House prices and rents in London and the Midlands may be heading for a nasty fall thanks to a “mass exodus of foreign workers”.

According to Capital Economics, Britain’s population has fallen by as much as 2% during the pandemic, with most outward migration from the capital and the Midlands.

Rental markets are showing signs of strain, with landlords reducing rents amid a “huge rise” in vacancy rates.

London rents were down 5.2% in the year to September. The West Midlands was next worst affected.

Capital Economics expects “London house prices will see the largest falls this year as demand softens”. If migrants do not return, there will be a permanent adjustment to rents and prices.