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Chinese Students & Socialites have become the driving force in Mayfair luxury lettings market, outbidding corporate tenants, driving the premium lettings market

Wealthy Chinese students and Chinese socialites have become a driving force in the Mayfair luxury lettings market during 2021, with students spending anything up to £1,500 per week, and Chinese socialites spending up to £10,000 per week to snap up Mayfair’s best rental properties, outbidding corporate and other tenants in this most prestigious of London addresses says a new survey from Wetherell.

The new Wetherell lettings survey draws on local market intelligence and data from Lonres and other local agents. Wetherell highlight that wealthy overseas students have become one of the firm’s biggest markets, occupying some 40% of its lettings properties up to £1,500 a week bracket, with super-affluent “platinum students” also renting luxury homes priced between £1,500 to £3,000 per week. At the very top end of the Mayfair lettings market Chinese socialites have also become key players in the lettings sector, spending up to £10,000 per week in order to let the area’s finest apartments and houses.

7 HillStreet - let for £750 per week

Between January to September 2021 there have been almost 150 lettings deals in Mayfair priced over £5,000 per week, a rate of 17 per month (4-5 per week) with earlier this year a 24-year old Chinese heiress paying a record £1.55 million per year on a two year tenancy of Culross House on Culross Street.

Wetherell reveal that 91% of the privately owned homes in Mayfair are apartments or penthouses and this has allowed for Mayfair to have an extremely large lettings market, with over 50% of the homes in Mayfair being rental properties.

Highlighting, that along the Western Park Lane and Regent Street borders of Mayfair – some 20% of the district’s total rental stock – is in the sub-£1,000 per week range. Shepherds Market and part of Southern Mayfair, around 30% of the stock is in the £2,500 to £5,000 per week price range, whilst in the North West and central part of Mayfair, centred upon Grosvenor Square and Green Street, 50% of the lettings  stock, rents are in the £5,000 to £10,000 plus per week bracket.

It is important to note that as international tourism, student and business travellers have begun to return to London the Mayfair lettings market has boomed. Currently the Wetherell lettings department is averaging around 130 new tenant enquiries per week for homes in Mayfair. In the most recent quarter of 2021 (Q3) Wetherell’s lettings department has let double the volume of properties in Mayfair, and in the last six weeks Wetherell have let an average of four properties per week that have achieved rental values that are up to a third over the asking price.

Historically, Mayfair’s student lettings market was dominated by students from affluent families from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia and Nigeria – but over the last two years the number of affluent students from mainland China and Hong Kong seeking student pads in Mayfair has risen dramatically.

31 Eaton House - let for £1,750 per week

Wetherell have noted that Mayfair’s wealthy student elite like living in luxurious one or two bedroom apartments with concierge/porter, with the students wanting their “student digs” to offer them features such as air conditioning, underfloor heating, on-site gymnasium and CCTV security. Wetherell highlight that apartments on Park Lane, Duke Street, Curzon Street, Mount Street and Hill Street tend to be particular popular with wealthy overseas students.

Peter Wetherell, Founder & Chairman of Wetherell says: “There is currently a boom in the Mayfair lettings market as the Chinese super-rich demand the best for their student and young socialite offspring. The Chinese are outbidding corporate tenants although corporate demand itself remains strong, especially tenants from continental Europe. The wealthiest Chinese and other students from the Far East are happy to pay £1,500 to £3,000 a week to rent a flat in Mayfair whilst the socialites with billionaire parents can afford up to £10,000 plus a week to snap up Mayfair’s finest homes.”

Wetherell highlight that historically London has the largest student population of any British city and one of the largest populations of overseas students of any city in the world. In the most recent academic year (pre-COVID-19) there were over 372,000 higher education students living and studying in London, comprising 251,000 undergraduates and 121,000 postgraduates (Source: London Higher & Gov Higher Education Statistics).

The leading overseas countries sending the most students to London are China/Hong Kong (last year Chinese students spent £407 million in the London lettings market and economy in terms of rental income, fees and spending), followed by students from the United States, India, Italy, Germany, France, Greece, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada (Source: London Higher & Gov Higher Education Statistics).


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