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Private rent costs jump to £1.2k in May – ONS

  • 19/06/2024
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Private rent costs jump to £1.2k in May – ONS
The average private rent in the UK rose 8.7% annually in May to £1,262 per month, government figures showed.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found this was down from the 8.9% year-on-year increase in private rent costs recorded in April, and lower than the record 9.2% rise seen in March. 

Compared to last year, the average rental cost across Great Britain was £101 higher. 


A slowing in annual private rent increases

In England, the average rent came to £1,301 in May, which was 8.6% higher than a year earlier. In cash terms, this was a rise of £103. 

This marked the second month in a row that rent inflation had slowed in England, coming down from an 8.9% increase in April and a record 9.1% surge in March. 

The average rent in Wales rose annually 8.5% or by £58 to £736 in May. This was higher than the 8.2% increase recorded in April. However, this was more modest than the record-high annual rise of 9.8% in November. The ONS said the annual inflation rate for rent in Wales had been decelerating since then. 

Average rents in Scotland were up by 9.3%, or £81, to reach £957 in May. The annual inflation rate in Scotland was also moderating following a high of 11.8% in August. 

In Northern Ireland, the average rent rose by 10.3% in the year to March, which was down from the record growth rate of 10.4% in February. 


Need to address rental supply and demand imbalance

Richard Rowntree, managing director for mortgages at Paragon Bank, said: “It is encouraging to see a reduction in rental inflation, which we believe will be driven by lower inflation on new lets. In order for this trend to continue, something that helps to alleviate the affordability challenges faced by tenants, it is crucial that we address the imbalance between the demand and supply of rented homes.

“To do this, we need to recognise the contribution of private rented sector landlords and be proactive in creating the conditions that facilitate investment in good-quality housing.” 

Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, added: “The impact of what has been a challenging economic period continues to play chaos for many renters. Not only are personal finances stretched to the max for many people, but we have the added uncertainty of a general election and what that might ultimately mean for renters and landlords. All major political parties have referenced the need for building much-needed new homes, but we need to see a precise plan and timeline as to how and when that is going to happen.

“Currently, demand is continuing to seriously outstrip supply, and this remains a major contributory factor to elevated rental prices across the board.” 


London still topping the table

Within England, the highest rent increase in the year to May was recorded in London at 10.1%, bringing average rents to £2,086. This was down from a rise of 10.8% the month before and below the record-high increase of 11.2% in March. 

The North East saw the lowest rise in average rents, with a 6.1% increase to £667. This was up from a 5.8% annual rise in April. 

Detached properties attracted the highest rent in May at £1,461, while flats and maisonettes were the lowest at £1,228. 

The average private rent was highest for homes with four or more bedrooms at £1,932, while one-bed properties averaged £1,009. 

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