Wealthy foreign students have surpassed finance professionals as the biggest source of new tenancies in prime districts of Central London over the past 12 months, a property agency says. Chinese students accounted for only a small proportion of these well heeled students, but demand is on the rise, Britain-based property management firm London Central Portfolio (LCP) said. In a newly released research report that highlights the increasing importance of international students in the Central London rental market, LCP said the numbers of wealthy student renters had been increasing rapidly. Students comprised just 12 per cent of LCP's tenancies in 2006; now, they represent 34 per cent of tenancy starts in the past 12 months. There has been a corresponding decrease in the number of new tenants from the finance sector, slipping to second place at 31 per cent. Legal and accountancy professionals follow at 11 per cent, the report shows. LCP has found that students are now paying an average of £28,886 a year for some of the British capital's top quality rental properties. Some 30 per cent of the company's student renters came from Western Europe. Chinese students accounted for 6 per cent of LCP's rental portfolio, but their ranks were increasing, the company said. LCP chief executive Naomi Heaton said: "London has become a magnet to these privately wealthy young adults looking for top quality accommodation to go with their top drawer education, as parents are keen to install their children in the best, most secure homes." The average rent paid over the past year by such students was £2,405 a month, Heaton said. Among the student tenants in LCP's managed portfolio, 23 per cent have opted to rent in Marylebone, with its proximity to Regent's Business School, the Royal Academy of Music and London Fashion School.