Figures from the estate and letting agent’s Monthly Lettings Index show that across the UK average rents in July were up by 2.2% on the figure recorded for the same month last year. This annual rate of growth doubled from the 1.1% recorded in June, driven largely by the upturn in London rents.
Countrywide found that average rents were up across the board. Leading the charge was the South West where July rents were up by 4.1% on those recorded a year earlier. The East of England was not far behind, notching up an annual increase of 4%, while Scotland posted an annual rise of 3%.
At the other end of the scale Wales was the slowest riser, and July rents nudged up 0.4% when compared to those in July 2016.
Johnny Morris (pictured), research director at Countrywide, said: “The rush to beat higher Stamp Duty rates in April 2016 caused a spike in the number of homes to rent, but that has now worked its way through the market. The stock of homes to rent is now falling in the more expensive parts of the country because higher tax rates have dissuaded large numbers of landlords from buying. Ultimately this means fewer homes on the market and higher rents.”
He added: “Across the Midlands and the North, higher rates of Stamp Duty are much less of a disincentive to investors. Here the number of homes on the market remains up on last year, buoyed by investors living in London and the South East choosing to buy in the Midlands and the North.”
In London, the number of rental homes on the market in July was 18% down on the previous year. The East of England saw numbers drop by 6% while in the South East rental property numbers fell by 5%.
However, significant rises were seen in Yorkshire and Humber where the number of rental properties available in July was up by 37% on last year. In Wales the jump was 22% while the North West was not far behind on 21%.