The average UK rent hit a record high of £997 in May, up for the sixth month in a row.
The East of England saw the steepest yearly growth, up 9.5 per cent to £1,001 in May 2021 compared to the same month last year. This was followed by the South West at 8.4 per cent to £943, then up by 7.7 per cent, Wales at £698.
Greater London saw the only regional decline year-on-year, at 0.9 per cent to £1,583.
The average monthly rental, excluding London was £854, up 6.4 per cent year-on-year, and a rise of 0.1 per cent in May compared to April this year.
The average monthly rent as a proportion of household income eased slightly to 30.5 per cent in May, compared to 30.9 per cent in the same month last year. Excluding London, it was stable at 29.6 per cent year-on-year.
The variation between Greater London prices and the average UK price continued to hover around the 60 per cent mark in May. The difference between London and the rest has held fairly steady at this level in 2021, having decreased from levels closer to around 70 per cent in 2019 and 2020.
Andy Halstead, group chief executive at HomeLet rental, said: “We’ve seen, from sharp house price spikes across the country, that the pandemic changed what people are looking for in a property. Many want to buy properties offering more living space, particularly those working from home — and this is also true of the private rented sector.”
Halstead noted a rise of 10 per cent in suspicious and fraudulent applications for lettings, backlogs and delays in processing evictions, and high demand for good quality tenant references and insurances.