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Record-high rents persist despite slowing growth

The average rent in the UK reached a record high of £1,299 per month in June 2024, up from £1,229 in June 2023, according to the latest HomeLet Rental Index. Excluding London, the average rent is now £1,102. Despite this increase, rental growth has slowed, with a modest 0.2% rise from May to June.

Regional Variations in Rent Increases
The HomeLet Rental Index revealed significant regional variations in rent increases. Scotland saw the highest rise at 3.8%, followed by Northern Ireland (1.8%), Wales (1.6%), South East (1.5%), East of England (1.2%), West Midlands (0.4%), North West (0.3%), East Midlands (0.2%), and North East (0.1%). In contrast, rents decreased in Greater London (-1.6%), Yorkshire & Humberside (-0.6%), and South West (-0.3%).

Challenges Facing the Rental Sector
Andy Halstead, CEO of HomeLet and Let Alliance, commented on the current state of the market: “The data and analysis speak for itself. All stakeholders in the private rental sector are managing their way through turmoil, not least landlords and tenants. Professional Letting Agents have the most difficult task, balancing the needs of both, whilst working in a political void, with uncertainty everywhere.”

Halstead also highlighted the challenges posed by current policies: “It is rarely quoted that a tenant can now quite easily occupy a rental property for 12 months or so, without paying a penny in rent. Whilst this is a fact, politicians run away from dealing with the challenge. A viable private rental sector requires support for all stakeholders, including agents and landlords, this still looks like a pipe dream. Rent Guarantee and Legal Protection have never been more important.”

Comprehensive Data from HomeLet
The HomeLet Rental Index provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date data on rental values in the UK, using actual achieved rental values for newly agreed tenancies. This approach offers a more accurate insight into the current lettings market compared to data based solely on advertised rents.

While the rental market continues to see record-high rents, the slowing growth and regional disparities highlight ongoing challenges. As Halstead emphasised, addressing these issues will require substantial support for all stakeholders in the private rental sector, a task that remains critical amid the prevailing uncertainty.