Tenant arrears remain high, with 10.7% of all rent late or unpaid in January
Rents rose in January as the rental market sprung back into life early, according to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from LSL Property Services plc, which owns the UK’s largest lettings agent network, including national chains Your Move and Reeds Rains.
In January, the average rent in England and Wales increased by 0.1% to £712 per month, the first time since LSL began compiling the index that rents have risen on a monthly basis in January, and the first monthly rise in three months. As a result, annual rental inflation increased to 4.3% from 4% in December, representing £30 rise in the average monthly rent by in the past year.
Rents rose the fastest on a monthly basis in the West Midlands and South West, where they increased by 1.8% and 1.5% respectively. Rents rose by 0.8% in London, where they have only fallen once in the past 13 months. However, rents fell in four regions. The biggest declines were in the East of England and Wales, where they fell by 1.7% and 1.5%.
In the last 12 months rents have risen in all regions of England and Wales but one. The largest annual increases were in London where rents rose by 6.3%. The next biggest increase was in the East of England where rents rose by 5.9%. Rents fell in the North East by 0.7%, although the rate of annual decline slowed from 1.3% in December.
David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services, owners of Your Move and Reeds comments: “The rental market burst back into life unseasonably early in January, with tenants on the move trying to take advantage of what is usually a quieter period for the rental market. The depth of the underlying demand sustained a higher level of competition for rental property during the Christmas period, preventing more severe falls in rents than we’d normally see during the period. In January, activity has already moved up a gear in many parts of the UK, pushing rents up once more in a small, but significant rise.
“Mortgage lending has shown signs of improving in recent months, but transactions remain at almost half their historic levels, and the increasing dependency on rental accommodation will drive further rent rises over the long-term.”