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‘Strong bounce back’ in rents

Rents are shooting up across the UK, the property portal Zoopla has concluded.

Its latest quarterly Rental Market Report puts the current annual rate of rent increase at 11 per cent, the highest for 14 years. The average UK rent is now £995 a month, said Zoopla, £88 more than at the start of pandemic.

This represents a ‘strong bounce back from last year’. Then average UK rents were down by more than 1 per cent, despite wage growth peaking at 8.8 per cent last summer.

But the rental market remains highly localised, with the most affordable rental markets for dual earners were found to be in more rural areas including Great Yarmouth in the East of England, South Somerset in the South West and North East Lincolnshire in Yorkshire & the Humber.
In London, Bromley is the most affordable rental market, where average rents account for 19 per cent of joint gross income. In the North West, Copeland, a local authority on the edge of the Lake District, encompassing the towns of Whitehaven and Cleator Moor, is the most affordable rental market.

The increase in rents has meant that in the UK as a whole they now account for over a third of gross single earner tenancy income.
In London, a new let will now cost more than £20,000 over the next 12 months, meaning the proportion rent will account for more than half the income of a single earner tenancy.

On average, UK tenants are staying in their rental properties for an extra five months compared to five years ago, with the average tenancy length up from 51 weeks at the start of 2017 to the current 75 weeks.

This may not be surprising given that demand for rental property continues to outpace supply across the country. In London the number of rental properties available is little more than half the five-year average.

Rental demand is strongest in Scotland, Wales and London, with demand levels more than 65 per cent above the five-year average, said Zoopla.

‘UK rental growth is being driven by high rental demand and limited supply, trends that are more pronounced in city centres’, said Zoopla head of research Gráinne Gilmore.

‘The surge of post-pandemic pent-up rental demand will normalise through the second and third quarters, which means rental growth levels will start to ease.

‘Affordability considerations will also start to put a limit on further rental growth although this may occur at different times depending on location. Rents are likely to continue rising for longer in areas which have the most constrained stock levels – currently London, Scotland and the South West’.