Private rents in Britain are rising at their fastest rate on record, piling more pressure on households feeling the strain of the cost of living crisis.
The average advertised rent outside London is 9.9% higher than a year ago as tenants making plans for a post-pandemic life jostle for properties, according to the website Rightmove.
Meanwhile, London rents have hit a new record and are higher now than before the start of the pandemic after a bounceback in demand fuelled by the gradual return to the workplace and more overseas students looking for a place to live.
The average advertised asking rent outside London is £1,068 a calendar month, said Rightmove. In London it is £2,142.
The increases have been attributed to a mismatch between the number of tenants looking for a place and the stock of available properties. Tenant demand is 32% higher than this time last year, but the number of available properties is 51% lower, said the website.
“The imbalance between high tenant demand and low rental stock is supporting asking rent rises, and has led to competition between tenants for the rental properties available nearly doubling compared to the same period last year,” said a spokesperson.
During the pandemic some tenants have quit London and other big cities after re-evaluating their lifestyle and deciding they want to live in the suburbs or the countryside, or somewhere with more open space.
Rightmove named a number of “rental hotspots” that had seen typical rents increase by between 14% and 20% in a year. They include three Kent coastal towns – Ramsgate, Chatham and Folkestone – and locations such as Ascot in Berkshire and Bridgwater in Somerset. The website is predicting a further 5% increase in average asking rents this year.
Separate research found that some landlords were increasing rents “to cover the increased tax burden” they faced.
During the last few years many amateur landlords who were attracted by the buy-to-let boom have quit the market owing to regulatory and tax changes that have in some cases hit profits. One in four landlords have raised rents in response to tax changes that were phased in between 2017 and 2020, according to research from the Landlord Works, a platform run by the Nationwide building society.