(Bloomberg) -- The cost of renting in London’s wealthiest districts is soaring at the fastest pace in a decade as tenants seeking to return to the capital in style find there’s a vastly smaller stock of homes to choose from. 

Rents in the priciest neighborhoods jumped by an annual 11.7% in September and have now returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to a LonRes report out Monday. A chronic shortage of available homes -- with supply 68% lower than a year earlier -- has pushed prices up so quickly that landlords have wiped out the losses they endured during the pandemic.

“Those looking to renew a rental agreement or searching for a new property to rent may be in for a shock,” said Marcus Dixon, head of research at LonRes. “Tenants renewing, properties returning to short-term let platforms and landlords having sold up are all contributing to a stock shortage.”

International students and workers relocating to London are doing battle for available homes, with some firms renting serviced apartments for their staff at a 50% premium or sending them further from the city center, according to a separate Knight Frank report also out Monday. 

Some students are even happy to agree a tenancy based on one video call, the agent says.

“Companies are often left feeling frustrated because they are a step behind students, who are able to take tenancies much more quickly,” said John Humphris, head of relocation and corporate services at Knight Frank. “The situation has become more acute.”

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