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OCTOBER 12, 2018 | BY A & S Property

UK rents up 1.7% in a year, says HomeLet

The average cost of renting a property in the UK rose by 1.7% in the 12 months to September, according to the latest figures from HomeLet.

Its index, which is based on new lets agreed by landlords and agents using its referencing service, shows that the average rent in the UK is now £943 per calendar month (pcm).

When London is excluded, growth, in percentage terms, was actually a slightly higher rate of 1.8% year-on-year, with the average rent in the UK, without the capital, now stood at £780pcm.

Unsurprisingly, average rents in London remain the most expensive in the UK, at an average of £1,632pcm, which is up 3% on last year.

However, the region with the largest year-on-year increase is Scotland, showing a 5.6% increase since September 2017.

Rents in September increased in 11 of the 12 regions monitored by HomeLet, with only the North East seeing a decrease.

Martin Totty, chief executive at HomeLet, said: “The data for September shows that rents UK wide are on average 1.7% higher than the same time last year, which continues the trend we have been seeing throughout most of 2018.

“Historically, we have seen a higher rate of rental price growth in London and the South East. However, over the last six months the rate of growth in these areas has slowed to reflect a similar rate to the rest of the country. Throughout the UK, the longer-term trend is one of fairly narrow, shallow growth over a longer period of time.

“Over the last year, the growth rate has remained below the average rate of inflation in the wider economy, and the growth in the housing market.

“The rental sector can be seen to be performing at a much steadier rate, with a lower level of volatility when compared with house prices.”

The initial results of HomeLet’s annual Landlord Survey corroborate this largely positive picture, with just over 90% of respondents intending to either keep or expand their property portfolio in the next year.

But the potential impacts of Brexit rate highly among their main concerns, along with the possibility of increased regulation through legislation and changes to house prices.

Totty added: “While more than 90% of landlords intend to either keep or expand their property portfolio in the next 12 months, they are not without their concerns. Our initial results show that the three main concerns that landlords have are the macro-economic impacts they face on their finances - further changes to legislation, the potential implications of Brexit and house price values.

“The results suggest that while landlords are not planning to leave the market at this stage, uncertainty over the wider economic picture - especially when Brexit is added into the mix - could easily change this.

“The current, steady growth within the private rental sector suits the needs of both tenants and landlords. However, should landlords change their stance and begin to exit the market, therefore reducing the supply of rental properties, there is a possibility that rental prices could rise, as at this stage there is no indication that the demand for rental properties is going down.”

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