Interest in renting London’s luxury homes has bucked the Brexit property lull, according to Knight Frank.
The estate agency said that the number of tenancies agreed for prime properties in the last three months was 3pc higher than in the same period in 2015. Viewings on homes that rent for between £500 and £5,000 per week were up almost 16pc on the same period in 2015.
Tim Hyatt, head of lettings at Knight Frank, said: “From a transaction perspective, the level of new deals has remained strong. In particular, the number of corporate inquiries was encouragingly positive as it was dramatically up on last year, highlighting that confidence in London as a capital city of choice remains strong.
“Due to the imbalance of supply and demand, landlords need to be realistic when it comes to pricing in an increasingly competitive market.”
Higher stock levels and referendum uncertainty meant that these prime rents fell 3.6pc in the 12 months to July. Annual price growth of London homes on the market for more than £5m fell 1.5pc in July, continuing a trend of falling prices in central parts of the capital.
Knight Frank said that demand was increasing, with the number of viewings 17pc higher than in the same month in 2015. But Tom Bill, head of London residential research, said that stamp duty was a bigger issue than Brexit, adding that “the vote to leave the EU has brought pre-existing market dynamics into sharper relief".
He added: “Changes to the market over the last two years have meant that the Brexit vote has merely been a trigger for some to make overdue reductions to their asking price.” Société Générale said last month that house prices in the most expensive postcodes of London could fall by as much as 50pc post-referendum.
The report said that buyers of these prime properties typically request a discount of 10pc or more off the asking price, on top of an effective 10pc discount for buyers who operate in dollars, due to the weak pound.
The number of exchanges on properties was 14.5pc lower in the first half of 2016 than the same period in 2015.