FOREIGN students and businessmen have swamped the London lettings market leaving British residents unable to find homes.
The change in exchange rates and the rocketing number of international students have combined to leave a shortage of homes to rent in the capital.
According to Anita Mehra, Managing Director of Benham and Reeves Residential Lettings, the London market has become incredibly attractive to foreigners.
“Property remains very attractive to overseas investors because of the exchange rate, which makes many homes effectively 20 per cent cheaper now than in 2006” says Anita, who has just returned from several property exhibitions in Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
“Also there are growing numbers of international students in London – there are now 285,000, some 25% more than just two years ago.
“Academic experts say there will be a predicted 47,000 student-bed shortfall by 2016 as the number of incomers grows well beyond the construction of purpose-built accommodation.”
According to Anita these factors combined with falling levels of new house-building and continued mortgage restrictions, especially for first time and young professional buyers, mean the demand for London homes – to buy and to rent – will outstrip supply for many years to come.
The growth of the finance sector in London is also expected to bring in yet more foreign residents to London, adding even more strain to the market.