Knight Frank sees more film-related enquiries for short-term lettings

Michael Lloyd

July 19, 2019

Knight Frank has seen 82% more film-related enquiries for short-term lettings in the year to May compared to the previous 12-month period.

British film industry tax breaks and the weaker pound have produced a marked pick-up in activity in the luxury short-term lettings market, as more Hollywood stars rent homes in London and the Home Counties.

Stevie Walmesley, head of luxury short lets at Knight Frank, said: “The uptick in demand has been matched by the fact more and more owners are open to the idea of renting out their property on a short term basis rather than leave it unoccupied.

“Plus, you tend to have considerate tenants in the film and TV industry who spend a lot of their time on set, which reduces wear and tear.”

Furthermore, the average weekly budget for searches increased by 15% to £2,745.

Walmesley said demand is strong across a number of different price brackets for production staff, crew and the actors, which means weekly rents can range from £750 to upwards of £30,000.

The Notting Hill/Holland Park neighbourhood of London remained the most in-demand area for film industry requests, accounting for 18% of all film and television-related enquiries.

That was followed by Hampstead (9%), Belsize Park (9%) and Richmond (9%), while Kensington (8%) completed the top five.

The government has attempted to support the British film industry through corporation tax reliefs in which cover the film, high-end television and video games industries.

The tax reliefs, which require formal certification, delivered almost £8bn to the UK economy and created 137,000 jobs in 2016 alone, according to the British Film Institute (BFI).

Some 26 films began production in the first three months of 2019, according to the BFI, which was one more than the same period in 2018. They included the Marvel superhero film Morbius, the third instalment of the Kingsmen series and a documentary called Chasing Chaplin.

British productions of high-end television, which has minimum spend conditions, increased more notably.

The total spent for British productions of high-end television was £248m in Q1, up 62% year-on-year, according to the BFI. Productions included Netflix fantasy Cursed and a Sky TV political thriller called Cobra.

Meanwhile, the weakening pound since the EU referendum has made the UK even more attractive for overseas capital. It weakened about 14% against the US dollar between June 2016 and June 2019.

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