ve been working with you for about 5 years now, recruiting for you at various levels (some would say successfully…), so thanks for taking some time out from your day to day to give me some insight into your experience in the market. Given the recent news that the property market can be restarted, subject to the safety and security of clients, what is your opinion of the lettings market, core and prime, for the remainder of the year?

“Typically, we expect the market to be quite strong in both prime and core. As the capital and the world start to return to normality in the coming weeks and months there will be a shift in the rental market. The demographic of renters will change, and we will certainly see fewer international relocations, however, things will remain stable as would-be buyers and distressed sellers balance the market. In the past weeks, there has been a consistent level of rental traction. Our enquiry levels have been increasing with both digital marketing and virtual tours enabling us to continue to promote and let properties.”

What are your prime market clients doing?

“We have received 89 new enquiries on rental properties during the lockdown, which is significantly higher in comparison to the same period in 2019. The team has also handled a high number of tenancy extensions, particularly from international tenants who are either unwilling or unable to travel.”

The agency’s lockdown lettings deals include an apartment in the Queens Park Place development and a 3,000 sq ft five-bedroom house on Howley Place, Little Venice – which has been let for three years on a £2,950 asking price. A three-year tenancy was also secured on a home in Priory Road in West Hampstead – achieving over the £1,615pw asking price. A £3,500pw home in West Hampstead, a £4,000pw house on Marlborough Place and £8000pw house in Hampstead are also amongst the Tenancies agreed by the team via remote negotiations during lockdown.

What is going on at Aston Chase from today onwards?

"From today we are carrying out viewings in line with government protocol and we expect the lettings market to bounce back quite suddenly – there is a huge amount of pent up demand from applicants who have not been able to view until now and we expect prices to hold steady. Although naturally we expect quite a lot of supply to suddenly hit the market which might have a bit of a negative effect, but we are only talking maybe 5% price changes."

Written by Lee Riley, Director at GKR London in collaboration with Ben Sloane, Lettings Director at Aston Chase.

We can all agree that the current market is unprecedented, but the same principles apply – simple supply and demand economics, which aren’t new to us. Thankfully, we are returning to a ‘new normal’ and the imbalance of the last 8 weeks is expected to be outweighed by a longer than usual ‘summer peak’ in Residential Lettings and we can confidently say we are at the forefront of the market.

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