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RICS swiftly appoints new chair following recent scandal
Mike Driver has been announced as the new Chair for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, filling one of the many vacancies that exist after the Levitt QC report. His role will primarily be to oversee its audit committee.
This will be good news as the Levitt enquiry castigated RICS for not having credible financial oversight for some of its corporate bodies in other parts of the globe.
There are of course other empty chairs, not least the CEOs, and it will be very interesting to see who the corporate head hunters are talking to, and what skill set they will be bringing on board.
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London rents bounce back in the private rented sector
The latest property market analysis by London lettings and estate agent Benham and Reeves shows rental values across the capital have not only bounced back versus the pandemic dip experienced in 2020, but have also breached pre-pandemic levels in all but three areas.
The research shows that between 2019 and the initial pandemic year of 2020, the average London rent fell by -3.4%. With Camden seeing rental values plummet -20.7% in a year, while the City of London was also one of the hardest hit with a -12.6% reduction.
However, as London has slowly returned to business in 2021, tenant demand has also returned, and current rental values now sit 9.4% higher than they did during 2020.
The pandemic continues to have an influence, with London’s more peripheral boroughs still seeing the strongest performance. Rents are up 20.1% year on year in Kingston, with Bexley (18.3%), Newham (15%), Croydon (14.1%) and Hillingdon (13.6%) also amongst the largest increases.
The City of London remains the only area yet to recover, with rental values still down -11.4% annually. The real positivity lies within the fact that the average London rent is now 5.7% higher than it was in 2019, prior to the market slowdown.
The report noted that the volume of properties they are seeing let to tenants is up 67% year on year and 22.7% versus pre-pandemic levels, while landlords are now securing re-let rental prices some 10% to 20% higher than they were prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. With a further revival now coming in the form of foreign tenant demand.
Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, commented: “The London rental market has arguably been the worst hit as a result of the pandemic … Demand for rental homes evaporate almost overnight during the pandemic causing a surplus of stock on the market while rental prices plummeted. But the London market is nothing but resilient and when the tide starts to turn, it turns very quickly indeed.”
Knight Frank posts record pre-tax profit
Knight Frank has published its latest annual results, showing a record pre-tax profit, despite turnover falling by 7%.
In brief, the key takeaways are as follows: pre-tax profit is up by 23% to £173.7 million, while turnover is down 7% to £512.7 million, and net assets are £299.4 million, up from £264 million last year.
Alistair Elliott, Senior Partner & Group Chairman, said: “On the back of one of the most extraordinary years in our 125-year history, I am pleased to report a strong set of results.
“The firm’s agility and speed of reaction to the pandemic has enabled us to outperform our early financial expectations. This year has cemented our confidence in the firm’s global platform. At the heart of this is our partnership structure, which gave us the ability to plan and respond quickly.”