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Paul Bennett, Director

The property industry loves nothing better than to declare a new trend and one that we are following with interest is the ‘boomerang buyer’. It’s a shift in buying behaviour that is almost exclusively being charted in London.


The relaxing of all Covid restrictions and encouragement to return to central offices is fuelling the boomerang buyer – purchasers who have renewed confidence in city living and want to live closer to their place of work, or at least within a short commute. As a result, Rightmove’s most recent figures show that asking prices rose in all but one of London’s boroughs in February, with only Hackney posting a very small value drop. In fact, price rises are experiencing their highest rate of growth in the six years since the Brexit vote.


The property portal also analysed historic buyer enquiry data to ascertain the strongest month of the year for sales. When looking back at statistics gathered over the last five years, excluding the closed market during 2020, Rightmove found that March is, on average, traditionally the month when the highest number of buyers are enquiring about properties for sale. Encouragingly for sellers this spring, April was noted as the next busiest month for buyer activity, followed by May.


Additional analysis revealed demand from buyers is still outstripping stock, with an 11% increase in new listings now, compared to the same time last year, while buyer demand is up 32% during the same period.


While boomerang buyers are out in force, they are being matched by renters who are returning to the capital city. Rents are widely reported to be back to pre-pandemic levels, with data from the website Home revealing that asking rents in the City of London were up 98% over the last year, and up 53% in Westminster.


Corroborating these findings is additional news from Rightmove, who was able to drill down into its rental data on a more granular level. It says the biggest annual increases in rent values during 2021 were in Inner London, where there was an increase of 16.2%. Of that rise, 6.2% was witnessed in the autumn of 2021 – the highest rental value uplift for any region in the country.


Interestingly for any would-be landlords in our local area, the portal named St John’s Wood as one of the top five London areas seeing the fastest rent rises.


“It really is a reversal of fortunes,” comments Behr & Butchoff’s Principal, Paul Bennett. “The property vignette that unfolded almost two years ago was, as we believed, a temporary hiatus. The emergence of boomerang buyers and renters is testament to London’s longevity and position as a global destination.”


“What is interesting is the timing of Covid restrictions lifting. The refreshed optimism is rippling out as we head into spring, which statistically and anecdotally is the one of the busiest times for buyers and sellers. We forecast a shift back towards homegrown buying, selling and letting activity over the coming months. Although we are still fielding enquiries from international families, it’s a complex backdrop that we’re helping everyone navigate.”


If your property plan involves moving to Inner London or trading up within the St John’s Wood area, contact Behr & Butchoff for advice and a list of our immediately available properties.